Isobel Smith

Isobel Smith (22 December 1912 – 18 November 2005)[1] was an archaeologist who is best known for her work at the site of Avebury, but she also excavated at several sites in the area, including Windmill Hill.[2]

Education and Early LifeEdit

Smith spent her early life in Ontario, studying for a BA in English and French at the University of Toronto in 1935, followed by scholarships at the University of Grenoble and the Sorbonne. After the Second World War she moved to London where she enrolled for a part-time diploma at the Institute of Archaeology. She subsequently studied for a PhD on English Neolithic ceramics under the supervision of Gordon Childe.


In 1956 Smith was approached by the widow of archaeologist Alexander Keiller who had died the previous year leaving 15 years of intensive excavation at Avebury unanalysed and unpublished.[3] She asked Smith to write up his excavations from the 1920s and 1930s, a huge job that was eventually completed with the publication 1965 as Windmill Hill and Avebury.

Smith took a permanent position at the Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England, where she remained as Senior Investigator until her retirement in 1978.[4]


  • Ashbee, P., and Smith, I. F., 1960. ‘The Windmill Hill long barrow’, Antiquity 34, 297–9
  • Ashbee, P., and Smith, I. F., 1966. ‘The date of the Windmill Hill long barrow’, Antiquity 40, 299
  • Cleal, R. 2004. Monuments and Material Culture. Papers in honour of an Avebury Archaeologist: Isobel Smith. Oxford: Oxbow Books.[5]
  • [Isobel Smith]: Windmill Hill and Avebury. Excavations by Alexander Keiller, 1925–1939. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1965. 265 pp., 41 pls., 7 tables, 83 figs. 105s.
  • Smith, I. F., and Simpson, D. D. A., 1964. ‘Excavation of three Roman tombs and a prehistoric pit on Overton Down’, Wiltshire Archaeol. Natur. Hist. Mag. 59, 68–85.
  • Smith, I. F., and Evans, J. G., 1968. ‘Excavation of two long barrows in North Wiltshire’, Antiquity 42, 138–42.


  1. ^
  2. ^ Ashbee, Paul; Smith, Isobel (December 1966). "The Date of the Windmill Hill Long Barrow". Antiquity. 40 (160): 299. doi:10.1017/S0003598X00104879. ISSN 0003-598X.
  3. ^ "Breaking ground: Female archaeologists at Avebury". National Trust. Retrieved 2019-11-14.
  4. ^ "Isobel Smith". The Independent. 2005-12-14. Retrieved 2019-11-14.
  5. ^ "Monuments and Material Culture. Papers in Honour of an Avebury Archaeologist". Retrieved 2019-11-14.