Peter Reynolds (archaeologist)

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Peter John Reynolds (6 November 1939 – 26 September 2001) was a British archaeologist known for his research in experimental archaeology and the British Iron Age and for being recruited as the first director of Butser Ancient Farm, a working replica of an Iron Age farmstead in Hampshire.

Early life[edit]

Reynolds was born on 6 November 1939[1] in Shifnal, Shropshire, England.[2] He was educated at The Priory Grammar School for Boys, Shrewsbury. He read Classics at Trinity College, Dublin, graduating in 1962[2] with a Double First.[1] He then studied for a teaching diploma at Reading University.[2]


After completing his teaching diploma, Reynolds became the classics master at Prince Henry's Grammar School, Evesham. Here, he was also a Sixth Form tutor.[2]

Reynolds was the director of the Butser Iron Age farm, a living experiment in Iron Age archaeology. Public education was a major focus of the farm, as was furthering archaeological knowledge. Over the years of its operation, hundreds of experiments were conducted at Butser covering a wide range of subjects in Iron Age life in Britain, including the construction of houses, the storage of grain, the keeping of livestock, and the production and use of ancient technologies.

Reynolds was an innovative researcher, who made a major contribution to our understanding of Iron Age life.

A full list of his publications can be found here
The work of Butser Farm is described here

He demonstrated that ancient roundhouse dwellings could be constructed without a hole to let smoke escape, a feature that may have drawn the interior air through far too quickly, but that the smoke simply passed through the thatched roofs.

He also appeared on various episodes of the Channel 4 television series Time Team.

Personal life[edit]

Reynolds was twice married.[1] He married Bridget in 1976. Together, they had a daughter, Jemma.[2]


  • Reynolds, Peter J. (1976). Farming in the Iron Age. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-21084-4. OCLC 1975198.
  • Reynolds, Peter J. (1979). Iron-Age Farm: the Butser experiment. London, England: British Museum Publications. ISBN 0-7141-8014-9. OCLC 5836038.
  • Reynolds, Peter J. (1980). Butser Ancient Farm: Impressions. Petersfield, Hampshire, England: Archaeological Research.
  • Reynolds, Peter J. (1985). Iron Age Agriculture Reviewed. Council for British Archaeology Group 12. ISBN 0-9510621-0-7. OCLC 14251162.


  1. ^ a b c "Peter Reynolds". The Telegraph. 20 October 2001. Retrieved 22 June 2012.
  2. ^ a b c d e Aston, Mick (5 October 2001). "Peter Reynolds". The Guardian. Retrieved 22 June 2012.