In the 1950's, Sir Mortimer was a frequent guest on a BBC archaeological quiz show called Animal, Vegetable, Mineral? and was the British Broadcasting Corporation's first television personality of the year in 1954.
But, he was much more than a TV personality.
Sir Mortimer Wheeler was the Indiana Jones of British archaeology in the twentieth-century; a mixture of military officer, moustachioed playboy, and inspector extraordinare. Wheeler (1890-1976) was a fastidious excavator with an artist's eye for detail and a soldier's discipline on digging and recording. His system of dividing sites into square blocks with thin walls in between came to be known as the Wheeler grid and is still in use today.
He was especially interested in the links that could be formed between archaeology and history. While excavating burials at Maiden Castle, He discovered a Roman ballista bolt embedded in one's spine, and from this inferred that these were the last defenders of the site against Roman legions in AD 43. While working at Verulamium, he was set on finding the remains of the capital of Cassivellaunus, the British chieftain who opposed Julius Caesar in 54 BC.
Most of his fieldwork was centered around the British sites occupied just before and during the Roman Empire. Just after WWI, he worked at Colchester, and then at the legionary fortresses of Caernarfon, Brecon and Caerleon. After WWII, he explored the Iron Age fortifications at Stanwick in Yorkshire.
His greatest asset may have been his enthusiasm, and his esprit de corps, which infected all with whom he worked. Whether, playing skittles with his men in local pubs or singing songs around a campfire, Sir Wheeler shared his passion with all.
source: Cambridge Illustrated History/Archaeology. Ed. Paul Bahn