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 Robert Alexander Stewart Macalister

Robert Alexander Stewart Macalister

Birth
Dublin, County Dublin, Ireland
Death 26 Apr 1950 (aged 79)
Cambridge, City of Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, England
Burial Cambridge, City of Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, England
Plot 2B42
Memorial ID 96738920 · View Source
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Number #28 refers to "A Cambridge Necropolis" by Dr. Mark Goldie from March 2000 for Friends of The Parish of The Ascension Burial Ground, total 49.

Robert Alexander Stewart MacAlister (born July 8, 1870 and died April 26, 1950) was an Irish archaeologist.
MacAlister was born in Dublin, Ireland and studied at Cambridge University. Although his earliest interest was in the archaeology of Ireland, he soon developed a strong interest in biblical archaeology. Along with Frederick J. Bliss, he excavated several towns in the Shephelah region of Palestine from 1898 to 1900. Using advances in stratigraphy building on the work of Flinders Petrie, they developed a chronology for the region using ceramic typology. Upon Bliss' retirement, MacAlister became director of excavations for the Palestine Exploration Fund in 1901.
From 1902 to 1909 he was responsible for the excavations at Gezer, Palestine (in the modern nation of Israel, just west of Jerusalem). This was one of the earliest large-scale scientific archaeological excavations in the region. The Gezer calendar found there is a very early paeleo-Hebrew calendrical inscription. However, in most respects MacAlister's work in Palestinian archaeology is considered to have been a failure, due to the poor quality of his excavation techniques and his shoddy record-keeping. Because MacAlister was the only professional archaeologist involved in the excavation, managing a project of such complexity was essentially an impossible task.
In 1909 MacAlister left the field of Palestinian archaeology to accept a position as Professor of Celtic Archaeology at University College, Dublin, where he taught until his retirement in 1943. During this period, he worked at the ancient Irish royal site of Tara and was responsible for editing the catalogue of all known ogham inscriptions from Great Britain and Ireland. Many of his translations of Irish myths and legends are still widely used today. He was elected to the Royal Irish Academy in 1910, and was president of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland from 1924 to 1928.

Upon retiring from the Dublin chair, he lived in Cambridge, and died at his home there, Barrymore, Lady Margaret Road, on 26 April 1950. He never married.

See ODNB.


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  • Created by: Martin Douglas Packer
  • Added: 9 Sep 2012
  • Find A Grave Memorial 96738920
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Robert Alexander Stewart Macalister (8 Jul 1870–26 Apr 1950), Find A Grave Memorial no. 96738920, citing Ascension Parish Burial Ground, Cambridge, City of Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, England ; Maintained by Martin Douglas Packer (contributor 47912178) .