Bob Clarke (historian)

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Bob Clarke, born in Scarborough in 1964 is an English archaeologist[1] and historian. Clarke has recently returned to Boscombe Down (site of numerous early discoveries). Current themes of research include the recording of a number of unique defence related structures. He is also a qualified aircraft engineer and structural specialist and is currently working with apprentices at the QinetiQ Apprentice Training School alongside his archaeological research.

Archaeological career[edit]

Clarke is a visiting tutor in archaeology at the University of Bath, he was educated in archaeology under professor Mick Aston and Julian Richards. Followed by a period at Westminster Institute of Education, Oxford where he obtained his honours degree in post-compulsory education. Clarke held the post of QinetiQ Archaeologist at Boscombe Down between 1996-2008; he returned to the post in July 2013. His research areas cover a number of periods including Prehistoric and Roman Wiltshire and British Military Architecture of the 20th century (airfields and nuclear), an area where he is considered an authority. He is credited with the discovery of Broad Town Man, a Saxon execution burial from North Wiltshire.

Clarke is currently researching the archaeology of the Cold War as part of his PhD with the University of Exeter, focussing on Home Defence Region 7, a Cold War administrative area in the South-West of the United Kingdom. He postulates that monuments of the Cold War period can be utilised in the mapping of human intervention in the landscape. Recognising change from Order to Chaos it is possible to predict the type of material culture that will be encountered on sites connected with highly ordered organisation. In September 2011 Clarke became President of Royal Wootton Bassett Historical Society and has recently led the Wiltshire Archaeology Field Group, part of Wiltshire Archaeological and Natural History Society, a task he later noted 'was challenging'.


In 2005 Clarke authored Four Minute Warning: Britain's Cold War, published by Tempus that same year. This set the scene for further works including Ten Tons for Tempelhof: The Berlin Airlift in May 2007; publishing the memories of many veterans for the first time along with pictures from private collections. In February 2008 The Archaeology of Airfields was published by The History Press (formally Tempus Publishing). Airfields is the first publication to bring together all periods of military aviation, including the Cold War and discuss them utilising a framework of landscape archaeology. In December 2008 The Jet Provost: A Little Plane With a Big History was released by Amberley Publishing, followed, in October 2009, by The Illustrated Guide to Armageddon. The following October (2010) Remember Scarborough appeared in print, again through Amberley. In a departure from his 20th century research Clarke published Prehistoric Wiltshire: An Illustrated Guide, in collaboration with the Wiltshire Heritage Museum, in September 2011. Current work includes a book on Royal Wootton Bassett (published in May 2013), Devizes and further 20th century related subjects including the construction effort required for war. Aside to the books Clarke has published papers in a number of academic journals on archaeological themes. Subjects range Cold War nuclear bunkers in Wiltshire, Bronze Age metalwork, Roman building techniques, earthworks near Stonehenge and Saxon executions.

Editorial output[edit]

Clarke has held the position of Honorary Review Editor for the Wiltshire Archaeological and Natural History Society, the Wiltshire County journal, since 2006. In 2011 He was invited onto the Editorial Board of Ex Historia, the post graduate historical journal of the University of Exeter, he is now archaeological specialist and peer reviewer for the journal.

Bob Clarke at the excavation of the Boscombe Bowmen


  1. ^ "Was Stonehenge really built by welshmen?". British Archaeology. September 2004. Retrieved 21 September 2011. 

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