20 years of survey and excavations at Zoara in the Ghor es-Safi, Jordan 1997–2017

20 years of survey and excavations at Zoara in the Ghor es-Safi, Jordan 1997–2017

Thursday 8 June 2017, 16.00-17.00
BP Lecture Theatre
Free, booking essential

Konstantinos Politis, Hellenic Society for the Ancient Near East looks at the archaeological record at Zoara – one of the famed five ‘Cities of the Plain’ (Genesis 13), which, according to the Bible, survived the wrath of God while others such as Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed.

It was strategically located at a major crossroad on the southern Dead Sea littoral, making it supremely well placed to take advantage of the region’s diverse agriculture, mineral wealth, and trade opportunities. Substantial Neolithic, Early Bronze Age and Iron Age remains attest to significant settlements there. In later antiquity, Roman, Byzantine and Islamic sources mention its economic prosperity based on agricultural products. Recent archaeological works have confirmed Zoara’s regional importance throughout history, and brought to light exciting new evidence to verify its identification. All this will now be published by the Palestine Exploration Fund (PEF) in a forthcoming volume and presented here by the excavation project director Konstantinos Politis.

Please note the lecture is preceded at 15.00 by the PEF AGM which is open to PEF members only. 


Curator's introduction to Hokusai: beyond the Great Wave

Curator's introduction to Hokusai: beyond the Great Wave

Thursday 25 May 2017, 13.30 - 14.30
Saturday 10 June 2017, 13.30 - 14.30
Thursday 27 July 2017, 13.30 - 14.30
Thursday 3 August 2017, 13.30 - 14.30
BP Lecture Theatre (except 27 July: Stevenson Lecture Theatre)
Free, booking essential

Exhibition Curator Tim Clark gives a 45-minute illustrated introduction to the exhibition Hokusai: beyond the Great Wave.

Please note the Saturday 10 June event features live subtitles for Deaf and hard of hearing visitors. 


Curator's introduction to The American Dream: pop to the present

Curator's introduction to The American Dream: pop to the present

Saturday 25 March 2017, 13.30 (SC)
Thursday 27 April 2017, 13.30 (CD)
Thursday 18 May 2017, 13.30 (SC)
Thursday 15 June 2017, 13.30 (CD)
BP Lecture Theatre
Free, booking essential

Exhibition curators Stephen Coppel(SC) and Catherine Daunt(CD), British Museum, give a 45-minute illustrated introduction to the exhibition The American Dream: pop to the present


Duplicates and copies in Chinese sculpture

Duplicates and copies in Chinese sculpture

Monday 8 May 2017, 17.30 - 19.30
BP Lecture Theatre
Free, booking essential

The important role of duplication in the history of Chinese art is well known. Ancient bronze vessels and ceramics were produced in sets, and many were later copied.

Calligraphy and painting were copied to learn from ancient masters and preserve original works of art. Yet, in the study of Chinese sculpture, there is little discussion of duplication. The history of Chinese sculpture seems to consist of a series of singular, unique objects. There are period styles, regional similarities, and sets of images, of course, but few duplicates. If two or more works are identical, we are quick to dismiss one or more to be a modern forgery. Serial images and duplicates were undoubtedly produced in ancient times. Pious replications of Buddhist images were made in archaic styles. New works were provided with ancient inscriptions. Some such works were modern forgeries meant to deceive. But copies and duplicates were part of image making from ancient times to the present.

In this lecture, Stanley Abe, Department of Art, Art History, and Visual Studies at Duke University, will discuss examples of duplicate sculptural images as original production, as pious copies or replacements, and as modern forgeries. All are possible and, while difficult to discern, necessary to understand as part of the history of Chinese sculpture.

Followed by a drinks reception.

Supported by the Trustees of the Sir Percival David Foundation. 


Ed Ruscha: a history of detail

Ed Ruscha: a history of detail

Thursday 8 June 2017, 13.30 - 14.30
BP Lecture Theatre
Free, booking essential

Briony Fer, Professor of the History of Art, UCL, considers the intensity of vision of the important and influential American printmaker Ed Ruscha. 


Endlessly creative: Hokusai’s 70 years as an artist

Endlessly creative: Hokusai’s 70 years as an artist

Thursday 13 July 2017, 13.30 - 14.30
BP Lecture Theatre
Free, booking essential

Poet, art historian and Hokusai expert Roger Keyes examines the full trajectory of Hokusai's work and creative output over the course of 70 years. Introduced by Tim Clark, Exhibition Curator of Hokusai: beyond the Great Wave


Etruscans, Macedonians and the enigma of the Grotte Scalina tomb

Etruscans, Macedonians and the enigma of the Grotte Scalina tomb

Friday 19 May 2017, 18.00 - 19.30
BP Lecture Theatre
£5, Members/concessions £3

With Vincent Jolivet, Director of Research, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique.

The Etruscan tomb of Grotte Scalina near Viterbo is an outstanding example of the rock-cut architecture favoured especially in southern Etruria between the 6th and 2nd centuries BC. With its porticoed storeys, connected by stairways and crowned by a pediment, the façade seems inspired by the palatial architecture of Pella and Vergina in Macedonia. This and other evidence points towards a direct relationship between Etruria and the Macedonia of Philip II or Alexander the Great. Yet the tomb’s great banqueting hall, equipped with six beds, derives from traditional Etruscan funerary architecture. The excavation of its two funerary chambers presents new, problematic evidence about the entire complex, and suggests the presence of another, still intact subterranean tomb. 


Everything you always wanted to know about ancient Mesopotamia

Everything you always wanted to know about ancient Mesopotamia

Saturday 29 April 2017, 14.00
BP Lecture Theatre
£5, Members/concessions £3

British Museum Curator Irving Finkel introduces the world of ancient Mesopotamia – the 'land between the two rivers' (the Tigris and the Euphrates), now part of modern Iraq.

Irving explores what Mesopotamia is, what we should look for and why it matters. This talk is the first in a new series giving you a beginner's introduction to themes and cultures across world history. 


Everything you always wanted to know about money

Everything you always wanted to know about money

Saturday 24 June 2017, 14.00-15.00
BP Lecture Theatre
£5, Members/concessions £3

From the earliest evidence of exchange to the latest in digital currencies and everything in between, money is a creation that has truly changed the world.

In this event, British Museum Curator Ben Alsop picks out a host of fascinating objects and stories – cramming over 4,000 years of monetary history into one hour! 


Hokusai and the art of defying old age

Hokusai and the art of defying old age

Friday 26 May 2017, 18.30 - 19.30
BP Lecture Theatre
£5, Members/concessions £3

Born in 1760, Hokusai was a precocious but also long-lived artist who died at the age of nearly 90. From the age of 60 he engaged himself with new intensity in the mediums of print design, book illustration and painting.

In this lecture, John T Carpenter, Curator of Japanese Art at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, will explore several of Hokusai’s artistic projects that seem to have specifically addressed fighting off illness, demons of the mind, and decrepitude. 


Hokusai's thought: worlds seen and unseen

Hokusai's thought: worlds seen and unseen

Thursday 22 June 2017, 13.30-14.30
BP Lecture Theatre
Free, booking essential

Hokusai did not want to simply capture the world around him on the page. He wanted to bring it to life, together with the unseen forces by which it was animated.

To understand how he did it, we need to think about how he saw the world and what he was trying to say. In this lecture, Angus Lockyer, SOAS, will explore what Hokusai thought about nature, society, history and religion. 


Leaving on a jet plane: artistic exchange between Britain and America in the 1960s

Leaving on a jet plane: artistic exchange between Britain and America in the 1960s

Thursday 11 May 2017, 13.30 - 14.30
BP Lecture Theatre
Free, booking essential

Martin Hammer, Professor of the History of Art, University of Kent, discusses the reciprocal influences of art across the Atlantic during this highly productive decade which redefined modern art. 


Living traditions: Japanese woodblock printing in the 21st century

Living traditions: Japanese woodblock printing in the 21st century

Saturday 22 July 2017, 13.30 - 14.30
BP Lecture Theatre
Free, booking essential

Based on material gathered from several years of research, expert printmaker Rebecca Salter RA explains the traditional practice of Japanese woodblock making, with reference to her ongoing collaboration with Sato Woodblock workshop in Kyoto.

Rebecca Salter is a painter and printmaker. She studied at Bristol Polytechnic and then at Kyoto City University of the Arts in Japan, where she lived for six years. While living in Kyoto she studied traditional Japanese woodblock printing with Professor Akira Kurosaki and has since written two books on the subject.  


Lunar men and the Enlightenment

Lunar men and the Enlightenment

Thursday 4 May 2017, 13.30-14.30
BP Lecture Theatre
Free, booking essential

Jenny Uglow, author of The Lunar Men: The Friends who Made the Future 1730–1810, considers the extraordinary spirit of curiosity and accomplishment in the circles of men who helped to develop the Enlightenment, including Josiah Wedgwood, Matthew Boulton, James Watt, Joseph Priestley and Erasmus Darwin. Followed by a book signing. 


New discoveries at Must Farm: Bronze Age Britain's Pompeii

New discoveries at Must Farm: Bronze Age Britain's Pompeii

Friday 28 April 2017, 18.30
BP Lecture Theatre
£5, Members/concessions £3

Mark Knight, Cambridge Archaeological Unit, University of Cambridge, discusses the ongoing internationally significant new discoveries being made at the site of a 3000-year-old settlement, dubbed the 'Peterborough Pompeii', at Must Farm, in East Anglia.

This lecture presents an update of the discoveries made in the past year, since Knight's March 2016 lecture at the British Museum. 


Over the hills and far away: interaction across southern Iran in late prehistory

Over the hills and far away: interaction across southern Iran in late prehistory

Friday 16 June 2017, 18.00-19.00
BP Lecture Theatre
Free, booking essential

From prehistory onwards the Iranian plateau connected the Middle East with Central and South Asia. It is ringed by mountains and piedmont zones with a desert core and was settled by people who traded over long distances from the earliest periods.

In this lecture, Cameron Petrie, University of Cambridge, looks at how people moved across the Iranian plateau and examines the relationship between landscapes, routes, settlements and the dynamics of human interconnection, particularly at the archaeological evidence from the neolithic and chalcolithic periods. 


Silk as currency: examples from Dunhuang

Silk as currency: examples from Dunhuang

Thursday 1 June 2017, 13.30-14.30
BP Lecture Theatre
Free, booking essential

In this presentation, Helen Wang, British Museum, shares some of the highlights of the current project Textiles as Money on the Silk Road.

The paintings discovered at the Mogao grottoes, Dunhuang, north-west China in the 20th century, contain a storehouse of information about the silks used and traded across the Silk Road during the time of this important Buddhist site’s usage from the 5th to 13th centuries. But silk was not just about beauty, fashion, luxury trade and religious devotion – it was a form of money.

Presented in collaboration with the Prince’s School of Traditional Arts. 


The Great Wave: the making of a modern icon

The Great Wave: the making of a modern icon

Saturday 27 May 2017, 13.30-14.30
BP Lecture Theatre
Free, booking essential

Hokusai’s Great Wave, as it is commonly known today, is arguably one of Japan’s most successful exports, its commanding profile instantly recognisable no matter how different its representations in media and style.

In this lecture, Christine Guth, author of The Great Wave: the Making of a Modern Icon, examines the image from its first publication in 1831 through to the remarkable range of its articulations today. 


The wave that swept the world: Hokusai, Japonisme and the west

The wave that swept the world: Hokusai, Japonisme and the west

Friday 2 June 2017, 18.30-20.00
BP Lecture Theatre
£5, Members/concessions £3
From Monet, Van Gogh and Degas to Whistler, Warhol and Hockney, Hokusai and his contemporary Japanese artists have had a profound impact on western art.

This panel discussion, chaired by John Reeve, Fellow, Institute of Education London, discusses the phenomenon of Japonisme and its enduring influence in the art world today. It also examines the transactional influence of European art on Hokusai and his contemporaries, in light of the fascinating new discovery of six European-style paintings in Leiden, attributed to Hokusai himself.

Panellists include Matthi Forrer, Rijksmuseum Volkenkunde Leiden, Toshio Watanabe, UAL, Christine Guth, SOAS Japan Research Centre, and Tim Clark, British Museum.