Paying tribute to the late, great Caroline Wickham-Jones

Professor Jane Downes has paid tribute to Orkney-based archaeologist Caroline Wickham-Jones, who sadly passed away last week.
The late Caroline Wickham-Jones.

The director of the UHI Archaeology Institute, Professor Jane Downes, has paid tribute to Orkney-based archaeologist Caroline Wickham-Jones, who sadly passed away last week.

Caroline’s fieldwork career involved excavation of early stone age sites on the island of Rum and along the west coast of Scotland, after which she took up post as a lecturer for the University of Aberdeen before retiring to become an archaeological consultant.

A firm believer in engaging the public with archaeology, she was the author of numerous publications, including Between the Wind and the Water: World Heritage Orkney and Orkney: A Historical Guide. In addition to the printed word, she maintained a blog at  

Professor Downes said: “Caroline will be greatly missed, by her many friends and colleagues in Orkney, as well as across the world. We mourn the passing of a great and influential Mesolithic archaeologist,  who remained passionate about education and engaging the public in archaeology to the end.”


  1. So very sorry to hear that Caroline had departed to the outer Universe. We met by chance at on Orkney I found her to be a magical person, with the same passion for Archaeology and history. Strange really, as she greeted me with, Hallo, cousin of mine.! That was a complete surprise to me, but as it turned out my long estranged family, were indeed my cousins. My parents had met in the War, but things did not work out, so my brother and I knew no one in the family, and indeed thought ourselves to be the last of the Backhouse family. My brother Roger’s son, Prof. Paul N Backhouse is also an archaeologist in the USA. I graduated from Southampton University in Archaeology and later Museum Science. Long before our paths crossed.
    In later years I found myself in charge of the Archaeology group of the Isle of Wight Natural History and Archaeology Society, we came up to Orkney for a wonderful visit. In two weeks we must have seen everthing there is to offer. All with our delightful and amusing companion.
    companion. Every where we went, we met people who really loved her, from the great girls at the Tomb of the Eagles to the staff at the College and the Museum.
    We have stayed in touch over the years, sharing our tales about our son’s activities, and were were looking forward to seeing her down here this year. But it was not to be. So sad.
    My family flew up to Orkney to visit Caroline, including my brother and his son Paul and his wife Tara, from Florida. Both archaeologists.
    I hope to come and visit later this year. I will always remember standing at Scape Flow, and thinking about our great grandfather, Sir Roger Backhouse, setting forth as a very young man for the Battle of Jutland. How time weaves such patterns in our lives.
    We will no doubt meet again, somewhere, sometime, Delian. It can’t end like that.

Comments are closed.