Visual Archaeology: the photographic character of the archaeology of O.G.S. Crawford

Beth Hodgett (Birkbeck, University of London in partnership with the Pitt Rivers Museum)

Supervised by Dr Lesley McFayden and Dr Jennifer Baird (Birkbeck) and Professor Chris Gosden and Dr Chris Morton (Oxford)

Photo of Beth Hodgett

Beth Hodgett has a BA in Theology, and an MSc in Visual, Material and Museum Anthropology from the University of Oxford. She has also dabbled in Fine Art, Photography and Art History. Beth has completed several voluntary placements at the Alexander Keiller Museum, Avebury and in the photographic collections at the Pitt Rivers Museum. In 2015 she completed a year-long internship at the Birkbeck Institutes of the Humanities and Social Research, during which she co-organized the Institute’s graduate conference. Her research on Francesco del Cairo’s “Martyrdom of St Agnes” has been published in the University of Leiden’s LUCAS Journal.

Beth’s research investigates the photographic archive of archaeologist O.G.S. Crawford (1886-1957). Crawford was a prolific photographer and today approximately 9,600 of his photographs are housed in the Oxford Archaeological Institute. Previous studies have highlighted his pioneering role in the use of aerial photography in archaeology, and have demonstrated how his journal Antiquity was adopted by the neo-romantic movement during the inter-war years.

Due to the wide-ranging nature of Crawford’s subject matter, Beth’s research takes an interdisciplinary approach, drawing on photographic and material culture theory, as well as insights from archaeology and anthropology to investigate how knowledge of landscape and architecture is produced through photographic and archival practices. Beth is especially interested in the ‘seriality’ of photographs; exploring how photographs from the archive might relate to each other in time and space, and how this might be used to retrace Crawford’s own movements around the globe. The research also addresses the materiality of the archive itself, and considers its onoing life into the present day. 

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