Over the past few months, Amara Thornton and Michael McCluskey have been researching a set of footage in the Royal Asiatic Society's collection. The footage shows the archaeologist Reginald Campbell Thompson's excavations at Nineveh, near Mosul in Iraq, in the late 1920s and early 1930s. After a very productive screening and discussion event at the RAS in January, they have just published a guest blog post on the film on the RAS blog. Read on here...
By Michael McCluskey
Amara and I were asked to speak at a special event organised by the Petrie Museum. As part of their public programme on 'The Light Project', we looked at the role of photography and film in early twentieth-century archaeology. Amara unearthed some fascinating images of Flinders Petrie and a stunning image that showed how an Egyptian tomb was wired with electric light to impress the tourists. I discussed films from the 1912-13 excavation at Gebel Moya funded by Henry Wellcome and 1930s footage from the excavation at Tell el-Amarna sponsored by the Egypt Exploration Society. The Wellcome films are wonderful images of the disciplined work site and scenes of amusement including a white-suited bicyclist drawing the attention of local children. The Amarna films, in contrast, show a more playful side to the excavation team as the group of seemingly bright young things are captured joking together in Fair Isle jumpers. A special thank you to Angela Saward from the Wellcome Library for allowing us to screen the film footage and for offering some helpful information during the discussion that followed our presentation. Thanks also to the EES for providing access to the Amarna films and to Helen Pike of the Petrie Museum for planning this event and the entire Light Project programme. And a final thank you to Louise Atherton for taking this photo of the event.
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