Institute of Archaeology


Ghosts and fragments in the archives of OGS Crawford

22 January 2019, 6:00 pm

Ghosts and fragments in the archives of OGS Crawford

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Room 209, UCL Institute of Archaeology

Martyn Barber (Historic England) will give a seminar organised by the History of Archaeology Research Network at the UCL Institute of Archaeology on 22 January.


OGS Crawford (1886-1957) was the founder and first editor (1927-1957) of the journal Antiquity, the man who introduced aerial photography to British archaeology, and much more besides.

This talk pays particular attention to Crawford's own personal archive of documents and correspondence, which was deposited at the Bodleian in the 1950s (there are other collections elsewhere). This archive presents a number of problems - ostensibly spanning his entire life, it is both revealing and frustrating in equal measure. He was careful about what he kept, and what he left for future scholars to pore over. He insisted that part of the collection remain sealed until the year 2000 - something he taunted readers of his autobiography (1955) about - and wrote letters addressed directly to future researchers. He teases, obscures, misdirects; key aspects of his life - both professional and private, some of them very well-known - are partly or wholly absent.

So what was he up to? And how do we deal with those absences? I want to explore these challenges by taking a look at some of the things missing from the Bodleian collection, as well as some of the more unexpected items that were included.

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