8 days until service
December 8, 2022
Illustration of flowers

Ross Thomas

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.

Fundraising team (4)

Ladan Akbarnia 
Raised £1,695 from 17 donations
Dewsbury Road, London
Elisabeth OConnell 
Neal Spencer 
Team member
Raised £1,450 from 12 donations
Mariam Rosser-Owen 
Team member
Raised £70 from 2 donations

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