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.
Ricardo Eichmann is an archaeologist who worked as a professor at the University of Tübingen. From 1996 to 2020, Eichmann served as the director of the Orient Department, which is located within the German Archaeological Institute. Over the years, he has played an important role in the field of music archaeology.
German businessman Heinrich Schliemann didn’t let his poverty or lack of education hinder his growth and learned several languages moving from place to place for trade. A pioneer in the field of archaeology, he is now remembered as the man who discovered Troy in his bid to unearth “Priam's Treasure."
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.
French social psychologist Gustave Le Bon is best remembered for his research on crowd psychology. In his iconic work La psychologie des foules, or The Crowd, he stated that people are driven by their emotions and not by their intellect when they act as part of a crowd.
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.
British Egyptologist and anthropologist Margaret Murray was also a scholar of witchcraft. Her best-known work is her 1921 book The Witch Cult in Western Europe, which inspired later witchcraft scholars such as Gerald B. Gardner. The University College London professor had worked in places such as Egypt, Malta, and Petra.
German art historian Johann Joachim Winckelmann is often referred to as the father of modern archaeology. Born to a cobbler, he studied Greek, theology, and even medicine. He later specialized in Greek and Neoclassical art and had a prominent influence on Western painting, sculpture, and literature.
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.
Italian architect, artist, and archaeologist Giovanni Battista Piranesi is best known for his 16-print series name The Prisons. His remarkable etchings of the famous landmarks of Rome exhibited his unique etching technique, which involved contrasts of light and shade. He made about 2,000 plates throughout his life.
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.
Prosper Mérimée was a French writer and one of the pioneers of narrative prose, which came to be known as a novella. A multi-talented personality, Mérimée was also a historian and archaeologist; he played a key role in the development of the process of architectural preservation. He was responsible for safeguarding several historic sites, such as the Cité de Carcassonne.
Giovanni Battista Belzoni was an Italian explorer and archaeologist of Egyptian antiquities. A pioneer in the field of Egyptian archaeology, Belzoni was the first person to enter the famous Pyramid of Khafre. Belzoni is also credited with unblocking the entrance of the temple at Abu Simbel and discovering the tomb of Seti I, which is referred to as Belzoni's Tomb.
English architect John Soane contributed immensely to the Neo-Classical style of architecture. Born to a bricklayer, Soane began training as an architect at 15. He soared to fame during his 45-year stint as an architect of the Bank of England and was also knighted for his achievements.
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.
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.
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.
William Hamilton didn’t just hold significant posts such as that of the British ambassador to Naples, but also made extensive studies at Vesuvius and Etna, as a volcanologist. He was also a passionate collector of Greek and Roman vases, and many of his prized possessions are now housed at the British Museum.
Celebrated German-born Peruvian mathematician, archaeologist, linguist, and astronomer Maria Reiche is remembered for her pioneering research on the Nazca lines. Nicknamed the Lady of the Lines, she was initially a governess and teacher in Peru. She later also became a founding-member of the non-profit organization South American Explorers.
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.
The son of Nobel Prize-winning US physicist Luis Walter Alvarez, Walter Alvarez is remembered for his theory that dinosaurs died due to an asteroid impact, a theory he developed with his father. The theory stemmed from their discovery of an iridium-rich layer of clay, since iridium is commonly found in asteroids.
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.
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.
Scottish explorer James Bruce is best known for his treatises of travel and his discovery of the source of the Blue Nile. Initially a wine merchant, he later became a British consul in Algiers and decided to explore North Africa. He traveled to places such as Syria, Ethiopia, and Egypt.
Christian Jürgensen Thomsen was a Danish antiquarian best remembered for developing early archaeological methods and techniques. In 1816, he was selected as the head of an organization, which later became the National Museum of Denmark. Christian Jürgensen Thomsen is credited with mentoring future archaeologists like Bror Emil Hildebrand and J. J. A. Worsaae.
British banker John Lubbock, 1st Baron Avebury, better known as Sir John Lubbock, had also been an MP. However, he is best known for his contribution to ethnography and archaeology. He is also credited with coining the terms Paleolithic and Neolithic, and is known for his books on animal behavior.
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.