David Gibbins is a bestselling novelist and archaeologist, and a world authority on ancient shipwrecks and sunken cities. He was born in Saskatoon, Canada in 1962, to English parents, and grew up in Canada, New Zealand and England. An early fascination with archaeology led him to study at the University of Bristol, where he graduated with First Class Honours in 1983. He then attended Cambridge University as a Research Scholar of Corpus Christi College, where he was awarded a PhD in archaeology in 1991. For much of the next decade he held a permanent faculty position as a university lecturer in the UK, where he taught archaeology, art history and ancient history, before leaving teaching to devote himself full-time to writing novels and carrying out fieldwork.
David has been passionate about underwater archaeology and diving since childhood. He qualified as a diver at the earliest possible age, and dived under ice while he was still at school. He first dived on a shipwreck at the age of 15, in the Great Lakes of Canada. Since then he has explored numerous shipwrecks and other sunken sites around the world, ranging in date from earliest prehistory to modern times. He has excavated ancient Greek and Roman shipwrecks off Italy, Turkey, Tunisia and Britain, and led a team to investigate the sunken harbour of ancient Carthage. Since the 1980s he has directed a programme of research on ancient shipwrecks off Sicily, making many exciting discoveries.
In addition to underwater exploration, David has directed archaeological projects on dry land – including the excavation of a monastic site in England, and the discovery of one of the earliest sites of human habitation in Canada. He has traveled extensively, and continues to do so to research his books. As a travel scholar of the British Institute of Archaeology in Ankara he was able to explore eastern Turkey before the Kurdish uprising, and as a Winston Churchill Memorial Travel Fellow he studied sites across the east Mediterranean. Most recently he has traveled in the Republic of Georgia and in Central Asia under the auspices of a NATO Committee, has carried out exploration in Greenland and the Yucatan peninsula of Mexico, and has dived on shipwreck sites off Britain and the Great Lakes of Canada.
David comes from a family with a strong literary background. His parents were both university professors, and his father was a poet. His paternal grandfather, a merchant navy captain, wrote fiction in the tradition of Joseph Conrad. He is descended from Walter Andrew Gale, a pioneer of the British Esperanto movement, and is also related to the Victorian historian Henry de Beltgens Gibbins.
When he is not away on expeditions David divides his time between his family farm in Canada and England, where he has a seven-year-old daughter.