1. Introduction

Charles Roach Smith (1806–1890) was at the forefront of archaeological scholarship from the 1840s onwards. He played a key role in asserting and establishing the importance of British antiquities and archaeology, but is rarely mentioned in general histories of archaeology (Rhodes 1990; 1991; 1992; 2004; Hobley 1975; Henig 1995, 186; see also Scott 2013b, section 4.2). He published extensively on British, and especially Romano-British, remains; his studies of Romano-British archaeology and art remain important sources of reference, and he is described by Henig as having 'an intelligent appreciation of workmanship, and an instinctive feel for iconography' (1995, 186). Sir John Evans, President of the Society of Antiquaries and the Numismatic Society, commissioned a medal in appreciation of his 'services to archaeological science', which was presented to him just before his death in 1890 (Smith 1891, ix–x). His interest in collecting, recording and interpreting evidence of everyday life in Roman Britain was unusual in this period, when many archaeologists of Roman Britain were primarily concerned with military remains (Hingley 2008, 307–11), and when the resources of the government and the British Museum were invested elsewhere: most notably in the acquisition of Greek and Roman antiquities (for which see e.g. Kelly 2010; Dyson 2006; Cook 1998), and increasingly those from Assyria and Egypt (e.g. Malley 2012; Moser 2006; Thornton 2013; Goldhill 2015, 64–108). The focus on the archaeology of these regions was due in part to the intense rivalry between nations in the formation of national collections of art and antiquities, and a perception that investment in these areas was most appropriate for a nation at the heart of a vast empire (Hoock 2010; Scott 2014; see also 2013b, section 4.2.2). As noted by Cook (1998, 139) 'British archaeology is not synonymous with archaeology in Britain, and this was especially true in the Victorian period' (see Illustrated London News 8 Nov. 1856: 479 on the inadequate provision for national antiquities in the British Museum).

Publications on biblical and classical archaeology, such as Layard's on the remains at Nineveh (1867), and Gell's descriptions of antiquities in Greece and Pompeii (1852; Sweet 2015), are perceived as canonical works, and are certainly better known by most archaeologists today than any of the publications produced by Smith (see Topham 2000, 566 on the dangers of 'culturomorphic distortion' through focus on canonical works; Raven 1992, 24; Scott 2013a, 2). It is unsurprising that major publishers of the day, such as John Murray, were keen to produce volumes relating to these dramatic and exotic discoveries, for which they would have predicted a significant market. However, the majority of archaeological publications during this period were about Britain, and their importance for the history of the discipline has been insufficiently recognised; many volumes were the result of considerable investment by authors and their subscribers, and merit further investigation. For example, a study of the publications of Samuel Lysons (Scott 2013a; 2014) has shown how 'local' antiquities were employed in the assertion of national identities in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Lysons and his circle, which included the eminent explorer and scientist Sir Joseph Banks, were at the forefront of archaeological scholarship during this period, working collaboratively to an international agenda celebrating Britain's scientific and cultural leadership in Europe. The publications of Smith and his associates are similarly impressive and provide valuable insights into the development of the discipline in the mid-nineteenth century, both in Britain and further afield (Rhodes 1992). See also Scott 2013b, section 4.2.2; Scott 2013a and Scott 2014

This paper expands on the discussion of Smith's achievements in the context of archaeological publishing in the nineteenth century and, through an analysis of 899 subscribers to 11 of his volumes on British archaeology, explains how and why he published so prolifically in the absence of institutional support for the study of national antiquities, often in the face of prejudice against his background in 'trade' (Smith 1883, 116). It shows how he established his credentials as an internationally renowned and celebrated archaeologist, assiduously cultivating networks of support and highlighting the inadequacies and incompetence of predominantly aristocratic trusts and societies. It also demonstrates the immense importance of subscription publishing in archaeology during this period, and the significance of the lists themselves as a means of self-promotion, both for the author and his/her subscribers (Robinson and Wallis 1975; Sweet 1997, 30); the importance of these sources for understanding the development of the discipline of archaeology has not been fully recognised. Building on existing scholarship (Rhodes 1992; Levine 1986; Hoselitz 2007; Evans 2007; Hingley 2007; Thornton 2013), it argues that Smith's rigorous and evangelising approach to archaeological publication, and the pivotal role that he played in establishing and growing philanthropic social and intellectual networks, underpinned the transformation of the discipline in the second half of the nineteenth century. His efforts also contributed to wider social and educational reform during this period, which included greater recognition for women; their 'hidden' contributions have received little attention in histories of archaeology, and this is particularly true for women working in British archaeology (for critique see e.g. Classen 1994; Díaz-Andreu and Sorensen 1998; Cohen and Sharp Joukowsky 2004. See also Smith 1998 on gender and historical practice). This paper highlights the potential of a more inclusive and prosopographical history of the discipline to provide unique insights into the enterprising strategies and impressive achievements of those whose work is insufficiently recognised today.


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