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The Cambridge Digital Library has launched a dedicated Faculty of Classics portal. The first two collections feature digitized archival material from the Papers of Alan J. B. Wace, Laurence Professor of Classical Archaeology 1934-1944. Digital Thessaly features Alan Wace’s notebooks and photographs from his 1908-1910 Neolithic excavations in Thessaly, Greece.  Explosive Wace preserves images of archaeological sites in Greece and Asia Minor taken by Wace between 1902-1906, originally photographed on potentially combustible cellulose nitrate film.

Alan Wace at Olympia, Greece, in 1904. AJBW/3/44/1


Digital Thessaly was a collaborative project between the Faculty of Classics and Pembroke College, University of Cambridge, and the British School at Athens, led by Dr Michael Loy. It received funding from the Friends of the British School at Athens and Cambridge Digital Humanities.  The outcome has been to reunite material on-line field notebooks and photographs which share a common origin in Wace but which had been separated over decades between three different archive collections in two countries. These archaeological records can now digitally once more be consulted as a whole.


Monumental entrance to a Mycenaean tholos tomb at Dimini, near Volos, in Thessaly. AJBW/3/12/28


Explosive Wace arose as a pragmatic response to the challenge of capturing disappearing images on decaying Edwardian photographic film before the volatile negatives could ultimately self-ignite. The Faculty of Classics funded the rescue of these photographs from chemical annihilation and restored to us glimpses of Greece, Italy and of Cambridge at the turn of the twentieth century.

Villagers at Dimitisana (Δημητσάνα), Arkadia, Greece, circa 1905, AJBW/3/39/40


All these photographs have been catalogued on Archives Search, the University of Cambridge’s bespoke archives record management system.


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