The John Bryan Ward-Perkins Archive preserved at the British School at Rome (BSR) is a complex assemblage of materials encompassing drawings, photographs, slides, written notes, sketches, plans and a copious exchange of letters, both administrative and personal in nature. These were spontaneously accumulated and arranged by the author himself throughout his academic career and longstanding appointment as Director of the BSR between 1946 and 1974.
After his death in 1981, the bulk of these materials found their legitimate home at the BSR thanks to his family’s appreciation of their context of production. They profoundly respond to the remarkable wide range of interests that Ward-Perkins nurtured in many fields, from architecture and architectural ornaments to sculpture in classical and medieval times, from cultural heritage protection in war times to landscape archaeology, epigraphy, marble trade, material culture and production in the ancient world, just to name a few.
His sure insight into the archaeologically and historically important, to cite Joyce Reynolds (1918-2022), is particularly mirrored in the vast archive of pictures he meticulously took and collected along the lines of one of his most notable predecessors, Thomas Ashby (1892-1931), BSR Director in the first quarter of 20th century.
The numerous expeditions to Libya he conducted between 1946 and the early 1950s were not only occasions for gathering data of outstanding importance, they also marked the beginning of a fruitful collaboration with established scholars both from the Italian, the British as well as the international entourage. The creation of an extended network of early career students, professionals and academics helped him bring to completion many ambitious projects. One of these was the systematic collection of photographs depicting the inscriptions from the Tripolitania province for a pioneering publication on the subject in 1952. In this endeavour, Ward-Perkins sought the collaboration of another formidable scholar, the notable archaeologist and epigraphist Joyce Reynolds.
The BSR is therefore delighted to present the online publication of the whole set of photographs from the Inscriptions of Roman Tripolitania (IRT) which includes ca. 1,200 images as well as 284 cards. The project started in September 2021 and was concluded in December 2022. The IRT Collection, which depicts Latin and Greek inscriptions on stone from Roman Tripolitania, grouped by region and location, complements the printed edition on this subject that Ward-Perkins and Reynolds issued in 1952.
The Research Project dedicated to the IRT Collection can be browsed on the BSR Digital Library (IRT – DIGITAL COLLECTIONS (bsr.ac.uk).
Alessandra Giovenco, May 2023