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Former Durham University lecturer Dr Brian Dobson dies aged 80
AN archaeologist and expert on Hadrian’s Wall has died aged 80.
By launching a week-long study tour of the wall in 1968, Dr Brian Dobson, who was a Durham University lecturer for 30 years, began a Roman army course that continues to this day.
His friend, Professor David Breeze, said Dr Dobson had helped shape a new view of the World Heritage Site.
Dr Dobson was born in Hartlepool and educated at Stockton Grammar School and Durham University.
He studied under Eric Birley, who supervised his doctorate, about senior officers of the Roman army.
Dr Dobson took up the post of adult education lecturer in archaeology in Durham University’s Department of Extramural Studies in 1960. He remained at the university until he retired in 1990.
Apart from National Service and a two-year research fellowship in Birmingham, he lived his whole life in the North-East.
His 1976 book, Hadrian’s Wall, written with Prof Breeze, was hugely influential, praised for its accessible style and remains in print.
The 1968 study week, titled Hadrian’s Wall and Hadrian’s Army, was so successful that it was split and extended, with the Roman army element still continuing.
In 1972, Dr Dobson founded the Hadrianic Society, devoted to the study of Hadrian’s Wall and the Roman army.
He was its president and patron until his death.
In 1980, Durham University awarded him a personal readership in archaeology.
Dr Dobson served as president of the Archaeological and Architectural Society of Durham and Northumberland from 1983 to 1987 and president of the Society of Antiquities of Newcastle from 1993 to 1995.
He was also a trustee of several museums, including the Vindolanda Trust from 1996 to 2011.
In his spare time, he was a keen follower of Durham County Cricket Club and a lay reader at St Mary Magdalene Church, Belmont, near his home.
He is survived by his wife, Anne, who he met through the Christian Union at Durham University, their children, Louisa, Andrew, Geoffrey, Ruth and Nancy, and nine grandchildren.
He died on Thursday, July 19, and his funeral was held at St Mary Magdalene Church on Wednesday.