Thursday 15 December 2016, 13.30 BP Lecture Theatre Free, booking required
2016 marks the millennium of the conquest of England by Cnut (r. 1016–1035). Although largely remembered today for the later story of his supposed failure to hold back the tide, Cnut was one of the most successful early kings of England. He forged a North Sea empire that included Denmark, Norway and England and is remembered in Denmark as Cnut 'the Great'. In this lecture, Gareth Williams, British Museum, explores both Cnut's conquest and his subsequent achievements.
Tuesday 27 January 2017, 18.30 BP Lecture Theatre £5,Members/concessions £3
For the past decade, award-winning historian, author and broadcaster Bettany Hughes has been researching the life and the history of one of the greatest cities on earth – Istanbul. Following the publication of her newest book, Istanbul: A Tale of Three Cities, she illuminates the latest archaeological discoveries that allowed her to explore Istanbul's fascinating prehistoric roots and chart the story of a city across six millennia – a city whose influence is racing up the contemporary political agenda.
Thursday 12 January 2017, 16.00 BP Lecture Theatre Free,Free booking required
John MacDermot, retired Professor of Medicine and Therapeutics and former Head of Undergraduate Medicine at Imperial College London, gives a lecture on the life of Olga Tufnell (1905–1985), a distinguished British archaeologist whose work focused on the Middle East. As a young woman, she was appointed as an assistant to Sir William Flinders Petrie at University College London, where she worked on the preparation of exhibitions and similar tasks. Petrie invited her to join his last excavation in Egypt and later the excavations at Tell el-Fara and Tell el-Ajjul in Palestine. Having gained considerably in experience and knowledge, she then joined James Starkey at the excavation of Tell ed-Duweir (Biblical Lachish). Following Starkey's death in 1938, the task of writing the extensive excavation report fell largely on Tufnell. In later life, she developed her interest in costume, jewellery and amulets, and she spent the last 25 years of her life in a collaborative study with William (Bill) Ward on the Bronze Age scarab seals of Palestine.
Thursday 23 February 2017, 13.30 BP Lecture Theatre Free,booking required
Hilary Williams, British Museum, discusses a gilded age in the history of connoisseurship. The Wallace Collection, amassed by Sir Richard and Lady Wallace, opened as a public institution in 1897. Shortly after, it was visited by the American Henry Clay Frick. He was inspired to create another such collection of quality, The Frick Collection, New York, using the good services and inside knowledge of the Wallaces' Private Secretary and Trustee Sir John Murray Scott. Fascinating connections and connoisseurship of this era link with the Rothschild property at Waddesdon Manor, the Sackvilles of Knole, American banker and art collector J P Morgan, art historian Bernard Berenson and influential art dealer Lord Duveen, who funded the British Museum gallery in which the Parthenon sculptures are displayed.
Thursday 2 February 2017, 13.30 BP Lecture Theatre Free, booking required
Richard Hobbs, British Museum, will present new research on the Mildenhall Treasure, one of the Museum's most iconic groups of objects. After the lecture, he will be signing copies of his new book The Mildenhall Treasure: Late Roman Silver Plate from East Anglia.
Friday 17 February 2017, 18.00-19.30 BP Lecture Theatre Free, booking essential
In this lecture, using evidence from Pompeii, Professor Mario Torelli, Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei, Rome, will show how the funding of public works secured advancement in the ancient world.
Success in high public office in the Roman world was often achieved through the funding of public works. In return benefactors received a variety of special honours and distinctions, including honorary statues, and ultimately grand funerals and elaborate tombs.
In the late Republican and early imperial periods, prior to the centralisation of executive and fiscal powers in the emperor, finance to build temples and other public works was raised through donations from members of the senatorial aristocracy in Rome and by the wealthy elite in the rest of Italy and in the provinces. These donations could secure the prestige and electoral success essential for the ruling classes to secure high public office.
Thursday 8 December 2016, 13.30 BP Lecture Theatre Free,booking required
For nearly 400 years, Britannia was part of Rome's European empire. It was not an entirely easy relationship, and a succession of ambitious politicians (including the piratical Carausius and the first Christian emperor, Constantine) used the island as a springboard to defy central government. Sam Moorhead, British Museum, and David Stuttard, authors of The Romans who shaped Britain, tell the story of the province’s place in the Roman Empire and the flamboyant, conniving and ambitious characters who shaped it until Britannia's exit around AD 409.Followed by a book signing.
Southern Africa has produced the oldest evidence for art on the continent and boasts one of the largest and best understood traditions of hunter-gatherer rock art in the world. It is also home to a rich heritage of other forms of art in clay, metal, basketry and other media. Informed by what anthropology can tell us about their meaning, Peter Mitchell, University of Oxford, explores some of these traditions as they are represented in the region's archaeological record.