J R Stewart (Biographical details)

J R Stewart (archaeologist; Australian; Male; 1913 - 1962)

Also known as

Stewart, James Rivers Barrington


Australian archaeologist working on Cyprus between the late 1930s and the early 1960s, from whom the museum acquired two tomb groups from his excavations at Bellapais-Vounous in 1937-1938. Material from his excavations can also be found in other UK museums. He also dug the sites of Nicosia-Ayia Paraskevi, Vasilia, and Karmi-Lapatsa and Karmi-Palealona in the 1950s and early 1960s. His discoveries are central to the understanding of the earlier Bronze Age on the island. Along with his contemporary Porphyrios Dikaios, his work formed a key part of the first volume of the Swedish Cyprus Expedition synthesis of Cypriot prehistory. Apart from his excavations reports, some of which appeared after his death, his main work is the Corpus of Cypriote artefacts of the Early Bronze Age (Parts I-III published postumously from 1988 onwards, with several volumes still to appear). He taught at the University of Sydney from 1946 until his death, being appointed Edwin Cuthbert Hall Professor of Middle Eastern Archaeology in 1960, and was central to the establishment of Near Eastern archaeology as a discipline in Australia. Early in his career, Stewart also excavated in Turkey and Palestine and published in these fields, as well as pursuing interests in crusader numismatics and Roman to Byzantine history. Full details of his life and career can be found in several memoirs by Cambitoglou (1963) and Merrillees (1983, 1994, 2013), in the biography of Stewart and his second wife Eve by Powell (2013), and in various papers in Knapp et al. 2013. Details of his final excavations at Karmi can also be found in Webb et al. 2010, , 4-6.


Cambitoglou A. 1963, [Obituary of James Stewart], Opuscula Atheniensia IV, 205-6.

Knapp A.B. et al. (eds) 2013, J.R.B Stewart. An archaeological legacy. SIMA CXXXIX (Uppsala).

Merrillees R. 1983, 'Professor James R. Stewart: a biographical lecture' in C.A. Hope and J.K.Zimmer (eds), Catalogue of ancient Middle Eastern pottery from Palestine, Cyprus and Egypt in the Faculty of Art Gallery RMIT June 1983 and essays on Australian contributions to the archaeology of the ancient Near East (Melbourne), 33-51.

Merrillees R. 1994, '"The ordeal of shaving in a frozen lake". Professor J.R Stewart and the Swedish Cyprus Expedition', in P. Åström et al., '"The fantastic years on Cyprus". The Swedish Cyprus Expedition and its members (Jonsered), 38-55.

Merrillees R. 2013, 'Eleanor Stewart remembered' and 'Professor J.R. Stewart - archaeologist, numismatist and soldier of Cyprus', in Knapp et al. 2013, ix-xi and 185-93..

Powell J. 2013, Love's obsession. The lives and archaeology of Jim and Eve Stewart (Adelaide).

Webb J. et al. 2009, The Bronze Age cemeteries at Karmi Palealona and Lapatsa in Cyprus: Excavations by J.R.B. Stewart. SIMA CXXXVI (Sävedalen).

See also the notice on the Cyprus collection in the University of Melbourne. (http://vm.arts.unimelb.edu.au/report/cypcoll.html).