>ONE of the world’s leading experts on Stonehenge discovered his passion for archaeology as a child in his Cheltenham back garden.

Professor Timothy Darvill has been awarded an OBE, in this year’s Queen’s Birthday Honours List, for services to archaeology. He is a leading expert on prehistoric Britain.

He said it was a “great privilege” to receive the honour from the Queen earlier this month at Windsor Castle and thanked his colleagues, friends and family.

“I have always been passionate about archaeology and feel fortunate to have contributed to so many amazing projects that have revealed such a great deal about our nation’s history and heritage,” he said.

Born and bred in Cheltenham, Prof Darvill has been passionate about archaeology since he was a child, according to his mother Win Darvill.

“He has always been interested from when he was a small boy. He used to dig holes in the garden all the time,” she said.

“His father, who was a civil engineer, was interested in fossils and passed it all on to Timothy and it went from there.”

The family lived in the Battledown area and Mrs Darvill now lives in Pittville.

Timothy Darvill is now a professor at Bournemouth University.

Mrs Darvill said: “When he was in his teens he was always either involved in archaeology in Cirencester or on field walks. It has always been his passion. I could not believe it when he was awarded the OBE but I am so proud.”

She said her son grew up in the right area to find all kinds of interesting landscapes.

But he developed an interest in Stonehenge from a young age too.

“He has done a lot of work on it and written many books about it. I read them but I wouldn’t like to write an essay on them,” she said.

The author of more than 20 books and 200 papers and articles, Mr Darvill famously co-directed the first excavations within the stone circle at Stonehenge for more than 40 years in April 2008.

His work featured in a BBC Timewatch programme, which examined the theory that Stonehenge was a prehistoric centre of healing.

After completing a PhD at Southampton University on the Neolithic of Wales and the west of England, he worked with the Western Archaeological Trust and the Council for British Archaeology before establishing a private practice offering consultancy services in the field of archaeological resource management.

In October 1991, he was appointed to the chair of archaeology in the newly-established archaeology group at Bournemouth University and led the Monuments at Risk survey commissioned by English Heritage in the mid 1990s and has worked in Russia, Malta, Greece, and Germany. He is chairman of the board of directors of Cotswold Archaeology, one of the top archaeological companies in the UK, and vice-president of the Society of Antiquaries of London.

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