Layard, Sir Austen Henry (lāˈərd) [key], 1817–94, English archaeologist and diplomat. Between 1842 and 1851 he explored and excavated in Mesopotamia, especially at Nineveh. In the period from 1852 to 1869 he held various government positions, including those of under secretary of foreign affairs and chief commissioner of works. Later he was minister to Spain (1869–77) and ambassador to Constantinople (1877–80). His fine collections are in the Assyrian section of the British Museum. Among his books are Discoveries in the Ruins of Nineveh and Babylon (1853) and his autobiography (1903).
See biographies by G. Waterfield (1963) and N. B. Kubie (1964).