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Leslie Valentine Grinsell


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(1907–95) [Bi]

British prehistorian who specialized in the archaeology of barrows and pursued a relentless programme of field survey and recording throughout southern England. Born and brought up in London, he joined Barclay's Bank as a clerk after leaving school. In 1925 his parents moved to Brighton and within a few months he discovered the Sussex Downs and started a lifelong interest in barrows, especially finding and recording them. By the outbreak of WW2 he had surveyed and published reports on the barrows of ten counties in meticulous detail, using his skills as a bank clerk to tabulate the descriptions. During the war he was a pilot officer in the photographic branch of the RAF which took him to Egypt and gave him the opportunity to visit the tombs there. After the war he returned to the bank briefly, taking up a position to work on the Victoria County History of Wiltshire in 1947. After completing the gazetteer for Wiltshire he joined the Bristol City Museum as Keeper of Archaeology in 1952, remaining there until he retired in 1972. Throughout his time at Bristol, and after his retirement when he continued to live in the city, he carried on with his surveys of barrows, and by 1993 was proud to have completed studies on all the counties in southern England. He was treasurer of the Prehistoric Society between 1947 and 1970, and had many other interests— folklore, music, place‐name studies, Egyptology, and coins. He was appointed OBE in 1972. His many publications include The ancient burial mounds of England (1953, London: Methuen) and Barrow, pyramid and tomb (1975, London: Thames & Hudson).


1989, An archaeological autobiography. Gloucester: Alan Sutton

Subjects: Archaeology

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