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John Howard Marsden (1803–1891) First Disney Professor of Archaeology at the University of Cambridge 1851–1865

Author:

Michael Leach

Essex Society for Archaeology and History, GB
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Abstract

Although there were ten chairs of archaeology at universities in Germany, and one in France, by the mid-nineteenth century, in Great Britain it was the amateur societies and museums (the British Museum in particular) that encouraged the study of this subject. In 1851 John Disney established the first university chair in Great Britain at Cambridge University. His proposal was initially received with considerable caution by the governing body of the university, and was only accepted by the narrowest margin of eight votes to seven. His agreement with the University of Cambridge stipulated that six lectures a year should be given on the subject of ‘Classical, Medieval, and other Antiquities, the Fine Arts and all matters and things connected therewith’ (Clark 1904, 222–225). However university archaeology was slow to establish its academic credibility nationally, and it was more than thirty years before Oxford University established its chair of classical archaeology. The Cambridge Board of Anthropological Studies, which included instruction in prehistoric archaeology, was not created until 1915, and as late as 1945 there were still only a few university lecturers in archaeology in Great Britain. It was not until 1946 that Oxford University appointed a Professor of Prehistoric Archaeology (Wilson 2002, 153; Daniel 1976, 6–12; Smith 2004, 4–5, 53–54).
Keywords: Cambridge John Disney 
How to Cite: Leach, M., (2007). John Howard Marsden (1803–1891) First Disney Professor of Archaeology at the University of Cambridge 1851–1865. Bulletin of the History of Archaeology. 17(1), pp.35–39. DOI: http://doi.org/10.5334/bha.17105
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Published on 10 May 2007.

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