It is hard to believe that Hobley’s Heroes has now been in existence for over nine years, having been conceived in 2010, and subsequently aired on Facebook in 2013. The initial aim and raison d'être of the site, was to document the life and times of the hundreds of largely forgotten archaeologists and volunteers who worked for the DUA, by gathering together the fragmentary scraps of paper and photos that document their lives, working on excavations across the City of London in the period 1973-1991.

The story of the DUA, though central in the story of the rise of commercial urban archaeology in London, is nonetheless, only a single piece in a much larger story that has its origins in the aftermath of World War Two. Working amongst the ruins of the Blitzed City, the pioneering work of Professor Grimes and his assistant Audrey Williams, in conjunction with Ivor Noël Hume, and later Peter Marsden working for the Guildhall Museum, started a profession that continues to this day, with excavations on redevelopment sites across the City.

Anyone who worked with the DUA in the early days, will know that the unit co-existed with a number of other London units, including: Southwark and Lambeth Archaeological Excavation Committee (SLAEC); the South-West London Archaeological Unit (SWLAU); the West London Archaeological Unit (WLAU); and the Inner London Archaeological Unit (ILAU), set up by the London and Middlesex Archaeological Society (LAMAS). From the mid-1970s to 1991, three organisations took on the ‘responsibility’ for different areas of Greater London. Almost all the professional archaeological work in the northern, western and southern Greater London boroughs was carried out by the Museum of London’s Department of Greater London Archaeology (DGLA). The Museum’s Department of Urban Archaeology (DUA) covered the City of London. The north-east London boroughs were covered by the Passmore Edwards Museum, part of Newham Borough Council; and archaeological work in the south-east was carried out by the Kent Archaeological Rescue Unit (KARU).


Our Contributors so far are:


Kevin Flude
Nick Bateman
Howard Pell
Jon Bailey
LAARC (Cath Maloney)


Alison Balfour-Lynn
Louise Malkin/Miller
Christine Harrison/Milne
Charlotte Harding
Gill Scarlett/Craddock
Friederike Hammer
Ian Blair
Kevin Flude
Trevor Brigham
Lez Watson
Mike Lee
John Maloney
Graham Troillet
Paul Tyers
Nick Bateman
Peter James
Ken Dash
Ryszard Bartkowiak
Jon Bailey
Gustav Milne
Ian Betts
Jerry Youle,
Peter Clark
Dafydd (Steve) Davies
Jon Price
Jonny Mills
Robin Densen
Roy Stephenson
Derek Seeley
Stephen Leyfield
Jeremy Oetgen
Tony Mackinder
Mark Samuel
Dave Saxby
Patrizia Pierazzo
Jo Udall
Julian Bowsher
Bruce Watson
Chris Tripp
Tom Chilton


The London Archaeologist
(The Archaeological Data Service (ADS))
London and Middlesex Archaeological Society Digital Archive


Hobley's Heroes is being compiled by Ian Blair and John Burke-Easton

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