Nancy Sandars

Nancy K Sandars

Nancy Sandars

"Welcome to my website. I have had so many wonderful friends over the years and I would like this website to be a record of them."   —   Nancy Sandars

Nancy Sandars

Nancy Sandars (1914-2015) was an archaeologist and writer living in Oxfordshire. This website contains an archive of articles, letters, photographs, reminiscences and other information, drawn from her long and remarkable life. (Wikipedia entry.)


The Lucid Past of Nancy Sandars


Documentary film showings

A new biographical documentary (75 mins) by Rebecca Huxley and Mike Tomlinson will be launched on 23rd February 2019 at St Hugh's College, Oxford, where Nancy studied. The showing concludes a Women in Archaeology Study Day. Link to the St Hugh's event website - This event is now SOLD OUT and there is an email link and phone number if you would like to go on a waiting list. The evening film showing is at 6pm and is open to those not attending the study day though this is subject to space being available.

There will also be showings on Saturday 2nd March and Saturday 9th March at 7.30pm in the Timberyard Room, Little Tew, OX7 4HZ. As this is a small venue with limited seating, please book places by email to if would like to come to the Little Tew village events.

Please note that the screening on 2nd March is now FULLY BOOKED, though there are still a few places on 9th March, (as at 15/02/2019).


Background to the film

The biographical documentary, 'The Lucid Past of Nancy Sandars', is a film by Mike Tomlinson and Rebecca Huxley (Nancy's god-daughter). The film is based on an interview with Nancy in 2013, in which she discusses her long and remarkable life, and also features interviews with those who knew her and her work.

Nancy was a celebrated archaeologist and writer. She specialised in the Bronze Age and wrote a number of books on this period of prehistory. She also wrote a translation of the ancient Mesapotamian poem, The Epic of Gilgamesh, which was published by Penguin and sold over a million copies. She has been appreciated particularly for the accessible and lucid style of her writing which brought past times to life.

Less well known is the fact that her archaeological career was interrupted by the Second World War, in which she worked first as a motorcycle dispatch rider and then as part of the WRNS top secret 'Y Service', listening in to German wireless traffic and feeding the information to military intelligence at Bletchley Park.

She was also a fine poet, though her poetry was not published until she was in her 90s, and with some only published posthumously.

Nancy died in November 2015 in the house where she had been born. For her entire 101 year life, The Manor House in Little Tew was her family home, shared with her sister Betty, which they turned into a cultural hub for those interested in the arts and where they regularly welcomed family, friends and fellow Little Tew residents. Her life traces a fascinating path through a whole century of the social history of the village.


Evening Primroses

Evening Primroses by Nancy Sandars

Evening Primroses is a posthumous collection of poems, published by Agenda, with a preface by John Fuller.

It contains previously unpublished examples of her work from six decades, all characteristic of her sharp cultural and historical awareness, of her observant celebration of nature, and (in some moving last poems) of loneliness and loss.

Copies are available at £10.

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