Review by Sinclair Hood, in The Anglo-Hellenic Review 44 (Autumn 2011), 29
'Gill's book is a revelation of the diversity and interest of the work done by the staff and members of the BSA in the period of just over 30 years from its foundation in 1886 until 1919.'
'There are three long and useful appendices on Trustees, Managing Committee (Council) Members and Directors, and Students, followed by a very full biography, which all help to make this an invaluable work of reference.'
One of the topics will be the work of British and French archaeologists to record the archaeological remains and to preserve the finds during the campaign in Macedonia. French archaeologists formed part of the Service Archéologique de l'Armée d'Orient. They had gained expertise working on the site of Elaious at Gallipoli, a site that attracted gunfire from the Turkish forces.
The British work in Macedonia was initially led by Lt-Commander Ernest Gardner RNVR, a former director of the BSA and also Yates Professor Archaeology in the University of London. Gardner was one of several former BSA students operating with Naval Intelligence in Salonica (EMSIB).
For further details about Sifting the Soil of Greece see here.
David W.J. Gill, Sifting the Soil of Greece: the Early Years of the British School at Athens (1886-1919). Bulletin of the Institute of Classical Studies, suppl. 111. London: Institute of Classical Studies, 2011. ISBN 978-1-905670-32-1. £38. xiv + 474 pp.
The British School at Athens opened in 1886 “to promote all researches and studies” which could “advance the knowledge of Hellenic history, literature, and art from the earliest age to the present day”. Over the next thirty years the School initiated a major programme of excavations, initially on Cyprus, then at Megalopolis, on Melos, and at Sparta. School students took part in the work of the Cretan Exploration Fund and in the major regional surveys of the Asia Minor Exploration Fund.
Most of the students who were admitted to the School in this period had been educated at either Cambridge or Oxford. Women, mostly from Cambridge, took part in the School’s activities including the excavations at Phylakopi. The students’ research interests included Greek pottery, Aegean prehistory, and epigraphy. The experience of Greece prepared the students for later work in British universities and in other professions. Many extended their archaeological experience in Greece to fieldwork in Britain, Egypt, and India.
During the First World War former students were involved in intelligence work in the eastern Mediterranean through the activities of the Arab Bureau in Cairo.
David Gill is Professor of Archaeological Heritage and Director of Heritage Futures at the University of Suffolk. He was a Rome Scholar at the British School at Rome and a Sir James Knott Fellow at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne. He was subsequently part of the Department of Antiquities at the Fitzwilliam Museum, University of Cambridge, and Reader in Mediterranean Archaeology, Swansea University. He holds the Archaeological Institute of America's Outstanding Public Service Award (2012).
The History of the British School at Athens forms part of an on-going research project (initially on the period from 1886 until the end of the First World War).
If you wish to cite any of the material provided here please contact me at my university email address (under useful links). Citations should take the form: David W.J. Gill, Title of Posting, bsahistory.blogspot.com (date of posting).