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The Bean Archive

The Bean Archive is a resource of fully searchable catalogue of images and documents relating to George E Bean. George was a well known topographer and epigraphist of Classical Turkey, born in 1903 and traveling widely right up until his death in 1977.

The Bean Archive was curated in 2015 and will be of great interest to those with an enthusiasm for the Turkish archaeology of the Classical period and for Turkish history in general. It also provides a valuable insight into the experience of archaeologists working and traveling during the middle of the 20th century.


George stepping through an archway, 1950s (D5.5)


The Bean Archive Website

This website provides access to the digitised photographs in the Bean Archive. In addition to this searchable catalogue, the website contains background information about the life and times of George and stories from his travels written by his wife, Jane Bean. Amongst the inscribed stones, ruinous archaeological sites and dramatic landscapes, George perhaps unwittingly captured moments of beauty in the places and faces of his traveling companions – both two- and four-legged.


The Bean Suitcase
The Bean Suitcase, 2015


Creating the Archive

In 1990 the Museum of Classical Archaeology received a donation which included a rather worn looking brown leather suitcase. With a broken handle and tuck locks long past working, the old brown suitcase was carefully placed in a storeroom to remain largely untouched for nearly 25 years.

In 2014 the suitcase resurfaced and over 3,000 photographs and negatives were discovered inside. The pink chalk mark 'Bean', etched in capitals on the lid, identified the owner and photographer.

Thanks to the support the Museum's Committee, 2015 marked the creation of the Bean Archive: a fully conserved, organised and rehoused photograph archive. Each of the photographs has been digitised, along with accompanying documents, and are now available for everyone to access.


The cataloguing, research and curation of the Bean Archive was undertaken by Dr. Kate Beats between June 2014 and March 2015. These pages are testament to her hard work and regard for George and his legacy.


If you would like to know more about the Bean Archive, would like to arrange research visit or image reproduction permissions, please contact our curator:

Dr. Susanne Turner
Tel. +44 (0)1223 335153


Find out more




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Coronovirus Update: Temporary Closure of the Museum of Classical Archaeology from Wednesday 18 March

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