A Directory of Archives useful for history of Archaeology Research.
The Historic Environment Image Resource (HEIR) project at the School of Archaeology, University of Oxford is digitising historic lantern slides, dating from the late 19th to mid-20th centuries, in various collections in the University. Photographs cover a wide geographical area. An app developed in conjunction with the digitisation project enables users to upload their own current photographs of the sites represented in the lantern slides, and help HEIR archivists to create keywords for the digitised images.
Image database: http://heir.arch.ox.ac.uk
Project blog: https://heiroxford.wordpress.com/
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 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