Mycenae Excavation Records

The Mycenae Excavation Records consist primarily of original site plans, drawings and watercolours of artefacts, as well as a few notebooks and photographs, produced during the 1920-23 British School at Athens excavations at Mycenae. The plans and drawings are both preliminary works in pencil and final works in ink, some of which were later marked up for publications. Most of these documents were left to the BSA by Alan Wace and Piet de Jong either following the 1920-23 seasons or after they had been published. Some of the original drawings from the Mycenae Excavations were also used in the 1936 exhibition, ‘British Archaeological Discoveries in Greece and Crete, 1886-1936’ hosted at Burlington House (Royal Academy of Arts) in London and returned to the British School at Athens soon afterwards.

During the early years excavation records were usually left in the care of the Assistant Director of the British School at Athens who registered them on a card catalogue system. The Mycenae Excavation Records, as a collection, seems to have been first constructed in the late 1930s after the material from the 1920-23 excavations had been finally published in the reports of the Annual of the British School at Athens, volume XXIV (1920) and XXV (1921-1923), and Chamber Tombs at Mycenae (Society of Antiquaries: Archaeologia, 82 (1932)); and the panels from the 1936 Exhibition at Burlington House were returned from London. After Winifred Lamb’s death in 1962, the BSA received a large bequest of books and papers from her estate, amongst these were the two excavation notebooks Lamb had kept during her work at Mycenae in 1921 (MYC 1/1) and 1922 (MYC 1/2). In 1972 renowned archaeologist, Sylvia Benton, donated some personal and academic papers of her colleague, the archaeologist Walter A. Heurtley, to the British School of Athens. Two of these items were his notebooks (MYC 1/3 and MYC 1/4) from 1922 when he worked at Mycenae. The last accessions to be made in the Mycenae Excavation Records were watercolour drawings (MYC 3/1/27 – MYC 3/1/32) framed by Elizabeth B. French and left to the British School at Athens in 1994 following her tenure as the School’s Director.