In class on Thursday, we talked about the discovery of Mohenjo-Daro. With this discussion came the mention of Sir Mortimer Wheeler. I was curious to learn more about Sir Wheeler, so I looked him up. Born in Scotland in 1890, Wheeler is considered a very important force in bringing Archaeology into the academic realm as a respected field of study. The development of the Box-Grid system is probably Wheeler’s most significant contribution to the progression of Archaeology. This system requires dividing the excavation area into a grid and digging in small squares. The vital part of this system is making sure that each excavation square is separated by a narrow strip of ground called baulk. Keeping this strip of ground allows the vertical strata of each excavation square to be revealed and used as archaeological information. Considering the fact that this method is still used prevalently today and taught in field schools, Wheeler’s innovation has done wonders for improving the excavation system.
Besides his contributions to Archaeology, Wheeler hosted multiple television shows. The first ran from 1952 through 1960 and was called Animal, Vegetation, Mineral? That show was followed by Buried Treasure from 1954 to 1959. Wheeler’s final show ran in 1966 and was named Chronicle. These television shows played a part in educating the general public on what was happening in the field of Archaeology. Based on his impressive range of jobs, Wheeler was a multitalented man.
Luckily, Sir Wheeler’s accomplishments did not go unrecognized. In his lifetime, Sir Wheeler held chief positions at such prestigious places as the National Museum of Wales, The Museum of London, and the National Museum of Pakistan. In 1952, Mortimer Wheeler was knighted for his services, and from 1950 to 1962, he served as the Secretary of the British Academy. Sir Wheeler’s life came to an end in London, England in 1976, but his discoveries will be with us forever.