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Ross Thomas

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We are terribly saddened to share that Ross Iain Thomas passed away unexpectedly on 14 November 2022 following surgery. He was just 44 years old.

Ross was a loving husband and father to his wife, Elisabeth, and his children, Ethan, 7, and Ayla, 4; as well as a devoted son to Angela and Nigel and brother to Bryn Thomas.

Ross was a stalwart archaeologist specialising in ancient maritime networks and technologies with a BA from Durham University (1999) and a PhD from the University of Southampton (2009). A leading specialist in Roman Eastern Mediterranean and Red Sea port communities, he also published widely on the Hellenistic and Nubian worlds, having undertaken fieldwork on land in the UK, Jordan, Egypt, Sudan and the UAE and underwater in Israel and Egypt. He led fieldwork at several sites, including as Co-Director of the Red Sea Wrecks Survey (2010-2011) and Director of the British Museum Naukratis Fieldwork Project (2012-present).

Ross joined the British Museum in 2011 as a Project Curator on the Naukratis Project, before becoming a Curator of Roman Collections in 2016. He was committed to public and professional service. Ross was a keen supporter of students, especially those from less privileged backgrounds, organising annual Museum placements. He also served on the boards of several grant-giving bodies and as a trustee of the Palestine Exploration Fund, the Roman Society and, most recently, the Brading Roman Villa, on the Isle of Wight, a site perched above the family home where he grew up and an inspiration for his future career.

Ross will be greatly missed by his family, friends and colleagues. We know many of you will want to extend support for the family during this difficult time, so friends of Ross and Elisabeth have set up this page to raise funds to alleviate some of the unexpected costs incurred by the memorial and beyond. All funds will go directly to Elisabeth to help with the family’s expenses.

Further information on memorial arrangements and the family’s wishes concerning contact will be made available when possible with updates to this page.

We cannot express how grateful we are for your support.

*20 NOVEMBER UPDATE*: We wanted to let you all know how grateful we are for your support of Elisabeth and her family. Your generosity has deeply moved Elisabeth and, while she's still overwhelmed as she continues to address immediate needs for Ross's service and for the kids, she wants you to know how grateful she is -- and that she should be able to share details about Ross's service in the coming week. We'll post those here as soon as we know more. In the meantime, please forgive this universal thank you, as it is no less heartfelt, and continue to forward the link to this page if you know others who would want to know and support Ross's family.

A service in celebration of the life of Ross Iain Thomas will be held at:

10am, Thursday, 8 December
St Barnabas Church,
St Barnabas Road, Walthamstow
London, E17 8JZ

Afterwards we will gather for food and drink at:

The Queen’s Arms
Walthamstow Village
42 Orford Rd, E17 9NJ

Please pass on these details to anyone who knew Ross and would like to attend.

All are welcome.

So that we can confirm the catering provision at the Queen’s Arms, please let us know if you plan to join by Saturday, 3 December:
[email redacted] [please join characters: Remembering Ross 2022 @ g m a i l . c o m]

If you have pictures of Ross you would like to share, please send digital images to the same address above.

For donations in lieu of flowers, please, details to follow.

The locations are easily accessible by public transportation via tube, overground or bus to Walthamstow Central Station. Parking is generally not available on neighbouring streets except using a ‘RingGo’ app or similar. Nearby car parks include Walthamstow Central Station.


  • Anonymous
    • £200 
    • 1 yr
  • Larry Mendenhall
    • £200 
    • 1 yr
  • Anonymous
    • £10 
    • 1 yr
  • James Keenan
    • £500 
    • 1 yr
  • Anonymous
    • £50 
    • 1 yr

Fundraising team (3)

Ladan Akbarnia
Elisabeth OConnell
Neal Spencer
Team member
Mariam Rosser-Owen
Team member

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