Before standardized context forms, before section drawing, and before photography, archaeology was recorded in field notebooks. Field diaries are perhaps the archetypal archaeological document both in the field and in the archive, and they persist in various contemporary forms as a key means of recording. Based on archaeological field diaries made in Syria during the French Mandate, in particular those of Clark Hopkins at Dura-Europos and Harald Ingholt at Palmyra, this article looks to the inclusions, elisions, and absences in archaeological field notebooks and asks whether it might be possible to reexamine the history of Mandate-era archaeology in Syria through them.

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