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Question Time

April 16, 2018

Monika Milosavljević has been in touch with a query, she writes that she and Professor Aleksandar Palavestra have been researching

Miloje M. Vasić (1869-1956), the Serbian archaeologist. Among other documents we have researched into, we have been examining his journals from the excavation of the Vinča archaeological site (from the years 1911, 1912, 1913, 1924, 1929, 1930, 1931, 1933, 1934). Due to the fact that all the documents are highly unusual from what we are aware of in current archaeological practice, I would like to inquire if any of you happen to know about any material that would be comparative to Vasić’s journals and accessible for our own research. To provide an explanation of the oddity we have found, it would seem that Vasić used a bizarre system of measuring stratigraphy of which we do not know if it exists elsewhere. Specifically, he would attribute a distance of a depth to the artifacts found, but changed randomly over time. We are not sure if he had been using some outdated system or was merely trying to find what he wanted to see. 

I am trying to find anything from field journals or diaries which would be open access to me (it would be best if they were in English or German/French/ Italian). Any assistance that could be provided would be extremely useful for me. It need not matter if Vasić is in question, rather I need contemporary material, the first half XX century (connected to prehistoric sites), that would comparable to his field diaries of that time. Or any articles on archaeological journals in the early XX century with which we could cross check his research.

If you have any suggestions then either email us here and I will send the information on to Monika, or answer in the comments.




Free Book! Recollections of a Female Archaeologist: A life of Brenda Swinbank

April 11, 2018

I have another book that’s free to anyone who’d like to review it for HARN


Written by Suzanne Heywood, Brenda Swinbank’s daughter in law and Managing Director of the investment group Exor, it is exactly what it says it is – a life of Dr Swinbank (1929-2010). Brenda Swinbank wrote her thesis on the vallum at Hadrian’s Wall, supervised by Eric Birley. It looks like an interesting read.

If you would like to review it for HARN let me know and I’ll send it on


New Publication – Hommes et patrimoines en guerre. L’heure du choix (1914-1918), sous la direction d’Annick Fenet, Michela Passini et Sara Nardi-Combescure.

April 4, 2018
download (1)
Présentation :
On connaît le rôle joué par les historiens dans la guerre de 14-18. Peut-être plus discrète mais tout aussi importante a été la mobilisation des archéologues et des historiens de l’art dans ce conflit, où la destruction de monuments et d’oeuvres d’art a été systématiquement imputée à l’Allemagne. Ces actes de « barbarie » venaient corroborer l’idéologie du combat du droit mené contre des ennemis inhumains.
Pendant la Grande Guerre, les historiens de l’art et archéologues – universitaires, directeurs de revues, théoriciens, érudits, inspecteurs du patrimoine, conservateurs, à la tête d’institutions culturelles ou responsables de fouilles – s’engagèrent sur le terrain ou à l’arrière. Les études réunies dans ce volume se proposent de contribuer à l’histoire des pratiques intellectuelles mises en oeuvre en temps de guerre, dans une perspective transnationale.
La guerre est ainsi appréhendée comme un « laboratoire », où naissent des méthodes et des savoir-faire nouveaux en matière de recherche, de restauration et de conservation.

More information and details for ordering can be found here


March 24, 2018


Subhashini Robert William, King’s College London

King’s College London  Department of English

I am a PhD student at King’s College London researching Archaeology and Literature in the nineteenth century. My research project aims to study the history of archaeology and literature in the nineteenth-century. I argue that the emergence of the discipline in the mid-nineteenth century problematised the status of archaeology this time. Influenced by concepts of antiquarianism and geology, the figure of the archaeologist remained ambivalent throughout the period. Focusing on two important excavations in the nineteenth-century to contextualise my research- Firstly, the excavation of Pompeii in the early nineteenth-century and the discovery of Nineveh in the mid-nineteenth century, this project examines the vital role of museums in the reproduction of archaeological knowledge during this time and how archaeology transgresses the literary form and the different types of narratives published in the press by both archaeologists and novelists.

Drawing from a range of Victorian novels, theorists and genres that engage with the discussions of archaeology during this time, this project draws on the work of Charles Lyell, Sigmund Freud, Walter Scott, Charles Dickens, Marie Corelli, Arthur Machen, M.R.James and Rider Haggard, in order to investigate the various ways in which archaeology transgresses the narrative in both form and content during this period

Welcome, Subha, and many thanks for joining our community!

Review Copy Update

March 23, 2018

Crikey! Well, I now know how to get a response out of HARNers – offer a book! Thank you all for emailing, that was overwhelming. Given there were so many of you and I forgot to make allowance for time differences I got the 6 year old to do a random of draw for me and have emailed the lucky recipient. Look out for a review in the near future.

Once again, thank you all for offering


Review Copy of ‘My dear Miss Ransom’

March 23, 2018

Free book alert! Well, almost free, free but I want something in exchange.

Who would like a copy of Kate’s new book?


This quality publication can be yours, free of charge, free of postage even, which is a saving of  a whole TWENTY FOUR (24) British pounds! (27.5 Euros/ 34 U.S. Dollars/ 3568 Yen/ 74 Tongan Pa’anga/ 60.5 Aruban Florins – whatever currency, it’s a bargain!)

All I ask in return is that you write a review (500-1000 words) for this blog. Now, you might feel a bit uncomfortable about writing a review of a book published by one of your lovely (erudite, articulate and in all ways pretty damn superb) administrators. ‘What’, I hear you ask, ‘if I want to say something critical?’ Go ahead, I just won’t publish that bit, Kate assures me she’s fine with that.  She’s an Ironman triathlete, she’s as hard as nails, she can take constructive criticism! No, really, as long as you don’t get between her and food and make sure she doesn’t go more than an hour between snacks then she’s very laid back. We want your honest opinion, so say what you think – within reason, obviously.

If you’re interested in this splendiferous offer send me an email and I’ll send you a copy, first one to ask gets the prize.

Have a great weekend, I’m off to London next week with the (nearly) 12 year old and 6 year old so there probably won’t be a blog post until the week after, assuming I survive a trip to the capital with them!




New Publication!

March 20, 2018

Our very own Kate Sheppard, whiz HARN administrator and Associate Professor at Missouri S&T has a new book published


Edited by Kathleen L. Sheppard. vi+310 pages; 5 black & white plates, 1 colour plate. 399 2018 Archaeological Lives . Available both in printed and e-versions. Printed ISBN 9781784917821. Epublication ISBN 9781784917838. 
Book contents page
Caroline Louise Ransom Williams (1872-1952) is remembered as the first American university-trained female Egyptologist, but she is not widely-known in the history of science. Her mentor was James Henry Breasted, well-known as the first American Egyptologist and founder of the Oriental Institute at the University of Chicago. As long as they worked together and as much as they depended on each other professionally, Ransom Williams is little more than a footnote in the published history of archaeology. She was a successful scholar, instructor, author, and museum curator. She also had personal struggles with her mother and her husband that affected the choices she could make about her career. This book presents the correspondence between Ransom Williams and Breasted because the letters are crucial in piecing together and allowing an in-depth analysis of her life and career. 

The written conversation, comprised of 240 letters between the two, shows that Ransom Williams had a full life and productive career as the first American female Egyptologist. Through these letters, we see part of a life that is unique while at the same time analogous to other professional women in the period. This edition is the first book-length discussion of Ransom Williams’ life and career. 

About the Editor DR. KATHLEEN SHEPPARD is Associate Professor in the Department of History and Political Science at Missouri S&T in Rolla, Missouri, USA. She received her PhD in the History of Science from the University of Oklahoma in 2010. Her research focuses on the history of Egyptology in the US and in the UK, and especially women’s roles in the discipline. She finds that telling the life stories of women in Egyptology is not only interesting, but it is also crucial to fully understanding the founding and development of the discipline. In her spare time, she is a mom, wife, and Ironman triathlete. 

For more information about how to get hold of a copy see here