A Visit to an Archive


This month (bi-month?  I’ve not been the most regular about getting something out even every other month!) I talk about one of my visits to the Cathedral archive in Spain.  Archives form the core of most (though not all) historical work.  Every major city or town has some form of archive with the documents and records produced in that place and for Europe, that means documents about the place often going back centuries.


Because they hold the records of a place, they are also sometimes the site of debates or struggles about the past.  In the podcast, I bring up a couple of examples – Memorial Archive in Russia and the Bosnian National Library in Sarajevo – that have been points of serious conflict in the recent past.  There are a few examples towards the end of how we all now engage in archiving activities and some of the questions involved in the preservation of information.

This is one of the more rarefied topics in this series, so for a small lunch, I would recommend a Spanish style sandwich (usually called a Bocadillo) which I frequently ate during breaks from archival work.  In their simplest form, they are usually just meat or cheese on a thin baguette (often enough only Spanish jamon).  They appear even in airports and train stations, but in Barcelona there are some shops that sell upgraded bocadillos including olives, avocado, diverse sauces and other accoutrements.  I personally always leaned towards the sandwiches with tortilla (egg and potato) in them plus roasted peppers or tomatoes (or like the image – tomato and bacon!)


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