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Help us digitise the Minutes of the Society’s meetings from 1718 – 1817

£2000 is needed to digitise the Minute books of the first 100 years of the Society’s meetings.

The Minute Books are an invaluable record of the Society’s activities during its early years and provide a remarkable insight into the antiquarian interests and thinking of the time. They include not only Society business – acquisitions to the Library, commissions for the Society’s draughtsmen, the nomination and election of Fellows – but papers and letters read at meetings that cover a wide array of material culture from the past; from stone inscriptions to coins, books, arms and armour, seals, medals, jewellery, and buildings. They include contemporary accounts of new discoveries – some of enormous historical significance, such as the Rosetta Stone – with interpretation by leading experts of the 18th and early-19th centuries.

Anglo-Saxon artefacts found in Chatteris and identified by William Stukeley, 1757 (Minute Book VIII)

The early Minute Books are not only a written record but often a visual one. Artefacts were exhibited at Society meetings and many were drawn directly into the Minute Books to illustrate their description. In some cases they provide a unique observation of finds that have since been lost, damaged, dispersed or sold. Occasionally there are even plans or scenes of an excavation, such as the report of the discovery of Royston Cave in 1742 (pictured in the image reel below) – a remarkable window onto the discovery itself.

Digitising the Minute Books would enable researchers worldwide to access this incredibly rich resource for the Society’s early history, and provide new opportunities to explore the pioneering discoveries and scholarship of early antiquaries.

Gifts of any amount are welcome!

You can donate online here.