Remembering Bill McCann

Ian Blair

10 February 2020

It was sad to hear from Friederike of the recent death of Bill McCann, who worked in the DUA and MOLAS between 1985–2000. Bill notably fronted the large Fleet Valley project in 1991-2, and subsequently established and managed the Clark Laboratory for archaeomagnetic dating, which is still in use today.

He moved to China in 2006, where he worked for thirteen years as an English language teacher at Suzhou University, until his return to the UK last summer, and an all too brief return to his Irish roots.

“Live not as though there were a thousand years ahead of you. Fate is at your elbow; make yourself good while life and power are still yours.” ~ Marcus Aurelius


The potted history below is lifted from Amazon, where there are a number of books that Bill contributed to as part of ‘The Nutshell Books project’ which aims ‘to distil the essence of the epochs, milestones, and personalities that made and shaped world history into a format more amenable and accessible to the denizens of the electronic age’.

About Bill McCann
Born and educated in Ireland, Bill McCann has worked as a research chemist, archaeologist, project manager, departmental manager, geophysicist, company director, historical adviser and technical writer. He is currently working as a university lecturer in China. (In between that lot, he had great fun as a barman, dishwasher, hotel cook, movie house manager, taxi-cab dispatcher, hotel/bar stock controller and opinion survey interviewer.)

Driven by a passionate curiosity and intense wanderlust, he has travelled widely and explored the cultures of many lands and peoples.
He is a devoted bibliophile who has been an avid reader since the age of seven and continues to build his personal library which currently contains about 4,000 volumes on a range of subjects, including, Literature, Art, Music, Theatre, all the natural Sciences, Philosophy, Politics, Language, Mythology and, of course, History.

He sees no sense in the notion of retirement and has every intention of avoiding the grave for as long as possible.


Bill in RomeBill in relaxed mood in the Piazza Navona in Rome, with the Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi (Fountain of the Four Rivers) as a picturesque backdrop


Bill, bike, and Chairman Mao in China Bill, bike, and Chairman Mao in China

 Bill McCann at Low Hall in 1997The Clark Laboratory in action, Bill taking samples for archaeomagnetic dating from a medieval hearth at Low Hall Manor (WS-LH97) in 1997


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