Letter from John T. Wood to J. Winter Jones, Principal Librarian of The British Museum
Turkey, 27 October AD 1868
On a journey to excavate the city of Ephesos
John Turtle Wood (1821-1890) was a professional architect, but his great ambition was to uncover the remains of the ancient Greek city of Ephesos in what is now Turkey. His excavations, which lasted from 1863 to 1874, were paid for mainly by The British Museum. The Museum's archives contain about 500 letters and reports written by him to the Principal Librarian of the Museum, John Winter Jones.
Wood wrote this letter to Jones just after he had arrived in Turkey for the start of the 1868-69 excavation season. He describes his long and difficult journey from England with his wife. She and Wood had decided to follow the overland route across the Alps to Italy, from where they could make a short sea-voyage to Turkey.
'... on arriving at Crevola we found that the mountain torrent had made our further progress that night impossible... early in the morning workmen repaired the road sufficiently for us to pass on...but as we approached a village ... we found the roads utterly impracticable...and in one place the approaches of a bridge had been carried away to the depth of 6 feet.'
Not surprisingly, Wood and his wife missed the boat at Naples. They finally reached Smyrna (modern Izmir) about three weeks after leaving England.