Meet James Neill, who has just joined Special Collections as Project Archivist.
James will be with us for 18 months, working on the Wellcome-funded ‘Putting Flesh on the Bones Project’, a collaboration between Special Collections and Archaeological Sciences. Working closely with the rest of the project team, James will be cataloguing, digitising, preserving, and promoting the rich and unique archive of pioneering palaeopathologist Dr Calvin Wells. He will be based in Richmond Building but will also be seen around Special Collections.
James received his archive qualification from the University of Glasgow in 2013. Since then he has worked for all kinds of arts, heritage and academic organisations, including the Mercers’ Company, London Metropolitan Archives and the University of Arts London, and on collections ranging from the Estate Papers of Sir Richard Whittington to the counter-cultural comic books of Robert Crumb. This wide experience will be very helpful in navigating the complications of the Wells material! Find out more about him on his staff webpage.
In 1908 this circular was sent out to over 100 people in East Anglia inviting them to join an “East Anglian Society of Prehistorians”. The Hon Secretaries pro tem (W.A. Dutt and W.G. Clarke) had had the idea three years earlier, while flint-hunting in Thetford, but had decided to wait until they felt there was sufficient enthusiasm to sustain a Society.
Circular advertising the proposed East Anglian Society of Prehistorians, 1908. From the Prehistoric Society minute-books (ref PRE 1).
Their timing was right. After the inaugural meeting, at the Norfolk and Norwich Library on 26 October 1908, over seventy members signed up, paying a subscription of 1/6.
East Anglia was the ideal place for the Society to begin. The region is rich in flint, which occurs in bands in chalk, and was used by early humans for tool-making. The people who joined the Society, like Dutt and Clarke, were driven…
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Jacquetta Hawkes by a waterfall, Carrantuohill, Co. Kerry, ca. 1951, photo by Nicolas Hawkes (HAW18/5/4)
One of the most significant, exciting and beautiful archives in Special Collections is that of archaeologist and writer Jacquetta Hawkes. There is now a revival of interest in her great contribution to raising public awareness of Britain’s deep past during the 1950s. Her masterpiece, A Land, which unforgettably fuses archaeology, geology, poetry and personal experience, has been reissued by Harper Collins. This book is explored and revisited, using manuscripts and photographs from the Archive, by Dr Christine Finn in a new exhibition at Yorkshire Sculpture Park this autumn. Find out more about Jacquetta, the Archive, the book and the exhibition on our Celebrating Jacquetta Hawkes website.
Delighted to announce that Jacquetta Hawkes’ masterpiece, A Land, which fuses archaeology and geology into a personal exploration of England’s deep past, will soon be back in print. It is being reissued in the Collins Nature Library in June. The new edition is introduced by Robert MacFarlane, who shares his thoughts about the book in this Guardian Review article:
“Ardent and personal, A Land became a bestseller, and one of the defining British non-fiction books of the postwar decade. Sixty years on it reads, fascinatingly, as a missing link in the literature of nature and landscape. It seems both a period piece – as of its year as the Festival of Britain, the Austin A30 and The Goon Show – and Delphically out-of-time in its ecstatic holism.”
Find out more about Jacquetta Hawkes’s amazing life and unique writings on our webpage for her Archive and in this online exhibit on the Celebrating Jacquetta Hawkes blog.