The exhibition Excavating Archives: Narratives from 20th-Century Palmyra contextualizes the legacy data of the Danish archaeologist Harald Ingholt (1896–1985). He excavated in Palmyra during a period critical for the formation of Near Eastern archaeology.
From 1923−1943, Syria was under the French Mandate, and work conducted during these years must be studied within the colonial context of the time.
Ingholt’s archive, which contains over a thousand images of Palmyrene portraits and his excavation diaries, forms a unique research resource to explore ancient Palmyra and his fieldwork campaigns in the 1920s. This legacy data is housed today in the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek in Copenhagen and has been explored through the research conducted in the Palmyra Portrait Project and the Archive Archaeology Project, led by Professor Rubina Raja at Aarhus University.
The exhibition presents fourteen topics on Ingholt and his work, Palmyra and its material culture, and the research conducted there. Each section contains a selection of archival sheets, extracts from excavation diaries, official documents, and photographic material illustrating Ingholt’s life and work.
Additionally, Ingholt gifted eight objects to Aarhus University, where he was employed from 1939–1940. These are now on display in the Museum of Ancient Art, Aarhus University.