Aegeus Society For Aegean Prehistory

BOOKS | 2009

29 January 2011

Humfry Payne. A Description of Greece. Archaeology and Modern Greece between the two World Wars (translated by Norman Russell)

Alexandros Mantis

Humfry Payne. A Description of Greece. Archaeology and Modern Greece between the two World Wars (translated by Norman Russell)

City: Athens

Year: 2009

Publisher: Ekdoseis tou Phoinika

Description: Paperback, 175 p., 95 b/w ill., 11 colour ill, 31x24 cm


Humfry Gilbert Garth Payne (1902-1936) was a British archaeologist. He was born in Wendover, in the county of Buckinghamshire, on 19 February 1902. He was the only son of Edward John Payne (1844-1904), an anthropologist and historian of the New World, while one of his ancestors was Sir Richard Payne-Knight, a famous collector of antiquities and opponent of Lord Elgin. Payne’s early education was at Westminster School. He went on from there to Christ Church College, Oxford, with an open classical scholarship. Among his teachers was a legendary figure in British archaeology, John Beazley. In 1926 he married the journalist Dilys Powell. During the years 1927-1929 Payne spent summer archaeological excavation seasons on Crete. In June 1929 he excavated at Eleutherna (on Crete). From the autumn of 1929 until his death in 1936 he was the director of the British School at Athens. During these years he excavated at Perachora, near Corinth, where he discovered the sanctuaries of Hera Akraia and Limenia. His career came to an early end when at the age of 34 he died from an infection of staphylococcus in the Evangelismos Hospital in Athens, near the British School at Athens. He is buried in the cemetery of Agios Georgios at Mycenae.


Foreword [11]

A Tribute [12]

Preface [13]

The ‘Adonais’ of British archaeology [17]

The ‘days of the great walkers’ (1924-1926) [21]

Studying the beginnings of ancient Greek art. Payne’s first publications and the appearance of Necrocorinthia (1925-1928) [25]

In search of an untouched archaic site. His excavation at Eleutherna (10 June – 11 July 1929) [37]

The ‘Geometric man’. Payne’s physical characteristics [43]

His term as Director of the British School at Athens (1929-1936) [46]

The ‘chance of a lifetime’. Payne’s excavations at the Heraion of Perachora (1930-1933) [49]

His scholarly work during his term as Director of the British School [65]

Return to Crete. His excavations at the cemetery of Fortetsa (1933-1935) [70]

‘Plaster waist on marble hips’. Payne’s researches and discoveries at the Acropolis Museum [72]

‘Mourn not for Adonais’. The last act of the drama [89]

Epilogue [95]

Notes [97]


Appendices [107]

I. Obituaries [109]

II. List of his publications [122]

III. Critical reviews of his publications [123]

IV. Texts on his work [143]

V. Plates [151]

Bibliography [170]

Sources of the illustrations [173]


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