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Institute of Archaeology

Digitised material from UCL Institute of Archaeology, one of the largest centres for archaeology, cultural heritage and museum studies in Britain.

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Collection descriptions

Vere Gordon Childe: Skara Brae Notebooks

In 2015, a joint project between UCL Library Services, the UCL Institute of Archaeology and Historic Scotland conserved and digitised three notebooks (notebooks 58, 63 and 64) from the Childe Archive relating to Gordon Childe's 1928-1930 excavations at the Neolithic village of Skara Brae in the Orkneys. Funding was provided by Historic Scotland as part of a long-term project on the site. High resolution images of the handwritten notes, drawings and diagrams made by Childe reveal his excavations, plans, observations and discoveries.

Skara Brae is Europe's best-preserved Neolithic village and is around 5000 years old. It is part of the UNESCO Heart of Neolithic Orkney World Heritage Site. The ancient stone buildings of the semi-subterranean village are wonderfully preserved. Excavations at the site have uncovered a rich and sophisticated array of stone furniture, artefacts and organic remains. Photographs of the site, including some of Childe's excavations, are available through Historic Scotland's Canmore resource.


Vere Gordon Childe: The Dawn of European Civilisation

In 2017, to celebrate the 80th anniversary of the UCL Institute of Archaeology, UCL Library Services digitised one of the most influential books on European Archaeology: Vere Gordon Childe's The Dawn of European Civilisation. Full-text open access is provided to all six editions published by Kegan Paul between 1925 and 1957 (1925; 1927; 1939; 1947; 1950; 1957), as well as Childe's own personal copies of the third, fourth and fifth editions, recently discovered in UCL Library Stores, that he used as 'proofs' to update subsequent editions. These proofs offer unprecidented insight into Childe's working methods.

Childe's contemporary, Glyn Daniel, described the book as 'not merely a book of incomparible archaeological erudition, but a new starting point for prehistoric archaeology'. The innovative concept of 'cultures' was used along with a range of theories and detailed archaeological evidence to reconstruct the prehistory of Europe. Although many of the ideas and chronologies of The Dawn have been disproved, it is still widely used today for archaeological research.


Yarowilca Sites of the Alto Marañón, Peru

Collection of photographs taken by John S. Ingham, during visits made to the area in 1996 and in 2015 to 2018.

The area of the Alto Marañón, in the departments of Huánuco and Ancash, has many sites of the Yarowilca culture, dating approximately from 1100 to 1450 CE. Some of these stand comparison with the most impressive archaeological sites in Peru. However, they are little known, both inside Peru and internationally, to tourists and to science. Moreover they are almost all in poor condition and in desperate need of conservation. The purpose of this collection is to make these sites and culture better known.

A number of these photogrpahs appear in John's 2018 publication Yarowilca Sites of the Region of the Alto Marañón, Peru. The book is also available to view on the collection pages.


The Annual Report of the Institute of Archaeology

The Annual Report of the Institute of Archaeology was the Institute’s first annual journal. Each volume combined administrative information with academic research articles. Administrative reports outlined teaching, outreach, exhibitions, projects, excavations, collections, student numbers, and lectures from visiting scholars. Research articles were of high standard, highlighting the international research of the Institute’s staff, students, and visiting lecturers. The Report was the first journal produced by a university archaeology department in the UK and forms an important research resource for the history of the Institute of Archaeology and archaeology as an international discipline. After 1958, the annual reports were merged into the Bulletin of the Institute of Archaeology. This was replaced in 1997 by Archaeology International.