Friday, June 5, 2020

Mycenae Archive

Mycenae Archive
Mycenae Archive

The Mycenae Archive presented here draws on the core collection in the Archives of the Faculty of Classics at the University of Cambridge. The collection principally consists of notebooks, drawings, plans and photographs of the archaeological endeavours of the team of the British School at Athens at Mycenae in 1920-1923, 1939 and 1950-1957 under the directorship of Alan John Bayard Wace (1879-1957). Some of the documents presented here are housed in two collections held physically in the British School at Athens (BSA): the Mycenae Excavation Records and as part of its BSA-Society for the Promotion of Hellenic Studies (SPHS) Image Collection.
To celebrate 100 years from the start of Wace’s work at Mycenae in 1920, we have united digitally this collection to offer the public and the scholarly community this resource for perusal in the hope that it will inspire, spark new questions and debates, and advance our knowledge of this key site for the history of early Greece and of the Mediterranean as a whole...
his digitised collection unifies online material held in Cambridge and at the BSA in Athens amounting to almost 5150 pages of 80 excavation notebooks from the years 1920-1923, 1939, 1950-1957. It also includes more than 1700 photographs and over 600 drawings and plans of Mycenae’s remains, within and outside the citadel walls, and of small finds from Wace’s excavations. Unlike edited printed publications, the digitisation of this archival material allows the viewer to form a sense of the nature of the physical documents and to witness history in the making. These records are invaluable in helping specialists do archaeology in reverse – from physical records in digital format working their way back to the excavation trenches and individual finds – and in allowing all those interested in Mycenae’s past to get closer to the day-to-day activities of pioneers in archaeological fieldwork. 

Highlights include Alan Wace’s original notes and thoughts on the progress of the excavation work at Mycenae, the astonishing colour drawings of reconstructed frescoes, jewellery and other finds from Mycenae by Piet de Jong as well as his detailed architectural plans of tombs and architectural remains. The notes of Winifred Lamb and Walter Heurtley, accompanied by numerous sketches, offer vivid accounts of an archaeologist’s tasks at work. Lulu Eldridge made some spectacular off-the-cuff, pen and ink pottery drawings in two tiny notebooks, while photographs captured candid moments in the process of excavation, unremarked in the written record, that connect us with immediacy to life on an active dig a century ago.

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