Emeritus Professor Edward Martyn Jope, M.A., B.Sc., F.B.A., M.R.I.A.
Martyn Jope was born on 28 December 1915 and educated at Whitgift School, Croydon and Kingswood School, Bath, from which he won an open scholarship to Oriel College, Oxford, to read chemistry. He soon joined the university archaeological society, holding office as secretary and president and despite his eminent ability as a chemist it was obvious that Jope's future lay in archaeology. His first appointment was to the R.C.H.M. in Wales in 1938 and during the brief period of peace before the outbreak of war he, with R. I. Threlfall, excavated a medieval settlement at Bere, near North Tawton, Devon, and produced one of the first recorded plans of an English medieval peasant house. Archaeology had to be temporarily abandoned during the war when, in 1940, Jope was awarded a Nuffield Foundation grant to research haemoglobins in human blood at the London Hospital in Whitechapel. Later, the Medical Research Council supported his research on the application of spectro-chemical methods and spectromicroscopy to biological problems but, important and congenial though this work was, the attraction of archaeology was greater. In 1949 Jope was appointed by the distinguished geographer, Professor Estyn Evans, to a new lectureship in archaeology at the Queen's University, Belfast. This lectureship developed into a department headed by Jope, first as reader from 1954-63 and then professor from 1963-81. Jope never lost his love of Oxford, the birthplace of his archaeological interests, and kept a house there for vacations and subsequent retirement, and as a base for his English fieldwork, particularly that related to medieval pottery studies in the south-west. He excavated at Ascot Doilly Castle, Deddington Castle, the medieval pottery kilns at Brill and at medieval sites in Oxford city. In term-time, however, his energies were entirely Ulster-orientated and, as Director of the Archaeological Survey set up jointly by Stormont and Queen's, he ensured that every aspect of the archaeology of the province was examined from the prehistoric to the architecture of the Plantation. The result was the publication in 1966, under Jope's editorship, of the still unsurpassed Archaeological Survey of County Down, the first systematic survey of the complete archaeology of an Irish county. During the 1960s Jope concentrated at Queen's on the establishment of medieval archaeology as a separate discipline but later, such was his range, turned his attention to the Iron Age, Early Celtic Art in the British Isles being published in 1977. Jope always cherished his connection with the physical sciences, published papers in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society and played an active role in fostering science-based archaeology in Britain. As early as the 1950s he attracted research funding for this purpose to Queen's from the Nuffield Quaternary Research Unit, and his background as a biochemist made him a valuable link between the British Academy, to which he was elected in 1963, and the Royal Society. He led the Academy's campaign for separate government funding for archaeological science and from 1976 served on its first science-based archaeology committee. The foundation of the department of archaeological sciences at Bradford University owed much to his inspiration; he was its visiting professor from 1974-81, honorary visiting professor from 1982-96 and Hon.D.Sc. in 1980. Jope's enormous contribution to medieval and post-medieval Irish archaeology earned him membership of the Royal Irish Academy in 1973; he was a member of the R.C.H.M.(Wales) from 1963-86 and the R.C.H.M.(England) from 1980-4. He was a regular visitor to Burlington House during vacations from Queen's and in retirement, often with his biochemist/archaeologist wife, Margaret, who is also a Fellow. He died on 14 November 1996 completing almost fifty years of fellowship.