Editorial

By Stoddart, Simon; Malone, Caroline | Antiquity, December 2002 | Go to article overview

Editorial


Stoddart, Simon, Malone, Caroline, Antiquity


At the risk of developing an archaeological hagiography, we dwell in this our last editorial, at least in part, on the founder and first editor, whose decision to found the journal took place some 77 years ago (in 1925). Three editorial teams have followed--those of GLYN DANIEL, CHRIS CHIPPINDALE and the current editors--and in December we hand over to the fourth editorial team, that of MARTIN CARVER. Within these editorial terms, Chris Chippindale engaged HENRY CLEERE for one year while he was on sabbatical, and the two current editors swapped roles after three years. In this issue, we make some considerable space to publish the papers delivered this year at the Society of Antiquaries, London and at the Society for American Archaeology in Denver, Colorado, With the aim of celebrating the 75 years of publication since 1927, which were completed last year.

One can learn much of the founder from his autobiography (Crawford 1955). However, this is in many ways the official version, written and published by CRAWFORD during his lifetime. A complementary version of events can be gleaned from the Crawford papers in the Bodleian of Oxford. The editor selected 6 September of the year 2002 as a day of pilgrimage to visit these papers in the Bodleian Library of Oxford. He rose early to take the 6.30 bus so as to arrive in good time to follow the rite of passage of entry into the Library. Stagecoach, the unfortunately named bus company, which runs many routes in the United Kingdom, failed to deliver their timetable, and it was on the 7.35 that he eventually left Cambridge for a three-and-a-half-hour journey to the centre of Oxford.

Once on the bus, the editor, an inexperienced bus traveller, made the mistake of turning the spacious back seat into his office. Any physicist could have told the editor that the centrifugal force produced by the roundabouts of Milton Keynes would have produced an uncomfortable journey. The editor arrived in Oxford after an appropriate period of suffering for any pilgrimage. Thereafter, matters greatly improved.

The Admissions office of the Bodleian welcomed the pilgrim with good humour, and he discovered that he had some useful indulgences stored up from a previous visit to Oxford. As a visiting fellow to an Oxford college in the previous century, he had converted his Cambridge MA into an Oxford MA. The discovery of the proof of his Oxford MA in an extensive paper archive, and evidence that he had already sworn not to burn books, led to immediate issue of a photographic card, entry and welcome to the manuscripts room. After seven continuous hours of research without break, he was pleased to retire to an Italian restaurant to recover. The next day followed with a further indulgence, a fascinating conference on Orientalization, one driving force of political change in the Mediterranean, otherwise known as the Phoenicians, organized by Corinna Riva and Nicholas Vella.

In various parts of this issue, we draw on these seven hours of research and would like to thank the Bodleian Library for allowing us to reproduce parts of the archive. Our research has allowed us to dwell on the formation processes of this archaeo-archival record. Like any archaeological deposit, the archive is one not immune from taphonomic effects. The archive is a record of correspondence received and retained, and we have to reconstruct by inference many of the letters that Crawford himself sent. Certain phases of Crawford's professional life were truncated or erased by war damage to the Ordnance Survey records in Southampton. Like many an archaeological deposit, the early formative phases were preserved in well-defined, distinct structured deposits, that were not obliterated by the sorting of later life; there are some ancestral archives; there is much evidence in the form of bundles of personal letters to friends and family; there are the schoolbooks of himself and his father from Marlborough. Of Marlborough, he sadly writes in his autobiography, it may have been partly my fault that they were years of misery' (Crawford 1955: 24-5). …

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