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School of Slavonic and East European Studies

Evans (Arthur) Collection


Reference code(s): GB 0369 EVA

Held at: School of Slavonic and East European Studies

Title: Evans (Arthur) Collection

Date(s): 1838-1936

Level of description: Collection (Fonds)

Extent: 8 boxes, 10 volumes and 1 map.

Name of creator(s): Evans | Sir | Arthur John | 1851-1941 | Knight | archaeologist


Administrative/Biographical history:

Arthur John Evans (1851-1941) had recently graduated from Oxford University and was travelling in Bosnia with his brother Lewis in 1874 when a Christian peasant rebellion against Ottoman rule began. On his return to Britain, Evans published an account of his experiences and as a result of his knowledge of the Balkans which were at that moment in crisis, he immediately became known as an authority on the region. His involvement deepened as he became secretary of the British Fund for Balkan refugees and special correspondent for the "Manchester Guardian" in the Balkans, based in Ragusa (now Dubrovnik), Croatia. His reports however raised suspicions of spying among the Austrian authorities and as a result in 1882 he was arrested for high treason, imprisoned and expelled. Evans retained a concern for the area for the rest of his life.

The papers in this collection relate to Evans' journalistic and political activities in the Balkans, however the career for which he achieved most reknown wasarchaeology. Whilst working as a journalist in Ragusa 1876-1882 and on later visits, he was a pioneer in identifying sites of Roman cities and roads in Bosnia andMacedonia. In 1884 he became keeper of the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, a post he held until 1908, after which time he became honorary keeper. In 1894 hebegan travels in Crete. It was here that he made his most famous archaological find with the escavation of the Palace of Minos in Crete 1899-1907, in Greekmythology home of the Minotaur. Evans was also a founder member of the British Academy in 1902 and was knighted in 1911. He married Margaret Freeman in 1878, she shared in his work but died in 1893.


Scope and content/abstract:

Papers of Sir Arthur John Evans, relating to his journalistic and political activities in the Balkans, comprising:
Articles, lectures, memoranda, notebooks, notes, sketches and correspondence re the Balkans, including Bosnia, Herzegovina, Serbia and Macedonia, particularly the Adriatic question and possibilities for a South Slav state, 1875-1932; Evans' photographs of Balkan people and places, c 1884, 1932; press cuttings on the Balkans, 1877-1935, including volumes of articles by Evans as Balkans correspondent of the Manchester Guardian, based in Ragusa [now Dubrovnik], 1877-1888, press cuttings on Serbia, Montenegro and the creation of a united South Slav state, 1915-1919 and cuttings re relations between Italy and the new Yugoslav state mainly from the Italian press, 1918-1919; volume of cuttings by or about Evans on archaeology, 1880-1889; pamphlets, press bulletins and off prints mainly on the South Slavs, 1904-1922


Language/scripts of material: Mainly English, small amount of Greek, Latin, Turkish, Urdu Persian and Italian

System of arrangement:

The papers are divided into two classes: EVA/1 - material bequeathed by Evans to SSEES, and EVA/2 - material on long-term loan from the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford. Both classes contain similar material - Evans's writings, notes, sketches, correspondence, press cuttings, pamphlets andoffprints relating to the Balkans.

Conditions governing access:

Unrestricted access. Researchers wishing to consult the archives or seeking further information should contact UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies (SSEES) Library, 16 Taviton Street, London WC1H 0BW.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Copies, subject to the condition of the original, may be supplied for research use only. Requests to publish original material should be submitted to the Librarian.

Physical characteristics:

Finding aids:

On-line catalogue, with some images, available on the SSEES website.

Detailed catalogue



Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

Some of the material (EVA/1) was bequeathed to ICS by Sir Arthur Evans, and the remaining material (EVA/2) is on long-term loan from the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford.


Related material:

SSEES also holds the papers of Evans' wife, Margaret (Ref. EVM).

The Ashmolean Museum, Oxford has a large collection of Evans' artefacts and papers relating to his career as an archaeologist. The Pitt-Rivers Museum, Oxford has a small collection (ref. B63) mainly of pencil drawings made by Evans in the Balkans.

Publication note:


Archivist's note: Revised by Alan Kucia as part of the RSLP AIM25 Project. Sources: Bulletin of the Institute of Archaeology vol 13, 1976, pp 25-26, Dictionary of National Biography, Brown, A Before Knossos ... Arthur Evans' travels in the Balkans and Crete (Oxford, 1993)

Rules or conventions: Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description ISAD(G), 2nd edition 2000 and National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions: Revised Apr 2002

Ancient civilizations | Ancient history | Historical periods
Archaeological sites | Archaeology
Archaeologists | Archaeology
European history | National history
Journalists | Communication personnel | Personnel | People by occupation | People
International relations
Social scientists

Personal names
Evans | Sir | Arthur John | 1851-1941 | Knight | archaeologist

Corporate names

Balkans | Eastern Europe
Bosnia and Herzegovina | Eastern Europe
Croatia | Eastern Europe
Italy | Western Europe | Europe
Serbia | Yugoslavia | Eastern Europe
The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia | Eastern Europe
Macedonia x The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia