Tribute to Inskeep

01 December 2003
UCT regrets to report the death of former academic and renowned archaeologist Professor Raymond Inskeep (76), who died in England recently of cancer. His wife, Adi, whom he met in 1963 while she was curator of the Johannesburg Geological Museum, survives him.

The following extracts come from an obituary that appeared in The Times (August 19, 2003): "Though he held an academic post at UCT for only 12 years, Ray Inskeep's profound influence on the rise and development of archaeology in South Africa extended over the last four decades of the 20th century. He achieved this by fieldwork of exemplary quality, by ceaseless campaigning to improve the organisational side of the discipline and by being an inspirational teacher of many of the nation's leading archaeologists in the formative period of their careers.

"He finished his schooling at the age of 14, electing not to go to grammar school because he thought his parents might not have enough money for the education of all their children. Instead, he worked for a gentlemen's outfitter and learnt carpentry.

"Increasingly interested in archaeology he went for advice to Maurice Barley at Nottingham University, who suggested he try for a scholarship for mature students at St John's College, Cambridge, to study the subject formally. Though there were 200 candidates competing for two awards, Inskeep was successful. He graduated in 1956.

"He went at Graham Clark's suggestion, and at the invitation of Louis and Mary Leakey, to Tanganyika to excavate the painted rock shelter of Kisese 2. Within a year he was back in Africa, this time in Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia) taking the post of Keeper of the Rhodes-Livingstone Museum and carrying out an important survey and excavation of Iron Age sites including Kalundu Mound and others due to be flooded by the Kariba Dam project.

After two years he returned to Cambridge before moving to the University of Cape Town, where he took charge of the fledgling department of archaeology."

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