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Ivan Donald Margary (1896–1976) was a historian who, during his lifetime, was the leading authority on Roman roads in Great Britain.[1] He wrote numerous works on Roman roads[2] of which his most influential and complete was Roman Roads In Britain.[3]

He was educated at Exeter College, Oxford.

Margary's primary gift to the study of Roman roads was the development of a catalogue system known as Margary numbers, numbering Roman roads so that they could be referred to by catalogue number[4] with no sign of confusion, and to allow cross-referencing of the same road between different studies and authors.

In later life he financed the excavation of Fishbourne Roman Palace, near Chichester in West Sussex and building the Margary Quad at Exeter, his old college. He contributed to the National Trust's excavation at Avebury Stone Circle and to the archaeology department of the British School at Rome. His other interests included meteorology and agriculture.[5][6]

Honours and awardsEdit

In 1932 Margary was elected Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London but he declined all other nominations for recognition.[5]


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  5. ^ a b "Noted archaeologist. Mr I. D. Margary". The Times: 16. 27 February 1976.
  6. ^ Darvill, Timothy (2008). "Ivan Donald Margary (1897—1976)". The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Archaeology (2 ed.). Oxford University Press.