1606: William Shakespeare and the year of Lear

1606: William Shakespeare and the year of Lear

Friday 29 July 2016, 18.30
BP Lecture Theatre
£5, Members/concessions £3

1606, while a very good year for Shakespeare, was a fraught one for England. Plague returned, there was surprising resistance to the new king's desire to turn England and Scotland into a united Britain, and fear and uncertainty exposed deep divisions in the aftermath of a failed terrorist attack that came to be known as the Gunpowder Plot. In this special event, Dora Thornton, British Museum, and Professor James S Shapiro, Columbia University, discuss how Shakespeare’s extraordinary plays responded to these tumultuous events. 


An archaeological detective story in early Byzantine Sicily

An archaeological detective story in early Byzantine Sicily

Monday 27 June 2016, 13.30
BP Lecture Theatre
Free, booking required

Recent excavations at Punta Secca, a late Roman and early Byzantine village on the south coast of Sicily, have revealed the surprising and unusual discovery of a monumental tomb found in a house. Roger Wilson, Director of the Centre for the Study of Ancient Sicily at the University of British Columbia, pieces together the evidence, and tries to offer an explanation as to who was in the tomb and why they were perhaps the focus of a cult. 


Between fascination and horror: the ancient Egyptian animal cult

Between fascination and horror: the ancient Egyptian animal cult

Monday 25 July 2016, 13.30
BP Lecture Theatre
Free, booking required

Animal worship was one of the most significant trends in ancient Egyptian religion during the Late and Ptolemaic periods (664–31 BC). More than 30 animal cemeteries have so far been identified, some of them containing millions of mummified animals. In this talk, Daniela Rosenow, British Museum, will explore the role of the ancient Egyptian animal cult, introducing mummification techniques, the most famous animal graveyards and the reasoning behind this phenomenon.
BSL interpreted.  


Britain begins: the first 11,000 years

Britain begins: the first 11,000 years

Friday 10 June 2016, 18.30
BP Lecture Theatre
£5, Members/concessions £3

With the EU referendum on 23 June, find out more about Britain’s long and fascinating relationship with Europe through a series of special events at the Museum.

In this talk, Professor Sir Barry Cunliffe, University of Oxford, provides an archaeological account of the British Isles, from its earliest civilisations through 11,000 years of development. It will shine a light on the origins and movements of the region's earliest settlers and the relationships they established with their continental neighbours, both across the North Sea and along the Atlantic seaways. This gave rise to Britain's distinctive character, which was to later be infused by Roman, Saxon and Norman incursions, and much more.

This event is part of a series looking at the history of the UK and Europe.
Others in the series are The English and their history by Robert Tombs, University of Cambridge, on Monday 13 June at 18.30, and Crossing Borders: European migration throughout history, a panel discussion chaired by Jon Snow, Channel 4 News, on Monday 20 June at 19.00.  


Cleopatra: fact and fiction

Cleopatra: fact and fiction

Friday 3 June 2016, 18.30
BP Lecture Theatre
£5, Members/concessions £3

Cleopatra’s reputation as an immoral seductress has been unshakeable ever since her memory was blackened by the victorious Romans after the Battle of Actium. But the historical Cleopatra was very different. A shrewd politician and a brilliant linguist, she was the last of the Greek Ptolemaic Dynasty, who ruled Egypt in the face of increasing Roman power. In this lecture, classicist and author David Stuttard probes her life and controversial death to uncover the truth behind the legend. Following the lecture David will sign copies of the book he co-authored with the British Museum’s Sam Moorhead, 31 BC: Antony, Cleopatra and the Fall of Egypt. 


Curator's introduction to Sicily: culture and conquest

Curator's introduction to Sicily: culture and conquest

Thursday 28 April 2016, 13.30(DB)
Thursday 26 May 2016, 13.30(PH)
Saturday 11 June, 13.30(DB)
Friday 15 July, 13.30 (PH)
BP Lecture Theatre
Free, booking required

Exhibition Curators Dirk Booms (DB) Peter Higgs (PH) , give a 45-minute illustrated introduction to the exhibition Sicily: culture and conquest. 


Curator's introduction to the BP exhibition Sunken cities: Egypt's lost worlds

Curator's introduction to the BP exhibition Sunken cities: Egypt's lost worlds

Friday 10 June 2016, 15.00
Monday 18 July 2016, 13.30
Thursday 22 September 2016, 13.30
Saturday 8 October 2016, 12.00
Thursday 24 November 2016, 13.30
BP Lecture Theatre
Free, booking required

A British Museum curator gives a 45-minute introduction to the BP exhibition Sunken cities: Egypt's lost worlds


Greek kings and Egyptian gods

Greek kings and Egyptian gods

Thursday 4 August 2016, 13.30
BP Lecture Theatre
Free, booking required

Alexander the Great’s conquest of Egypt in 332 BC marked the beginning of three centuries of Greco-Macedonian rule under the Ptolemaic Dynasty. These rulers used pharaonic tradition to facilitate the transition of power. In this lecture, Exhibition Curator Aurélia Masson-Berghoff examines the phenomenon of dynastic cult during the Ptolemaic period, explaining how temples, sacred art and festivals celebrated Egyptian gods as much as the Greco-Macedonian dynasty. 


Japanese porcelain: Kate Malone and Hitomi Hosono in

Japanese porcelain: Kate Malone and Hitomi Hosono in

Saturday 6 August 2016, 13.30
BP Lecture Theatre
Free, booking required

Ceramic artists Kate Malone (judge on BBC2'sThe Great British Pottery Throw Down) and Hitomi Hosono join Nicole Rousmaniere, curator of the Asahi Shimbun Display Made in Japan: Kakiemon and 400 years of porcelain, to discuss Japanese porcelain. 


Motya and the routes to roots: Phoenicians back and forth across the Mediterranean

Motya and the routes to roots: Phoenicians back and forth across the Mediterranean

Thursday 9 June 2016, 16.00
Stevenson Lecture Theatre
Free, Booking required

Motya, an island situated at the centre of Mediterranean, was a major Phoenician colony and a strategic crossing of ancient sea routes. Lorenze Nigro, La Sapienza University, Rome, reveals how 14 seasons of excavations at Motya (2002–2015) have revealed traces of the earliest Levantine and Phoenician habitation of the central Mediterranean, shedding light on the formative phase of Phoenician expansion to the west. The discovery of buildings and a huge monumental temple has suggested a new model of cultural hybridisation in the ancient Mediterranean. Motya’s monuments and finds may help to disentangle the intricate and deepest roots of civilisation in the 1st millennium BC. 


Multiculturalism in Norman and Hohenstaufen Sicily

Multiculturalism in Norman and Hohenstaufen Sicily

Thursday 16 June 2016, 13.30
BP Lecture Theatre
Free, booking required

Jeremy Johns, Director of the Khalili Research Centre at Oxford University, shows how, after the destructive and divisive Norman conquest of Sicily, Roger II (r. 1130–1154) and his ministers articulated a new policy of multiculturalism, projected through art and architecture. Despite attempts by Roger’s daughter, Queen Constance, and her son, Frederick II, to restore the Norman policy of multiculturalism, Muslim revolts and their ruthless suppression undermined the social and economic foundations of the kingdom. 


Parthian Nisa: seat of Arsacid kings

Parthian Nisa: seat of Arsacid kings

Wednesday 6 July 2016, 18.15
BP Lecture Theatre
Free, booking required

During the mid-3rd century BC the Parthians, of nomadic origin and led by their first king Arsaces, founded the city of Nisa in present-day Turkmenistan. Extensively excavated over the past 80 years, this exceptional site has produced a wealth of information relating to Parthian culture. Carlo Lippolis, Professor of Ancient Near Eastern Art and Archaeology, University of Torino, will offer an overview of the architectural and artistic features of Parthian Nisa, together with the results of recent investigations at the site. 


Rome and Egypt: a long relationship

Rome and Egypt: a long relationship

Thursday 1 September 2016, 13.30
BP Lecture Theatre
Free, booking required

In this lecture, Ross Thomas, British Museum, looks at the long history of contact between Italy and Egypt, from early trade to the rise of the Rome, and Egypt eventually becoming a Roman province after Cleopatra’s downfall. He reveals how traces of different cultures can be found within the archaeological record of Egyptian port cities, including Naukratis and Thonis-Heracleion. 


Sicily under Muslim rule

Sicily under Muslim rule

Thursday 14 July 2016, 13.30
Stevenson Lecture Theatre
Free, booking required

Alex Metcalfe, Lancaster University, presents an illustrated introduction to the cultures and peoples of Muslim Sicily between the 9th and 11th centuries. During this little-known but pivotal period, the island became an independent colony of Arab Muslim North Africa in which settlers from the Islamic world intermingled with the Byzantine Greek population in an increasingly multilingual, interconfessional and multicultural space. Among its many legacies was the great cultural and political metropolis of Palermo which came to be one of the largest and wealthiest cities in Europe. 


Sicily: a force to be reckoned with in the ancient world

Sicily: a force to be reckoned with in the ancient world

Friday 24 June 2016, 18.30
BP Lecture Theatre
£5, Members/concessions £3

The cities and rulers of ancient Sicily were well known for often building big at home, but how did they articulate their presence and importance abroad? This lecture by Dr Michael Scott, University of Warwick, looks at how the communities of ancient Sicily were represented and re-presented over the centuries in writing and in stone at the heart of ancient Greece. Presented in collaboration with the Hellenic Society. Includes BSL provision for deaf and hard-of-hearing audiences. 


Storms, war and shipwrecks: treasures from the Sicilian seas

Storms, war and shipwrecks: treasures from the Sicilian seas

Friday 8 July 2016, 13.30
BP Lecture Theatre
Free, booking required

A special talk on the exhibition Storms, War and Shipwrecks: Treasures from the Sicilian Seas at the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, by its curator, Alexandra Sofroniew, and Dirk Booms, British Museum. 


The English and their history

The English and their history

Monday 13 June 2016, 18.30
BP Lecture Theatre
£5, Members/concessions £3

With the EU referendum on 23 June, find out more about Britain’s long and fascinating relationship with Europe through a series of special events at the Museum.

In this talk, Professor Robert Tombs, University of Cambridge, explores the history of the English people, and how the stories they have told about themselves have shaped them, from the prehistoric 'dreamtime' through to the present day. With ties within the UK and European Union apparently loosening, the English are suddenly beginning a new period in their long history. In times of such change, Tombs examines how history can help us to think about the sort of people the English are, and how connected they may wish to be in Great Britain and the wider European continent.

This event is part of a series looking at the history of the UK and Europe. Others in the series are Britain begins: the first 11,000 years by Barry Cunliffe, University of Oxford, on Friday 10 June at 18.30, and Crossing borders: European migration throughout history, a panel discussion chaired by Jon Snow, Channel 4 News, on Monday 20 June at 19.00. 


The Ptolemaic practical guide to ruling a multicultural society

The Ptolemaic practical guide to ruling a multicultural society

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. 


Traders and 'men of bronze': the Greeks in Egypt

Traders and 'men of bronze': the Greeks in Egypt

Saturday 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.  


Yangon Echoes: inside Myanmar’s heritage homes

Yangon Echoes: inside Myanmar’s heritage homes

Thursday 9 June 2016, 13.30
BP Lecture Theatre
Free, booking required

In this talk, Virginia Henderson and Tim Webster, authors of Yangon Echoes: inside heritage homes, take you on a rich visual journey behind the façades of this cosmopolitan city’s heritage buildings. They offer an intimate view of life and culture in Yangon (Rangoon), former capital of Myanmar (Burma).