Celebrating 75 Years of Antiquity. (Special Section)

Article excerpt

The Archaeological Review

If the scheme to found an archaeological quarterly should succeed, it will one day be of interest to know its inception. The idea was my own, and was suggested by the excellence of the old `Archaeological Review' published during the eighties and edited by Gomme. This contained amongst other good things Sir Arthur Evans' article on Stonehenge (1885), and it was to read this that I referred to it. The idea, vaguely formed about the middle of November 1925, took more definite form in discussing it (for the first time) with Dr. Clay, with whom I was staying at Fovant November 19th to 25th. Somewhere about this time I wrote to Peake, to prepare him for a full discussion at Boxford, during the week-end December 12th to 14th. This discussion resulted in Peake's introducing me (by letter) to C.K. Ogden (of Cambridge and Kegan Paul's firm) who happened to be staying at the Royal Societies Club at the same time as Peake and myself. We had a long talk about the scheme there on the evening of December 17th, when a course of procedure was decided upon. Ogden was optimistic and thought Kegan Paul would help under certain conditions. While in town I also discussed the matter with the Keillers, who promised help. Last night and tonight I drew up a list of desirable contributors and contributions. The question of an editor is the crucial one and as yet undecided. Finance is of course a great difficulty but may be overcome by a guarantee.

Nursling OGSC December 19 1925 (Crawford Papers 104, Bodleian Library, Oxford)

So Crawford records the first steps in the foundation of the journal, which he only partly printed in his version of events (Crawford 1936: 385-6) in the 40th number of ANTIQUITY. We now celebrate 75 years of production of ANTIQUITY in number 294.

The Crawford archives in the Bodleian Library, Oxford, reveal that Crawford discussed the proposal with Simmons, a doctor friend, on Boxing Day and Sunday 27 December 1925. During these two days the significant decision was made to cut out the publisher and deal directly with a printer. That same tradition continues until the present day. The family firm of Bellows in Gloucester was chosen because of the good dealings Crawford had had with them in the publication of his study of Cotswold barrows, even though this book was published at some loss to the printers themselves (Crawford 1955:161). Crawford wrote on 18 January 1926 to Bellows as follows:

The purpose, however, with which I am now writing is to open a discussion with you about a big scheme I am meditating over--namely, to found a quarterly review of popular archaeology.... The problems to be solved are (1) the title (2) the price (3) the size and (4) the method of publication of the proposed review.... I am in favour, as soon as my address-lists are mobilized, of cutting out the publisher. As I have no funds of my own I should ask Mr. Keiller to guarantee me a sum of money sufficient to pay the printer's bill and all other expenses for the first year.... 600 [pounds sterling]. I am particularly anxious that it should not come to the ears of a certain enterprising but rather objectionable person whom you may be able to call to mind! Further, I heard rumours that a similar scheme might be set on foot by the leader of a very unscrupulous school of archaeology (save the mark!) though I doubt it will see light.

On 8 February, Roland Austin was introduced to the scheme and it is to him that the journal owes its title. Austin wrote to Crawford on 14 February 1926: `In the hundreds of names you may have discussed for the projected magazine, have ,you thought of ANTIQUITY. It has been in my mind for a few days and I find I get used to it. It is easy to pronounce ...' Crawford records in the archive: `On April 29th I wrote to Austin that "No better suggestions having been made, your's of ANTIQUITY wins the prize !"' On 18 February, Crawford had had lunch with Alexander Keiller. …