British Archaeology - September/October 2011
explained their findings.
Now that I live in Somerset, there are few places you can go without an association with Philip. He excavated on Glastonbury Tor, at the Saxon palace in Cheddar, and on the extensive late Roman/early medieval
Tamworth AngloSaxon watermill, Staffordshire, under excavation in 1971
cemetery at Cannington. He was instrumental and influential at the ground-breaking excavations at Cadbury in Congresbury. Here he left open the possibility that the site was indeed an early British monastery in the prehistoric hillfort, a model which I increasingly think is likely.
I remember vividly an interesting field visit to Cadbury with visually impaired students on one of our annual summer schools at Bristol. At Cheddar we all stood around the concrete blocks marking the foundations of the AngloSaxon hall at the palace, with guide dogs running wild and the sighted
Rahtz at Wharram Percy, Yorkshire, with Chris Dyer in 1989
Rahtz at his last dig in 1997, at the Kirkdale AngloSaxon church, North Yorkshire, where he now lies guides trying to keep order. On Glastonbury Tor, in a wind and rain storm we debated the use of the site and concluded that really only hermits would have lived in such an inhospitable place.
Philip was good company and a fine archaeologist – described by Martin Carver in the Times obituary (June 14) as “one of the great archaeological excavators of the 20th century”. You learnt the subject by travelling round with him, copying him and being firmly but kindly instructed. It was like an apprenticeship over a decade and I learned a great deal. All who knew him will miss him greatly.
Philip Rahtz’s autobiography is Living Archaeology (Tempus 2001)
Excavations at Bordesley Abbey, Worcestershire, 1979 (above and below)
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