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Kirwan, Sir Laurence

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0102 MS 380711
Held at: School of Oriental and African Studies
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Full title: Kirwan, Sir Laurence
Date(s): 1933-1998
Level of description: Collection (fonds)
Extent: 4 boxes
Name of creator(s): Kirwan | Sir | Archibald Laurence Patrick | 1907-1999 | Knight | archaeologist and geographer


Administrative/Biographical history:

Born in Galloway, 1907; educated at Wimbledon College; Merton College, Oxford; Assistant Director of the Oxford Archaeological Survey of Nubia, 1929-1934; involved in the discovery, excavation and publication of 4th- and 5th-century AD burial mounds at Ballana and Qustul; Field Director, Oxford University Expeditions to Sudan, 1934-1937; carried out excavations at Kawa, Sudan; Boston and Philadelphia Museums, 1937; Tweedie Fellowship in Archaeology and Anthropology, Edinburgh University, 1937-1939; exploratory journeys, Eastern Sudan and Aden Protectorate, 1938-1939; Territorial Army Reserve of Officers Captain, General Staff, 1939; Major, 1941; Lieutenant-Colonel, 1943; Joint Staffs, Offices of Cabinet and Ministry of Defence, 1942-1945; Editor, Geographical Journal, 1945-1978; Librarian, Royal Geographical Society, and subsequently Secretary; Honorary Lieutenant-Colonel, 1957; CMG, 1958; President, British Institute in Eastern Africa, 1961-1981; visited the Aksumite port of Adulis, on the Eritrean coast, 1960s; President (Section E), British Association for the Advancement of Science, 1961-1962; Governor, Imperial College of Science and Technology, 1962-1981; member of the Court of Arbitration, Argentine-Chile Frontier Case, 1965-1968 (Leader, Field Mission, 1966); member of the Secretary of State for Transport's Advisory Committee on Landscape Treatment of Trunk Roads (Deputy Chairman, 1970-1980), 1968-1981; member of the United Nations Register of fact-finding experts from 1968; member of Court, Exeter University, 1969-1980; KCMG, 1972; Founder's Medal, Royal Geographical Society, 1975; British Academy/Leverhulme Visiting Professor, Cairo, 1976; Mortimer Wheeler Lecturer, British Academy, 1977; Jubilee Medal, 1977; Honorary Vice-President, Royal Geographical Society, from 1981; Honorary Life President and Honorary Member, British Institute in Eastern Africa, 1981-1999; Honorary President, Sudan Archaeological Research Society, 1992; Fellow, University College London, and Imperial College of Science and Technology; Honorary Fellow, School of Oriental and African Studies, and American Geographical Society; Honorary Member, Geographical Societies of Paris, Vienna, and Washington, Royal Institute of Navigation, Institut d'Egypte, and International Society for Nubian Studies (Patron); Knight Cross of the Order of St Olav, Norway; MLitt, Oxon; died, 1999. Publications: Some Roman Mummy Tickets [1933?]; Christianity and the Kura'an [1934]; A Sudanese of the Saite Period (1934); Notes on the Topography of the Christian Nubian Kingdoms [1935]; The Oxford University Excavations in Nubia, 1934-1935 [1935]; with Walter B Emery, The Excavations and Survey between Wadies-Sebua and Adindan, 1929-1931 (1935); with Walter B Emery, The Royal Tombs of Ballana and Qustal (1938); The Oxford University Excavations at Firka (1939); contributed to The Temples of Kawa, i: The Inscriptions (1949), ii: History and Archaeology of the Site (1955); The White Road: a survey of polar exploration (1959); A History of Polar Exploration (1962); chapters in Miles Frederick Laming Macadam, Temples of Kawa (undated); papers on archaeology, historical and political geography, and exploration, in scientific and other publications.


Scope and content/abstract:

Papers of Sir Laurence Kirwan, 1933-1998, dating mainly from the 1960s-1970s, comprising collected cuttings, offprints and publications, 1933-1995, including newspapers, magazines, and academic journals, on archaeology and related subjects in Africa, largely east Africa, and Arabia, including some by Sir Laurence Kirwan; slides and photographs, 1960s-1970s (some undated), showing artefacts, archaeological finds and other subjects relating to archaeology, including some from Kirwan's tours of Ethiopia, east Africa and Arabia; papers, 1967-1974, including lecture notes, maps, itineraries, correspondence and printed information, relating to a series of lectures delivered as a guest lecturer on a Swan's tour of Ethiopia (1973); miscellaneous reports and correspondence, 1997-1998, relating to Kirwan's report on archaeology in Aden (1939); notebook [1960s] on the excavations at Axum (Aksum), including miscellaneous inserted notes, photographs, correspondence and maps, 1960-1974 (some undated).

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:
Mainly English, some French

System of arrangement:

Arranged in five sections: Publications; Slides and photographs; Ethiopia - Swan's Tours; Miscellaneous reports and correspondence; Notebook on excavations at Axum.

Conditions governing access:


Conditions governing reproduction:

No publication without written permission. Apply to archivist in the first instance.

Finding aids:

Unpublished handlist.

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

Presented in 1999.

Allied Materials

Related material:

The Royal Geographical Society holds papers of Sir Laurence Kirwan. Oxford University, Bodleian Library, Special Collections and Western Manuscripts, holds his letters to O G S Crawford.

National Register of Archives: Click here to view NRA record

Publication note:

Description Notes

Archivist's note:
Sources: Who's Who; National Register of Archives; British Library OPAC.

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

Date(s) of descriptions:
Aug 2002

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