The Ashmolean Museum
Beaumont Street
Oxford OX1 2PH
United Kingdom
Tel. + 44 1865 278000
Fax. + 44 1865 278018

The Ashmolean Museum, which is one of the central institutions of the University of Oxford, was founded in 1683 and is Britain's oldest public museum. Its collections cover the entire range of European and Near Eastern archaeology (including numismatics), and have been accumulated over 300 years during which the Museum has played a pioneer role in the growth of the subject. It also houses collections of Oriental and European fine art, and casts of antique sculpture. (Other institutions of the University of Oxford with archival materials relevant to the history of archaeology are the Bodleian library, the Pitt Rivers Museum, the Institute of Archaeology and the Beazley Archive).
This long history of archaeological activity has generated a great quantity of archival material, which is currently being sorted at the Ashmolean Museum. These include materials relating to the notable antiquarian contributions of the Evans family (Sir John Evans, 1823-1908, and Sir Arthur Evans, 1851-1941). Although the Getty Foundation financed for 3 years the post of Arthur Evans Archivist, there is no specialist archivist in the Museum, and funds are currently being sought from responsible UK bodies to make such material publicly available. Amongst the most important documentation, which is of international significance, are the carefully-measured plans and drawings of European megalithic monuments made by Sir Henry Dryden in collaboration with the Reverend W.C. Lukis during the later nineteenth century. These form the basis of the present AREA project.

On the Ashmolean Museum and its history, see:

Evans A. 1884, The Ashmolean Museum as a Home of Archaeology in Oxford. Oxford: Parker & Co.
MacGregor A. 2001, The Ashmolean Museum: A brief history of the institution and its collections. Ashmolean Museum, Oxford.
Brown A. 2001 (ed.) Arthur Evans's Travels in Crete 1894-1899. BAR Int. Ser. 1000.

EARLY RECORDS OF THE MEGALITHIC MONUMENTS OF THE CARNAC REGION (BRITTANY, FRANCE)

The goal of this project is to publish the important early documents concerning the Neolithic funerary and ceremonial monuments of the Département of the Morbihan, compiled by British visitors during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. These documents provide a unique record of the state of these structures at a time when the landscape was more open, and before the extensive changes consequent upon agricultural improvement and rural development. The set of remarkably accurate plans executed by the English antiquarian team of Sir Henry Dryden and the Reverend W.C. Lukis between 1864 and 1872, which remained unpublished for lack of public subscription, would now be among the classic 19th-century collections of archaeological material, had they appeared at the time in monographic form. The present project will integrate all the existing British documentation, published and unpublished, in a single catalogue, together with a commentary on its historical and archaeological significance, in the context of recent research. It will provide the first integration of accurate, modern plans with the fuller records of the undisturbed state of these monuments, as they appeared 100-170 years ago.

On early studies of Morbihan megaliths, see:

Atkinson R.J.C. 1976, "Lukis, Dryden and the Carnac monuments", in J.V.S. Megaw (ed), To Illustrate the Monuments, London: Thames and Hudson.
Sherratt A.G. 1987, "Of men and megaliths", The Ashmolean 12: 2-5.
Roughley C., Sherratt A. and Shell C. 2002 "Past records, new views: Carnac 1830-200", Antiquity 76.



(top) A view of the Kerlescant alignments, looking northeast, by H. Dryden, August 1869, Ashmolean Museum.
(bottom) Section of two joining sheets of the Kerlescant alignments, Dryden / Lukis survey, 1867-9, Ashmolean Museum