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...
...the first publicly accessible snapshot of the Harding footage! Thanks to Tim Emblem-English and his team's efforts, we have now received the digital files of Harding's films. We've put together a short preview film with clips from a few of the canisters, available to view on YouTube.
On the top of each clip you will see our reference number for the footage's original canister. In this short film we have selected clips from four canisters - LH2, LH4, LH15 and LH23.
The first clip, from canister LH2, shows a picnic scene at an unknown location. While most of the picnickers are unknown to us, one person we were able to identify in this clip is the archaeologist Olga Tufnell. Tufnell worked with Lankester Harding on several sites, and eventually was responsible for the publication of much of the Tell-Duweir excavations.
The clips were chosen to show the different sorts of activities Harding captured with his camera. While clips from LH15 and LH23 show excavation in progress, LH4 shows a more mundane (but necessary) factor of everyday life in the field - dental hygiene.
We're still researching the films to identify people and sites, so if anything in these clips looks familiar to you let us know!
Guest post by Tim Emblem-English, formerly Archive Telecine Specialist at BBC Studios and Post Production Digital Media Services, now running his own company, The Flying Spot
Friday 14 August 2015, and Amara and Ian from UCL visit BBC S&PP DMS at our base in South Ruislip with four neatly tied boxes containing Gerald Lankester Harding's 9.5mm film collection which we have been commissioned to digitise. After introductions and over mugs of tea we discuss the subject of the films, the equipment and processes involved in their digitisation, and the form of the deliverables at the end of the process.
Shortly afterwards, I settle down to begin my inspection and preparation of the Harding films to make them ready to run on our Cintel Mk3 flying-spot Digiscan telecine, specially modified in-house to handle 9.5mm film.
The Harding films are contained in the usual 9.5mm Pathe cartridges which come in two sizes holding either 10 or 20 metres of film. My first task is to sort them into numerical order following the markings that Ian has previously applied. Then it’s a case of attaching a length of new white spacing film with a CIR adhesive tape splicer to the start of the first film 'LH1' and gently winding it out of its cartridge and on to a large 1200ft capacity film spool.
As I wind the film through my fingers I feel for any splices or damage such as torn perforations. Splices in films of this age from the 1930s almost always need attention; any that I find I check for correct registration and reinforce with the CIR tape splicer. After 80-odd years the original film cement becomes brittle and the action of the telecine machine, although much more gentle than a projector, will certainly find the weak splices. Similarly, any tears or damaged perforations are patched with splicing tape. A quick squint through a lupe eyeglass to check that the images are the correct way round and then I reach the end of the first cartridge.
I either cut or detach the end of the film from the spindle and the usual problem with 9.5mm films that have been stored in their original cartridges for many years becomes apparent – the inner turns have been wound up tightly on such a small diameter spindle for so long that they have the curliness of a watchspring and just want to coil up in a tangle. Having sorted out the tangle I manage to attach a short length of white spacing film to the end which calms things down a bit and move on to the next cartridge and repeat the process, adding successive films with white spacing between until the large spool is full. Onto each length of spacing I write the next film’s reference number so that they can all be identified to avoid any confusion. Another length of white spacing on the end and films 'LH1' to 'LH18' are joined up and ready for cleaning.
Cleansing of films such as these is done by hand and involves winding the film slowly through a folded Selvyt cloth moistened with Isopropanol. A pause every so often to remoisten the cloth and see how much dirt has been removed and if it looks spectacularly filthy I give the reel a second pass - which turns out to be required for the Harding films. Once the large first reel is cleaned I start on the remainder of the cartridges. In due course, taking time to refocus my eyes, films 'LH19' to 'LH46' are duly inspected, mended and cleaned.
Although I haven’t studied the images closely at this point, during all the winding and inspection it became apparent that the collection is the result of several different cameras and some of the individual cartridges are compilations edited together from different sources on different film stocks, although all in black-and-white. Two of the cartridges turn out to be commercial printed films – the “home entertainment” of the 1920s and 30s. These incorporate Pathe’s “notched titles” feature, where a notch cut in the edge of the film would cause the projector’s transport to stop for a few seconds before moving on. Used for freezing static shots or titles and captions this was a cunning way of extending the screen time of films which otherwise might only run for 1½ minutes from a small 10-metre cartridge. With time, as projectors got brighter and lamps got hotter the system had to be dropped since the risk of burning stationary film in the gate became too great.
In a perfect world, once cleaned it is best practice to leave 9.5mm material like this which has come out of its original cartridges wound up tightly on a large-diameter spool or film core for as long as possible to “rest” and persuade the extreme curliness to relax. Not doing so can cause loss of focus during transfer towards the end of individual films when the curl is so strong that the film refuses to lie flat in the telecine gate. This time to rest is a luxury we don’t always have when jobs come in with tight deadlines but in this case Amara and Ian are in no hurry and I am able to leave the Harding films wound up on two large reels safely stored in cans in our secure and temperature-controlled vault, waiting for the next stage of the process – the telecine transfer itself.
To be continued…
By Ian Carroll and Amara Thornton
We have been marking the film canisters in the Harding collection in preparation for taking the film footage to be digitised. There are in total 46 metal canisters holding film stock in the collection, ranging in size from 68.4 mm to 51 mm. Once empty of film, each original canister will be kept.
Marking the original canisters will allow us to retain the association between the information on the film canister and the digitised film. This contextual information will be added as metadata in the archive's record.
Marking the film canisters was a three-stage process. First, paraloid was applied to the surface of the canister in an appropriate space, roughly the same place on each object. Many of the canisters had labels around the sides so we opted to mark the canisters on the top.
Once the paraloid was dry, we used white Rotring ink so that the numbers would show up on the surface of the black canisters. Then a second coat of paraloid was applied on top of the white painted number. In line with conservation technique, this process is reversible so the markings can be removed at any point if necessary.
We put canisters into rough groupings, partially guided by references in the archive. Canisters with site names on the labels were kept together, and any numbers were put in sequence where possible. Although not all the canisters were labelled, some that were had information on the where the films were developed.
Labels on some of the films suggest that a few canisters may contain films bought for home viewing. In one case we found a partial film title peeking out from beneath a developers label.
Marking the film canisters enabled us to reflect on the range of material on the films in this collection. While some of it is certainly archaeological, there may be unexpected surprises in store. We’re looking forward to seeing the digitised footage and finding out whether the information we currently have is actually reflected on screen. In other words: do the films do what they say on the tin?
Guest post by Angela Saward (Curator of Moving Image and Sound, the Wellcome Library)
One of the gems within the Wellcome Library’s Moving Image & Sound Collection is the footage taken on Wellcome's second expedition to the Sudan at Gebel Moya. The expedition was well documented at the time and many related papers are held within the Wellcome Library's Archives and Manuscripts department. In fact revisiting these documents turned out to be a forensic exercise in detection.
Wellcome and his archive
Henry Solomon Wellcome (1853-1936), American by birth, entrepreneur, wealthy philanthropist and archaeologist, resourced his expeditions with care, engaging the best men for the job. The craft of cinematic production was very much in its infancy but all three Sudanese expeditions (1911-12, 1912-13 and 1913-14), engaged a stills photographer. On the first expedition this was R. C. Ryan, the second and third were attended by two: A. G. Barrett and C. H. Horton. No mention of the cinematic material was made in the published findings of the expedition, Frank Addison's The Wellcome excavations in the Sudan, which post-deceased HSW by 15 years.
The archives reveal the extent of the completed cinematic films to be:
Care was taken in the preservation and storage of this material; in total there were 9823 feet shot by Barrett and an unspecified amount by Ryan. A document dated 8th March 1921 notes that:
On reaching Dartford the matter upon each label should be written by hand in permanent paint upon the tins themselves, so that there may be no doubt as to the contents or likelihood of the labels becoming detached.
Arthur George Barrett was born in 1885 and in the 1911 census he listed his occupation as Press Photographer. He was married to Nancy Barrett and lived in Camberwell, South-East London. He was engaged by Wellcome on the 18th September 1912 for ‘artistic work’ and to go out to the Sudan; his salary was £3 10 Shillings a week (increasing to £4 10 shillings for the expedition for the following season).
When there was work available, he worked for Wellcome from 1912-1916 after which he joined the Royal Naval Air Service. He was then re-engaged in 1925. In the archive there are numerous letters sent by Barrett to the organisation whilst he was an employee, one of which was a request to HSW to personally recommend him in his application to be a member of the Royal Photographic Society for his photographic work at Gebel Moya – this was duly carried out.
Barrett achieved recognition for his invention of the kite camera to capture aerial photography over the excavations – as can be seen, it looks to be both ingenious and a somewhat Heath Robinson affair.
Also, in the guise of press photographer he is credited with capturing two historic moments: the notorious murderer Dr Hawley Harvey Crippen in 1911 and suffragette Emily Davison trampled under the King’s Horse at the Derby on 6th June 1913.
"A Day at Gebel Moya" never appears to have been publically screened. HSW hosted a number of formal events when some of the objects and artefacts from the expeditions were on display; copies of these invitations exist in the Wellcome Library. During Wellcome’s life-time, the 35mm nitrate film (negatives and positives) could not legally be screened at the Wellcome Institute as the venue was unlicensed to permit this. The flammability of nitrate film was well-documented and appropriate storage provision was organised for all the film materials held by the organisation.
A private screening which appears to have been solely for Wellcome and a few colleagues was organised at the Royal Society of Medicine which had a licence to screen nitrate film. Although the footage captured at Gebel Moya is shot-listed in detail, there’s no information about the creation of intertitles or a narrative structure so it seems possible that the sequences were an edited compilation of material with no narrative or chronology. The lack of an ‘official’ film which could be recognised as a creative piece of work with a unifying artistic integrity led directly to the demise of much of the material later on.
Whilst reviewing the costs, some dithering ensued. The Trustees sought advice regarding the historical value of the material based on the new shot-list created by an editor they engaged for this work. It was decided that the archaeological digs were satisfactorily captured photographically and due to the poor condition of the material, only a small number of sequences of archaeological interest could be retained. There were only two which were considered significant – the high angle extreme long-shot of the encampment and the excavations in the cemetery.
Fortunately, someone thought it appropriate to retain the rare surviving footage of HSW himself. However, lost are the first motor car in the Sudan (a Ford), more material of Wellcome carrying out inspections, walking around the camp and on a camel, a fire in the village and the evacuation of the villagers with their belongings, village views, views taken from a motor launch from Sennar to Abegeli, a trip with visitors up the Blue Nile and farewell scenes.
In 1955, a short sequence from the Gebel Moya footage which was transferred with a sepia tone was inserted into the Wellcome Foundation Film The Story of the Wellcome Foundation (1955) between 00:21:12:13 and 00:25:14:17. In the late 1960s, the Wellcome Trust’s stores were searched for nitrate material - no doubt largely as a result of insurance premiums. The remaining nitrate material was transferred to 35mm safety film and the originals were destroyed. These days even shrunk and damaged material can be scanned frame-by-frame. In the 1970s/80s, the remaining scenes were made into a ¾” Umatic and library access was via this material which was also on VHS. In the 1990s the material also features on a library compilation on Laser Disk which was screened on a television monitor outside the library.
By 2006, four cans of 35mm negative survived (some material is duplicated) and one 10 minute 35mm negative compilation master was discovered to be acetic (effected by vinegar syndrome). All the material is now digitised to tape and file based media. The acetic material is duped to polyester film. The film material should last 100+ years in the correct environmental conditions. The digital files are held within the Wellcome Library’s digital asset management system – they will be digitally migrated when required. All the digital material is backed up and mirrored on two sites.
It’s been an illuminating experience exploring the archive material about the excavations in the Sudan. One of my starting points in the research was the Wellcome Library catalogue which I used to unearth all the various official and unofficial documentation about the excavations (the latter proving the most interesting). The library has an institutional membership of the online resource Ancestry, which proved invaluable in finding out more about Barrett, the photographer.
One of the legacies of the expedition is the quality of the remaining footage shot by Barrett which I believe has a great appeal to a contemporary audience. It captures so wonderfully the scale of the works and the interaction between the workers. Barrett had a good eye - the depth of field in the material is excellent and the material was shot in very challenging conditions in the heat and the dust. Henry Wellcome would have been very cross indeed to discover that only a small part of this cinematic record remains.
By Ken Walton
At the end of April, Filming Antiquity screened two different excavation films at the Petrie Museum for the “Capturing Light” event. These two films, of Henry Wellcome’s excavations at Jebel Moya, Sudan (1912/13) and Egypt Exploration Society (EES) excavations at Amarna, Egypt (1930-1933), were made at very different periods. The Wellcome film is more or less “Edwardian” and the EES film very much of the inter-war era. Between the two periods there had been many advances in film and filmmaking including the invention of clockwork camera motors yet we still see Hillary Waddington using a hand-cranked camera in his 1930s Amarna film.
I received a Diploma in professional film production at the London Film School, and then worked at the London Film School in the editing department before coming to study Archaeology at UCL. While research into the archives relating to these films is ongoing, I will offer some insights into the kinds of equipment and techniques used during these eras to capture these fascinating moving images.
Frank Addison makes no mention of the filming in his 1949 site report on Jebel Moya, but recent research by Angela Saward, the Wellcome Library's Curator of Moving Image and Sound, suggests the cameraman was expedition photographer Arthur Barrett (more on him in a future post!)
At present it is unclear what kind of movie camera was used to film the 1912/13 Jebel Moya season, but at this early stage in filmmaking, it was the French and British that led the field. There are a number of candidates for the camera used, including British made movie cameras such as the Williamson or the Moy and Bastie. Although it was not imported to Britain until 1914 the French made ‘Debrie Parvo’ (‘Parvo’ meaning ‘compact’) invented in 1908, was widely used by the time of the Jebel Moya excavations. Wellcome, a wealthy man and someone who might want the best and could afford it, could still have privately imported the advanced Debrie.
There was no 16mm film in the early 1900s and the Jebel Moya film was shot on 35mm film. The Debrie Parvo would have held 390ft of film which was hand-cranked and would have lasted 6 minutes at 16 frames per second. It was encased in a wooden box but it had an inner metal case and workings of metal. This would be an advantage in places like Africa where mould and insects had been known to attack wood and leather.
Being hand-crank cameras, both the Jebel Moya and the EES Amarna cameras would have had to be tripod mounted. The Cine-Kodak Model A was also 16 frames per-second - it was really an amateur camera compared with the earlier Debrie Parvo, which was considered ‘professional’.
The Debrie allowed the camera operator to focus through the 'taking lens' - the lens the film was exposed with. This was achieved by having a 'ruby window' (red filter) in the viewfinder. Because the film was more or less 'orthochromatic' (only sensitive to the blue and green light of the spectrum) the red filter enabled the operator to view through the taking lens without affecting the exposure of the film. As I understand it, the film could be moved to the side and the image viewed directly, or on a ground glass; the image was upright. Once focused the 'ruby window' viewfinder could be closed and the operator would then use the side-finder for normal filming. Another plus for the Debrie was the ability to alter the shutter speed.
All this was quite a contrast to the later amateur Cine Kodak Model A Waddington used at Amarna. This camera had a 'fixed focus' standard lens (25mm, being a 16mm camera) with the camera operator having to use the built-in finder that did not see through the taking lens and gave an upside down image. It was not in fact until the 1940s that the German company ‘Arriflex’ invented the rotating mirror shutter mechanism that camera operators could see a high quality image through the lens whilst filming. There were sophisticated side finders and prism finders before this like the ‘Mitchell’ but the Arriflex device was the great breakthrough.
Exposure might have been difficult for the Debrie with no exposure meters at the time, but the operator could have relied on charts suggesting the right f-stop - the lens aperture opening - for various lighting conditions. Exposure meters were just coming in when Waddington began filming in the 1930s. The f-stop and film stock light absorbing speed, its American Standards Association rating, were the only variables as far as exposure was concerned because the shutter speed was fixed on the Cine Kodak Model A. Stock would have been cheaper for Waddington to buy because whereas 35mm comes out as 16 frames per foot the new 16mm was 40 frames per foot.
With hand-cranking, any variation in the cranking speed could have resulted in a change of exposure. Slightly slower cranking would lead to more light on the film and overexposure. This may account for fluctuations in the filmed image when the film sometimes becomes lighter or darker. This fluctuation does not happen with motorised cameras that keep to speed.
Waddington achieves slow motion in part of the EES Amarna film. To accomplish this effect Waddington would have had to increase his hand cranking and at the same time open his aperture to compensate for less light reaching the film. Alternatively, he could have printed each or every other frame twice which would have had the same effect for the audience. We would need to see the film-frames to know for certain how it was done, or look at the digitised version frame by frame.
Another feature of all films, hand-cranked or motorised, is the ‘flash-frame’. This is a portion of overexposed film just at the start and finish of a ‘take’ and is due to the camera running slow at these times. A classic sign of un-edited ‘rushes’ (the first ungraded or ‘one-light print’ of a film for viewing by the director and editor) is the inclusion of flash-frames. Flash-frames would normally be removed by the editor in a finished film. Interestingly, in the sequence showing the “division” of artefacts in the 1930s Amarna footage what look like flash-frames appear. The footage also includes film information boards describing the shots. Normally these boards are only used by the editor and would be removed from the finished film. All this suggests at least some of the Amarna footage that was digitised was unedited.
We know John Pendlebury gave some film shows of the EES Amarna work (e.g. at the Society of Antiquaries) so there may be a finished film still surviving somewhere. The EES Amarna films that were scanned onto VHS (and then unfortunately disposed of in the 1980s) look like they might have been just the unedited ‘rushes’ and not the finished film.
The Jebel Moya film was ‘Nitrate stock’ and prone to dangerous deterioration, while Waddington’s film was Cellulose Diacetate safety stock invented in 1923 and used to make the early 16mm films. Movie film nitrate stock was only ever produced in 35mm and done away with in 1951. The Jebel Moya film stock eventually deteriorated and was destroyed, but the Waddington film stock survived. Both films would have had negatives - the Jebel Moya negative is lost to us, but could the Amarna negative have survived?
Raimondo-Souto, M. 2006. Motion Picture Photography: A History. Mc Farland Co. Inc.
Salt, B. 2009. Film Style and Technology: History and Analysis. (3rd edn.). Starword.
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.
By Amara Thornton
17 July "Exhibition opens"
This brief entry in Lankester Harding's 1933 day-diary may seem insignificant - but it isn't. By the 1930s annual archaeological excavations were a routine event during the summer Season in London.
Harding visited an annual exhibition for the first time in July 1924. The Egypt Exploration Society's exhibition of objects from its season at Amarna was on at the Society of Antiquaries. Harding saw an ad in the newspaper about it and went along. There he was introduced to the archaeological network and followed his visit with another – this time to Flinders Petrie’s exhibition of antiquities from Qau, Egypt at University College London. Two years later, Petrie engaged Harding as an assistant on his excavations in Palestine.
Petrie had been holding exhibitions in London since 1884 to showcase excavations he (and eventually his students) conducted in Egypt. These temporary displays were arranged in the aftermath of excavation, once excavated objects had reached Britain.
Antiquities discovered during the excavation season (c. November to May) were placed on tables and shelves distributed into one or two rooms with plans, maps, paintings and photographs of the site and surrounding region on the walls. These events were open to the public with hours of admission that often extended into the evening after businesses had closed.
As a member of the Wellcome Archaeological Expedition to the Near East in the early 1930s, Harding became more intimately involved in the public presentation of research. In a letter in Harding’s archive, expedition director James Leslie Starkey emphasised Harding’s role in organising the Expedition’s exhibitions.
During this period, film screenings were a new addition to ‘exhibition season’. Hilary Waddington’s films of EES excavations at Amarna were the subject of the Filming Antiquity launch event – one of these films was screened in London in 1931 to complement the EES’s exhibition during its opening week. Although this screening was targeted at EES subscribers free tickets were also offered to the public.
In 1935, notices appeared that a film of the Wellcome Expedition's excavations at Tell ed-Duweir (Lachish) would be screened twice a day at the exhibition, held at the Wellcome Museum on Euston Road. Film screenings of excavations in progress were also incorporated into the 1937 and 1938 Lachish exhibitions.
There’s still a lot we don’t know about the creation and initial screening of these Lachish films; in the course of the Filming Antiquity project we hope to find out more about them to contribute to our understanding of the films in Harding's archive.
The growing number of excavation films emerging from the shadows and the context of their initial display enables us to see histories of excavation and archaeology’s public impact in a whole new light. The legacy of the Lachish films continues into more contemporary times; clips from the footage were shown at the British Museum in 1990 in the Archaeology and the Bible exhibition.* I'd love to know what the 51,000 odd visitors to this exhibition thought of the vintage scenes!
Harding, G. L. 1933. Diary Entry. [manuscript]. 17 July. Harding Archive: UCL Institute of Archaeology.
Director [Starkey, J. L.]. 1936. [Statement of recommendation]. Harding Archive: UCL Institute of Archaeology.
Naunton, C. 2010. The Film Record of the Egypt Exploration Society’s Excavations at Tell el-Amarna. KMT 21: 45-53.
Thornton, A 2015. Exhibition Season: Annual Archaeological Exhibitions in London, 1880s-1930s. Bulletin of the History of Archaeology 25(1):2, DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5334/bha.252
The Times. 1931. Egypt Exploration Society. Times Digital Archive, 7 Sep P 13.
Anon. 1938. J. L. Starkey. Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer. British Newspaper Archive, 12 January.
*Thanks to Jonathan Tubb for this information.
By Michael McCluskey
Filming Antiquity is a project about amateur films of excavations. So what, exactly, are ‘amateur films’ and why study them?
Amateur films are films made by someone working outside of a major studio or film unit, usually self-taught, and often not paid for the films they produce. They include what are commonly called ‘home movies’—those films made by a member of a family or close group of friends to record an event and replay it exclusively for this private audience—but they also include films intended for a wider audience, unknown to the filmmaker. These might be films of community life, national celebrations, historic events, or ‘causes’ that the filmmaker wants to raise awareness about. They might also be films to raise funds to support such a cause or to help the work of a small organisation. Amateur filmmaking is perhaps best described as the work of an enthusiast; this is someone who, without pay, wants to make films and chooses to film a particular event. It is this intertwining of two enthusiasms that makes amateur films crucial documents for the study of both media history and social history. They are records of an act of filmmaking at a particular moment in time and of an event deemed for some reason worthy of filming. By digitising films from the Harding archive Filming Antiquity seeks to find out more about Lankester Harding himself and about the places and people he filmed in 1930s.
This period saw an explosion in amateur filmmaking in both the UK and the US. As Patricia Zimmerman explains in Reel Families: A Social History of Amateur Film (1995), the spike in amateur filmmaking came as a result of changes in technology that made cameras and projection systems more affordable. By the late 1920s Eastman Kodak and Bell and Howell were selling these systems to mostly middle-class customers who could develop their knowledge of filmmaking through the amateur cinema magazines such as Amateur Cine World andThe Amateur Film Maker that also appeared at this time. Britain's regional media archives hold in their collections hundreds of films from the 1920s and 30s about local events and trips around Britain and abroad. Filming Antiquity will contribute to this material with its films of British Mandate Palestine.
These films, then, can be studied by those interested in archaeology, interwar social history, the history of the Middle East, and the history of cinema. In particular, they can help us to think about amateur film as social practice and cultural artefact, a subject Filming Antiquity recently explored at its launch event with footage from the work of the Egypt Exploration Society (EES) at Tell el-Amarna as case study.
By Rachael Sparks
In an earlier post, Amara Thornton talked about Gerald Harding’s colourful career in archaeology, from his introduction to Egyptology through Margaret Murray’s lectures (they must have been good - he kept his notes), to learning Arabic from his Bedouin co-workers in the Wadi Ghazzeh while learning the trade of archaeology.
Harding owed the start of his career to Petrie’s patronage; this post explores his ‘apprenticeship’ years - from his first dip into a Petrie dig at Tell Jemmeh in 1926, to the time he left the Petries in 1932 to join new excavations at Lachish.
Details of these have been gathered together from a range of sources, from Harding's own diaries and photographs, to letters written by fellow digger Olga Tufnell, and the diaries, letters and biographies of Flinders Petrie and his wife Hilda.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.