LEADING figures from across the city have paid tributes to Dr Richard Hall, the world-renowned York archaeologist, who has died at the age of 62.

Dr Hall joined York Archaeological Trust in 1974 eventually holding the position of Director of Archaeology and Deputy Director of the Trust, and was pivotal in the discovery of well-preserved Viking Age houses, textiles, and other artefacts while directing the Coppergate dig between 1976 and 1981.

He was regarded as one of the world’s leading experts on the Viking age.

Through these excavations and his interpretation of findings at the Jorvik Viking Centre in Coppergate, Dr Hall helped millions of people enjoy archaeology and history in an accessible format, and his knowledge and understanding of Viking Age archaeology and culture contributed hugely to the success of the tourist attraction.

Hugh Bayley, York Central MP, said he was “deeply saddened” by the loss of Dr Hall, who he said would be “remembered for centuries”.

Mr Bayley said: “Richard was a brilliant archaeologist and a great scholar, who put York’s Viking history on the map.

“He will be remembered for centuries to come as a person who unpicked the secrets of Viking Jorvik through years of painstaking research.”

Terry Suthers, chairman of York Archaeological Trust, said: “Richard was a diligent, fastidious and meticulous man who had a classic approach to archaeology.

On a personal level he had an indescribable sparkle and dry sense of humour, which will be sorely missed.

Everything Richard did had to be firmly backed up with evidence and explanation, ensuring academic integrity, which has made the Trust’s four attractions so authentic and world-renowned.

Peter Brown, director of the York Civic Trust, said: “It is a very sad loss to York and to the community, and of course to his family.

“He was instrumental, with Dr Peter Addyman, in raising the profile of York Archaeological Trust into an international player, and was hugely helpful and generous with his knowledge, and will be sorely missed.”

Dr Hall was also a prolific writer, and wrote a number of accessible books which helped bring archaeological discoveries to a wider audience, as well as editing the Trust’s stakeholder magazine.

Mr Suthers said: “His absence will be felt greatly at the Trust and throughout the international archaeological community. Our thoughts and condolences are with his family.”

Mr Bayley said: “I am deeply saddened to learn that he has died. The city has lost one of its greatest champions. It is a very sad day.”

John Oxley, City Archaeologist, City of York Council, said: "The recent death of Richard Hall is a huge loss to the city and to archaeology in general.

"He was a passionate supporter of archaeology in the city. He had worked in York since 1974, and when he arrived his declared intention was “digging himself a large part of the Viking town”. In that he succeeded beyond perhaps even his wildest hopes.

"He will be greatly missed. My sympathies go to Ailsa and the boys."

Dr Hall is survived by his wife, Ailsa Mainman, and two teenage sons.

A funeral service will be held on Monday, September 26, in the Quire of York Minster at 1.15pm, and will be followed by a private family interment.