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Titre du document / Document title

James Curle (1862-1944) and Alexander Ormiston Curle (1866-1955): pillars of the establishment

Auteur(s) / Author(s)

RITCHIE J. N. Graham ;

Résumé / Abstract

James Curle and Alexander Curie, the sons of a Melrose solicitor, and themselves trained lawyers, made substantial contributions to Scottish archaeology through excavation, survey and writing. Both undertook service in other and sometimes unexpected aspects of public life in the Borders and in Edinburgh. Both brothers worked assiduously with the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, serving in many capacities in the course of their long association with the Society. James Curle's excavations of the Roman fort of Newstead, Roxburghshire, were published in a report, based on his own Rhind Lectures of 1907, a study that shows a breadth of comparative material and sets the fort in broad context. His knowledge of continental museums helped to introduce more modern conservation techniques into the National Museum of Antiquities of Scotland. Alexander Curle is the only person to have held the senior position in three Scottish institutions: as Secretary of the newly founded Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments and Constructions of Scotland; as Director of the National Museum of Antiquities of Scotland; and finally as Director of the Royal Scottish Museum. His approach to each task was different. For the Commission it was in the recording of field monuments and the presentation of information economically. His very solitary role in Queen Street was to maintain the collection during times of economic difficulty and war. With the Royal Museum he faced financial stringency, but also the need for new displays. His excavations at Traprain Law, East Lothian, and Jarlshof, Shetland, were undertaken with all the shortcomings of the day, but were published promptly and contained some remarkable discoveries.

Revue / Journal Title

Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland    ISSN  0081-1564 

Source / Source

2002, vol. 132, pp. 19-41 [23 page(s) (article)]

Langue / Language


Editeur / Publisher

National Museum of Antiquities of Scotland, Edinburgh, ROYAUME-UNI  (1852) (Revue)

Localisation / Location

INIST-CNRS, Cote INIST : 23314, 35400011319580.0020

Nº notice refdoc (ud4) : 15179108

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