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Finding aid for the Einar Gjerstad research papers, 1806-1984
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Collection Details
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  • Descriptive Summary
  • Biographical/Historical Note
  • Administrative Information
  • Separated Material
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Einar Gjerstad research papers
    Date (inclusive): 1806-1984 (bulk 1925-1980)
    Number: 900228
    Creator/Collector: Gjerstad, Einar, b. 1897
    Physical Description: 11.4 linear ft. (20 boxes)
    The Getty Research Institute
    Special Collections
    1200 Getty Center Drive, Suite 1100
    Los Angeles, California, 90049-1688
    (310) 440-7390
    Abstract: The Einar Gjerstad research papers document the long and prolific scholarly career of this Swedish classical archaeologist. The archive includes research notes, photographs, drawings, typescripts and publication production materials for Gjerstad's extensive studies of the archaeology of Cyprus and early Rome.
    Request Materials: Request access to the physical materials described in this inventory through the catalog record  for this collection. Click here for the access policy .
    Language: Collection material is in English

    Biographical/Historical Note

    Einar Nilson Gjerstad was born October 30, 1897 in Örebro, Sweden, where his father, Erik Nilson, was a merchant and local politician. As Nilson's career advanced during World War I, the family moved to Stockholm, and shortly after this, in 1917, Gjerstad left home to enroll in Uppsala University. At Uppsala, Gjerstad studied under Axel Persson, and eventually became his assistant when the Swedish excavations at Asine in Greece began in 1922. This connection with Persson set the foundation for Gjerstad's archaeological career.
    A chance encounter on a train in the Balkans in the summer of 1922 between Axel Persson and a stranger, who asked to borrow money, led to Persson receiving an invitation to excavate in Cyprus under very favorable conditions. Persson, being too busy himself, offered this opportunity to Gjerstad. Thus in 1923, Gjerstad went off to Cyprus for initial investigations and negotiations. He spent the next sixteen months on the island studying previously excavated material and conducting his own limited excavations, work for which he received his doctorate from Uppsala in 1926. Having done this initial reconnaisance, Gjerstad returned to Cyprus in 1927 as the director of a large-scale project, the Swedish Cyprus Expedition (SCE). Gjerstad and his team spent the years from 1927-1931 in the field, then returned to Sweden for the task of interpreting and publishing the results of those excavations. During this period of excavation and study, from 1926-1935, Gjerstad also held the position of Docent in Classical Archaeology and Ancient History at Uppsala University.
    Although he would continue the publication of his work on Cyprus for many years to come, 1935 marked a new phase in Gjerstad's career. From 1935-1940 Gjerstad served as the director of the Swedish Institute for Classical Studies in Rome, where he showed great skill at administration. He initiated and implemented the creation of a new Institute building in Rome, and he worked to establish a Swedish Institute in Athens. On leaving Rome in 1940, Gjerstad became Professor of Classical Archaeology and Ancient History at Lund University.
    After World War II, Gjerstad's research interests shifted. Having spent 25 years focused almost exclusively on the archaeology of Cyprus, Gjerstad turned to Rome. His tenure in Rome had sparked an interest in early Roman history and archaeology, and Gjerstad entered a new phase of research and excavation. In 1949, Gjerstad presented the first in what became a long series of articles and books in which he put forward a radical redating of the early history of the city of Rome. In 1957, he left his chair at Lund and was awarded a personal professorship which would allow him to concentrate fully on his Rome research. Gjerstad did just that, publishing extensively on Roman questions until he retired from the position in 1972.
    In his retirement, he continued his research and publications on Rome, as well as returning to his original interest, Cyprus. Einar Gjerstad died in Lund on January 8, 1988.

    Administrative Information


    Open for use by qualified researchers.

    Publication Rights

    Preferred Citation

    Einar Gjerstad research papers, 1806-1984 (bulk 1925-1980). Research Library, The Getty Research Institute, Accession no. 900228

    Acquisition Information

    Einar Gjerstad's research papers were acquired with his library in 1988.

    Processing History

    The archive was initially processed by Teresa Morales and Lynn Tapia in 1995. Ann Harrison did further processing and created the series arrangement and finding aid in 2008.

    Separated Material

    The Einar Gjerstad research papers were separated from his library when both were acquired by the Getty Research Institute. A search using the phrase "Einar Gjerstad" while selecting the index "Provenance" from the pull-down menu in the online library catalog will retrieve a list of the books and periodicals from Gjerstad's library.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    The Einar Gjerstad research papers document the scholarly career of this Swedish classical archaeologist. Gjerstad was a prolific scholar with over 160 publications to his credit. His work can be divided into two main phases of research. Gjerstad devoted the first 25 years of his career to the archaeology of Cyprus, a field he would return to again at the end of his life. He then spent the next 25 years focusing on the archaeology of early Rome.
    A selection of materials related to Gjerstad's research and publications in Cypriot archaeology comprises the first series of his papers. A limited amount of correspondence and publication production elements derive directly from his work with the Swedish Cyprus Expedition. The bulk of the series, however, consists of research notes, photographs, manuscripts and offprints deriving from Gjerstad's subsequent work on a wide variety of topics in Cypriot archaeology, especially pottery studies.
    Documentation of Gjerstad's work on early Rome forms the bulk of the archive. In his Early Rome series of books and in numerous articles Gjerstad presents a radical redating of the foundation of Rome, lowering the date from 753 B.C. to circa 575 B.C. Gjerstad's research papers contain data from his own excavations, as well as those of earlier excavators, especially Giacomo Boni, in various areas of the city of Rome, including the Roman Forum, the Capitoline, Esquiline and Palatine hills and the Forum Boarium. These research materials include notes, drawings and stratigraphic sections, but of particular interest is the extensive photographic documentation of the pottery excavated from early levels in Rome, as well as the comparative material from other sites used for chronological correlations. Gjerstad's many publications detailing his revised chronology are represented here by manuscripts, typescripts, offprints, proofs and mechanicals.
    The third series of Gjerstad's papers is comprised of archaeological research and publications dealing with a variety of areas, both those closely linked to his major research interests, like Greece, and further removed, like Sweden. The research materials include notes, photographs, postcards and offprints. A small selection of miscellaneous professional papers completes the archive.
    The bulk of Einar Gjerstad's research papers dates from 1925 to 1980, the period of his active research. The broader range of dates for the archive reflects the dates of publications and photographs used by Gjerstad for his research.

    Arrangement note

    Organized in 4 series: Series I. Archaeology of Cyprus, 1910-1984; Series II. Archaeology of early Rome, 1806, 1898-1983; Series III. Archaeology of other areas, 1926-1983; Series IV. Miscellaneous professional papers, 1932-1977

    Indexing Terms

    Subjects - Names

    Boni, Giacomo, 1859-1925

    Subjects - Corporate Bodies

    Svenska Cypernexpeditionen (1927-1931)

    Subjects - Topics

    Excavations (Archaeology)--Cyprus
    Excavations (Archaeology)--Italy--Rome
    Pottery, Ancient - Cyprus
    Pottery, Ancient - Italy - Rome

    Subjects - Places

    Capitoline Hill (Italy) - Antiquities
    Cyprus - Antiquities
    Esquiline (Italy) - Antiquities
    Forum Boarium (Rome, Italy)
    Palatine Hill (Italy)
    Roman Forum (Rome, Italy)
    Rome - Antiquities
    Rome - History-To 510 B.C.

    Subjects - Titles

    Early Rome

    Genres and Forms of Material

    Mechanicals (camera-ready copy)
    Photographic prints
    Research notes