General Archaeological Correspondence
Scope and Contents
The Papers of Lord William Desmond Taylour (1904 - 1989) hold a considerable amount of photographic material - predominantly positive 35mm colour transparencies (slides) - taken during his many travels home and abroad throughout his life. The images feature not just archaeological topics but also a sweeping range of themes and locations, often with a contemporary anthropological perspective.
Administrative records date mainly to Taylour's tenure as Director of the British Mycenae excavations (1959-1969) and subsequent Mycenae study seasons at Nauplion until 1986. Mycenae excavation administration files encompass accounts, dig permits, annual summaries of work undertaken and typescripts of original handwritten excavation field notebooks plus copious, detailed lists: equipment required, annual dig photography, small finds, pottery, Nauplion storeroom audits and dig participants.
The Papers also include a series of correspondence dating largely from 1947 - 1989, relating to his student days at Cambridge University, communication with fellow archaeologists and matters arising from his own publications and lectures, and conferences and seminars he attended. Furthermore, the collection includes draft articles and theses submitted by others for Lord Taylour's comment, Greek newspaper clippings about Mycenae and archaeology and much smaller amounts of material regarding the Institute of Classical Studies, a Laconia Survey and the British School of Archaeology at Ankara.
Finally, the Papers also include a small section of organisational material, assembled by Lord Taylour, with a view to preserving all these files and photographs, which he himself recognised to be an 'archive': an original, unique source of documentary information. He travelled with this 'archive', mainly the Mycenae excavation documentation, every year to Greece and guarded it carefully, fully cognizant of its tremendous intellectual worth and essential status in recording the progress of archaeological digs under his aegis.
In summary, these Papers offer an invaluable resource for the life and studies of an established prehistoric archaeologist, devout Roman Catholic and member of the Anglo-Irish aristocracy of the 20th century. In particular, the collection offers in-depth evidence of the intricacies of prehistoric archaeological excavation in Greece, cross-links with contemporary scholars, and a vivid memoir of daily life - urban and rural scenary, customs, architecture, events and people - in Europe during the 1950s to 1980s, as documented by Lord Taylour's ever perceptive gaze behind his camera.
Ordering of correspondence
Lord Taylour organised the correspondence alphabetically from A-Z with the most recent letter at the top.
- From the Fonds: Taylour, Lord, William Desmond, 1904-1989 (archaeologist) (Person)
Part of the University of Cambridge: Faculty of Classics Archives Repository
Faculty of Classics
Cambridge CB3 9DA United Kingdom