Avebury People

Can you help us to identify the people who made the modern Avebury?

The Alexander Keiller Museum archive holds hundreds of photographs of people. The photographs span several archaeological campaigns across the decades, including excavations run by Harold St George Gray in Avebury Henge in the 1900-10s, and the Alexander Keiller-led work at Avebury and West Kennet Avenue in the 1930s.

As we progress through the project, we hope to identify as many people as we can in these photographs. Our volunteers are busy transcribing captions (when they exist), and collecting names from letters and diaries.

Do you recognise any of these excavators? Perhaps older relatives have photographs that show familiar faces?

Workmen during the 1909 excavations led by Harold St George Gray. Alexander Keiller Museum accession number 78510162.
Workers in 1937 at Avebury. Alexander Keiller Museum accession number 20004218-002.
Workers in 1939, erecting stones in Avebury henge. Alexander Keiller Museum accession number 20004243-002.

I mentioned above that the fabulous digitisation volunteer team flag whenever a person is mentioned in letters and diaries. I then compile the names into a list, including details about the person’s role, if known. Later down the line, we hope to be able to match up names with photographs, as we work out who excavated which stone, or who was on site on a given week.

Our working list of ‘Avebury People’ is updated almost daily, but this blog post was last updated 6 June 2023. Check back again as we add new names each month!

If you recognise any names, we’d love to hear from you – leave your comments below to be in touch, or email Fran dot Allfrey at York dot ac dot uk.

SurnameForenameHonorific/ TitleInitials/ AliasHand / Staff / Visitor / Pre or Post KeillerKnown details from archival materials
Andersonn/aClerk of WorksVisitor/ CorrespondentListed on ‘Experts visiting site’, 1936
AshHHandHand – 1934. Hand 1937
BallBHandHand 1937
BatesGeorgeHandForeman 1937
BensonVioletLadyVisitor/ CorrespondentSeveral visits to site with family, 1934.
BetjemanPenelopeLF / Lady Filth/ “Little Filth”Visitor/ CorrespondentTravel writer. Wife of poet John Betjeman. Lived at Uffington from 1934. Visitor on site September 1934, stayed at Lawes’s hotel.
BlakeHarold JHandHand 1937
BowsherGHandHand – 1934.
BradleyEdwardsenior/ junior?HandHand 1937
Bradleysenior/ junior?HandHand 1937
BrailsfordJW (Mr)Visitor/ CorrespondentList of experts, 1935
Brander “of Kent”Visitor/ CorrespondentVisitor, April 1934
BrentnallHCFSAVisitor/ CorrespondentArchaeologist. Visits 1934 and with his wife in 1935
Brindle /BrindelHHandHand – 1935, 1937. Entered as Brindel in the diary.
BrownBellaVisitor/CorrespondentVisitor May 14th – May 15th
BuckinghamGeorgeHandHand 1937
BullArthur WilliamHandHand – 1934. Hand 1937
BullBertieHandHand – 1935
BullAlfred THand
Burke-FoxJPBFVisitor/ CorrespondentVisitor May 3rd – May 6th. Chief inspector of Ancient Monuments according to 78510467 1934 Diary.
ButcherHandHand 1937
ButlerPeterVisitor/CorrespondentVisitor, 1935
CableLHandHand – 1934. Hand 1937
CarterEHVisitor/CorrespondentVisitor, April 1934
Caton ThompsonGertrudeVisitor/CorrespondentArchaeologist, suffragette, Egyptologist, pioneering scientific approach
ChallestonMrDiary notes he is ‘Press’, visits May 1934
Chapman / Emerson ChapmanDorisDCStaffVisitor April 12th – April 19th. Subsequently transferred to staff. Illustrator (1934-5) and part of excavation team (1937-9)
ChiversHHandHand 1937
CookDavidVisitor/CorrespondentVisitor June 1th – June 17th. ‘To see BL’, staying at Perry’s hotel.
CookNormanNCStaffArchaeologist, supervisor(?) 1938. Address given 1935 diary as “Maidstone Museum, Kent”
CostinFredFCStaffMember of Keiller’s permanent staff
CunningtonMaudMrs CVisitor/Correspondent
DarlingHVisitor/CorrespondentEngineer (constructional). Office of works, visits 1934. Wonder if same visitor as Darling (constructional). Also visits 1935 with wife.
Dayrell ReedTrelawneyVisitor/CorrespondentIntermittent correspondent. Artist, author, friend of Augustus John and George Pitt-Rivers, curator of Pitt-Rivers Museum in Farnham Dorest 
de la F[?]MissVisitor/CorrespondentVisitor in 1935
DittersVisitor/CorrespondentVisits in 1935, ‘Ordnance Survey’.
DobsonWilliam THandHand 1937
DuncanKayStaffWindmill Hill supervisor
FishlockFHandHand – 1934. Hand 1937
Foster ForbesJohnVisitor/Correspondent
Franks (?)VVFVisitor/Correspondent
G?Y?Not givenVisitor/CorrespondentVisitor July 19th – July 20th and August 25th – August 29th.
Gale?HandHand – 1934.
GeorgeReubenVisitor/CorrespondentVisitor, 1935
GoddardI / J?HandHand – 1934. Separate to S. Goddard.
GoddardSHandHand – 1934. Former Windmill Hill hand.
Grant KingDenisDGKStaff
Grau (spelling?)Not givenFraulineVisitor/CorrespondentVisitor May 14th – May 15th. Entered as Fraûline G.
GrayHarold St GeorgePre or Post-Keiller
GriffithsG – given as GD in diary, see bio sketchHandGriffiths – ‘drills’ – so D is not part of name.
GwynneMrsVisitor/CorrespondentVisitor August 1934, stayed at Red Lion, stayed Trusloe Manor
HambridgeErnest HenryHandHand – 1934. Former Windmill Hill hand.
HarperJames Henry?HandHand – 1934.
Heasman (?)AAHVisitor/ CorrespondentListed on ‘Experts visiting site’, 1934
HendersonMrsVisitor/ CorrespondentListed as visitor, 1935
Hobden / HebdenNot givenVisitor/ CorrespondentVisitor July 16th – July 17th. Entered as Miss Hobden.
HorsellBHandHand – 1934.
JamesMarjorieMJStaffExcavation team 1934-5
JohnsonVisitor/ CorrespondentVisits with a friend, April 1934
JohnstonIsobelStaffStaff in 1935 – wonder if this is the same person who visits in 1934 (although note differently spelled name). Address in 1935 diary given Balgillo Crescent, Broughty Ferry, Dundee
KingTommyHandHand(?)- patroling site 1 August 1937
LaidlerBarbaraBLStaffExcavation team 1934-5
LanfearWHandHand – 1934.
LiddellDMRSADMLVisitor/ CorrespondentVisitor April 30th – May 2nd. Windmill Hill supervisor who carried out pioneering work on the decoration of prehistoric pottery. IS THIS SAME AS DML?
LiddellVeronicaStaffWindmill Hill supervisor. Married Keiller
LordWilfredVisitor/ Correspondent
LoveseyHandHand – 1934. Hand 1937
LushJohnPre or Post-KeillerForeman for Gray – 1909. ‘From Dorchester’
Mathews / MatthewsW
MorrisMayVisitor/ Correspondent
NashSHandHand 1937
Newbigin“Nancy”Visitor/CorrespondentArchaeologist, particularly noted for worked on rock art and Celtic sites in Ireland. Full name Agnes Jane Waugh Newbigin
NormanGraceVisitor/CorrespondentVisitor in 1935 – 2 July
NormanMiss EVisitor/CorrespondentVisitor in 1935 – 4 July
O’NeilB.H.StJ.Visitor/CorrespondentVisitor September 5th – September 6th, stayed at Perry’s
Ormsby GoreVisitor/CorrespondentThe ‘First Commissioner of Works’, Office of Works, visits in 1934
ParrishColonel and MrsVisitor/CorrespondentVisit in 1935
ParsonsLouisVisitor/CorrespondentListed on ‘Experts visiting site’, Visitor June 28th – June 29th, 1934, stayed at Perry’s hotel
PeakeHaroldFSAVisitor/CorrespondentVisits with two friends, April 1934
Peake-GarlandP (Peter?)PGVisitor/Correspondent
PearceWHandHand – 1934. Former Windmill Hill hand.
PearceOHandHand – 1934. Former Windmill Hill hand. Site foreman at least 1937-9. Older than W? [‘snr’ in diary is scratched out]
PhilipsCWVisitor/Correspondent1935 visitor
PrattSHandHand – 1934. Former Windmill Hill hand.
PriceFSAVisitor/CorrespondentVisits May 1934
RadbourneEHandHand – 1934.
RadbourneFHandHand – 1934.
RathbandHandHand – 1934.
RawlinsVillagerVillager- Garage owner
RogersDHandHand 1937
SmithKCVisitor/CorrespondentList of visitors to Avebury, April 1934, staying at Perry’s Hotel
SmithNot given – separate to JanetF.S.A (Scot)Visitor/CorrespondentVisitor May 14th – May 15th. Entered as ‘Miss Smith’, separate to Janet Smith.
SmithJanetF.S.A (Scot)Visitor/CorrespondentVisitor May 14th – May 15th
SmithIsobelPre or Post-KeillerPioneering prehistorian. Excavated at Avebury and published a synthesis of the Keiller excavations in 1965
StrangeA MHandHand 1937
SturdeyBernardBSStaffStaff 1934, visits 1935
TuckHandHand – 1934. Hand 1937(?)
VatcherFaith StaffCurator of the Alexander Keiller Museum. Excavated Avebury in 1969 and 1976
VigorVisitor/CorrespondentMr (Captain) and Mrs Vigor visit twice April 1934, Mrs Vigor and Miss Vigor also visit. Visit again in 1935.
ViveishRoseVisitor/CorrespondentMiss Vyvash in diary. Visitor, 1934
Wagstaffe (perhaps a misspelling?)Visitor/CorrespondentAppears as visitor in 1935 – visits on same date as Miss Piggott. Note that Wagstaff later takes photographs at Sutton Hoo (1939), at which the Piggots excavate. Very significant if she also is at Avebury.
WilliamsMrPre or Post-KeillerAppears in undated photographs from Denis Grant King
WilsonDrVisitor/CorrespondentVisitor and ‘Medicine Office of Health’, 1934
WithilPhilPWStaffMember of Keiller’s permanent staff
YoungWilliamWEVY / WYStaff
ThorneycroftMr and MrsVisitor/CorrespondentVisit July 1935
Boyd DawkinsLadyVisitor/CorrespondentVisit July 1935
BellMrsVisitor/CorrespondentVisit July 1935
BellsMrVisitor/CorrespondentVisit July 1935, with members of the Southampton Archaeological Society
DateMr and DinahVisitor/CorrespondentVisit July 1935
Reginald WilliamsonMrsVisitor/CorrespondentVisit July 1935
DentmanHTVisitor/CorrespondentVisit July 1935
ManinghamMr and Mrs (and hound)Visitor/CorrespondentVisit July 1935
MairVisitor/CorrespondentVisit July 1935
BeveridgeWilliamSirVisitor/CorrespondentVisit July 1935
NewallRSVisitor/CorrespondentVisits with Uncle, July 1935
HTD [?]Visitor/CorrespondentVisits with friends, 1935
GoddardCanonVisitor/CorrespondentUnclear if different to other Goddards? Visitor in 1935, August 10.
GoddardMrsVisitor/CorrespondentMrs Goddard visits with friends, 1935, August 10. Link to other Goddards?
MartinEricFSAVisitor/CorrespondentVisitor 1934 and 1935
Eyres-MonsellJoanVisitor/CorrespondentVisitor August 12 1935
Ottley [?]FHBCanonVisitor/CorrespondentVisitor August 12 1935
FensonWVisitor/CorrespondentVisitor August 12 1935
Brooke-Pophams“Air-Popham, Madam,” Lady Brooke-PophamsVisitor/CorrespondentVisitor, August 13 1935
HempWJ and MrsFSAVisitor/CorrespondentVisitor, August 13 1935
Volet PakenhamThe Hon’Visitor/CorrespondentSpelling uncertain. Visitor, August 13 1935
RumboldAnthonyVisitor/CorrespondentVisitor, August 13 1935
Ethelbert HorneDom (?)Visitor/CorrespondentVisitor August 15 1935
Thurloe LeedsEFSAVisitor/CorrespondentVisitor August 15 1935
Mr and Mrs BennetMr and MrsVisitor/CorrespondentVisitor August 15 1935
Thurston ShawVisitor/CorrespondentVisitor August 19 1935
DavidsonMr and MrsVisitor/CorrespondentVisitor 20 August 1935
SoulMr Soul (of Amesbury)Visitor/CorrespondentVisitor 20 August 1935
HoggAHAVisitor/CorrespondentVisitor 20 August 1935
RabyFJEVisitor/CorrespondentOffice of works. Visitor in 1935, frequent correspondent of AK.
WaltersWalters*Visitor/CorrespondentA descendent of Dr William Stukeley, visits 28 August 1935
Ashby RoweMr and MrsVisitor/CorrespondentVisitor 27 August 1935
Ernest Gordon (Mr and Mrs)Visitor/CorrespondentVisitor 28 August 1935
Colonel Awdrey / AwdryVisitor/CorrespondentVisitor 28 August 1935, frequent correspondent
YoungGNVisitor/CorrespondentVisitor 28 August 1935

By Fran

Postdoctoral Research Associate for the Avebury Papers project. I’m responsible for coordinating the digitisation process of the multi-media Avebury archive, building narrative pathways into the digital collection, and facilitating the creative reuse of archival materials.

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