Famous 20th Century Archaeologists

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

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 1 T. E. Lawrence

T. E. Lawrence
14
Famous As: Archaeologist, Army officer, Diplomat
Birthdate: August 16, 1888
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Tremadoc, Wales
Died: May 19, 1935
T. E. Lawrence was a British army officer who participated in the Arab Revolt, against the Ottoman regime, during World War I. Nicknamed Lawrence of Arabia, he inspired a movie of the same name. His treatise of his war experiences was published as Seven Pillars of Wisdom, his best-known work.

 2 Howard Carter

Howard Carter
6
Famous As: Archaeologist
Birthdate: May 9, 1874
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Kensington, London, England
Died: March 2, 1939

 3 George Herbert, 5th Earl of Carnarvon

George Herbert, 5th Earl of Carnarvon
4
Famous As: Egyptologist
Birthdate: June 26, 1866
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Hampshire, England
Died: April 5, 1923
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 4 Neil Oliver

Neil Oliver
6
Famous As: TV Presenter
Birthdate: February 21, 1967
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Renfrewshire, Scotland, UK

Neil Oliver is a Scottish author and television presenter best known for presenting many documentary series on history and archaeology, such as Coast, Vikings, and A History of Scotland. Oliver is also known for his association with the popular conservation organization National Trust for Scotland, where he served as the president from 2017 to 2020.

 5 Nicholas Roerich

Nicholas Roerich
4
Famous As: Painter
Birthdate: October 9, 1874
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Saint Petersburg, Russia
Died: December 13, 1947

Russian painter, writer, philosopher, theosophist and archaeologist, Nicholas Roerich, counted among the greatest Russian painters, is noted for initiating the modern movement for the defense of cultural objects. One of the greatest feats that he achieved during his lifetime was the Roerich Pact that was signed into law by the US and most nations of the Pan-American Union.

 6 Max Mallowan

Max Mallowan
4
Famous As: Archaeologist
Birthdate: May 6, 1904
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Wandsworth, London, England
Died: August 19, 1978

 7 Mary Leakey

Mary Leakey
4
Famous As: Paleoanthropologist
Birthdate: February 6, 1913
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: London, England
Died: December 9, 1996

British paleoanthropologist Mary Leakey had exhibited her interest in drawing and archaeology as a kid. Most of her career was spent working alongside her husband, Louis Leakey. She was in charge of many excavation projects in Kenya. Her discoveries include the first Proconsul skull fossil and 15 new animal species.

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 8 Arthur Evans

Arthur Evans
4
Famous As: Archaeologist
Birthdate: July 8, 1851
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Nash Mills, England
Died: July 11, 1941

 9 V. Gordon Childe

V. Gordon Childe
4
Famous As: Archaeologist
Birthdate: April 14, 1892
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Sydney, Australia
Died: October 19, 1957

V. Gordon Childe was an Australian archaeologist best remembered for his contribution to the study of European prehistory. One of the earliest supporters of culture-historical archaeology, Childe went on to become the first proponent of Marxist archaeology. He is regarded as one of the best-known and most revered archaeologists of the 20th century.

 10 Sir Mortimer Wheeler

Sir Mortimer Wheeler
6
Famous As: Archaeologist
Birthdate: September 10, 1890
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Glasgow, Scotland
Died: July 22, 1976

Sir Mortimer Wheeler was a British archaeologist who served as the director of the London Museum as well as the National Museum of Wales during his illustrious career. He is credited with developing the Wheeler–Kenyon method of archaeological excavation. Wheeler is also remembered for his association with the Archaeological Survey of India where he served as Director-General.

 11 R. G. Collingwood

R. G. Collingwood
3
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: February 22, 1889
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Cartmel Fell, England
Died: January 9, 1943

 12 Sir Flinders Petrie

Sir Flinders Petrie
6
Famous As: Egyptologist
Birthdate: June 3, 1853
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: London, England
Died: July 28, 1942

 13 Ron Wyatt

Ron Wyatt
4
Famous As: Archaeologist
Birthdate: June 2, 1933
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Hamilton, Ohio, United States
Died: August 4, 1999

 14 E.F. Benson

E.F. Benson
3
Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: July 24, 1867
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Wellington College, England
Died: February 29, 1940

Chiefly known as a novelist, biographer, and memoirist, Edward Frederic Benson began his career with the British School of Archaeology in Athens, publishing his first successful novel, Dodo: A Detail of the Day, during this period. Its popularity encouraged him to continue publishing, the most significant works among them being Mapp and Lucia series, and the biography of Queen Victoria.

 15 Fred Vargas

Fred Vargas
3
Famous As: Historian, Archaeologist and novelist
Birthdate: June 7, 1957
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Paris, France

Fred Vargas is a French archaeologist, historian, and novelist. She is best known for her work on the bubonic plague, the Black Death. In 2009, she became the first author to win three International Dagger Awards for three consecutive novels, having won the award in 2006 and 2008. In 2018, she was honored with the prestigious Princess of Asturias Prize.

 16 Yosef Ben-Jochannan

Yosef Ben-Jochannan
3
Famous As: Historian, Archaeologist
Birthdate: December 31, 1918
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Gondar
Died: March 19, 2015

 17 Maria Reiche

Maria Reiche
4
Famous As: Mathematician
Birthdate: May 15, 1903
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Dresden, Germany
Died: June 8, 1998

 18 John Hubert Marshall

John Hubert Marshall
3
Famous As: Archaeologist
Birthdate: March 19, 1876
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Chester, England
Died: August 17, 1958

 19 Carleton S. Coon

Carleton S. Coon
3
Famous As: Anthropologist, Archaeologist, Prehistorian
Birthdate: June 23, 1904
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Wakefield
Died: June 3, 1981

Carleton S. Coon was an anthropologist who originated several theories on race. He had a successful academic career and served as the president of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists. He was awarded the Viking Medal in Physical Anthropology. Even though he was a famous anthropologist of his time, his racial theories are dismissed as pseudoscientific in modern anthropology. 

 20 Donald Johanson

Donald Johanson
8
Famous As: Anthropologist, Archaeologist, Prehistorian, Paleoanthropologist, University teacher
Birthdate: June 28, 1943
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Chicago

Donald Johanson is a paleoanthropologist. He collaborated with Yves Coppens and Maurice Taieb to discover the fossil of a female hominin australopithecine in the Afar Triangle region of Hadar, Ethiopia. This fossil was named “Lucy". As an academician, he established the Institute of Human Origins in Berkeley. He is the recipient of several awards and honors. 

 21 Walter Alvarez

Walter Alvarez
3
Famous As: Geologist widely known for the theory that dinosaurs were killed by an asteroid impact
Birthdate: October 3, 1940
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Berkeley, California, United States

 22 Raymond Dart

Raymond Dart
3
Famous As: Anatomist
Birthdate: February 4, 1893
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Brisbane, Australia
Died: November 22, 1988

Born to a farmer in Australia, Raymond Dart initially wished to become a medical missionary to China. However, he was later pushed by his father to study science. He later grew up to be a renowned anatomist and anthropologist, best known for discovering the first fossil of the Australopithecus africanus.

 23 Sir Aurel Stein

Sir Aurel Stein
3
Famous As: Archaeologist
Birthdate: November 26, 1862
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Budapest, Hungary
Died: October 26, 1943

Hungarian-British archaeologist Sir Aurel Stein is best remembered for his research in Central Asia. He was also associated with institutes in British India, such as Oriental College, Lahore, and later translated Kalhana’s Rajatarangini from Sanskrit to English. He was a dog lover and remained single for life.

 24 Osman Hamdi Bey

Osman Hamdi Bey
3
Famous As: Painter
Birthdate: December 30, 1842
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: İstanbul, Turkey
Died: February 24, 1910

 25 Irving Finkel

Irving Finkel
0
Famous As: Philologist, Writer
Birthdate: August 31, 1951
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: London, England

 26 David Rohl

David Rohl
3
Famous As: Egyptologist, Archaeologist, Engineer, Historian, Audio engineer, Musician
Birthdate: September 12, 1950
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Manchester

 27 Jan Assmann

Jan Assmann
3
Famous As: Egyptologist
Birthdate: July 7, 1938
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Langelsheim, Germany

 28 James Henry Breasted

James Henry Breasted
3
Famous As: Archaeologist
Birthdate: August 27, 1865
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Rockford, Illinois, United States
Died: December 2, 1935

 29 Sir Leonard Woolley

Sir Leonard Woolley
5
Famous As: Archaeologist
Birthdate: April 17, 1880
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: London, England
Died: February 20, 1960

 30 William F. Albright

William F. Albright
5
Famous As: Archaeologist
Birthdate: May 24, 1891
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Coquimbo, Chile
Died: September 19, 1971

 31 Dame Kathleen Kenyon

Dame Kathleen Kenyon
3
Famous As: Archaeologist
Birthdate: January 5, 1906
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: London, England
Died: August 24, 1978

 32 Mikhail Mikhaylovich Gerasimov

Mikhail Mikhaylovich Gerasimov
3
Famous As: Archaeologist
Birthdate: September 2, 1907
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Saint Petersburg, Russia
Died: July 21, 1970

Mikhail Mikhaylovich Gerasimov was a Soviet anthropologist and archaeologist. He is credited with developing the first technique of forensic sculpture and discovering the Mal'ta–Buret' culture. Gerasimov is also credited with reconstructing the faces of over 200 people, ranging from neanderthals to homo sapiens.

 33 Meave Leakey

Meave Leakey
3
Famous As: Paleoanthropologist
Birthdate: July 28, 1942
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: London, England

British paleoanthropologist Meave Leakey discovered a new branch of the human species, the Kenyanthropus platyops, or the flat-faced man of Kenya. Initially a zoologist in Nairobi, she studied modern monkeys as part of her doctoral research. She is the first Kenyan to be a National Academy of Sciences member.

 34 Charles Warren

Charles Warren
0
Famous As: He was one of the earliest European archaeologists of the Biblical Holy Land
Birthdate: February 7, 1840
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Bangor, England
Died: January 21, 1927

 35 Valerio Massimo Manfredi

Valerio Massimo Manfredi
3
Famous As: Historian
Birthdate: March 8, 1943
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Castelfranco Emilia, Italy

Valerio Massimo Manfredi is an Italian historian, essayist, writer, archaeologist, and journalist. He earned a degree in classical arts at the University of Bologna and became an archaeologist. He later pursued an academic career and published many essays and articles. He has held conferences and seminars in many reputed universities. He is also the author of several best-selling novels. 

 36 Yigael Yadin

Yigael Yadin
3
Famous As: Anthropologist, Archaeologist, Politician, Military personnel
Birthdate: March 20, 1917
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Jerusalem
Died: June 28, 1984

Yigael Yadin was an Israeli archeologist, soldier, and politician. From 1977 to 1981, he served as the second chief of staff of the Israel Defense Forces and deputy prime minister. He had an extensive career in the army, following which he joined politics. He was also a brilliant archeologist and received the Israel Prize in Jewish studies. 

 37 Gad Anders Rausing

Gad Anders Rausing
3
Famous As: Industrialist
Birthdate: May 19, 1922
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Bromma, Sweden
Died: January 20, 2000

Gad Anders Rausing was a Swedish archaeologist and industrialist. Alongside his brother Hans Anders Rausing, Gad is credited with popularizing the food packaging company Tetra Pak, which was founded by his father Ruben Rausing. Gad Rausing, who had a lifelong passion for archaeology, taught at Lund University's Institute of Archaeology. Gad Anders Rausing also authored several books on archaeology. 

 38 Gaston Maspero

Gaston Maspero
3
Famous As: Egyptologist
Birthdate: June 23, 1846
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: June 30, 1916

 39 Tim D. White

Tim D. White
3
Famous As: Anthropologist, Archaeologist, Prehistorian, Paleoanthropologist, University teacher
Birthdate: August 24, 1950
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Los Angeles

 40 Lewis Binford

Lewis Binford
3
Famous As: Archaeologist
Birthdate: November 21, 1931
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Norfolk, Virginia, United States
Died: April 11, 2011

 41 Leo Frobenius

Leo Frobenius
3
Famous As: Ethnologist
Birthdate: June 29, 1873
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Berlin, Germany
Died: August 9, 1938

 42 Hormuzd Rassam

Hormuzd Rassam
3
Famous As: Archaeologist
Birthdate: 1826 AD
Birthplace: Mosul, Iraq
Died: September 16, 1910

 43 Michael Ivanovich Rostovtzeff

Michael Ivanovich Rostovtzeff
3
Famous As: Archaeologist
Birthdate: November 10, 1870
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Zhytomyr, Ukraine
Died: October 20, 1952

Russian historian Mikhail Ivanovich Rostovtzeff is best-known for producing significant works on ancient Roman and Greek history. He emerged as an influential authority on ancient-history of South Russia and Ukraine while working in Russia. The term caravan city is believed to have been coined by him. Noted books of Rostovtzeff include Dura-Europos and Its Art and Skythien und der Bosporus.

 44 Claire Barratt

Claire Barratt
0
Famous As: Archaeologist, Mechanical Engineer
Birthdate: 1974 AD
Birthplace: England

While she initially studied engineering, Claire Barratt later gained fame as an industrial archaeologist. She has a degree in conservation of industrial heritage. She also has a parallel career as a TV presenter and has been part of shows such as Salvage Squad and Britain's Secret Treasures.

 45 David George Hogarth

David George Hogarth
2
Famous As: Archaeologist
Birthdate: May 23, 1862
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Lincolnshire, England
Died: November 6, 1927

 46 Guo Moruo

Guo Moruo
3
Famous As: Archaeologist
Birthdate: November 16, 1892
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Leshan, China
Died: June 12, 1978

Chinese archaeologist and scholar Guo Moruo left his Chinese wife and moved to Japan, where he studied medicine and met his second wife. Noted for works such as Nü shen, he was targeted during the Cultural Revolution and said his works should be burned for failing to understand Mao.

 47 Muazzez İlmiye Çığ

Muazzez İlmiye Çığ
2
Famous As: Archaeologist, Writer
Birthdate: June 20, 1914
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Bursa, Turkey

 48 Luigi Palma di Cesnola

Luigi Palma di Cesnola
2
Famous As: Soldier
Birthdate: July 29, 1832
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Rivarolo Canavese, Italy
Died: November 20, 1904

 49 Henri Breuil

Henri Breuil
2
Famous As: Archaeologist
Birthdate: February 28, 1877
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Mortain, France
Died: August 14, 1961

 50 Halet Cambel

Halet Cambel
2
Famous As: Archaeologist
Birthdate: August 27, 1916
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Berlin, German Empire
Died: January 12, 2014