Liverpool University Institute of Archaeology

University, Archaeological institute

The Institute was established in 1904 and comprised a number of departments, usually consisting of a single member of staff, which undertook research, fieldwork and some teaching. At that time the Institute was largely funded and supported by a number of sponsors (or ‘benefactors’), mainly from the Liverpool mercantile community, many of them serving on its General Committee. At the end of every season's excavation, there was a division of the finds as was then customary. Members of the excavation committees usually funded the fieldwork of that committee, almost as ‘shareholder investors’, and so could expect, after agreement had been reached with the various national antiquities services concerned, to receive a proportion of the artefacts recovered by that particular excavation.

Institute staff, usually Garstang, would also receive a proportion of the material sent back to Liverpool which they might dispose of as they saw fit. In 1941, like much of the city, Liverpool University was bombed. In one such raid the Institute’s Archaeology Museum was damaged, leading to the temporary dispersal of parts of the collection to safer locations in the city under the management of Liverpool Public Museums, later Mersey County Museums (1974) and then, in 1986, as part of the National Museums & Galleries on Merseyside. After the War, some of that material was returned, while others parts have since been transferred permanently to the keeping of what is now National Museums Liverpool.
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