Alexander Ormiston Curle
Alex Curle, archaeologist and curator, was born in 1866, the son of a Melrose lawyer. He was secretary of the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland in 1908, and succeeded Joseph Anderson as director of the National Museum of Antiquities, Edinburgh, in 1913. As secretary of the Royal Commission he surveyed the ancient monuments of Berwickshire, Sutherland and Caithness single-handed, usually travelling by bicycle, and wrote up all the entries about them for the printed inventories. In the 1930s, by then in his seventies, he carried out a series of excavations at Jarlshof in Shetland: he uncovered the first known Norse houses in Scotland there. He also excavated an Iron Age smithy at Wiltrow, Dunrossness. Curle maintained his interests into old age: in 1950 he attended and spoke at the Viking Congress in Lerwick. He died in January 1955.