Richard Bradley (archaeologist)

Richard Bradley
Born (1946-11-18) 18 November 1946
Hampshire, England
Nationality British
Title Professor of Archaeology
Spouse(s) Katherine Bowden (m. 1976)
Academic background
Education Portsmouth Grammar School
Alma mater University of Oxford
Academic work
Discipline Archaeology
Sub discipline
Institutions University of Reading

Richard John Bradley, FSA, FSA Scot, FBA (born 18 November 1946) is a British archaeologist and academic. He specialises in the study of European prehistory, and in particular Prehistoric Britain. From 1987 to 2013, he was Professor of Archaeology at the University of Reading; he is now Emeritus Professor. He is also the author of a number of books on the subject of archaeology and prehistory.

British Archaeology magazine commented that Bradley was one of the best respected archaeologists in the field.[1]

Early life and education

Bradley was born on 18 November 1946 in Hampshire, England. [1][2] His father was a metallurgist in the British Navy.[1] He was educated at Portsmouth Grammar School, then an all-boys direct grant grammar school in Portsmouth.[2] It was at school where he first became interested in archaeology.[1] He went on to study law at Magdalen College, Oxford, and graduated from the University of Oxford with a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree; as per tradition, his BA was later promoted to a Master of Arts (MA Oxon) degree.[2] He did not involve himself in the counterculture of the 1960s, disliking the music associated with it and the "pretentiousness" of many of those involved who had come from private schools.[1]

Archaeological career

Not wishing to enter the legal profession, he focused on archaeology, working as an amateur in the field and authoring academic papers, some of which saw publication in national journals.[1] Without a single qualification in archaeology, aged 25 he was appointed an assistant lecturer at Reading University.[1] He was a lecturer in archaeology from 1971 to 1984, Reader in Archaeology from 1984 to 1987, and Professor of Archaeology from 1987 to 2013.[2] He retired from full-time academia in 2013, and was appointed Emeritus Professor.[3]

Personal life

In 1976, Bradley married Katherine Bowden.[2] She is a history teacher by profession.[1] They do not have any children.[1]


On 13 January 1977, Bradley was elected a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London (FSA).[4] In 1995, he was elected a Fellow of the British Academy (FBA), the United Kingdom's national academy for the humanities and social sciences.[3] In 2007, he was elected an honorary Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland (Hon. FSAScot).[2]

Selected works


Title Year Co-author(s) Publisher ISBN
Mesolithic Assemblage from East Sussex 1972 n/a Phillimore & Co Ltd 978-0850330755
The Prehistoric Settlement of Britain 1978 n/a Routledge (London) 978-0710089939
The Social Foundations of Prehistoric Britain 1984 n/a Longman (Harlow)
Passage of Arms: An Archaeological Analysis of Prehistoric Hoards and Votive Deposits 1990 n/a Cambridge University Press (Cambridge)
Interpreting the Axe Trade: Production and Exchange in Neolithic Britain 1993 Mark Edmonds Cambridge University Press 978-0521434461
Altering the Earth: Origins of Monuments in Britain and Continental Europe 1993 n/a Society of Antiquaries of Scotland 978-0903903080
Rock Art and the Prehistory of Atlantic Europe: Signing the Land 1997 n/a Routledge (London) 978-0415165365
The Significance of Monuments: On the Shaping of Human Experience in Neolithic and Bronze Age Europe 1998 n/a Routledge (London)
Passage of Arms: An Archaeological Analysis of Prehistoric Hoards and Votive Deposits (second edition) 1998 n/a Oxbow Books 978-1900188586
An Archaeology of Natural Places 2000 n/a Routledge (London)
The Good Stones: A New Investigation of the Clava Cairns 2000 n/a Society of Antiquaries of Scotland 978-0903903172
The Past in Prehistoric Societies 2002 n/a Routledge (London) 978-0415276283
Ritual and Domestic Life in Prehistoric Europe 2005 n/a Routledge (Abingdon)
The Moon and the Bonfire: An Investigation of Three Stone Circles in NE Scotland 2005 n/a Society of Antiquaries of Scotland 978-0903903332
The Prehistory of Britain and Ireland 2007 n/a Cambridge University Press (New York)
Image and Audience: Rethinking Prehistoric Art 2009 n/a Oxford University Press (New York) 978-0199533855
The Idea of Order: The Circular Archetype in Prehistoric Europe 2012 n/a Oxford University Press (New York) 978-0199608096


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Denison, Simon (December 1996). "Man of status, who wants it not". British Archaeology. Council for British Archaeology. Archived from the original on 2 November 2016.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 "BRADLEY, Prof. Richard John". Who's Who 2017. Oxford University Press. November 2016. Retrieved 3 December 2016.
  3. 1 2 "Professor Richard Bradley". The British Academy. Retrieved 3 December 2016.
  4. "Fellows - Bradley". Society of Antiquaries of London. Retrieved 3 December 2016.
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