The records of the University of Cincinnati Troy expedition from 1932 to 1938
offer a unique view of life during the exploration of a world-renowned site. The
excavation was led by Carl W. Blegen, Professor of Classics (1927-1957), and
funded by William T. Semple, chair of the Department of Classics (1921-1950),
and Louise Taft Semple, the daughter of prominent Cincinnatians Charles Phelps
and Anna Sinton Taft. The eminent German archaeologist Wilhelm Dorpfeld, who had
worked with and succeeded Heinrich Schliemann at the site, also participated.
The extant records range from personal correspondence during the duration of the
project to financial ledgers and receipts detailing personnel wages as well as
the costs of goods and services. Excavation notebooks, early drafts of lectures,
and interim reports discussing the finds also exist and document the process of
the final publication of the results in four major volumes published between
1950 and 1958. Four supplementary volumes focusing on specific topics were published between 1951 and 1982.
Because the records were produced with the explicit purpose of the final
publication, and because of the nature of the materials used during the 1930’s,
the records already exhibit significant signs of deterioration. To preserve them
for future use by both scholars and the public, they are in the process of
digitization, which will lessen the stress on and subsequent deterioration of
The Archives and Special Collections of the Department of Classics received Digital Scholarship Catalyst Awards in 2019 and 2020 from the UC Digital Scholarship Center to digitize the nineteen photographic albums from the expedition as well as the preserved notebooks, including the excavation notebooks.
The photographic albums constitute the entire photographic record of this historic excavation because the original nitrate negatives are no longer extant. The photographs from all nineteen albums, totaling over 9300 total images, are presented here. They are divided into the Views Photo Albums, which contain the photographs from the first eleven albums and depict views of the site and the excavation, and the Finds Photo Albums, which contain photographs from the remaining eight albums and depict the pottery, the coins, the inscriptions, and other finds from the site.
The excavation notebooks record the day-to-day activities of the excavation team detailing the finds and the context of those finds. The extant notebook corpus is divided into Director’s Notebooks, Excavation Notebooks, and Other Notebooks. The Excavation Notebooks are in turn divided by year, and the Other Notebooks include pottery inventories, coin and inscription inventories, and records examining animal bones.