Postcards as Archives: "Excavating" Popular Archaeology at the Turn of the Century

Start: Mar 08, 2017 06:00 PM
End: Mar 08, 2017 07:00 PM

Location: Room 209, UCL Institute of Archaeology

Postcards as archives

Katy Soar (Royal Holloway) will give a seminar organised by the Institute's History of Archaeology Research Network at the Institute on 8 March.


Sir Arthur Evans’ excavations at the Palace of Knossos on Crete were the beginning of the development of what is now the most popular tourist spot on the island. From the very start, this site was created to be a living monument, a theatre of the past, albeit a specific vision of the past. One method this vision was disseminated was through the use of the picture postcard. While the discipline of archaeology has paid little attention to these non-official discourses, transmitted by popular culture, they play an important role in the transmission of particular images about the past.

The heyday of the tourist postcard was the Edwardian period – the period which coincides with the excavations Evans at the Palace. Through their mass-production and circulation among particular groups of people, postcards transformed a place into a commodity for global consumption. This talk will examine various examples of these representations of Knossos to show how they produced an enduring picture of the Minoans and consider how far the performativity, circulation and consumption of these specific images of the Palace authenticate understanding of the past. 

All welcome!

Any enquiries about the event may be directed to Amara Thornton.