Friday 22 January 2016, 13.30 BP Lecture Theatre Free, booking required
A treasure of human civilisation and one of the most important books in the world, the Codex Sinaiticus is a manuscript handwritten over 1,600 years ago containing the Christian Bible in Greek and the oldest complete copy of the New Testament. In this lecture, Scot McKendrick, British Library, provides an introduction to this priceless religious text, outlining its fascinating history and significance.
Friday 4 December 2015, 13.30 BP Lecture Theatre Free, booking essential
The Museum’s new gallery for the Waddesdon Bequest reinterprets this significant collection for the 21st century. It also evokes the qualities of the great Schatzkammer (treasure house) collections of the Renaissance courts in Europe, which inspired Baron Ferdinand Rothschild’s collection. Tom Fotheringham, project architect at Stanton Williams, discusses the thinking behind their contemporary design of Room 2a.
Thursday 1 October 2015, 13.30 (JF) Thursday 12 November 2015, 13.30 (RW) Thursday 10 December 2015, 13.30 (JF) Thursday 21 January 2016, 13.30 (RW) BP Lecture Theatre Free, booking essential
Exhibition Curators Julia Farley (JF) and Rosie Weetch (RW) give a 45-minute illustrated introduction to the exhibition. Please note the event on 12 November will have live speech-to-text transcription for deaf and hard of hearing people.
Friday 6 November 2015, 15.00 (EOC) Friday 8 January 2016, 13.30 (AM) Friday 29 January, 13.30 (EOC) BP Lecture Theatre Free, booking essential
Exhibition Curators Elisabeth O'Connell (EOC) and Amandine Merat (AM) give a 45-minute illustrated introduction to the exhibition. Please note the event on 29 January will have live speech-to-text transcription for deaf and hard of hearing people.
Monday 30 November 2015, 13.30 BP Lecture Theatre Free, booking required
In the course of human evolution when did a preoccupation with supernatural powers begin and how did it develop into religious practices? Jill Cook, British Museum, looks at evidence from our deep past over 100,000 years and suggests that religious experience is closely connected to the development of the modern human brain. Sign interpreted.
Thursday 7 January 2016, 13.30 BP Lecture Theatre Free, booking required
Nicholas de Lange, University of Cambridge, explores the fascinating development of Judaism in Egypt from the first millennium AD through to the Middle Ages. Discussing religion alongside philosophical trends he looks at the writings of key Jewish thinkers and their attempts to express Judaism during a period dominated by Greek, Christian and Islamic modes of thought.
Friday 27 November 2015, 18.30 BP Lecture Theatre £5, £3 Members/concessions
From the rise of the Irish Party in the 19th century to the Scottish vote for independence earlier this year, nationalism among the so-called ‘Celtic fringe’ nations has led to fundamental shifts across the UK political landscape. This panel discussion explores the roots, development and manifestations of nationalism in the Celtic world, discussing the rise of the SNP, the growth of Plaid Cymru and Mebyon Kernow, and the possible futures that lie ahead for these regions in the context of the UK as a whole. Chaired by Fergal Keane, BBC, and featuring Neal Ascherson, UCL, Murray Pittock, University of Glasgow, John Hutchinson, LSE, and Garry Tregidga, University of Exeter.
Friday 18 December 2015, 18.15-19.15 BP Lecture Theatre Free, booking required
Dr Jerome Lewis, University College London, presents his fascinating research into the long duration and resilience of a Central African hunter-gatherer 'civilisation'. This lecture will combine genetic, ethnographic and ethnomusicological studies which suggest a structural form or style which endures across different ‘Pygmy’ societies today, despite genetic and other differences.
This event also marks the annual lecture given in memory of William Fagg, former Keeper of the Department of Africa, Oceania and the Americas.
Friday 15 January 2016, 13.30 BP Lecture Theatre Free, booking required
Welsh poet and academic Christine James is the current Archdruid of Wales, the first woman to hold the title. Join her as she discusses the history of the National Eisteddfod of Wales and its place in Welsh identity from its ‘prototype’ in 1176 through to the present day. Particular attention will be paid to the festival’s association with the Gorsedd of Bards of the Island of Britain – the colourful, romantic creation of academic Iolo Morganwg – which was first held on Primrose Hill in London in 1792.
Friday 27 November 2015, 13.30 BP Lecture Theatre Free, booking required
Jean-François Champollion’s translation of the Rosetta Stone hieroglyphs in 1822 heralded a breakthrough in the race between scholars to understand the ancient Egyptian language. In this lecture Curator Ilona Regulski, British Museum, reveals what the Stone’s scripts tell us about the multicultural society in which it was carved and Yves Champollion reflects upon his great-great uncle’s groundbreaking research. Organised in association with CenTraS @UCL and the London Regional Group of the ITI.
Monday 1 February 2016, 13.30 BP Lecture Free, booking required
Hugh Kennedy, SOAS, discusses the arrival of Islam in early medieval Egypt from the Arab conquest of AD 641 to the subsequent settlement of Arabs in Fustat (Old Cairo) and Alexandria. With a focus upon relations between Muslims and the largely Christian population they ruled, he considers whether Islamic faith was spread by force, how quickly the conversion took place and why Arabic became the dominant language.
Thursday 3 December 2015, 16.00 BP Lecture Theatre Free, booking required
The British Museum has been excavating in the Jordan Valley and in Oman for close to three decades. The evidence uncovered has given us a window into the ways of life experienced by ordinary people. Although we may often assume that for Bronze Age people, domestication of plants and animals and a growing mastery in metal-working have fostered organised societies in which agricultural surplus and industrial production might enable active trade, no two regions are the same and the influence of the surrounding environment is paramount. In this lecture, Caroline Cartwright, British Museum, illustrates how Bronze Age peoples in two very different geographical regions have capitalised on their local environments and resources.
Dr Pacradooni Kaloost Vartan was the son of an Armenian tailor, born in Constantinople in 1835. He became a leading medical pioneer and the founding father of the Nazareth Hospital, an institution which celebrated its 150th anniversary in 2012. In this lecture, Malcolm Billings, formerly of the BBC World Service, tells the life story of this remarkable man, charting his career from interpreter with the British Army during the Crimean War to medical student in Edinburgh, and finally as a missionary and qualified surgeon and physician in Palestine.
This lecture is organised jointly by the British Museum's Middle East Department, the Palestine Exploration Fund and the Council for British Research in the Levant.