Obituary: Ian Smith - People - News - The Independent

Obituary: Ian Smith

Ian Mervyn Smith, archaeologist: born Sheffield 13 October 1957; married 1985 Pamela Bell (one son, one daughter); died Canna 3 July 1994.

IAN SMITH had a full and distinguished archaeological career ahead of him, yet he had already packed the living of a whole life into the short time available to him. He died at the age of 36 as the result of a fall while out walking on the Hebridean island of Canna.

The range of Smith's interests and expertise is indicated by the fact that (in 1979-81) he conducted the excavation of the Iron Age settlement at the Dod, in Roxburghshire, in the Scottishborders, and (in 1979-83) was director of the survey of the site of one of the earliest monasteries in the Christian west, on the island of Lerins off the coast of Provence, in France.

Smith was born and brought up in Sheffield and studied archaeology at Durham University, where, supervised by Professor Rosemary Cramp, he wrote a thesis on the early historic settlement of the eastern Scottish borders, for which he received his doctorate in 1990. In 1983 he was appointed an archaeological investigator in the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland.

Smith brought enthusiasm, energy and clarity to everything he did. He had the industry to collect information on a vast scale, the gift of organising it into an easily digestible form, and the entrepreneurial flair to see that it appeared in print. When asked to contribute a 3,000-word essay on the problems and opportunities associated with the history of the Church in southern Pictland, he produced a text of over 12,000 words. The editors had no difficulty in accepting this, both because everything in it was exactly to the point and because Smith had independently raised the funds necessary to cover the extra costs of publishing it.

He was a member of the Scottish Vernacular Buildings Group and the Scottish Archaeological Forum, as well as a member elect of the Council of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland. As secretary of the Churches Committee of the Council for Scottish Archaeology, he displayed an ability to transform an agenda from one which represented a staid run-through of the committee's business to something which galvanised the members into focused discussion and decisive action. He was also able to combine his knowledge of churches with his expertise in computing, to help in the production of the committee's Inventory of the Scottish Church Heritage. His handling of the casework of the committee required his mixture of forcefulness and tact in raising cases of neglect, or worse, with those responsible for the church buildings of Scotland.

His involvement with the monuments was more than simply professional, and he had, in particular, an abiding fondness for the Priory Church of St Mary at Mount Carmel, across the Forth from his home in Fife. His family was the pivot of everything else: his wife Pamela and his two young children, Rachelle and Ronan, to whom he was devoted.

(Photograph omitted)

PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

HR Manager - Kent - £45,000

£40000 - £45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: HR Manager / Training Manager (L&D /...

HR Manager - Edgware, London - £45,000

£40000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Manager - Edgware, Lon...

HR Manager - London - £40,000 + bonus

£32000 - £40000 per annum + bonus: Ashdown Group: HR Manager (Generalist) -Old...

Talent Manager / HR Manager - central London - £50,000

£45000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Talent / Learning & Development Mana...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week