A Directory of Archives useful for history of Archaeology Research.
Summary by Amara Thornton
Gertrude Bell (1868-1926) was a British traveller, archaeologist and political official, who is most well known for her participation in intelligence with the Arab Bureau during the First World War, her subsequent role as Political Advisor to the Cairo Peace Conference in 1919, and her role as the Director of Antiquities in Iraq from 1922 to 1926 and founder of the Museum of Antiquities (now Iraq Museum) in Baghdad. Educated at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford, in Modern History, Bell made her name as a noted traveller and mountaineer from the 1890s onwards, publishing several travel books before the First World War.
Newcastle University holds a large collection of Bell's letters, diaries and photographs showing her life and explorations in the Middle East. The University has also developed a comic book based on Bell's life and letters, as well as teachers' resources for schools.
Scope of collection:
photographs (inc. Syria, Lebanon, Turkey, Balkans, India, Pakistan, Iraq, Canada and Bell's "personalia"), diaries (1877-1917), letters (1874-1926)
University Website: http://gertrudebell.ncl.ac.uk/
Archive website: https://research.ncl.ac.uk/gertrudebell/
Summary by Amara Thornton, with additional information from Colin Penman, UCL Special Collections, Archives and Records
University College London was established in 1828 in order to provide higher education to (mainly) middle-class students. Unlike Oxford and Cambridge, the other two universities in England at that time, UCL enabled students from any religious background to gain higher education. When the University of London was set up in the 1830s, UCL students were then able to sit for degree examinations at the University of London examination board. In the 1870s women were admitted as UCL students on the same terms as men.
UCL had an Archaeology department from the 1880s, and in 1892 Flinders Petrie was appointed the first Professor of Egyptian Archaeology, a post funded by Amelia Blandford Edwards. Edwards' bequest was given to UCL because the College admitted women.
UCL Special Collections, Archives and Records holds the records of UCL, including material relating to UCL Egyptology and Archaeology departments organisation, staff and students, as well as the Slade School archives.
Scope of collection:
Student records, college prospectus, registers, fees books, correspondence, administrative records, plans, photographs.
Hale Bellot, H. 1929. University College London 1826-1926. London: University of London Press.
Harte, N. & North J. 2004. The World of UCL, 1828-2004. London: UCL Press.
Harte, N. 1986. The University of London 1836-1986: an illustrated history. London: Athelone Press.
Janssen, R. 1992. The first hundred years: Egyptology at University College London. London: Petrie Museum.
Sheppard, K. 2015. Margaret Alice Murray and Archaeological Training in the Classroom: Preparing “Petrie’s Pups”. In W. Carruthers (Ed.). Histories of Egyptology: interdisciplinary measures. New York: Routledge.
Summary by Amara Thornton, with additional information from Nancy Charley, Royal Asiatic Society
The Royal Asiatic Society was established in London in 1823 for the study of the science, art, literature and culture of Asia. Members included individuals living in Britain and overseas, networks of contacts helped to feed information about the archaeology and antiquities of Asia, particularly India, from the beginning of the Society's history. A special "Committee of Correspondence" was established for this purpose. The East India Company was an early supporter of the RAS, and branches were established in Bombay, Ceylon (Sri Lanka) and Hong Kong by 1850. The scope of papers in the Society's Journal is wide - topics relate to history, travels, language and literature, antiquities, peoples and cultures, and archaeology.
The RAS was a particularly important venue for discussion and scholarship in Assyriology. Archaeologist Henry Creswicke Rawlinson presented his work in copying and deciphering cunieform tablets in Persia (Iran) at the Society in the mid-19th century. The RAS played host to the 2nd International Congress of Orientalists in London in 1873, the year of its fiftieth anniversary. In 1919, the Society of Biblical Archaeology merged with the Royal Asiatic Society, bringing a further archaeological focus to the Society's remit. By the late 1920s, reports were read by archaeologist Reginald Campbell Thompson at RAS meetings of excavations in Iraq.
Scope of collections:
Minute books, films, artwork, correspondence, photographs, manuscripts, maps, printed matter and the collection of Horace Geoffrey Quaritch Wales (including furniture, photographs and papers). See RAS website for further details. The Society also holds a large collection of archaeologist Aurel Stein's photographs.
Digital Collections: https://royalasiaticcollections.org/
Nancy Charley, Archivist
Ed Weech, Librarian
Centenary Volume of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland (1923)
Regulations of the Royal Asiatic Society
Summary by Amara Thornton
Established in 1937 in London to provide specialist training in archaeology. Originally a separate insitution within the University of London, the Institute of Archaeology merged with UCL in the 1980s. The UCL Institute of Archaeology has a large collection of archaeological archives, and is particularly strong in representing British archaeologists working in the Middle East in the early 20th century.
Scope of Collection:
Field notes, photographs, correspondence, diaries, manuscript drafts, ephemera, films.
Institute of Archaeology archives page
Photographs of archaeological sites in British Mandate Transjordan and Palestine (Horsfield archive) via Micropasts Flickr
Ian Carroll, Collections Manager
Moshenska, G., Schadla-Hall, T. 2011. Mortimer Wheeler’s Theatre of the Past. Public Archaeology, 10 (1): 46-55. doi:10.1179/175355311X12991501673221
Sparks, R.T., Laidlaw, S. 2007. A Future for the Past: Petrie's Palestinian Collection. Dorcester Dorset: Henry Ling.
Sparks, R.T. 2014. Near Eastern encounters: the collections and archives of the Institute of Archaeology, UCL. In The Forgotten Kingdom. Past and Present Excavations at Tell Atchana/Alalakh. Koc University Press.
Sparks, R.T. 2013. Publicising Petrie: Financing fieldwork in British Mandate Palestine (1926-1938). Present Pasts, 5 (1), 2. doi:10.5334/pp.56
Thornton, A. 2016. GL Harding Presents Digging in Palestine - Archaeology on Film. British Archaeology, 149: 38-43.
Thornton, A. 2014. The Nobody: Exploring Archaeological Identity with George Horsfield (1882-1956). Archaeology International 17: 137-156. doi:10.5334/ai.1720
Thornton, A., Perry, S. 2011. Collection and Production: The History of the Institute of Archaeology through Photography. Archaeology International 13 (0), doi:10.5334/ai.1319