Friday 11th November 2016, 14.00-16.00 BP Lecture Theatre Free, booking essential
One of the most beautiful, colourful and precise of all technical drawings, botanical art has taught us much about the complex world of botany and continues to enthral many of us to this day. Its history is rich and extensive, and the horticultural regions covered is equally vast. As Japan engaged with the West, botanical images of Japanese plants and flowers were relayed back to Europe by Westerners. They appeared as reproductions in much coveted publications such as Philipp Franz Balthasar von Siebold’s Flora japonica (1835–1870) and Engelbert Kaempfer’s The History of Japan (1727), and stoked curiosity and imagination about the flora and fauna of the lands in the Far East. As part of the Toshiba lectures in Japanese art and science, the Sainsbury Institute invites Masumi Yamanaka, one of the most celebrated botanical artists working at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, to provide a guide to the world of horticultural images. Joined by Dr Mark Nesbitt from Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Masumi will explain why botanic art is much more than pretty watercolour paintings.
Monday 24 October, 13.30 BP Lecture Theatre Free, booking essential
Sally-Ann Ashton, University of Huddersfield, offers an overview how African-centred approaches to the study of ancient Egypt can be used effectively, with reference to parallels from other African cultures.
Thursday 1 December 2016, 16.00 BP Lecture Theatre Free, booking required
Between 2005 and 2014, Bristol University’s ‘Great Arab Revolt Project’ investigated the archaeology and anthropology of the Arab Revolt of 1916–1918 in southern Jordan. The discoveries were extraordinary. Expecting to find only the ruins of Hejaz Railway stations destroyed by T E Lawrence and the Arabs, they discovered instead a vast conflict landscape of guerrilla actions and counter-insurgency tactics unknown to anyone except the Bedouin. In this lecture, Nicholas Saunders, University of Bristol, reveals the Ottoman army camps, railway ambushes, Rolls-Royce armoured car raiding camps, hilltop forts, machinegun strong-points, and a long-forgotten Royal Flying Corps landing strip that all emerged from the desert where modern guerrilla warfare was forged. Ten years of fieldwork investigated the archaeology of conflict produced in less than 18 months, from August 1917 until November 1918.
This event forms the 2016 Palestine Exploration Fund Evans Memorial Lecture jointly with ASTENE.
Friday 14 October, 18.30 BP Lecture Theatre £5, £3 members/concessions
14 October marks the 950th anniversary of the Battle of Hastings, when William of Normandy defeated Harold, the last Anglo-Saxon king of England. In this lecture, historian and filmmaker Michael Wood looks at the Norman Conquest in its time, but also about the way it has been seen since in popular culture, down to the Diggers in the English Civil War, the Victorians and even Ladybird books and the Eagle comic. Behind the later stories, he argues, lies the memory of a catastrophe for the English people, though the roots of English governance and culture created before 1066 would in time re-emerge.
Friday 25 November 2016, 18.15 BP Lecture Theatre Free, booking required
In this lecture Jean and John Comaroff, Harvard University, tell of the death of famous Zulu maskanda singer Khulekani Khumalo in 2010, and his dramatic reappearance, to huge public interest, two years later. In unravelling the narrative of this event, they pose the question of how personhood is fashioned in contemporary South Africa, why experimentation in fakery is so common, and how the aesthetics of re-presentation are central to the story.
Thursday 6 October, 16.00 BP Lecture Theatre Free, booking essential
Pilgrimage to Mecca (the Hajj) is the fifth pillar of Islam – an obligation stated in the Koran for every Muslim sound of body and mind, and with adequate means. In this talk, Claudine Dauphin, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, discusses recent fieldwork investigating the archaeology of two two pilgrim roads in Jordan, running 425km from the Syrian border to the Saudi Arabian frontier. Using RAF aerial photographs of 1953, and applying modern archaeological methods, the main Hajj road was plotted, and six medieval and twelve Ottoman camps and caravanserais were discovered. This study allows us to reconstruct the natural landscapes of Hajj pilgrim resting places in Jordan as ‘sacred landscapes’ – a first in Islamic landscape archaeology.
Sex is fundamental to society. We cannot think about politics, identity or culture without also thinking about sexuality. In his book Sex: Antiquity and its Legacy, Daniel Orrells, explores how ancient words and ideas have left a significant imprint on present-day ideas about desire and pleasure. In this lecture, he outlines how British Museum objects, including a cabinet of 18th-century wax phalluses, have shaped modern sexual identity.
Thursday 3 November 2016, 16.00 BP Lecture Theatre Free,booking required
If Charles Warren (1840–1927) is known at all today, it is as the pioneering archaeologist of Jerusalem in the 1860s, or as the Metropolitan Police Commissioner who failed to catch ‘Jack the Ripper’, or as the General who lost the Boer War Battle of Spion Kop. In this lecture, author and historian Kevin Shillington will challenge these limited caricatures by focusing on Warren's whole career, from his early postings in Gibraltar, Jerusalem and South Africa, to his place within the literature of the first ‘Bloody Sunday’ and ‘Ripperology’, ultimately vindicating him from the shame of Spion Kop
Monday 21 November 2016,13.30 Stevenson Lecture Theatre Free,booking required
The British Museum houses important black South African art. As with many other museum collections, a significant number of these objects are the legacy of the colonial period and were deemed primarily of ethnographic interest. Catherine Elliott Weinberg, University of East Anglia, explores how we might give new voice to this art by investigating the archive.
Thursday 3 November 2016, 18.30 BP Lecture Theatre £5,Members/concessions £3
Join South African scholar David Lewis Williams, author of The Mind in the Cave: Consciousness and the Origins of Art, and Jill Cook, Keeper of Britain, Europe and Prehistory at the British Museum and Curator of the 2013 exhibition Ice Age art: arrival of the modern mind, as they examine the earliest forms of artistic endeavour in southern Africa and discuss what they might tell us about the emergence of artistic consciousness in the region. The discussion includes an illustrated talk by David Lewis Williams, showcasing San|Bushmen rock art and how it is part of an ongoing tradition, a source of inspiration for artists today.
Friday 7 October, 13.30 BP Lecture Theatre Free, booking essential
The battle fought at Marathon between Athenians and Persians in 490 BC was not a casual skirmish between blind armies clashing in the dark. Its outcome, Athenian victory, has been hailed as a vital node in the history of modern freedom and European civilisation.
In this lecture, Athena Leouissi, University of Reading, explores the afterlife of the battle, celebrated in the Parthenon marbles, and still remembered in marathon races today.
Friday 21 October 2016, 13.30 BP Lecture Theatre Free, booking required
The Ptolemies ruled Egypt between the 4th century BC and the death of Cleopatra in 31 BC. They mastered the art of soft power and spin doctoring, winning the hearts and minds of their multicultural audiences at home and abroad. In this lecture, Heba Abd el-Gawad, Durham University, asks how and why it all worked, and whether modern rulers and governments could benefit from looking at the Ptolemaic system in relation to current multicultural tensions.
Monday 3 October 2016, 13.30 BP Lecture Theatre Free, booking required
The ancient Greeks began to visit and settle in Egypt from the 7th century BC onwards. One of the key centres of contact and exchange was the mixed Egyptian-Greek trading post of Naukratis, 'sister' port of Thonis- Heracleion and the subject of new research at the British Museum. In this lecture, Alexandra Villing, British Museum, reveals how the excavations since 2012 are shedding new light on early encounters and the ensuing long-term exchange, which transformed both Greek and Egyptian culture.