Miles Crawford Burkitt: Correspondence and Papers

Scope and Content


'Plan of communications in the area of 4 Cambs Bn H.G. (excluding G.P.O. telephones)', i.e. Home Guard during World War II. A hand-drawn map of the area south of Cambridge, showing links provided by various types of military phones and including pigeons. Undated.

Print of a drawing of a seated man playing the violin, with the inscription 'Willy von Beckerath Mnchen 1902'.

Box 1

Picture postcards: a large number of cards, some sent by friends, some presumably bought by Burkitt to illustrate archaeology, etc. There were evidently kept in card-index fashion, with dividers for place or subject, which include Spain, North Africa, Personal travels; the Macocha Cave; Prehistoric man, tools and pottery; and French home and cave art.

Notebooks: 10 small notebooks, with rough jottings on archaeology, names and addresses, sketches, lists, etc.

Notebook: 'La Ferrassie: plates', 13 pages of diagrams and sketches, e.g. of flint arrow-heads, followed by text, pp.1-37, headed 'Continuation of the Description of the Cave of La Ferrassie'. It is dated at the end 28.3.18 and written on sheets of YMCA notepaper which have been tied together.

Small envelope: 'Ardche', with photographs, sketches, notes torn from notebooks, and a page of YMCA headed paper, dating presumably from the World War I period.

Offprint: 'Notes on the dynasties of Omri and Jehu', based on a paper for the Cambridge Theological Society, 21 Feb. 1906 (presumably by F.C. Burkitt).

Envelope: 'R.A. Gatty on pigmy flints', containing letters from Gatty to A.C. Haddon, 1901, a letter from Arthur Gray of Jesus College to Haddon, a covering letter from Haddon to T.D. Atkinson of the Cambridge Antiquarian Society, and an exchange of letters between Atkinson and Gatty.

Pamphlet: 'Penses sur la vie' by Burkitt, Rouen, Dec. 1918.

Box 2

Envelopes and loose documents, comprising correspondence, articles, cuttings, etc., on a rough subject basis, some labelled by Burkitt: 'Australia'; loose items on various parts of Africa; 'South Africa' (two envelopes and loose papers); 'India'; 'Prehistoric home Palestrina...Sardinia'; 'Sligo'; 'Southern Rhodesia and its ruins'; other miscellaneous African material; 'Cantos de la Visera (eastern Spain)'; 'Glacial correlations'; 'Letters' (envelope and a number of loose letters, including some from Louis Leakey in Nairobi); 'L.A. Armstrong papers' (envelope and loose papers); and memoranda, etc., relating to Cambridge affairs, including a list of cases dealt with by Burkitt at his last session as J.P.

Box 3

Envelopes and loose documents, as in Box 2: 'Ancient monuments' (Cambridge area); 'Van Riet Lowe memorial volume'; Burkitt article 'Prehistoric Art', typescript, corrections and a loose 1964 letter from the publisher; 'Various pictures', miscellaneous typed and mimeographed items, including Burkitt's tribute to the Abb Breuil (broadcast), and an obituary notice of (Albert) Leslie Armstrong, amateur archaeologist; 'Uganda 1934-1935'; 'Manjan-Karanai papers'; 'General papers, sections, etc.'; 'General papers' (smaller envelope); 'British Association 1953, reports on 'Kent's Cavern' and 'Derbyshire Caves' committees'; 'Isle of Man letters'; 'Castle Hill Cambridge: earthworks...'; 'MS for Hutchinson's Encyclopedia'; 'British Association: recent report on Kent's Cavern and final report on Bury St Edmunds'; 'Dossier (letter and tracings) from Major Glover, British Somaliland'; 'Nature reviews'; 'Yorkshire'; 'Papers' (pre-Columbian drawings in Dominican Republic); (H.E.) 'Forrest' (letters and articles); 'From Borneo'; 'From R. Moir'; 'Neolithic Celt from Little Bonners, Surrey'; 'From V.G.C.' (V.G. Childe, mostly examination papers); 'Leakey letters re Calico hills' (1969 letter from L.S.B. Leakey, Nairobi); other miscellaneous letters, including some from Breuil and Obermaier; account with Cambridge University Press; 'Letters various'; 'Letters general'; 'Letters'; 'Various sections and letters'; 'Grimes Graves goddess'; 'Press cuttings, archaeological', 'Geology cuttings', 'Selection of press cuttings about my Presidential Address to Section H of the British Association, held at Newcastle, 1949'; 'Various cuttings from newspapers and other papers'; lecture by Burkitt 'The beginning of civilisation' (drafts); and an autobiographical address by Burkitt to the Cambridge Antiquarian Society, 23 Oct. 1961, reminiscences on the beginnings of the Museum and Faculty of Archaeology and Anthropology in Cambridge (two drafts).

Box 4

Periodical articles, offprints, short monographs, museum guides, papers from conferences, etc., collected by Burkitt for interest, or sent to him by their authors. There is also material sent by A.L. Armstrong.

Box 5

More articles and offprints, including a folder of pictures of prehistoric rock paintings etc., many taken from the Illustrated London News. There are also coloured plates of three rock paintings (two of each), one inscribed 'Rocks in the mountain to the N.W. of Komani 19th March 1870 G.W.'.

Administrative / Biographical History

Miles Crawford Burkitt (1890-1971) was born in Cambridge on 27 December 1890, the son of Prof. F.C. Burkitt. He was educated at Eton and Trinity College, Cambridge, where he read Natural Sciences. He explored prehistoric sites in France and Spain with the Abb Breuil and Dr Obermaier, and served with the YMCA in France during World War I. He lectured in Cambridge in prehistoric archaeology, at first on a voluntarily basis, then officially with a salary of 10 a year, and finally as a University Lecturer in the Faculty of Archaeology and Anthropology, under the 1926 statutes. He retired in 1958. During World War II Burkitt was a Lieutenant (Signals Officer) in the 4th Cambridgeshire Home Guard (1941-1945). He was made a J.P. in 1942, and was a County Councillor, 1939-1964, ending his term of office as Vice-Chairman, 1958-1961, and Chairman, 1961-1964. He was also an Alderman, 1964-1965. Burkitt travelled widely and published books and articles on the Stone Age and prehistoric art. In 1923 he married Margaret Isobel Fry. They had two sons and one daughter. He died on 22 August 1971.

Access Information

Open for consultation by holders of a Reader's Ticket valid for the Manuscripts Reading Room.

Acquisition Information

Presented by Mrs. Burkitt, 1973.


Description compiled by Robert Steiner, Department of Manuscripts and University Archives.

Other Finding Aids

Additional Manuscripts Catalogue.