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Tea With the Sphinx – continued

September 26, 2016

Rather than taunt you with more pictures of cake, secret cat diaries and nail designs (I can’t believe I forgot to photo Nichola’s shoes) I will now taunt you with actual conference content. You missed a treat, you really did. Right now Kate is hating me because she had been going to speak but had to withdraw, a good friend would pretend that the conference had been ‘meh’, I am clearly not a good friend!

So, having established I am a bad person undeserving of attending excellent conferences, let me explain why it was so good. Obviously a large part of its success was due to the combination of the papers involved, the personalities involved and the inter-disciplinaryness (that so is a word) of the conference, but I’d say the attention to detail – the locations, conference packs and cake all added to the charm. Charm’s not something we think of as necessary for academic conferences but I (now) think this is an error. My sister (she of the Secrets Cat Diary) is involved in business conference management and when she tells me about her work I’ve often thought it would be lovely to attend one of her conferences, even if the subject matter would make me want to go and lie in the traffic. Ellie and Nichola managed to deliver a conference that got all the details right and had wonderful papers. Even when things went wrong and I’d have racted by having a toddler tantrum under the nose of the Lapworth dinosaur or running around screaming and looking for someone to – loudly – blame, they got it sorted with good humour in a, seemingly, laid-back style.  They managed to produce a conference that had been well-planned and well-organised but it felt relaxed, good natured, comfortable. So,  well done you two, may we all aspire to produce such fab creations.

Content wise – do you know, I don’t think I’ve been to an inter-disciplinary conference before? I know, I’ve led a very sheltered life. But, as an inter-disciplinary newbie,  I have to say it’s an excellent way to go about things. I think I’d go to more conferences if they were all interdisciplinary. Obviously it helps if the subject is about encounters with Egypt*, who isn’t interested in Egypt, Egyptology and Egyptomania? I’m not sure it would work so well for British prehistory say, but I’d be willing to give it a try. Anyway, onwards and upwards. Chris Naunton of the EES gave the key note speech about the historical and current tension between popular and scientific Egyptology arguing that from its very inception what draws in the public is not always seen as important by the practitioners. It was, as you’d expect, a very well-argued, interesting and convincing lecture with references to Petrie, Pendlebury, Emery as well as the work of the EES in the 70s, 80s and 90s. I hadn’t realised to what extent Pendlebury had been keen to engage the public in their Egyptology work, I knew he was a showman but not that he’d filmed the Amarna excavations, both on and off site, attempting to show the public that archaeologists had fun on excavations as well as working hard. Nor had I realised the extent to which Pendlebury has been sidelined in EES internal history. Chris talked, regretfully, about the EES decision to give up excavating tombs in the 90s in order to retain their British Academy grant and how this deepened the division between popular and scientific interests. At the same time, he argued, popular interests have narrowed to Tutankhamun, Cleopatra, pyramids and tombs. It’s his belief that the popular and the scientific need to be brought back together and one way this has been done recently is by Nick Reeves. Reeves’ suggestion that Nefertiti is buried in a secret room off Tutankhamun’s combined academic writing with social networking and media to ensure his work reached the widest possible audience, an audience who were supplied with all the references needed to weigh up Reeves’ argument. Just as Amelia Edwards and the early EES scholars used all possible channels to get their work into the public space, so current Egyptologists, Naunton suggests, should be making use of television, the internet, all the resources available to engage the public, popularise their findings, break down the barrier between those within and those outside the profession.

On that uplifting note I’m going to pause for today. I’ll be posting more about the conference during this week, but I’m massively busy and have deadlines shrieking at me so it’ll be intermittent rather than coherent blogging – well, that’s this week’s excuse for my lack of cohesion anyway!

Any comments, agreeing or disagreeing with Chris, or the need for charm and comfort in conferences, or even if inter-disciplinaryness is or isn’t the way forward, whatever, do stick a comment in the comment box.


*The official term seems to be Reception Studies, or at least people kept referring to ‘reception’, even in a fan-girl attempt to fit in I can’t use it. To me it means the first year at school, my daughter is in Reception, studying that would involve infants, noise, body fluids, chaos and frustration, I wish to avoid these things in my working life!

Tea With the Sphinx, day 1

September 23, 2016

If you’ve seen HARN’s twitter feed you’ll know I’ve been having an excellent day at this conference, and not just me, there’s been a veritable storm of tweets as we’ve enjoyed all manner of wonderful papers and presentations.

I very nearly didn’t make it in time for Chris Naunton’s keynote speech. I managed to combine my usual anti-talent for map reading with oversleeping. It didn’t help that somewhere in my brain I was sure I knew my way around the campus, I have never been here before there is no reason why I should be able to find my way around. I can only think I was assuming that since my parents were students here back in the 50s I’d have some sort of folk memory of the place, but no. That aside, can I just say the University of Birmingham is beautiful? I had no idea (y’know, what with never having been here before!) but it’s truly lovely, very leafy and in the sunlight the red bricks look particularly fine


The Clocktower, aka Old Joe – beautiful but that clock chimes all night.


From another angle with the sun on brick

The conference venue – the Lapworth Museum of Geology – was also beautiful, it’s been recently refurbished and looks very swish


I have pages and pages of notes from the day and I will blog them, but I’m too tired right now, so instead I’ll leave you with these images


Every conference needs themed cakes made by Nichola Tonks 


She does nail art too.



Teeny weeny Eye of Horus

There was a moment of utter nostalgia and the burning memory of desperately coveting my sister’s secret cat diary


It has been a brilliant day and I am very much looking forward to tomorrow. Look out for tweets



Seminar Series – Lisbon Underground

September 22, 2016

HARN member, Ana Cristina Martins, has sent us the following notice:


New Publications

September 20, 2016

Not content with setting up The International Interdisciplinary Institute, Frederick Whitling has also sent us notice of his recent publications:

Erland Billig, Ragnhild Billig, and Frederick Whitling, Dies Academicus. Svenska Institutet i Rom 1925–1950 (Stockholm: CKM Förlag, 2015).

Frederick Whitling, ed.,Svensk antikforskning vid Medelhavet. Gustaf VI Adolf och fältarkeologi i historiskt perspektiv (Stockholm: Kungl. Vitterhetsakademien, 2014)

Thank you Frederick, if any other HARN members have publications they’d like us to list do send us details, and if you’d like us to review your publications we’re happy to do that too.


The International Interdisciplinary Institute

September 20, 2016

HARN member Frederick Whitling has been in touch to tell us about The Triple-I an exciting new enterprise he is co-directing and managing in Rome. More information can be found here, Frederick says: ‘The idea of The Triple-I is to support well-qualified early-career researchers and interdisciplinary research in humanities and the social sciences. The institute is about forging collaborations and new projects via interactions among researchers from different disciplines, projects likely to be carried out elsewhere.’

He also says ‘Applications are encouraged for the Rome residency! The accommodation is self-financed (and affordable).’

It sounds like a great idea so do go and take a look at the website.


September 19, 2016


Brian Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia

My research originally focused on Late Antiquity and Frankish Gaul with an emphasis on texts. More recently however I have been working on an excavation history of Herculaneum.  In 2012 I published Herculaneum A Sourcebook being translations of inscriptions and graffiti etc  as well as a selection of documents illustrating excavation practices on site. Currently I am researching the political context of Amedeo Maiuri and scholarly and popular presentations of the archaeological site in journalism /newsreels during the Fascist era.   At the present time I am a research associate in Ancient History at Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia.

Welcome Brian and many thanks for joining our community.

HARN/Swedish Institute in Rome Conference Timetable

September 16, 2016

20th  October


8.45 am. Welcome by Kristian Göransson, Director of the Swedish Institute


9.15 – 10.55 – Session 1

Histories of Etruscology: The Etruscan Race

Maurizio Harari (Università di Pavia) – Ethnicity and Politics: an Etruscan backstory of the 16th century.

Marie-Laurence Haack (Université de Picardie) – From Race to Soul: Etruscan people in Italian anthropology in the second half of the 19th and at the beginning of the 20th centuries.

Robinson Peter Krämer (Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn) – Race and Society. Archaeological interpretations of Etruscan and Roman societies during the National Socialism and Fascism.

Raffaella Da Vela (Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn) – Race and Peoples. Migrations in Etruria: from clash of races to meeting between cultures.


 10.55 – 11.15 – Coffee Break


 11.15 – 12.30 – Session 2

Massimo Tarantini (Soprintendenza Archeologia Belle Arti e Paesaggio – Siena) and Alessandro Guidi (Università di Roma Tre) – The Emergence of Stratigraphical Archaeology in Mediterranean Europe: The Italian case-study (1900-1950).

Meira Gold (University of Cambridge) – “Between plundering and scientific work”: Documenting and visualizing Tell el-Yahudiyeh, c. 1905.

Turgut Saner & Gizem Mater (Istanbul Technical University) – Two Approaches to Archaeological Depiction Represented on Larisaean Architectural Terracotta Plates.


 12.30 – 14.30 – Lunch


 14.30 – 15.45 Session – 3

Frederika Tevebring (Northwestern University) – The Real and the Ideal: Reconsidering excavation and display in Germany around 1900.

Andrea Guaglianone (Università di Venezia “Ca’ Foscari”) – The Porticus Minuciae Problem in the Light of the Excavation Journals of Giuseppe Marchetti Longhi and Guglielmo Gatti: A new reading.

Susan Dixon (La Salle University) – Rodolfo Lanciani’s Selling of Ancient Rome to the United States, 1887-1927.


15.45 – 16.00 – Coffee


16.00 – 16.50 – Session 4

Elena Cagiano de Azevedo (Istituto Nazionale di Archeologia e Storia dell’Arte, Rome) – Evan Gorga: An outsider among modern collectors?

Kathleen Sheppard (Missouri University of Science and Technology) – Baedeker’s Archaeology: A historical tourist in Alexandria.


16.50 – 18.30 – Session 5

Women archaeologists and women in archaeology: between visibility and invisibility

Ana Cristina Martins (New University of Lisbon) – The (in)visible world of Classical archaeology in Portugal.

Raffaella Bucolo (Università di Roma “Sapienza”) – Margarete Gütschow’s Photographic Collection.

Apen Ruiz (Universitat de Barcelona) – Female Archaeologists Entering the Field: reflections about women archaeologists working in the Greco-Roman world.


 21st October


9.00 – 10.40 Session – 6

Testimonies and protagonists in the urban transformation of the Campus Martius during the inter-war period

Elisabetta Carnabuci (Sovrintendenza Capitolina, Rome) – The Interventions of the Fascist Governatorato in the Mausoleum of Augustus.

Monica Ceci (Sovrintendenza Capitolina, Rome) – Giuseppe Marchetti Longhi: An unconventional voice.

Alessandra Gobbi (Sovrintendenza Capitolina, Rome) – Agreements, Delays and Solutions. The correspondence concerning Domitian’s Stadium during the Fascist Governatorato.

Stefania Pergola (Sovrintendenza Capitolina, Rome) – The Continuous Archaeological Discoveries in the Area of the Theatre of Marcellus: Interventions in balance between emergency and safeguarding.


10.40 – 10.55 – Coffee


 10.55 – 12.35 – Session 7

Marion Bolder-Boos (Teknische Universität Darmstadt) – The Greeks Brought Culture, the Phoenicians Brought … Stuff? – Phoenician archaeology in late 19th and early 20th century German scholarship.

Francisco Gracia-Alonso (Universitat de Barcelona) and Gloria Munilla (Universitat Oberta de Catalunya) – The Protection of Archaeological Sites with Ideological Value During the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939). The case of Ampurias.

Athena Hadji (Bilkent University, Ankara) – “studiosi delle antichissime civiltà dell’ Egeo”: A brief history of Italian archaeology in the Dodecanese (1912-1945). Preliminary results of archival research.

Luigi Cicala (Università di Napoli “Federico II”) – Archaeology in the Fascist Period at Elea-Velia: men, ideas, methodologies. (TBC)


12.35 – 14.30 Lunch


14.30 – 16.10 – Session 8

James Snead (University of California at Northridge) – “Treasures of Primitive Empires Revealed”: Classical models for American archaeology, 1900-1920.

Frederick Whitling (European University Institute) – The Prince and Asine. Crown Prince Gustaf Adolf of Sweden and the organisation of excavations at Asine, 1920–1922.

Kristian Göransson (Swedish Institute of Classical Studies in Rome) – The Swedish Cyprus Expedition 1927–1931.

Mustafa Kemal Baran (Koç University, Istanbul)An Anatolian Story: The establishment of Classical Archaeology in Turkey.


16.10 – 16.30 Coffee


16.30 – 17.50 – Session 9

Vladimir Mihajlovic (Institute for Balkan Studies, Belgrade) – Dual Periphery: Roman heritage in Bosnia and Herzegovina during the Austro-Hungarian rule.

Csaba Szabó (Max Weber-Kolleg, Erfurt) – Beyond Boundaries: The archaeology of Roman Dacia in the period of 1900-1945.

Margarita Diaz-Andreu & Francisco Sánchez Salas (Universitat de Barcelona) – Roman Archaeology in Spain 1900-1936/39.


17.50 – 18.00 – Concluding remarks.