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Woolley handwriting

Sir Leonard's handwriting, like so many geniuses', can be difficult to read. Making it still more difficult are the quirks of his hand -- abbreviations and habits that, once recognized, make the task of transcription much easier. I list some I have noticed to help recognize them. Transcribe as he wrote them, not as what he meant, though:

- - the dash is most often Woolley's shorthand for the word 'the'. Transcribe it as a dash as he wrote it, but the wording makes much more sense when you see what the shorthand stands for.

+ - Woolley's symbol for 'and'. Use the ampersand (&) when transcribing it.

< - a symbol for the word 'angle'.

:. - three dots in a triangle (not directly transcribable with basic keyboard) is the mathematical symbol meaning 'therefore'. Woolley often uses this symbol for this word.

abt - abbreviation for the word 'about'

base - often used in measurements of pots, giving the diameter of the base of the vessel.

b.b. - burned brick (or baked brick), often used in phrases like 'beneath b.b. foundations'.

bet. - abbreviation for 'between'.

bldg - abbreviation for 'building'.

cd - shortening of the word 'could'.

d.c. - abbreviation for double conoid, a form of bead (see field note terms)

diam. - Woolley frequently uses this abbreviation for diameter when giving dimensions of pots.

foot or base - used in some cases when giving the dimension of the bottom of a pot.

founds - shortening of the word 'foundations'. Woolley was excavating to these and below and often notes the state of the foundations of any building.

frs. - abbreviation for 'fragments'. It is common to find pieces of objects in archaeological excavation and Woolley often uses this abbreviation to designate that.

grtst - shortening of the word 'greatest', used in reference to maximum measurements of objects such as the greatest width (grtst w)

h - this is sometimes used as shorthand for 'have', particularly in expressions like 'wd h' or 'cd h' for 'would have' or 'could have'.

ht. - Woolley frequently uses this abbreviation for height when giving dimensions of objects.

l. - lower case letter 'L' used as abbreviation for the word 'length' and frequently used when giving dimensions of artifacts or architecture.

m. or max. - abbreviation for 'maximum', often used in giving measurements at the largest point of an artifact, such as maximum length (max. l.)

o - shorthand for the word 'of'.

o- - combination of 'o' = 'of' and '-' = 'the', so together they are shorthand for 'of the'.

pt - abbreviation of the word 'point' as in 'point of interest'

rim - used in many cases when giving the dimensions of pottery, denoting the size of the mouth of the vessel.

shew - archaized version of the word 'show'. It is in Woolley's common usage throughout his personal and professional writing and was common in most British work of the period.

t- - abbreviation of the word 'that'. Easy to confuse with 'tr' for 'there' or the word 'to'. Context is the only way to tell in most cases.

tr - this is the way that Woolley abbreviates the word 'there'. In his hand it looks like the word 'to' but context of the sentence will usually reveal its meaning.

U.#### - field number of an artifact. These are vital for us to connect the information of these note cards to the objects now in museums. We need to be consistent in the way we reference these so they can be found. Woolley often writes them in different ways, such as U10:166 but our database would refer to that as U.10166. I have been placing the regularized version in brackets directly after the unusual, directly transcribed form.

wch - Woolley's frequent abbreviation for 'which'. it looks like the word 'who' but context can usually sort it out.

w. - typical abbreviation for 'width' when giving measurements.

wd - abbreviation of the word 'would'; only occasionally used. Sometimes also used as an abbreviation for 'width' in measurements, but more typically that is just w.

v. - abbreviation for 'very'