BIROn - Birkbeck Institutional Research Online

    Life in photographs: archaeology, assemblage and temporality in the archive of O.G.S. Crawford

    Hodgett, Beth (2022) Life in photographs: archaeology, assemblage and temporality in the archive of O.G.S. Crawford. PhD thesis, Birkbeck, University of London.

    Hodgett_Life_in_Photographs_Thesis_Final Draft_Corrections.pdf - Full Version

    Download (49MB) | Preview


    The archaeologist Osbert Guy Stanhope Crawford (1886-1957) was a prolific photographer, taking over 10,000 photographs between 1931 and 1957. Crawford is well-known as the driving force behind the application of techniques of aerial photography to archaeology. For decades scholarship on archaeological photography has emphasized the links between archaeology, photography and the epistemic power dynamics of modernity. Archaeological photography has been characterized as temporally distant, as freezing time, and affecting a detached objective gaze. The distance of the aerial view has thus provided the perfect metaphor to speak of this framing of archaeological photography. And so, Crawford’s archive is doubly trapped in webs of the aerial. However, the photographs held in his archive in the Institute of Archaeology in Oxford offer a very different perspective; there is something intimate; a tactility and a close regard for small details that borders on the sentimental in the detailed studies of mushrooms, romantic views of cloud formations and sand dunes, and joking and irreverent snapshot of colleagues. Turning to look again at the contents of Crawford’s photographic archive not only challenges perceptions of Crawford’s aerial legacy, but pushes us to ask new questions of archaeological photography and to apply new methodological techniques for working with archaeological archive. In this thesis, drawing on the archaeological study of the formation of Crawford’s archive—in conjunction with theories of temporality and assemblage—I make the case that far from Crawford’s photography representing the detached and distant recording of ‘facts’, Crawford’s photographic practice was a lively, dynamic and socially engaged practice.


    Item Type: Thesis
    Copyright Holders: The copyright of this thesis rests with the author, who asserts his/her right to be known as such according to the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988. No dealing with the thesis contrary to the copyright or moral rights of the author is permitted.
    Depositing User: Acquisitions And Metadata
    Date Deposited: 12 Jan 2023 15:34
    Last Modified: 01 Nov 2023 16:01


    Activity Overview
    6 month trend
    6 month trend

    Additional statistics are available via IRStats2.

    Archive Staff Only (login required)

    Edit/View Item Edit/View Item