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Title Tessa Wheeler papers
Date1 c1910s
StorageSite UCL Special Collections
Level Section
Extent 8 bound volumes
AdminHistory Wheeler, Tessa Verney [née Tessa Verney] (1893-1936), archaeologist, was born in 1893 in Johannesburg, the only child of John Verney, doctor, and Annie Kilburn, a native of Bishop Auckland in co. Durham. Taken to England, Tessa spent her childhood in the household of her mother's third partner, Theophilus Morgan Davis, chemist, who encouraged her to take a degree in history at University College, London. There she met Mortimer Wheeler, whom she married in 1914.

When the First World War broke out, Mortimer Wheeler initially served in Britain. Whenever possible, Tessa, with their only child, Michael (b. 1915), moved to be near him in his various postings. In Aug 1920 Mortimer Wheeler was appointed Keeper of archaeology at the National Museum of Wales in Cardiff. In 1921 they began the first of many joint excavations. Together the Wheelers excavated Segontium (1921-1922) and Gaer near Brecon (1924-1925), and were about to excavate the amphitheatre at Caerleon in 1926 when their plans were altered by Mortimer Wheeler's appointment as Keeper of the London Museum. Tessa excavated Caerleon without Mortimer through the winter of 1926-1927. Later the Wheelers undertook excavations at Lydney (1928-1929), St Albans (1930-1934), and Maiden Castle (from 1934).

By 1928 Tessa was a part-time lecturer at the London Museum and was elected fellow of the Society of Antiquaries; she later served on its council and was on its research committee. In addition, she worked in support of Wheeler's activities, in particular playing a major part the creation of an archaeological institute in London. She raised funds to finance its foundation, and was also active in looking after the students and arranging their teaching when the institute came into being in 1934.

Tessa died at the National Temperance Hospital, London, on 15 April 1936, following an operation.

Description Lecture notebooks of Tessa Verney (later Wheeler), relating to her time as a history student at UCL from 1911 to 1914.
Repository GB 0103
AccessStatus Open
AccessConditions The papers are available subject to the usual conditions of access to Archives and Manuscripts material, after the completion of a Reader's Undertaking.
ReproductionConditions Photocopies/photographs/microfilm are supplied for private research only at the Archivist's discretion. Please note that material may be unsuitable for copying on conservation grounds, and that photographs cannot be photocopied in any circumstances. Researchers who wish to publish material must seek copyright permission from the copyright owner.
CatalogueStatus Catalogued
Language English
Term Lectures
University students
PersonKey Wheeler; Tessa (1893-1936); née Verney, archaeologist
CorporateKey University College, London

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