Life-writing in the History of Archaeology
Edited by Clare Lewis and Gabriel Moshenska
Life-writing is a vital part of the history of archaeology, and a growing field of scholarship within the discipline. The lives of archaeologists are entangled with histories of museums and collections, developments in science and scholarship, and narratives of nationalism and colonialism into the present. In recent years life-writing has played an important role in the surge of new research in the history of archaeology, including ground-breaking studies of discipline formation, institutionalisation, and social and intellectual networks. Sources such as diaries, wills, film, and the growing body of digital records are powerful tools for highlighting the contributions of hitherto marginalised archaeological lives including many pioneering women, hired labourers and other ‘hidden hands’.
This book brings together critical perspectives on life-writing in the history of archaeology from leading figures in the field. These include studies of archive formation and use, the concept of ‘dig-writing’ as a distinctive genre of archaeological creativity, and reviews of new sources for already well-known lives. Several chapters reflect on the experience of life-writing, review the historiography of the field, and assess the intellectual value and significance of life-writing as a genre. Together, they work to problematise underlying assumptions about this genre, foregrounding methodology, social theory, ethics and other practice-focused frameworks in conscious tension with previous practices.
Gabriel Moshenska is Associate Professor in Public Archaeology at UCL Institute of Archaeology.
Clare Lewis is a lecturer (teaching) in Arts and Sciences at UCL.
List of figures and tables
List of contributors
Gabriel Moshenska and Clare Lewis
Part I: Critical perspectives
1 Biography in science studies and the historiography of archaeology: Some methodological guidelines
2 A plea for 'higher criticism' in disciplinary history: Life-writing sources in the history of German-speaking Egyptology
Thomas L. Gertzen
3 Toward a prosopography of archaeology from the margins
Thea De Armond
4 Crafting an institution, reshaping a discipline: Intellectual biography, the archive and philanthropic culture
5 An epistolary corpus: Beyond the margins of ‘official’ archives, T.E. Peet’s First World War correspondence
6 Archaeology, social networks and lives: ‘Dig writing’ and the history of archaeology
Part II: Sources and networks
7 The accidental linguist: Herbert Thompson’s contribution to Egyptian language studies traced through his archive Catherine Ansorge
8 Margerie Venables Taylor (1881-1963): An unsung heroine of Roman Britain?
Martha Lovell Stewart
9 Father Alfred-Louis Delattre (1850-1932) versus Paul Gauckler (1866-1911): The struggle to control archaeology at Carthage at the turn of the twentieth century
10 Hugh Falconer: botanist, palaeontologist, controversialist
11 Personal and professional networks in early nineteenth-century Egyptology: The letters of Conrad Leemans to Thomas Pettigrew
12 Life-writing Vere Gordon Childe from secret surveillance files
Part III: Reflections on practice
13 Alternative narratives in the history of archaeology: Exploring diaries as a form of reflexivity
Oscar Moro Abadía
14 Archaeologists, curators, collectors and donors: reflecting on the past through archaeological lives
15 The ghosts of Mary Ann Severn Newton: Grief, an imagined life and (auto)biography
Format: Open Access PDF
1 B&W table, 1 line drawing, 2 B&W line drawings, 22 colour photo/halftones, 23 colour illustrations, 27 B&W photo/halftones, 3 diagrams, and 31 B&W illustrations
Copyright: © 2023
Publication: July 10, 2023