Reflections in shadow: Excavating the personal archives of Paul Jacobsthal and EM Jope

Matthew William Hitchcock

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The formation of archives has been a key facet of the archaeological discipline since its inception, critical in the production of knowledge from the destructive excavation that occurs in the field. The ongoing ‘archival shift’ within the humanities from archives as mere sources of secondary information to primary topics of research has presented new potential for the study of historic archaeological archives. This article explores the personal archives of two great scholars of Iron Age Celtic art, Paul Jacobsthal and EM Jope, held at the Institute of Archaeology, University of Oxford. Shedding new light on their engagement and interaction with the objects that they studied, the author explores the archive’s power to illuminate the ways in which the scholars’ methods, experiences and encounters shaped the knowledge that they produced about the past. Through presenting the archives as both primary sources of historical information and vibrant material entities, worthy of ‘excavation’ in their own right, the article advocates an assemblage-based archaeological approach to archival engagement.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)25-42
JournalJournal of Material Culture
Issue number1
Early online date25 Sept 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2021


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