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Evans (Arthur) Collection

Archive Collection description: EVA

Evans (Arthur) Collection (1838-1936)

An online catalogue for this collection is available.

Arthur John Evans (1851-1941) had recently graduated from Oxford University and was travelling in Bosnia with his brother Lewis in 1874 when a Christian peasant rebellion against Ottoman rule began. On his return to Britain, Evans published an account of his experiences and as a result of his knowledge of the Balkans which were at that moment in crisis, he immediately became known as an authority on the region. His involvement deepened as he became secretary of the British Fund for Balkan refugees and special correspondent for the "Manchester Guardian" in the Balkans, based in Ragusa (now Dubrovnik), Croatia. His reports however raised suspicions of spying among the Austrian authorities and as a result in 1882 he was arrested for high treason, imprisoned and expelled. Evans retained a concern for the area for the rest of his life.

The papers in this collection relate to Evans' journalistic and political activities in the Balkans, however the career for which he achieved most reknown was archaeology. Whilst working as a journalist in Ragusa 1876-1882 and on later visits, he was a pioneer in identifying sites of Roman cities and roads in Bosnia and Macedonia. In 1884 he became keeper of the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, a post he held until 1908, after which time he became honorary keeper. In 1894 he began travels in Crete. It was here that he made his most famous archaological find with the escavation of the Palace of Minos in Crete 1899-1907, in Greek mythology home of the Minotaur. Evans was also a founder member of the British Academy in 1902 and was knighted in 1911. He married Margaret Freeman in 1878, she shared in his work but died in 1893.
Ref: "Bulletin of the Institute of Archaeology" vol 13, 1976, pp 25-26, "Dictionary of National Biography", Brown, A "Before Knossos ... Arthur Evans' travels in the Balkans and Crete" (Oxford, 1993)


EVA/1 Material bequested by Evans to SSEES and comprising his writings, notes, sketches, correspondence, photographs, press cuttings, pamphlets and offprints relating to the Balkans.

EVA/2 Material on long term loan from the Ashmolean Museum and comprising Evans's writings, notes, sketches, correspondence, press cuttings, pamphlets and offprints relating to the Balkans.

8 boxes, 10 volumes and 1 map
Condition: some volumes are have damaged spines or loose pages

(Language) (mostly) English & French & German & Greek & Italian & Latin & Persian & Serbo-Croat & Turkish & Urdu

Indexes of places and correspondents are available in hard copy only in the Library

Unrestricted access

See also archive collection ref. EVM which contains Evans' wife Margaret's journals. The Ashmolean Museum, Oxford contains a large collection of Evans' artefacts and papers relating to his career as an archaeologist. The Pitt-Rivers Museum, Oxford has a small collection (ref. B63) mainly of pencil drawings made by Evans in the Balkans.

A record for this collection is also available on the UCL Archives web site. To see it, please type EVA into the search field.

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This page last modified Thursday 22 April 2010.