Document Reference NumberD3
TitleJohn B. Ward Perkins Papers.
DescriptionField notes, sketches, plans and photographs primarily relate to John B. Ward Perkins' expeditions to Cyrenaica and Tripolitania. Material is also present concerning Medieval inscriptions and lettering.
Date10 January 1925 - 22 February 1962
Extent7 files and 6 items
Arrangement1. Cyrenaica Field Notebooks
2. Expedition Files
3. Articles and Papers
4. Photographs
5. Drawings, Maps and Plans.
AdminHistoryJohn Bryan Ward Perkins (3 February 1912 - 28 May 1981) spent his early childhood years in Bromley with his grandparents until his parents return to England following his father's retirement from the ICS (Burma).

As a scholar in Winchester, he was involved in the excavation of Buckley Priory; and by the time he had gained his First in Greats at New College in 1934 he has determined on an archaeological career. He worked on the excavation at Bredon Hill and subsequently studied in France, focusing on the pottery from the oppidum stormed by Caesar at Gergovia near Clermont Ferrand, excavated by Olwen Brogan and Emile Desforges.

In 1936, he was appointed assistant in the London Museum at Lancaster House, then kept under the Keepership of Mortimer Wheeler.

He was briefly held the position of Professor of Archaeology at the Royal University of Malta in 1939 but returned home to volunteer following the outbreak of the Second World War. Serving under Wheeler, the war years took him to North Africa, where he was seconded to organize care of the antiquities under the Military Government in Libya and after re-joining his regiment in Italy, was appointed head of the Monuments and Fine Arts Sub-Commission for Italy, which documented damage to monuments in Italy caused by bombing during the war.

He occupied the position of Director of the British School of Rome from 19467 to 1974. His collaborators included Joyce Reynolds, with whom he edited the "Inscriptions of Roman Tripolitania" (1952); Richard Goodchild, Librarian of the School, and later Controller of Antiquities in Cyrenaica; and Jocelynn Toynbee. From association with these and other scholars (including David Oates and Donald Strong), came major papers on the Christian Antiquities in Tripolitania, the Hunting Baths and Lepcis Magna, the system of fortified farms in the hinterland (Limes Tripolitanus), and the architecture of Lepcis Magna.

Ward Perkins was elected a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries, a Fellow of the British Academy, and a Commander of the British Empire. He was a member of the Pontificia Accademia in Rome, the German Archaeological Institute, the Royal Academy of Stockholm, and the Academy of Naples.

He retired from the British School at Rome in 1974 but remained active, appointed CMG and subsequently spending a year as an academic advisor for at Princeton, primarily responsible for the exhibition of remains from Pompeii in Burlington House in the autumn of 1976. He was elected president of the Society for Libyan Studies the following year and was acknowledged by Presidency of the XI Congress of Classical Archaeology held in London, being at the time also President of the International Association of Classical Archaeology (FIAC).

He died on 28 May 1981 at the age of 69.
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