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Identity statement

Reference code(s)
BURGON, Thomas (1787-1857)
Level of description
Extent and medium of the unit of description (quantity, bulk, or size)
1 volume


Name of creator(s)

Burgon, Thomas, 1767-1837, merchant, antiquities collector and numismatist 

Administrative / Biographical history

Born in London 1787; merchant based in Smyrna, Turkey; member of the court of assistants for the Levant Company; married Catherine Marguerite de Cramer, daughter of the Austrian consul at Smyrna; returned to London, 1814; merchant and trading business failed, 1841; declared bankrupt, 1842; forced to sell collection of Greek antiquities to the British Museum to pay part of his debts, 1842; employed in Coin Room, Antiquities Department, British Museum; died, 1857.

Publications: An inquiry into the motive which influenced the ancients in their choice of the various representations which we find stamped on their money (London: J Wertheimer, 1836); ‘On a mode of ascertaining the places to which ancient British coins belong,’ Numismatic Chronicle v.1, Royal Numismatic Society, 1838; Prefatory Remarks, and Index, to the first and second portions of the Greek, Roman, and mediæval Coins and Medals [in the collection of T Thomas], 1844; ‘On two newly discovered silver tetradrachms of Amyntas, King of Galatia: with some remarks on the diminution in weight of the Attic drachma,’ The Numismatic Chronicle, and Journal of the Numismatic Society, v. 8, 1845-1846; ‘An attempt to point out the vases of Greece proper which belong to the heroic and Homeric ages,’ Transactions of the Royal Society of Literature, 1847

Archival history

Acquired by Frederick Stroud Read in 1933, given to King’s College London by his wife in 1947, where it was housed in the Modern Greek Library, King’s College Library until its transfer to King’s College Archives.

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Transferred from King’s College Library.

Content & structure

Scope and content

Manuscript travel diary of Thomas Burgon, 1811-1814, comprising descriptions and occasional thumbnail sketches within text mainly relating to archaeological expeditions to sites of ancient Greek and Byzantine civilisation in Turkey and Greece including accounts of visits to: Sardis and Thyatira, 25 Oct-1 Nov 1811; Teios, 14-18 Feb 1812; Phocoea, Chios, Andros, Thoricus, Eleusis, Plataea, Thebes and Tanagra, 13 Mar-18 June 1813, including account of excavations in Athens, 12 Apr-31 May, 8 June 1813; lakes near Burnabat, 21 Oct 1813; Tenos, Athens, Kenchreai, Corinth, Sicyon, Patras, Zante, Ithaca, Messina, Catania, Syracuse and Naples visited Burgon’s journey back to London, 11 Mar-23 Nov 1814; list of artefacts, some with thumbnail sketches, found whilst on an archaeological dig in Athens, April 1813.

Conditions of access & use

Conditions governing access

Open, subject to signature of Reader’s undertaking form, and appropriate provision of two forms of identification, to include one photographic ID. 

Conditions governing reproduction

Copies, subject to the condition of the original, may be supplied for research use only. Requests to publish original material should be submitted to the Director of Archives, King's College London.

Language/scripts of material
English and Classical Greek
Finding aids

This summary guide

Allied materials

Existence and location of originals
King's College London College Archives

Description control

Archivist's Note

Sources: Oxford Dictionary of National Biography;

Description compiled by Caroline Lam, 2007.

Rules or conventions

Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal Place and Corporate Names 1997.

This catalogue is made available under the Open Data Commons Attribution License. This catalogue may be updated from time to time in order to reflect additional material and/or new understandings of the material.

Date(s) of descriptions

October, 2007

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  • Ancient civilisations
  • Antiquities
  • Archaeological interest
  • Archaeology
  • Greek history
  • Byzantine history

Personal names

  • Burgon, Thomas, 1767-1837, merchant, antiquities collector and numismatist


  • Greece
  • Turkey

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