Introduction to the collection

The FSA’s collection, which contains almost eight thousand items, reflects the work of scholars engaged in one of the establishment's historical purposes, the production of epigraphic collections, which remains one of the priorities of the current quinquennial contract (2012-2016).

The oldest squeezes held go back to the 1880s, when the members of the FSA were tasked with going the length and breadth of Greece and Asia Minor, to explore ancient sites and find and describe monuments that could still be seen. Since then, several generations of French and foreign epigraphers have swelled this collection; 64 individuals are recorded as authors of squeezes. Of these, C. Picard and C. Avezou, who belonged to the first generation of excavators of the site of Thasos, are the most prolific contributors (more than 1000 squeezes, from Thasos and Delos). Y. Béquignon (642 squeezes, mainly from Thessaly) and G. Daux (334 squeezes, mainly from Delphi) are also among the major creators of these records.

The composition of the collection reflects the history of its creation and, more generally, of the FSA’s academic policy. The records from the last decades of the nineteenth century and the first of the twentieth recall members’ exploratory travels, especially in Asia Minor. The collection also includes 70 squeezes by M. Holleaux from Oenoanda, made in 1884-1885, but also an important set of squeezes of inscriptions from Lampsacus, Phocea, Stratonice, Panamara and Lagina. The stamps also reflect the major contribution made by the School in Greece itself to the archaeological exploration and epigraphy of Boeotia (117 squeezes made by M. Holleaux at Ptoion from Akraiphia, 1884-1886, and 100 squeezes made by P. Jamot at Thespiae, 1890-1891).

In the twentieth-century records, squeezes from the archaeological sites where the FSA carried out excavations of major importance and developed permanent missions predominate: Delphi (2262), Thasos (1061), and Delos (894). These documents were used to prepare the publication of inscriptions found in systematic excavations, initially in issues of the Bulletin de Correspondance Hellénique, and then in specialised collections, the Fouilles de Delphes and Inscriptions de Délos, which were published from 1914 under the auspices of the Academy of Inscriptions and Belles-Lettres following the break with the Berlin Academy, publisher of the general collection Inscriptiones Graecae.

The wide-ranging interests of the researchers who contributed to the FSA’s archaeological missions means that the collection of squeezes offers a very comprehensive overview of the discipline of epigraphy. In geographical terms, the collection covers a large part of the ancient Greek world: mainland Greece (the Peloponnese, Boeotia, Phocis, Thessaly, Epirus, Macedonia, Thrace), the Greek islands (the northern Aegean islands, the Cyclades, Crete), Asia Minor (the Troad, Ionia, Caria), and Cyrenaica. All the major chronological – protohistorical, Archaic, Classical, Hellenistic, proByzantine and Byzantine – eras are also covered, in varying proportions. Finally, all categories of inscription are represented: decrees, laws and religious regulations, accounts and estimates, funerary inscriptions, and graffiti.

The collection is up-to-date and continues to be added to, partly by regular contributions from the epigraphers working with the FSA, partly by one-off donations from the heirs of former members of the FSA who have now died.

Collection inventory

The collection was systematically organised, retroactively, in the 1970s, when the epigrapher members of the FSA began to assemble and index the records as a whole. This work itself reflects the development of classification methods and of data description: the first list, handwritten in notebooks, was succeeded by a system of typed index cards, and then an electronic database, which has been overhauled several times and is currently operating with FileMaker Pro.

As part of the E-STAMPAGES programme, by 2016 this database will be migrated to a new application that is intended to be a unique tool for organising and searching the FSA’s ‘manuscript’ archives and squeezes.


Consultation and reproduction

For all requests for information, reproduction and consultation of the collection (by appointment only), contact the archives service: