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Fara, Iraq expedition records

PU-Mu. 1020

Excavation at Fara, initiated by German excavators between 1902 and 1903, was resumed in 1931 by Erich Schmidt, an archaeologist working under the aegis of the University Museum. Since the Museum’s participation was limited to one season which took place between February 15 and May 19, the records pertaining to this excavation are not numerous. The textual records at Fara include general correspondence, field notes, indexes and catalogues, and publications. Where possible, a chronological order was imposed on the records.

Summary Information

Creator(s)Schmidt, Erich Friedrich, 1897-1964
Date(s)[bulk] Bulk, 1930-1931
[inclusive] 1930-1972
Call NumberPU-Mu. 1020
Physical DescriptionExtent: 1.95 Linear feet
Language(s)eng

Biography / History

Excavation at Fara, initiated by German excavators between 1902 and 1903, was resumed in 1931 by Erich Schmidt, an archaeologist working under the aegis of the University Museum. Since the Museum’s participation was limited to one season which took place between February 15 and May 19, the records pertaining to this excavation are not numerous. It is a fortunate circumstance that Schmidt listed (letter of May 25, 1931 to H. Jayne) exactly what types of records were generated. A confusing aspect of this collection is that Fara was excavated with funds appropriated by the Joint Persian Expedition for the proposed excavation in Iran (Tepe Hissar) also headed by Schmidt. Most Fara records are contained here, although some may be with the records for the Citadel at Damghan (Tureng Tepe), and Tepe Hissar. However, the excavation at Fara occurred before those at these other sites, and therefore the records were already, for the most part, separate.


Scope and Contents

The correspondence includes several letters to H. Jayne, the Museum Director, which served as the first and second field report, subsequently, the second (May 1, 1931) was published in The Museum Journal. Fara Report III (July, 1931) is an account of the trip undertaken by Schmidt and the rest of the staff of the Joint Persian Expedition from Fara to Damghan via Baghdad. It actually pertains more to Tepe Hissar and has been placed with those records. Also, some correspondence relates to the acquisition of excavation rights from one of the original German excavators (W. Andrae) and the Antiquities Department in Iraq (S. Smith).

The order of the field notes was not disturbed as the material appeared to be already grouped into broad categories; for example, architectural descriptions were found together, as were the burial sheets. The photographic catalogue was placed with the other records of the Joint Persian Expedition as it is a smaller part of the photographic catalogue for Tepe Hissar and Damghan. In addition, there is an excavation journal and road diary documenting the journey from Fara to Damghan via Baghdad. Together with the photographs which were taken concurrently, it represents information concerning archaeological sites in Iraq, local monuments and daily life in Iraq in the 1930’s. An appointment book, Daily Reminder 1931, is placed within this series as it makes brief mention of the progression of the excavation, as does the field Note Book, 1931.

Where possible, a chronological order was imposed on the records. Photographs were retained with the documents when they directly referred to content. Otherwise, the photographic collections hold material relating to excavations, objects and travel photographs. Large maps and drawings are kept in the Oversize Section, and watercolors are in the Print Cabinet.


Administration Info

Publication Information: University of Pennsylvania: Penn Museum Archives, August 2009

Finding Aid Author: Finding aid prepared by K. Moreau

Use Restrictions: Although many items from the archives are in the public domain, copyright may be retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law. The user is fully responsible for compliance with relevant copyright law.


Controlled Access Headings

Corporate Name(s)

Form(s)/Genre(s)

Geographic Name(s)

Personal Name(s)

Subject(s)


Collection Inventory

General Correspondence (inclusive: 1930-1931)

Scope and Contents note

Reports from the field, financial statements, telegrams and letters to the director. Correspondence and records relating to other archaeologists, with the Antiquities Department and with other officials in Iran. For the most part, materials are arranged chronologically within each folder, although some items which are related are grouped together regardless of date.

Fara, 1930Box 1
Erich Schmidt - correspondence, 1930-1931Box 1
Correspondence-financial and administrative, 1931Box 1
Miscellaneous correspondence-Shipping invoices, Box 1
Minutes of conferences of the Directors of Expeditions, Iraq, 1931-1932Box 1
Financial ledger, 1930-1931Box 1

Field Notes (1931)

Scope and Contents note

Schmidt- excavation journal and road diary, 1931Box 1
Daily reminder, 1931Box 1
Schmidt-Field notebook, 1931Box 1
Field Journal, Feb. onlyBox 1
Field Catalog- F1-1171, Box 2
Fara-architectural descriptions, Box 2
Burial sheets, Box 2
Skeletal descriptions, Box 2
Drawings of artifacts, pottery profiles, Box 2
Catalogue of tablets, Box 2

Indexes and Catalogues (1931)

Scope and Contents note

Descriptive catalogues of tablets arranged by field number; Artifact Cards arranged by field number F1-1171, a set of incomplete photographic negative cards arranged by field number, the rough drafts of the negative cards arranged by type, photo album.

Inventory- pottery; groundstone; tablets; seal cylinders and impressions and figurines, Box 2
E. F. Schmidt-Fara-pot descriptions, Box 2
Draft of cards for the photographic index, Box 2
Artifact Cards- F1-1171, arranged by number, Box 3
Artifact Cards by subject, Box 3A
Negative Cards by number, Box 4
Negative Cards by subject, Box 5

Publications (inclusive: 1931-1972)

Scope and Contents note

Duplicates of first and second field reports, report on test excavations at Fara, Appendix: Discussion of S. N. Kramer regarding cuneiform tablets, a cuneiform report, and a University of Chicago Ph.D. thesis (1972) on Fara. Arranged topically.

Fara Report I, Box 6
Fara Report II, Box 6
Report-Test Excavations, Feb.-MayBox 6
Appendix- Dr. S. N. Kramer, Box 6
Cuneform Report, Box 6
H.P. Martin- University of Chicago Dissertation, 1972Box 6