Albert Hesse

Very sadly Albert Hesse has died on 2nd July 2022. He was one of the pioneers of archaeological geophysics and helped to establish the subject as a discipline not only in France but across Europe. He dedicated his engineering doctorate to the early evaluation of various techniques (1966: Prospections géophysiques a faible profondeur. Applications a l'archéologie. Paris: Dunod) and undertook several seasonality tests. He became the director of the CNRS geophysics research centre in Garchy/France in 1982 where experiments on its test site led to further scientific evaluations of various geophysical techniques for archaeology (most notably LFEM). Student exchanges between Garchy and Bradford/UK led to international collaborations and the exchange of ideas.
With his scientific and engineering background Albert was always driven by the conviction that these methods can help with archaeological enquiries and he undertook surveys not only in France, but also in many other countries, from Mexico to India and often in the Middle East.

Most of all he will be remembered as a great mentor and enabler who inspired younger researchers and helped them to flourish. He was an ISAP Honorary Member since the beginning in 2004. And will be missed by many.

Armin Schmidt (Chair), 3 July 2022

A short CV was published by the LBI-ArchPro as part of the conference 'Pioneering Archaeological Prospection' in 2011.

Contributions in Honour of Albert Hesse

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The Artistic Albert Hesse

Each Christmas Albert and I exchanged a celebratory photograph and here is his from Christmas 2021. His message with it was an invite to meet up the next time we were in France. Sadly, that will now never happen. He and his photographs will be very much missed each Christmas by me, and he himself will be very much missed by all of us in the wider geophysics community.

Roger Walker
(Geoscan Research)

The multi-talented Albert Hesse

I first met Albert in Los Angeles 1992. I was presenting my first poster in the ISA meeting and he made very interesting and positive comments about it.
I invited him to participate in field work around 1995 in Zacapu, Michoacan and we spent a couple of weeks working together and doing magnetic gradient and electric resistivity surveys, producing one of our most beautiful maps ever. By that time, he also suggested some modifications in our Bradphys IV equipment that improved its performance.
In the evenings, I remember him inside our mobile lab, preparing pastis with cold water, while we were making comments and were processing data. After finishing everyday work, he used to walk back to our hotel in the town, 2 km away, to take pictures that later, some of them, were transformed into aquarelle paintings. He was fascinated by the volcanic landscape and the violet color of the jacarandas blossom.
As a member of the Standing Committee, he suggested to me to organize the ISA meeting in 2000 in Mexico. He attended it and then he traveled, with his wife Janine, to a variety of places in Mexico afterwards.
I remember him as a rigorous engineer in field work, a pioneer in archaeological prospection that invited me to visit the mythic Garchy testing field. In addition, he was a great photographer and aquarelle painter but even more important, I remember him as a generous person sharing all his knowledge and talents with the people around him.

Luis Barba
The Cave Restaurant, Teotihuacan. Jan 28, 1995

Always helpful

I will remember Albert with huge fondness. He was always so very welcoming and always gave helpful advice and suggestions, going so far as to track down out of print papers of his for my literature review.
I will miss him at conferences and send my regards and condolences to his family, friends and colleagues.

Kayt Armstrong

Fond Memories

I first met Albert in 1982 when I arrived in Garchy as a 3rd year placement student in Archaeological Sciences at the University of Bradford. Albert had recently taken over as the Director of the CNRS geophysics research centre there and had limited time for his beloved research. Nevertheless, he was an approachable and supportive individual and we came to know each other well. In the 40 years since Garchy, I saw Albert intermittently, mostly at conferences. One memorable experience was when Albert took Chris Gaffney and I to a Turkish Bath in Ankara during the International Archaeometry Symposium in 1994.

I was invited to dinner at Albert’s just before my placement ended in March 1983. Albert peeled off at the wine label, signed it and presented it to me. I have kept it ever since. It’s a fond memory of his warmth and friendship. He was a true pioneer and passionate about the contribution of geophysics to archaeology.

Carl Heron
The British Museum
The wine label