Delphi: Camels in the plain of Krisa

Department Archive
Collection BSA SPHS Image Collection
Reference No. BSA SPHS 01/5511.C1304
Level Item
Description Film negative, approximately quarter plate size, an original negative.
Dimensions 10.5 x 8.5 cm
Place Plain of Krisa
Creator Atchley, Shirley Clifford
Scope and Content The original description in the SPHS register reads: "Mr. Atchley's numbering: 319. Phocis, Delphi, camels in Crissean plain".
Notes Part of a group of over 1,000 photographs donated by Mr. Shirley C. Atchley in 1921 (JHS 1922).Therefore, if the specific date is not listed in the register, the images cannot have been produced later than 1921.

The image appears in the SPHS Slide Set (no author), ca. 1932. Modern Greek Country Life, slide number 15.
Further information Scenes from Modern Greek Life
Historic images often show scenes from modern life. These are not modern in the current sense, but reflect a time they were taken. Some were captured unintentionally, recording an aspect of contemporary activity while composing scenes of other interest such as ancient or historical monuments. However, many were taken with the express purpose of recording folk life, part of a trend in the latter part of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century. The process of categorizing these ethnographic scenes of everyday life in image collections reflected contemporary folklore categories: material life (eg. domestic architecture, dress, craft and agricultural production), social life (eg. games, festivals) and spiritual life (eg. superstitions, religious activities).

However, a significant idea encapsulated in these ethnographic images was the 19th-century concept of continuity - relics or survivals - of ancient social life and practices in the present. In Greece, this concept of continuity was notably promoted by the scholar of folklore (laographia), Nikolaos Politis, and held by many British classicists and archaeologists of the time. In fact, the Irish classical scholar, J.P. Mahaffy encapsulated this idea in his 1876 travel book, Rambles and Studies in Greece: "Everywhere the modern Greek town is a mere survival of the old". These survivals were often linked to classical literature, cult and myth by scholars of the Greek world.


It is clear that these images are not simply quaint historical scenes, but they embody principles inherent in the discipline of Hellenic Studies in the recent past.

Reference 1922 JHS 42: 8th accession to 1913 slide catalogue. xlix.SPHS C.1304. Link to article