Basic Biographical Information
James Spedding Kirkman (OBE, FSA) was born in 1906. After graduating from Cambridge in 1928, he worked in various outposts of the British Empire including Borneo (as an administrative officer) and Ceylon (as a tea planter). His plans to work in Iraq were interrupted by World War II, during which he served as a rear gunner with the RAF. He became fluent in Arabic when posted to the Middle East during the war and afterward worked briefly at the Iraqi embassy in London, later joining the External Services of the BBC (Croome 1989; The Times 1989).
Between his stints in Ceylon and Iraq, Kirkman gained experience in archaeology by volunteering at the Castle Dove and later the Maiden Castle excavations (under Mortimer Wheeler) in the early 1930s. He also spent 3 years excavating in Palestine. This, along with his World War II posting, kindled an interest in Islamic culture (Croome 1989). He returned to archaeology in 1948 when, following an inquiry to Louis...
- Allen, J. De V., and T.H. Wilson, eds. 1982. From Zinj to Zanzibar: studies in history, trade and society on the coast of East Africa. Papers presented in honour of Dr. James Kirkman. (Paideuma 28). Wiesbaden: Kommisionsverlag.Google Scholar
- Kirkman, J.S. 1954. The Arab city of Gedi: Excavations at the great mosque. Architecture and finds. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Kirkman, J.S. 1964. Men and monuments on the east African coast. New York: Frederick A. Praeger.Google Scholar
- Kirkman, J.S. 1974. Fort Jesus: A Portuguese fortress on the East African coast. Oxford: The Clarendon Press.Google Scholar
- The Times. 1989. Dr. James Kirkman, Obituary, 3 May.Google Scholar