Unexpected baggage

The Institute of Archaeology holds some of the archives of archaeologist Martin Harrison, who was Professor of  the Archaeology of the Roman Empire at Oxford. He is perhaps best known for his excavations in Turkey, particularly his work at Sarachane and Amorium. So we were intrigured when we received an unexpected addition to his archive – this suitcase:
suitcase

This is a serious suitcase – wooden structure, cloth covers inside and out, metal locks – but it has obviously seen better days. When we opened it we saw this:
inside

– a small collection of maps and papers. But what you can’t get from this picture is the SMELL. The suitcase had been stored in damp conditions, and unfortunately it had developed mould and a lively colony of weevils:

mould and thrips

Luckily we check all new acquisitions in the post-excavation area away from the archive before we let anything through the door, and fortunately most of the papers in the suitcase were published maps and photocopies which we did not need to retain.

Archiving – always something new!

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About Archaeology Archives Administrator

Researchers in the archives of the Institute of Archaeology, University of Oxford. Home of the Historic Environment Image Resource. Passionate about old photographs and fresh biscuits.
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