Update from the ASOR Archives

In a photo from the Archives, archaeologist Nelson Glueck takes a break from his explorations to snap a photo with a soldier, circa 1938.

Greetings from the ASOR Archives! As you may know, the ASOR Archives has been a hive of activity for the last three years as we have been organizing, preserving, and digitizing over one hundred years of records documenting ASOR’s history and the history of American archaeology in the Near East.

In the last six months or so, we have really been able to focus on the goal established in our original NEH grant proposal – to make ASOR’s archival collections available to the public online. Though the project continues, I’d like to update you on our progress and introduce you to some of our collections.

Since I started here in 2009, we have processed thirty two collections from the mass of material stored at ASOR headquarters in Boston, the Semitic Museum at Harvard University, and the Albright Institute in Jerusalem. I expect that a few more collections will emerge before we are through with the processing. These collections include excavation materials, photographs, dig diaries, drawings, correspondence and all manner of administrative materials. The collections document fascinating moments in the history of archaeology like the first photographic survey of area east of the Jordan River, and the discovery and publication of the Dead Sea Scrolls. The collections also document the experiences of American archaeologists working in the Near East through World War II, the Six Day War, the establishment of the state of Israel, and other significant political events.

In the last few months, we have been working on making these collections available online. The software we have selected, Archon, lets us make the digitized materials part of the collection summaries (or “finding aids” in archival parlance), so that when a researcher finds an interesting looking folder in the finding aid, he or she can click on the folder title and download a PDF file of the scanned contents of that folder.

While many of our collections are under construction, we invite you to have a look at Archon. See the full Collection List on the ASOR website (all collections link through to Archon), or, to see a completely processed and digitized collection, browse through the Nelson Glueck Papers. To learn more about Glueck, expand the Biographical/Historical Note. To learn more about the contents of the collection, expand the Scope Note. Click a green arrow to download digitized materials from the collection.

See anything you want to know more about? Contact me at asorarch@bu.edu!

Photos from the Archives are posted weekly on the ASOR Facebook page. Be sure to “Like” us so you don’t miss out!

One thought on “Update from the ASOR Archives

  1. Greetings!

    I just want to salute you on the Archon- Nelson Glueck papers and photos. Impressive! As a Jordanian now living in the US, I cannot but say thank you for making the photos available to the public.
    Just wondering if there’s a way to add some helpful info to certain photos, maybe in the future.

    Again, great job!

    Inad Bilbeisi

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