Photographs of Professor David Storm Rice of archaeological excavations at Harran, Turkey

Scope and Content

The material comprises photographs of the archaelogical excavations at Harran, Turkey, led by David Storm Rice. Rice made expeditions to Harran in 1951, 1952, 1956 and 1959. The photographs show different aspects of the excavations, including the excavation of the southeast gateway of the citadel (which Rice first excavated in 1951) and a substantial number of photographs of the excavation of the great mosque of Harran (which Rice worked on in 1952, 1956 and 1959) including the discovery made in 1956 of the Babylonian stele in the floor of the mosque's entrances. The photographs also record inscriptions, capitols and other carved ornamentation found at Harran, the shrine of Sheikh Hayat, the local bee hive huts, and members of the archaeological team.

Administrative / Biographical History

David Storm Rice (1913-1962), archaeologist, was born Sigismund Reich in Austria. His family emigrated to Haifa, Palestine when he was young and he was educated at the Reali School, Haifa. In 1931 Reich travelled to Europe to study at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts, Florence, and the École Nationale des Langues Orientales Vivantes, the Sorbonne, and the École Pratique des Hautes Études, Paris. He completed his doctoral studies in 1937, working on Aramaic-speaking villages, later published as 'Études sur les Villages Araméens de l'Anti-Liban' (Paris, 1939).

During the Second World War Rice served with the British Army in Military Intelligence, before working for the Allied Control Commission in Germany after the war. It was during his service in the army that he changed his name to David Storm Rice. On leaving the army, Rice returned to academic studies, and in 1947 he took a position as Lecturer in Near and Middle Eastern History with the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. He became a Reader in Islamic Art and Archaeology in 1950, and a professor in 1959.

Rice wrote on many aspects of Islamic art and archaeology, notably on metalwork, including monographs on the Baptistère de Saint Louis and the Wade Cup and a series of six 'Studies in Islamic metal work' ('Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies', 1952-1958). In the years before his death, Rice was working on Islamic antiquities in Italian collections. Much of his work was illustrated by his own photographs and drawings.

From 1951, Rice worked on a series of excavations at Harran, Turkey, extending previous work by K.A.C. Creswell and a 1950 survey by Seton Lloyd. A preliminary survey in the first year was followed by expeditions in 1952, 1956 and 1959, and further expeditions were planned. Rice excavated the area around the Great Mosque, establishing its plan. He also excavated and surveyed other areas in Harran, including the walls, gate, and castle, as well as monuments in Şanlıurfa and in Tektek. Rice's work identified the site as the location of the Assyro-Babylonian Harranu.

Further reading:

British Institute at Ankara. 'Harran Survey' (accessed 1 March 2017)

British Institute at Ankara. 'Harran Excavations' (accessed 1 March 2017)

Pinder-Wilson, R. H. 'D. S. Rice (1913-1962).' Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland, no. 1/2 (1963): 121-23

Segal, J. B. 'David Storm Rice.' Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies 25, no. 03 (1962): 666-671


The archive was transferred to the Archive from SOAS Library. The current arrangement preserves the order of the photographs at the point they were transferred to the Archive, except that numbered sequences of photographs have been reconstructed. When the photographs were received by SOAS Archive, many were attached to labels. These labels have been retained and are packaged alongside the associated photographs. The archive may have been worked on between Rice's death and its acquisition by SOAS Archive, so the current arrangement may not reflect Rice's arrangement or working practices.

Access Information


Acquisition Information

Internal transfer from SOAS Library, August 2017

Archivist's Note


Conditions Governing Use

For permission to publish, please contact Archives & Special Collections, SOAS Library in the first instance

Related Material

Papers of Professor David Storm Rice relating to the Harran Excavation, MS 380755