Christina Riggs (University of East Anglia) discusses the 'forgetfulness' of photo albums from excavations in colonial and interwar Egypt.
Almost every archive associated with fieldwork from archaeology's 'golden age' includes photographic albums. The album was one way of ordering, and producing, the knowledge of the past that was archaeology’s ostensible goal. But like the process of photography itself, archival processes such as assembling an album also reflected - and shaped - knowledge of the present, and in particular, a knowledge of the places where archaeology did its work. This paper explores the quality of forgetfulness that albums enable, alongside the question of place, by considering the creation, form and content, and subsequent histories and uses of albums originating from excavations in colonial and interwar Egypt.