My name is Laura, and I have been appointed as the new Pendlebury Archive Project Assistant at the British School at Athens. Before moving to Athens, I lived and worked in Glasgow for five years, where I was an archive assistant for different organisations such as the Scottish Music Centre, the National Library of Scotland and Glasgow University Archive Services. It was at the University of Glasgow that I completed my MSc. in Information Management and Preservation in 2016.
I will be picking up this project where Madelin, the former Project Assistant who finished a large part of the work before leaving Athens for a new job opportunity in Cambridge, left off. And so, over the next four months I will see the Pendlebury Project to completion by finishing up the last bits of item level cataloguing and organising the remaining material to be digitised. After all the material has been processed, I will assess the digital data together with the BSA’s Archivist, Amalia Kakissis, to prepare it to be uploaded to EMu (the BSA’s collection management software used for museum and archive collections). The last part of the project will be to curate the digital data after the catalogue and digital images have been imported into EMu and make the Pendlebury Family Papers available online!
My aim during my first week at the BSA has been to familiarise myself with the material which forms the John Pendlebury Family Papers collection. This is a very rich collection which consists of correspondence, travel logs, and photographs as well as negatives, as Madelin has described in previous entries in this blog. The collection is fascinating. If I had to choose my favourite find of this first week, it would be the copy of Howard Carter’s letter to the Editor of The Illustrated London News on 30 May 1933. In this letter, Carter, who became a famous archaeologist after discovering the tomb of Tutankhamen in Egypt, thanks the Editor for sending him a letter from John Pendlebury where he describes his discoveries, including sculpture, at El Amarna, in Egypt. I read about Carter’s work during my degree in History at the University of Murcia, in Spain. In particular, I remember reading ‘Gods, Graves & Scholars: The Story of Archaeology’ by C.W. Ceram in my first year. Published in 1949, this book gives a romantic glimpse into the life and work of Carter and other archaeologists who worked in Egypt, Greece, Mesopotamia and South America. I feel very lucky to be able to work with this material!
Other items that have caught my eye are the excavation records and photographic material relating mainly to Crete. In fact, my task during this first week is to finish cataloguing one of the photograph albums containing handwritten itineraries and photos of Pendlebury’s trips around Crete from 1934 to 1939. Let’s see where these trips take me. I’ll keep you posted!