Philip Rahtz

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Philip Arthur Rahtz (11 March 1921 – 2 June 2011)[1][2] was a British archaeologist.

Rahtz was born in Bristol. After leaving Bristol Grammar School, he became an accountant[3] before serving with the Royal Air Force during the Second World War.[4] During war service, Rahtz became friends with the archaeologist Ernest Greenfield (excavator of Great Witcombe Roman Villa, Gloucestershire), and Lullingstone Castle , in Kent. This friendship sparked a personal interest in archaeology and a professional career, which began with the excavations at Chew Valley Lake (north Somerset) in 1953.[5]

A wide range of excavations in the area followed including Old Sarum in 1957,[6] Glastonbury Tor in 1964–1966[3] and a Romano-Celtic Temple at Pagans Hill, Chew Stoke.[7][8][9][10] He has also excavated at Bordesley Abbey.[1] Rahtz later ran summer school excavations for the University of Birmingham. He achieved his first permanent job as a lecturer at Birmingham University in 1963, and in 1978 he was appointed professor and first head of department at the University of York.

In 2003 he was awarded the Frend Medal for his outstanding contribution to the archaeology of the early Christian Church.[11] In February 2013, a one-day conference was held in Cheddar to celebrate his life and work in Somerset.[12]

Selected bibliography[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Philip Rahtz (1921–2011)". Historian on the edge. Archived from the original on 28 March 2012. Retrieved 8 July 2011.
  2. ^ Filip, Jan (2011). "Manuel Excyclopedique de Prehistoire ... – Google Books". Retrieved 4 July 2011.
  3. ^ a b Hills, Catherine (29 July 2011). "Philip Rahtz obituary". The Guardian. Retrieved 8 August 2011.
  4. ^ "Philip Rahtz". University of York. Archived from the original on 24 June 2008. Retrieved 8 August 2011.
  5. ^ "Philip Rahtz (1921–)". A Brief History of Archaeological Research in Somerset. Somerset County Council. Archived from the original on 12 March 2007. Retrieved 8 August 2011.
  6. ^ Historic England (2014). "Old Sarum (1015675)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 3 January 2015.
  7. ^ P. Rahtz, P. and Harris, L.G. 1958. "The temple well and other buildings at Pagans Hill, Chew Stoke, North Somersetshire", Proceedings of the Somersetshire Archaeological and Natural History Society. pp: 25-51
  8. ^ Hucker, Ernest (1997). Chew Stoke Recalled in Old Photographs. Ernest Hucker.
  9. ^ Boon, George C. (1989). "A Roman Sculpture Rehabilitated: The Pagans Hill Dog". Britannia. Society for the Promotion of Roman Studies. 20: 201–217. doi:10.2307/526163. JSTOR 526163.
  10. ^ Gelling, Margaret. "Temples in Somerset and neighbouring areas" (PDF). Archeology Data Service. Retrieved 3 January 2007.
  11. ^ Cramp, Rosemary J (2003). "Anniversary Address 2003". The Antiquaries Journal. 83: 1–8. doi:10.1017/s0003581500077659. Archived from the original on 8 August 2011. Retrieved 8 August 2011.
  12. ^ "Philip Rahtz; a day conference to celebrate his life and work in Somerset on 2 February 2013". Victoria County History. 30 January 2013. Retrieved 3 February 2013.