Epigraphic Sources for Early Greek Writing

As reported in Newsletter no. 9, this project aims to create a new online resource for the study of Archaic Greek inscriptions using an archive of papers and photographs bequeathed by Anne Jeffery.

The archive comprises 100 foolscap folders of papers, two scribbling diaries and one large tin of photographic negatives. Preliminary sifting has shown that, as expected, most of the material - amounting to some 5000 pages of notes and drawings in 77 of the folders - relates directly to the production of The Local Scripts of Archaic Greece (LSAG). Of the remainder of the archive almost all the folders concern epigraphically related lectures, papers or topics, including five on non-Greek scripts of Asia Minor. The non-epigraphical photographs are more diverse in subject matter, reflecting Jeffery's travels in the 1950s and 1960s and the path of her academic career from Cambridge to Oxford via Princeton. Some of the photographs of Aegean scenes record landscapes, townscapes and agricultural practices which have now changed or disappeared. On a different theme, about 40 photographs concern the excavations at Bayraklı (Old Smyrna), where Jeffery supervised the excavation of the Bronze Age levels of "Trench B" during the 1949 season.

One unwelcome discovery was that the archive is deteriorating. Anne Jeffery did not plan for the preservation of her papers in perpetuity and so was frugal and imaginative in her choice of stationery and generous in the application of sellotape, paper clips and staples. In view of this the project has been initiated not a moment too soon.

The detailed cataloguing and digitisation of the archive is now well underway, beginning with the LSAG-related material. Other work over the past year has focussed on developing a range of analytical and illustrative tools to complement and enhance the use of Jeffery's book, including a searchable database and concordance, and mapping tools with a facility to generate customised maps. Ultimately it will be possible to sort and plot the diffusion of scripts according to a wide variety of criteria.

A poster containing details of the project and a selection of sample images was taken to the XII Epigraphical Congress in Barcelona in September, 2002. The poster attracted much interest and helpful suggestions about the shape and direction of the project, as well as a number of requests to visit and consult the resource. Comments and enquiries of this nature are most welcome.

Further details of the project and sample images drawn from all the categories of material in the archive can be viewed at http://www.csad.ox.ac.uk/LSAG.

Peter Haarer

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Created on Sunday, 22 September, 2002: 11:45:09