Basil Brown

Archaeologist, Deceased Person

1888 – 1977


Who was Basil Brown?

Basil John Wait Brown was a farmer, archaeologist, amateur astronomer and author who most famously discovered the buried ship at Sutton Hoo and excavated its sandy outline on the eve of war in 1939.

Although he has been described as an 'amateur archaeologist', his work as such was frequently paid. He was, indeed, one of the first to make a career as a paid excavation employee for a provincial museum. Although this was his second career and was interrupted by the War, it spanned more than thirty years. After the failure of his smallholding in around 1932, at about the time when he published his work on Astronomical Atlases, he began to investigate the countryside near his home in north Suffolk in search of Roman remains.

After the discovery, excavation and successful removal to Ipswich Museum of a Roman kiln at Wattisfield, Basil Brown worked for a short time with Mr Gale at Stuston, on the Norfolk-Suffolk border, before being taken on, on a near full-time basis, by Mr Guy Maynard, Curator of Ipswich Museum. He was paid weekly and worked for long seasons on the agreed payment arrangement from 1935–1939, his principal task being the excavation of a Roman villa he had discovered at Stanton Chair, Suffolk. These excavations were laid open each year and temporary museums were set up on the site for visitors. Many well-known archaeologists, while still students, worked for Mr Brown on seasonal visits to the site.

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Lived in
  • Suffolk

on July 23, 2013


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