A BRADING Roman Villa trustee and British Museum curator, who grew up on the Isle of Wight and had a stellar career in maritime archaeology, has died at the age of 44.
Dr Ross Thomas is survived by his wife, two children aged seven and four, his parents and brother.
A Brading Roman Villa spokesperson said: "He will be greatly missed by his family, friends and colleagues and our thoughts are with them all at this time."
The County Press spoke to Dr Thomas earlier this year and he said being from the Isle of Wight inspired him, as he had always had an interest in maritime archaeology.
Brading Roman Villa said: "The trustees are very sad to announce that our friend, colleague and trustee, Dr Ross Thomas, passed away unexpectedly on November 14 after surgery.
"We were delighted to have Ross join us as trustee a little over a year ago, not only as an archaeologist with an array of fieldwork on land and underwater across the Hellenistic and Roman worlds and a curator of the Department of Greece and Rome at the British Museum, but also because he had grown up near Brading Roman Villa, often saying that it was an inspiration for his future career.
"He was committed to public and professional service. Ross was a keen supporter of students, especially those from less privileged backgrounds, organising annual British Museum placements.
"With broad experience and strong relationships with international institutions, antiquities services and learned societies, he served on several boards and was keenly aware of the role and responsibilities of charitable trusts, such as ours.
"In the brief time he was a trustee of Brading Roman Villa, we had the benefit of his enthusiasm and empathy for our site, and ideas for the future, which will not be forgotten.
"Further information on memorial arrangements and the family’s wishes concerning contact will be made available when possible."
A GoFundMe page has been set up to help support Dr Thomas's family, which can be found at https://gofund.me/2e75d723