I came to Oxford to do an undergraduate degree in English Language and Literature. Almost immediately, I was persuaded by some new friends to join a volunteer excavation. It was cold, it was wet, it was muddy, I was digging in a ditch at the bottom of an Anglo-Saxon hut – I was hooked. I have been involved in archaeology ever since.
After completing a doctorate in archaeology and spending some time working as the lecturer in Medieval Archaeology at the University of Birmingham, I came back to Oxford and soon found myself carrying out a new kind of excavation – in the archive cupboards here at the Institute of Archaeology.
Unearthing the archive treasures from the stratigraphic drifts of dust and paperwork has been a huge privilege, and working with the other members of the fantastic archive team means I really look forward to every day in the office!
I read the review of your edited book Ark of Civilisation: Refugee Scholars and Oxford University in the LRB. You may be interested in my book ‘Centre of the Periphery: Three European Scholars in Melbourne’, which details the impact of refugee scholars and artists who arrived in Australia from 1939, some as emigrants others as enemy aliens. I gave a copy of this book to Dr Jon Whiteley at the Ashmolean some years ago, so there may be a copy in the Department of Prints and Drawings, or Dr Colin Harris may also know. I did extensive research on the trajectory of Europe’s dismissed savants, particularly at the Warburg and Courtuald Institutes, and the transmission of European scholarship to the Antipodes via exiled Europeans. My intention has been to write another book on Dr Ursula Hoff, who is one of the subjects of Centre of the Periphery, and her extraordinary contacts in London and Oxford University, including Dr Samson. I look forward to reading your book and I have copies of mine available — best wishes, Sheridan
Dr Sheridan Palmer
University of Melbourne.
Thank you so much for getting in touch. We will look for your book in the library with interest. It is interesting that you are researching Ursula Hoff. The story of academic women refugees who passed through Oxford has had much less attention than the male counterparts – there is a book there waiting to be put together…