Ivor NoŽl-Hume joined the staff of Guildhall Museum in London in 1949. He became chief archaeologist and director of the expanded Colonial Williamsburg archaeology program in 1957, and subsequently became the director of the Department of Archaeological Research, until his retirement in 1988.
His achievements including a number of finds: the seventeenth century site of Wolstenholme Towne, at Carter's Grove Plantation just east of Williamsburg. Wolstenholme at Martin's Hundred was one of the early Virginia settlements after Jamestown and evidence of the 1622 Indian attack were found in the death of several of the citizens and the discovery of Thomas Harriot's "science center" on Roanoke Island, North Carolina. The Wolstenholme project was subject of two major articles in National Geographic Magazine (June, 1979 and January 1982). Major excavations in Colonial Williamsburg included work at the original site of Eastern State Mental Hospital, conducted in 1972, which was the largest site work since the excavation of the Governor's Palace in 1930, the James Geddy House and shop, Weatherburn's Tavern and outbuildings and the cabinetmakers shop.
His work is noted for the effort to put the social life and economic overtones of history into the discoveries unearth through archaeological examinationóthus, "Historical Archaeology." When he began his career, historical archaeology did not exist as an academic discipline. It fell to NoŽl Hume's books, lectures, and television presentations to help bring it to the forefront of his profession, where it stands today. NoŽl Hume also has written of his hobbies as related to archaeology: If These Pots Could Talk: Collecting 2,000 years of British Household Pottery,Early English Delftware from London to Virginia, and 1775: Another Part of the Field, (a month-by-month account of everyday life in Virginia).
His newest book, Belzoni -- The Giant Archaeologists Love to Hate, another University of Virginia Press publication, was released in October 2011. He also has written more than 20 books related to archaeology, such as Archaeology in Britain, Here Lies Virginia, All the Best Rubbish, Martin's Hundred, The Virginia Adventure: Roanoke to James Towne, A Guide to Artifacts of Colonial America, Historical Archaeology, Treasure in the Thames, In Search of This & That: Tales from an Archaeologist's Quest, and Something from the Cellar: More of this This & That.
He was recognized by Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain in 1993 and was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (O.B.E.) "for service to the British cultural interests in Virginia."