Scope and Content of the Collection
Title: Einar Gjerstad research papers
Date (bulk): 1925-1980
Collection Number: Accession no. 900228
Gjerstad, Einar, b. 1897
Extent: 11.4 linear
ft. (20 boxes)
Getty Research Institute
Special Collections and Visual Resources
1200 Getty Center Drive, Suite 1100
Los Angeles, CA 90049-1688
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.
Language: Collection material is in
English and Swedish
Open for use by qualified researchers.
Einar Gjerstad research papers, 1806-1984 (bulk 1925-1980). Research Library, The Getty Research Institute,
Accession no. 900228
Einar Gjerstad's research papers were acquired with his library in 1988.
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.
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.
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.
Scope and Content of the 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 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.
Subjects - Names
Boni, Giacomo, 1859-1925
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.
Genres and Forms of Material
Mechanicals (camera-ready copy)