archaeology

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Internal Event – University of Reading staff and students only

We cordially invite you to the H&C Academic Forum for the Summer Term 2018 which will focus on the theme of Heritage in Times of Conflict.

As part of the event, we are holding a film viewing of ‘The Destruction of Memory’, followed by a panel discussion that will consider challenges around the preservation and protection of cultural heritage in today’s world. This important event will be of major interest for researchers whose work touches on heritage and conflict, and it will provide colleagues with an opportunity to ask questions and network more widely.

The ‘Destruction of Memory’ film is based on the book of the same name by Robert Bevans. The film includes interviews with the Director-General of UNESCO, the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, as well as many international experts, including archaeologists. The film’s website is here http://destructionofmemoryfilm.com/

The film covers the following topics:

  • The devastating effects that ‘A war on culture’ has on today’s society and the challenges it causes in preserving and protecting history
  • Destructive behaviour of Daesh (ISIS) and how their actions attempt to obliterate culture and memory
  • Measures currently being pursued to protect, salvage and rebuild the history that has been lost as a result of cultural destruction.

The panel will be chaired by Professor Roger Matthews, Professor of Near Eastern Archaeology, University of Reading and President of RASHID International (Research, Assessment, Safeguarding the Heritage of Iraq in Danger) and will represent a variety of expertise from across the University and beyond. These include:

  • Tim Slade – Writer, Director and Producer of the film ‘The Destruction of Memory’ for Vast Productions, USA
  • Dr Lisa Purse – Head of Department and Associate Professor in Film, Theatre and Television, University of Reading
  • Professor Rosa Freedman – Professor of Law Conflict and Global Development, University of Reading
  • Dr Dina Rezk – Lecturer in Middle Eastern History (19th / 20th Century), University of Reading.

Please register with Chris Anderson in the Research Deans’ Office by e-mail on researchdeansoffice@reading.ac.uk. As catering will be booked for this event, please confirm whether you have any dietary requirements.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Professor Roger Matthews (Archaeology) and Professor Roberta Gilchrist (R Dean H&C)

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Professor Roger Matthews’ research focuses on the origins of the earliest farmers in the Eastern Fertile Crescent of Iran and Iraq. This work puts him at the heart of discussions about how best to protect Iraq’s cultural heritage, which has long been threatened by conflicts in the region. Here he tells us more about his work and his invitation to speak at a UN Human Rights Council event earlier this month.

Jerwan Aqueduct, Inscribed Ashlar (© Land of Nineveh Archaeological Project)

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Dr Hella Eckardt, Associate Professor of Archaeology at the University of Reading, has just been named Archaeologist of the Year by Current Archaeology magazine. Part of her research is focused on uncovering evidence of how diverse the Roman Empire was, which in turn informs modern-day discussions about immigration. Here, Dr Eckardt discusses the scientific techniques used in her research and how the findings can be best communicated in schools.

Dr Ella Eckardt was awarded Archaeologist of the Year by Current Archaeology

There has been recent discussion about the importance of bringing the past to life for school children. One way to do this is to examine how archaeology might provide a different perspective on some major current debates, for example around migration.

A few years ago, I worked with my colleagues Gundula Müldner and Mary Lewis on around 150 burials from Roman Britain, trying to learn more about their geographical origin and cultural identities.

As an artefact specialist, I am quite used to identifying apparently exotic or unusual objects, but it was really fascinating to test whether the people buried with them were immigrants or not.

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By Professor Roger Matthews and Dr Wendy Matthews

Bestansur site in Iraq

The transition of humankind from mobile hunters to settled farmers after the Ice Age is a period in history still shrouded in mystery. Very little evidence exists to shed light on what life was like in the world’s first villages in the Middle East 12,000 to 9,000 years ago.

But our archaeological research, carried out in collaboration with local communities in Iraq and Iran, is uncovering clues that will help us understand how ancient civilisations developed. We will be presenting our findings at a public lecture on Wednesday 22 November, as part of the national Being Human Festival.

Earlier this year, we conducted excavations and interdisciplinary research at the Neolithic site of Bestansur, in Iraqi Kurdistan, which is in the eastern Fertile Crescent – one of the areas of the Middle East where farming originated. Our aim is to learn more about how humans first started farming in this region, taking steps towards a more domesticated lifestyle.

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By Dr Gemma Watson, Post-Doctoral Research Assistant in the Department of Archaeology

Back in May 2017, Roberta Gilchrist, Professor of Archaeology and Research Dean at the University of Reading, presented the prestigious Rhind Lectures, the oldest and biggest archaeology lecture series in the world, hosted by the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland.

Professor Gilchrist presented on the theme of ‘Sacred Heritage: Archaeology, Identity and Medieval Beliefs’, exploring over six lectures the value of sacred medieval heritage today and in the past. The lectures outline a new research agenda for the archaeological study of later medieval monasticism with a strong emphasis on the archaeology of medieval Scotland and tying in with the Scottish Government’s Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology 2017. The lectures are now available to watch online.

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Avril Maddrell

Avril Maddrell

Dr Avril Maddrell (SAGES) is running an AHRC-ESRC project on Deathscapes and Diversity. Against the backdrop of increasing ethnic and religious diversity in the UK, many challenges have been raised practically and politically about living together in difference within in Britain. While attention has focused upon Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) patterns of housing, education, employment and leisure, what is less well understood is migrant and established minority needs relating to cemetery, crematoria and sites of ritual and remembrance (‘deathscapes’).

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Spreading good taste: Winckelmann and the objects of dissemination

University of Reading, 15 September 2017, 10:00 am – 6:45 pm

Registration is now open for ‘Spreading good taste: Winckelmann and the objects of dissemination’, a one-day academic conference to be held at the University of Reading on 15 September.

This is the second of three workshops on the general theme Under the Greek Sky: Taste & the reception of Classical art from Winckelmann to the present, to be held in England in 2017-2018, as part of a series of international events marking the tercentenary of Winckelmann’s birth (2017) and 250 years since his death (2018). Winckelmann, who is traditionally regarded as the ‘father’ of both classical archaeology and art history, is generally acknowledged as having brought about a revolution in scholarly approaches to ancient Greek and Roman culture, influenced practices of archaeological excavation and museum display, provided a key impetus to the spread of Neoclassical taste in art, architecture and decoration throughout Enlightenment Europe.  Following on from a two-day workshop in London (KCL/Warburg Institute) held in June 2017, which explored ‘imitation’ and climate theory as two key components of Winckelmann’s historiography and aesthetics, the Reading workshop will consider the portable artefacts of antiquity—coins, gems and vases— through which Winckelmann and others familiarised themselves with the ancient world, considering their use and adaptation in scholarly, connoisseurial, and both private and public display contexts.  We will also consider the dissemination of ancient styles and designs through large-scale and miniaturised casts.

For the full workshop programme see https://www.reading.ac.uk/Ure/info/Winckelmann.php.

The workshop will take place at the Museum of English Rural Life (www.reading.ac.uk/TheMERL), on the University of Reading’s London Road campus. Lunch will be provided, and the workshop will be followed from 5:00 – 7:00 pm by a drinks reception to launch the exhibition Winckelmann and the spread of neoclassical taste in the University of Reading’s Special Collections, adjacent to the Museum.  This exhibition is a collaboration between the Ure Museum of Greek Archaeology and University of Reading Special Collections, and is funded with the generous support of the University of Reading Arts Committee and the Vice-Chancellor’s Endowment Fund.

REGISTRATION DETAILS: 

The workshop is free of charge but places are limited, so pre-registration is required. Please register before 1 September on the following link:

http://www.store.reading.ac.uk/conferences-and-events/faculty-of-arts-humanities-social-science/dept-of-classics/spreading-good-taste-winckelmann-and-the-objects-of-dissemination

For immediate enquiries, please contact the Ure Museum Assistant Curator, Ms Jayne Holly-Wait.  Email: ure@reading.ac.uk, telephone no. 0118 378 6990. For the full programme of international events, see http://www.winckelmann-gesellschaft.com/en/winckelmann_anniversaries_20172018/.

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Professor Roberta Gilchrist, Professor of Archaeology and Research Dean at the University of Reading, will present the prestigious Rhind Lectures 2017, at the National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh, from 19-21 May. The Rhinds are the biggest archaeology lecture series in the world, comprising six lectures given over one weekend.

Professor Roberta Gilchrist at Glastonbury Abbey, the subject of one of her Rhind Lectures

The free annual lectures have been hosted by the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland since 1874 to commemorate Alexander Henry Rhind, whose money bequeathed to the society first allowed them to take place, making the Rhinds the oldest and most renowned series of archaeology lectures internationally.

Professor Gilchrist has chosen the theme ‘Sacred Heritage: Archaeology, Identity and Medieval Beliefs’.  The six lectures will explore the value of sacred heritage today and in the past, examining the political and ideological use of monastic archaeology from the 12th century to the modern day.

The lectures outline a new research agenda for the archaeological study of medieval monasticism, focusing on critical approaches to heritage, the study of identity, healing, magic and memory.  They feature a strong emphasis on the archaeology of medieval Scotland, to coincide with the Scottish Government’s Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology 2017.

In the past year, Professor Gilchrist has also given prestigious named lectures in Sweden, Canada and the USA and was Current Archaeology’s Archaeologist of the Year 2016, based on a vote by members of the public.

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Society for the Promotion of Byzantine Studies

SPBS & The Friends of the British School at Athens present an illustrated lecture by

Dr Ken Dark, University of Reading

Building Orthodoxy: Recent Archaeological Work at Haghia Sophia

6.00 pm Tuesday 21 March 2017, followed by an informal Reception at Room G22/26, Ground Floor, South Block, Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU

The nearest tube station is Russell Square.

Free entry for SPBS members but please confirm attendance to Liz Mincin: emincin@googlemail.com

 

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Two Reading archaeologists have edited a new book compiling dozens of influential research papers on European medieval archaeology.

Medieval Archaeology, edited by Professor Roberta Gilchrist (Research Dean for Heritage & Creativity) and Dr Gemma Watson from the Department of Archaeology, is a new publication in Routledge’s Critical Concepts in Archaeology series.

The four-volume, 1,930-page publication reprints 77 influential papers carefully selected to highlight the key issues and debates in the development and contemporary practice of later medieval archaeology in Europe (c. 1000–1550 AD).

The four volumes are designed thematically: ‘Defining Medieval Archaeology’, ‘the Medieval Landscape’, ‘Medieval Life’ and ‘Medieval Social Archaeology’.

The publication includes papers by Reading archaeologists Roberta Gilchrist, Grenville Astill, Mary Lewis, Gundula Mueldner and Aleks Pluskowski.

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