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Subject Guide: Archaeology: Archives and Special Collections

A guide to getting the most out of the Library and Collections resources for Archaeology

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Palace Green Library

Palace Green
DURHAM
DH1 3RN
United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0)191 334 2972
Email: pg.library@durham.ac.uk

 

 @PalaceGreenLib

Archives and Special Collections for Archaeology

There is much on the development of Archaeology as an academic subject at Durham University, and on  archaeological work in the North East, and beyond, over the last two centuries and more that can be researched in the extensive resources of Archives and Special Collections. 

General 

Resources for some specific areas are highlighted below, but resources for many more specific topics can be discovered by searching for the appropriate topic (such as Archaeology or Antiquaries or Hadrian’s Wall etc) in Discover and by restricting the search to ‘Durham Archives’ or by searching the printed catalogue by selecting the topic as a subject or keyword and restricting the search to ‘Special Collections’ or ‘Ushaw College’. 

 

The unique combination and richness of historical sources in Durham had long attracted enquiry into the area’s past, which included its standing and, increasingly, its buried archaeology. A number of the significant resultant antiquarian collections are held in Durham Cathedral Library (especially Hunter, Surtees, Raine, Sharp, and Longstaffe), but ASC’s collections include those of the Mickletons and Spearmans (17th and 18th centuries, legal basis for the palatinate), Robert Blair (1845-1923, churches of Co Durham), Surtees-Raine (20th century,parishes of Co Durham), Jack Gibby (1902-1989, history of the North East), and Roy Hudleston (1905-1992, families and clergy of the North). The collections also include that of the Architectural and Archaeological Society of Durham and Northumberland, founded in 1861, with the objectives of helping both to study and to preserve whatever is of architectural, previous archaeological and antiquarian interest within the area.  

 

The department’s archive contains a quantity of photographs, principally glass negatives and lantern slides. Also held are black and white photographs by Alan Wiper (1932-1973), largely of architecture and antiquities of the north of England, especially from the Roman and Anglo-Saxon periods, and a collection of architectural photographs, largely of churches, monastic buildings, and later structures on monastic sites, in the British Isles, formed and probably partly taken by Canon Edward Greatorex (ca.1823-1900), now all digitisedIan Foster (1908-1978), developed the university’s Oriental Library and also a significant collection of images of early Christian architecture.  

Maps can be a major resource as a basis for archaeological investigation, and ASC’s collections include the various Ordnance Survey series and editions for the North East, along with the Durham diocesan copies of tithe maps (all accessible online), with their awards, and some estate and enclosure maps, especially for the bishops of Durham and their Halmote Court administration.  

Archaeology as an Academic Discipline 

Antiquaries had long been working in Durham, incorporating elements of archaeology in their researches, but it was only in 1950 that a separate department of Archaeology was established in Durham. Given the significance of the upstanding Roman archaeology in the area (pace Hadrian’s Wall), there had been a Reader in Romano-British History and Archaeology (Eric Birley) in the Classics department before then, and Ian Richmond had been a lecturer in Roman-British Archaeology in the Classics department in the university’s then King’s College In Newcastle before WW2.  The development of the subject and department of Archaeology in the university as it expanded backwards into Celtic Britain and forwards into Anglo-Saxon Britain is reflected in the university’s own archive, in central, faculty and departmental files, in the records of the meetings of its various committees from Senate and Council down, in the exam papers, pass lists and mark sheets for the subject, and the university’s publications of such as the Gazette, Calendar, Journal, and Vice-Chancellor’s Reports, and newsletters and the like.   

As well as the records of the department itself, the collections include papers and photographs of some of its members, such as Eric Birley (some to be found in Hatfield College’s archive) (Hadrian’s Wall), Rosemary Cramp (Anglo-Saxons), and Eric Parsons (Hart, Hartlepool, clay pipes), as well as Peter Willis (1933-2016) (Newcastle architecture academic; architecture, landscapes and gardens). The university’s Extra-Mural department (extant 1947-2002) also taught Archaeology courses and its archive also contains material on such as Hadrian’s Wall. 

Photographs 

The department’s archive contains a quantity of photographs, principally glass negatives and lantern slides. Also held are black and white photographs by Alan Wiper (1932-1973), largely of architecture and antiquities of the north of England, especially from the Roman and Anglo-Saxon periods, and a collection of architectural photographs, largely of churches, monastic buildings, and later structures on monastic sites, in the British Isles, formed and probably partly taken by Canon Edward Greatorex (ca.1823-1900), now all digitisedIan Foster (1908-1978), developed the university’s Oriental Library and also a significant collection of images of early Christian architecture.  

Maps 

Maps can be a major resource as a basis for archaeological investigation, and ASC’s collections include the various Ordnance Survey series and editions for the North East, along with the Durham diocesan copies of tithe maps (all accessible online), with their awards, and some estate and enclosure maps, especially for the bishops of Durham and their Halmote Court administration.  

Records of Standing Archaeology 

For the standing archaeology of churches in the area, there is a wealth of material in the later 20th and 21st century quinquennial inspection reports held in the Diocesan Archive, supplemented by faculties for work on churches. The Cathedral Archive has much, including plans and photographs, on the cathedral itself and its surrounding structures and archaeology. Durham Castle, its structure and archaeology, is similarly reflected in the papers, photographs and plans of the Castle Building Archive, along with those of the University College Archive, the project files and plans of the architect Dennis Jones, and the c.1990 plans and drawings of Martin Leyland (Add.MS. 863). All the other buildings of the university and its colleges are likewise reflected in the University Archive, and Ushaw College’s archive also holds much on the built complex of that institution. 

Archaeology Beyond Britain 

The Sudan Archive has much on the archaeology and antiquities of Sudan and Egypt including in its grey literature and also in the papers of A.J. Arkell (1898-1980) (Commissioner for Archaeology and then Archaeological Adviser to the Sudan Government), and A.E. RobinsonR.O. Collins (b1933) and Sir Reginald Wingate (1861-1953). The diplomat Sir Donald Hawley’s (1921-2008) interests featured archaeology in Sudan, and also Oman, the papers of the anthropologist David Brooks (1940-1994) include material on the archaeology of Iran, and Prince Abbas Hilmi II’s collection has photographic and other material on Egypt’s antiquities, as does E.T. Richmond’s (1874-1955), as well as material on Palestine. 

Local Collection 

A considerable quantity of books and pamphlets are on open access analysing and depicting the structures, historic and perhaps less historic, of the North East, comprising principally Co Durham, but also Northumberland, Cumbria and North Yorkshire. Many of these are studies of localities providing photographic records of structures perhaps no longer extant, and often comparing historic views with more recent ones. Many more are academic archaeological and/or architectural studies or such as church guides. They are supplemented by the publications of local societies, such as the Architectural and Archaeological Society of Durham and Northumberland (whose archive is also held), the Cumberland and Westmorland Architectural and Architectural Society, and the Yorkshire Archaeological Society.   

Printed Books 

The focus on the North East with a broad range of works on Roman, Greek, Egyptian and Middle Eastern antiquities, and beyond, is reflected in the more historic special collections with volumes in the Cosin and Maltby libraries, and some more recent material in the Whitehead collection.  The Big Library at Ushaw College also has a variety of archaeology works of the 18th to 20th centuries, with some periodicals such as Archaeologia to supplement those at the BBL, and much on biblical archaeology in the Divines Library

For the standing archaeology of churches in the area, there is a wealth of material in the later 20th and 21st century quinquennial inspection reports held in the Diocesan Archive, supplemented by faculties for work on churches. The Cathedral Archive has much, including plans and photographs, on the cathedral itself and its surrounding structures and archaeology. Durham Castle, its structure and archaeology, is similarly reflected in the papers, photographs and plans of the Castle Building Archive, along with those of the University College Archive, the project files and plans of the architect Dennis Jones, and the c.1990 plans and drawings of Martin Leyland (Add.MS. 863). All the other buildings of the university and its colleges are likewise reflected in the University Archive, and Ushaw College’s archive also holds much on the built complex of that institution. 

The Sudan Archive has much on the archaeology and antiquities of Sudan and Egypt including in its grey literature and also in the papers of A.J. Arkell (1898-1980) (Commissioner for Archaeology and then Archaeological Adviser to the Sudan Government), and A.E. RobinsonR.O. Collins (b1933) and Sir Reginald Wingate (1861-1953). The diplomat Sir Donald Hawley’s (1921-2008) interests featured archaeology in Sudan, and also Oman, the papers of the anthropologist David Brooks (1940-1994) include material on the archaeology of Iran, and Prince Abbas Hilmi II’s collection has photographic and other material on Egypt’s antiquities, as does E.T. Richmond’s (1874-1955), as well as material on Palestine. 

A considerable quantity of books and pamphlets are on open access analysing and depicting the structures, historic and perhaps less historic, of the North East, comprising principally Co Durham, but also Northumberland, Cumbria and North Yorkshire. Many of these are studies of localities providing photographic records of structures perhaps no longer extant, and often comparing historic views with more recent ones. Many more are academic archaeological and/or architectural studies or such as church guides. They are supplemented by the publications of local societies, such as the Architectural and Archaeological Society of Durham and Northumberland (whose archive is also held), the Cumberland and Westmorland Architectural and Architectural Society, and the Yorkshire Archaeological Society.   

The focus on the North East with a broad range of works on Roman, Greek, Egyptian and Middle Eastern antiquities, and beyond, is reflected in the more historic special collections with volumes in the Cosin and Maltby libraries, and some more recent material in the Whitehead collection.  The Big Library at Ushaw College also has a variety of archaeology works of the 18th to 20th centuries, with some periodicals such as Archaeologia to supplement those at the BBL, and much on biblical archaeology in the Divines Library

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