STAFF and volunteers at Fishbourne Roman Palace have paid tribute to one of its founders.
Archaeologist and former president of the Emsworth Maritime Historical Trust Dr Margaret Rule, CBE, died aged 86 on April 9.
She played a central role in the excavation of Fishbourne Roman Palace.
In 1968 she became the Palace’s first curator, and witnessed the museum receiving a quarter of a million visitors in its first year.
She served until 1979, during which time she published studies of the palace and of floor mosaics in Roman Britain.
Fishbourne’s first director said: “It was with great sadness that the staff and volunteers at Fishbourne Roman Palace heard of the death of Dr Margaret Rule.
“Despite the fact that it is 37 years since she left the Roman Palace, she has retained an iconic status, along with Professor Sir Barry Cunliffe, as being one of the key people in the discovery, excavation and opening to the public of one of Britain’s most important archaeological sites.”
Margaret remained curator until 1979 when she left to become involved in the excavation and recovery of the Mary Rose in 1982.
Rear admiral John Lippiett, chief executive of the Mary Rose Trust, said: “For very nearly 50 years, her name has been synonymous with that of the Mary Rose, Henry VIII’s flagship, she having been the archaeological director of the remarkable excavation.”