Brian Dobson (archaeologist)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Brian Dobson
Brian Dobson in 2011
Brian Dobson in 2011
Born (1931-09-13)13 September 1931
Hartlepool, County Durham, England
Died 19 July 2012(2012-07-19) (aged 80)
Durham, England
Citizenship United Kingdom
Nationality English
Fields History
Institutions University of Durham
Alma mater Hatfield College, University of Durham
Doctoral advisor Eric Birley
Notable students David Breeze Val Maxfield Peter Hill Birgitta Hoffmann
Known for Study and new interpretation of Hadrian's Wall Roman Epigraphy

Brian Dobson, FSA (13 September 1931 – 19 July 2012) was an English archaeologist, teacher and scholar. His specialisms were Hadrian's Wall and the Roman Army. He studied under Eric Birley and is a member of the so-called 'Durham School' of archaeology. He was a Reader Emeritus of Durham University.[1]

Personal life[edit]

Dobson was born in Hartlepool in 1931, studied in Stockton before attending the University of Durham in 1949 to read modern history. He fell under the influence of Eric Birley, who later supervisd his PhD on the role of primipilares in the Roman Army[2]

Education and work[edit]

In 1960 Dobson began working as a lecturer in archaeology in the Department of Extra Mural Studies, teaching in the adult education department - a post in which he remained until retirement in 1990.[3] He worked closely with David Breeze (chief inspector of ancient monuments for historic Scotland and visiting professor at Durham University since 1994) on their joint studies in aspects of Hadrian's Wall and produced one of the most influential texts on the subject, still in print today. He undertook a series of excavations in Corbridge in the 1960s and 1970s,[2] and provided an eyewitness account of the discovery of the Corbridge Hoard.[4]

Dobson served as president of the Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle and of the Architectural and Archaeological Society of Durham and Northumberland. He was also a member of several local trusts, including those of Chesters, Corbridge and Maryport museums. What gave him particular pleasure was his membership of the Vindolanda Trust from 1996 to 2011.[2]

Hadrianic Society[edit]

In 1971, he founded the Hadrianic Society in order to promote the study of Hadrian's Wall and its environs.[5] He remained the patron of the society from its conception until his death in 2012. To mark his 70th birthday, in 2002, the society presented him with a collation of papers from current and former students and colleagues.[6] In 2017 the society published a Gedenkschrift in celebration of Dr. Dobson's career.[7]


  • Birley, E., Dobson, B. and Jarret, M.G. (Eds.) 1994. Proceedings of the eighth International Congress of Limesforschung Cardiff: University of Wales Press
  • Breeze, D. and Dobson, B. 1993. Roman Officers and Frontiers. Stuttgart : Franz Steiner Verlag
  • Breeze, D. and Dobson, B. 2000. Hadrian's Wall " Penguin[8]
  • Dobson, B. 1957. Die Rangordnung des römischen Heeres. Köln: Böhlau
  • Dobson, B. and Maxfield, V. 1995. Inscriptions of Roman Britain. London: London Association of Classical Teachers

See also[edit]


  1. ^ University Calendar. "University Calendar : Emeritus Titles - Durham University". Retrieved 2013-04-01. 
  2. ^ a b c Breeze, D. (2012). "Dr. Brian Dobson FSA". Hadrianic Society. Retrieved 2015-04-02. 
  3. ^ Breeze, D. (2012-08-03). "Lives Remembered: Brian Dobson, Archaeologist". The Independent. Retrieved 2015-02-04. 
  4. ^ Allason-Jones, L., Bishop, M. (1988) Excavations at Roman Corbridge: The Hoard. English Heritage.
  5. ^ "Brian Dobson". Telegraph. 2012-09-21. Retrieved 2013-04-01. 
  6. ^ P. Hill (ed.). 2002. Polybius to Vegetius: Essays on the Roman army and Hadrian’s Wall presented to Brian Dobson to mark his 70th birthday. UK: The Hadrianic Society
  7. ^ Parker, A. (ed.) 2017. Ad Vallum: Papers on the Roman Army and Frontier in Celebration of Dr Brian Dobson (BAR British Series 631). Oxford, British Archaeological Reports
  8. ^ Hadrian's Wall. Retrieved 2015-04-02. 

External links[edit]