Papers of Joan Liversidge

Scope and Content

This collection comprises notes, correspondence and printed material relating to archaeological excavations and research.

Administrative / Biographical History

Joan Liversidge was born in London on 22 May 1914, an only child and the daughter of a father killed in the First World War. She was brought up by her mother and mainly privately educated. An undergraduate at Newnham College, Cambridge (1934-1938), she had planned a career as a musician. She took Part I of Mus.B. but was not able to complete the whole of the degree because of her physical frailty, and she changed to Archaeology, graduating in 1938. She took her Diploma in Prehistoric Archaeology in 1942, and undertook a survey of Romano-British villas for which she was awarded an M.Litt. in 1949. This provided the basis for what became her specialist study for the rest of her life - the interior decoration and domestic arrangements in Roman secular buildings. She was also a Research Fellow at Newnham (1955-1958) and a Newnham Associate (1960-1973), an honour that is not automatically given to all past members of Newnham. Joan Liversidge became a faculty Lecturer in Archaeology at the University of Cambridge in 1973. She was Honorary Keeper of the Roman Collections at the Cambridge University Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology (later the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology) from 1951 until her death. She was elected a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries in 1951 and was also Honorary Secretary to the Cambridge Antiquarian Society from 1955 to 1981. She wrote extensively on Roman Britain for general readers (including schoolchildren) as well as professionals. Her best-known publication is probably Britain in the Roman Empire (1968). Among professional archaeologists she was particularly well known as an authority on Romano-British wall-paintings, both for her work on the material they excavated and in numerous publications. In 1980 she helped to set up an international seminar on Roman wall-painting. She edited the proceedings of the first seminar as Wall-paintings in Western Europe (1982). Other publications include Everyday Life in the Roman Empire (1976). Joan Liversidge was a Founding Fellow of Lucy Cavendish College and she served on the Governing Body from 1965 to within a few weeks of her death. She was a College Lecturer and Director of Studies in Archaeology, and a member of the Education and Fellowship Committees. She was also Praelector from 1970 to 1982. She died in Cambridge on 16 January 1984. Further information about Joan Liversidge is available in Ann Hamlin (2001) Pioneers of the Past: Newnham College Cambridge

Access Information

The collection is open for consultation by researchers using Lucy Cavendish College Archive. A prior appointment and proof of identity are required.

Acquisition Information

Source not recorded

Other Finding Aids

Listed to file level, a paper copy is available in the Archive Reading Room.
A full catalogue description is available on JANUS

Archivist's Note

Collection description by Karen Davies, College Archivist. Amended by Genesis Project Manager. Collection Description transferred to the Archives Hub in 2008 as part of Genesis 2008 Project

Conditions Governing Use

Researchers wishing to publish excerpts from the papers must obtain permission from the copyright holder.

Geographical Names