Archaeologist Spies of World War One

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Winifred Lamb was recruited in the final stages of World War One for Room 40 in the Admiralty where she worked alongside (Sir) John D. Beazley. Her work there is discussed by me in the History Hit programme, “Archaeologist Spies of World War One“. Archaeologists excavated the ancient past during peacetime, but in war they had a different mission – to play a vital role in modern military intelligence.

Historian of archaeology Dr Amara Thornton explores a network of archaeologist-spies, codebreaking, mapping and running agents, and with expert contributors delves into the extraordinary double lives led by the critical players in the international theatres of World War One.

Lamb later worked as the Honorary Keeper of Greek Antiquities at the Fitzwilliam Museum, and excavated in Greece through the British School at Athens.

Other members of the BSA also worked in intelligence during World War 1. They included David G. Hogarth, Alan J.B. Wace, Ernest A. Gardner, Harry Pirie-Gordon, and Richard M. Dawkins. Their work is explored in Sifting the Soil of Greece. 

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Winifred Lamb: the need for a biography

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I have been reflecting on why Winifred Lamb deserved a biography.

First, she pursued two parallel careers (captured in the sub-title). She was an active field-archaeologist during the inter-war period at sites that included Mycenae and Sparta, and her own excavations on Lesbos, Chios, and later at Kusura in Turkey. At the same time she was the honorary keeper of Greek antiquities at the Fitzwilliam Museum over nearly a 40 year span.

Second, she was closely involved with the on-going work of the British School at Athens (and contributed to its Golden Jubilee celebrations in 1936). She was also involved with the establishment of the British Institute of Archaeology at Ankara after the Second World War.

Third, she worked alongside some key figures in the discipline of archaeology. Among the names was Sir John Beazley with whom she worked in Naval Intelligence (Room 40) during the First World War. Sir Leonard Woolley introduced her to the Turkish language section of the BBC during the Second World War.

Fourth, she was one of a small group of women who worked at the British School at Athens immediately after the First World War. She was also one of the first women to excavate in Turkey in the 1930s.

Winifred Lamb: Aegean Prehistorian and Museum Curator

HARN Weblog

HARN Member, David Gill, has sent us the following information about his forthcoming book.

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Winifred Lamb was a pioneering archaeologist in Anatolia and the Aegean. She studied classics at Newnham College, Cambridge, and subsequently served in naval intelligence alongside J. D. Beazley during the final stages of the First World War. As war drew to a close, Sydney Cockerell, Director of the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge, invited Lamb to be the honorary keeper of Greek antiquities. Over the next 40 years she created a prehistoric gallery, marking the university’s contribution to excavations in the Aegean, and developed the museum’s holdings of classical bronzes and Athenian figure-decorated pottery. Lamb formed a parallel career excavating in the Aegean. She was admitted as a student of the British School at Athens and served as assistant director on the Mycenae excavations under Alan Wace and Carl Blegen. After further work at Sparta and on…

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Osborne: guidebooks

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1955

Osborne House was opened to the public in 1954 and John Charlton, Inspector of Ancient Monuments, prepared the Ministry of Works ‘Official Guide’. There is a single narrative that effectively provides a tour of the house and grounds. There are numerous black and white illustrations.

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1960 (rev. 1968)

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1960 (rev. 1974)

Charlton’s Guide was revised and the text continued to be used by both the Ministry of Public Buildings and Works and the Department of the Environment. While the text remained largely the same, the new souvenir guide format include colour images. These are in the format of souvenir guides written for other sites in State Guardianship.

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1989 (9th ed. 2004)

The 1989 guidebook was by Michael Turner and was published in nine editions (to 2014) and has been replaced by the English Heritage ‘red’ guide. Essentially this was divided into two main sections: the tour (including the exterior) and the history.

The present English Heritage guidebook is written by Turner. It contains a tour of the house, tour of the gardens, followed by a history . There are seven special features explaining aspects life at Osborne.

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2007 (2nd ed. 2014, rev. 2016)

 

 

Archaeology: American Library Association Award

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2017

I was one of the contributors to Paul Bahn’s, Archaeology: The Essential Guide to Our Human Past (Washington DC: Smithsonian, 2017) [website]. The volume has been selected as one of the American Library Association Choice Outstanding Academic Titles for 2017.

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In Britain the volume has been published as Archaeology: The Whole Story (London: Thames & Hudson, 2017) [website].

English Heritage: sponsored by Gateway

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Finchale Priory, 1987 (reprinted 1989)

English Heritage (e.g. Dartmouth Castle, Longthorpe Tower) and Historic Scotland guidebooks (e.g. Birsay, Smailholm) carried the logo of Gateway Foodmarkets Ltd. Advertising on official guidebooks has a long history.

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Aydon Castle, 1988 (reprinted 1990)

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Warkworth Castle, 3rd ed. 1990

Dryburgh Abbey: book cupboard

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Dryburgh Abbey © David Gill

A book cupboard is located on the east side of the cloister at Dryburgh Abbey. It is adjacent into the main east processional doorway into the church, and on the other side the library and vestry.

J.S. Richardson (in the ‘Blue Guide’) noted: ‘Near the processional doorway is a wall-press or aumbry, once fitted with doors and shelves to contain the books used in the cloister’.

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Dryburgh Abbey © David Gill

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Dryburgh Abbey © David Gill