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Portrait of Peggy Piggott (Peggy Guido) by Frank Griffith

Portrait of Peggy Piggott by Frank Griffith (1889-1979), painted in c.1938.

Peggy Guido was President of the Wiltshire Archaeological and Natural History Society, jointly with the archaeologist Stuart Piggott, her former husband. Peggy was a leading archaeologist, excavating many prehistoric sites in Wiltshire and beyond and became the leading authority on glass beads from the Iron Age to Anglo-Saxon period.

Peggy was born Cecily Margaret Preston in 1912 in Kent, and excavated the Roman town of St Albans with Mortimer and Tessa Wheeler. She studied at  archaeology at the Institute of Archaeology in London, where she met Stuart Piggott, her first husband. In 1939 they were invited to join the excavation of the famous Anglo-Saxon ship burial at Sutton Hoo, bringing their excavation skills. The story has been filmed as 'The Dig' in which she is played by the actress Lily James. It was Peggy that found the first item of gold in the burial. The tape measure that she used on the excavation is now in the collections of the Wiltshire Museum (see the YouTube video below).

Peggy had a distinguished career as an archaeologist, leading excavations across Britain, including Wiltshire sites such as Little Woodbury and Grim's Ditch, before moving to Italy, where she met Luigi Guido, her second husband. She moved to Devizes in 1977 and became Vice-President in 1984 before being elected joint President with her first husband, Stuart Piggott. She died in 1994, leaving a substantial legacy to the Society and a bequest that helped the National Trust to purchase land surrounding Silbury Hill.

Find out more about Peggy Guido on the Trowelblazer website. For a detailed assessment of her archaeological career, then see this article in the Oxford Journal of Archaeology by Rachel Pope and Mairi Davies. The article also features this portrait of Peggy.

Purchased with the assistance of the Museums and Galleries Commission/Victoria and Albert Museum Purchase Grant Fund, 1996


Peggy Guido’s tape measure – used at Sutton Hoo

Peggy Guido, President of the Wiltshire Archaeological and Natural History Society

Frank Griffith

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