Touring the Meritt Library: The Agora Cabinets

This entry is adapted from materials originally posted on the Krateros Instagram page on November 30, 2020.

November 30, 2020: Meritt’s notebooks aren’t our only connection to the Agora excavation of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens! We’ve got two cabinets chock full of material on inscriptions from the Agora. The upper card file, perched on top of the metal cabinet, contains notecard copies of the excavation notes from the Agora.

A close-up of the Meritt Agora card catalog

Below is an image of an opened drawer for Agora 4700-5147, and we’ve given two example cards: Agora I 2095 and Agora I 4935. In each case a small photo has been stapled to the card, and there are a combination of type- and hand-written notes. For 2095 there is even a cursory sketch of the letters and edge of the stone!

Meritt Agora card catalog drawer 4700-5147, opened to show the cards

The incredible digital archive of the Agora has the more extensive original file cards, and has transcribed and broken down most of the important information for searchability. Visit their page for Agora I 2095 and for Agora I 4935!

Meritt Agora card for fragment Agora I 4935, including physical description and small photograph of the fragment
Meritt Agora card for fragment Agora I 2095, including excavation notes, small photograph of the fragment, and transcription of the fragment text

The metal cabinet beneath the card file holds larger scale photographs of the Agora inscriptions. In the images here we open a drawer and show you the contents of one folder, which include a variety of photographs and even some negatives.

Meritt Agora photograph drawer opened to show folders organized by fragment
The contents of a fragment folder of the Meritt Agora photograph drawer, including photographs and negatives

There’s no substitute for working at the Agora itself, but if you can’t make it to Greece (and travel isn’t exactly easy at the moment) Princeton isn’t a bad second option!

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