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Displaying the Egyptian Dead: the Mortuary Archaeology of Egypt at the RMO

December 8, 2018


Before the early medieval cremation workshop, I arrived in Leiden and had 2 hours before closing time on Wednesday to rapidly explore the state museum of archaeology in Leiden: the RMO (Ruksmuseum van Oudheden). It is a fabulous space and an exhilarating experience for any visitor. I made the controversial (to many colleagues and me) to not make a beeline for the early medieval section, but to instead explore the rest of the museum.

I’m inspired to write a series of posts about the mortuary archaeology in the museum.  European museums contain not only a range of human remains, but artefacts derived from mortuary contexts. For me, I still struggle with the ethics of these displays, not as much the ‘should they be on display’ as ‘are we ethically displaying these remains by honestly and clearly explaining the funerary contexts from whence they derived?’  The RMO is very good…

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New Publication – Western Ways

December 7, 2018


HARN Member, Frederick Whitling, has informed us that his book ‘Western Ways. Foreign Schools in Rome and Athens’ has now been published with De Gruyter. Their synopsis reads:

In Western Ways, for the first time, the “foreign schools” in Rome and Athens, institutions dealing primarily with classical archaeology and art history, are discussed in historical terms as vehicles and figureheads of national scholarship. By emphasising the agency and role of individuals in relation to structures and tradition, the book shows how much may be gained by examining science and politics as two sides of the same coin. It sheds light on the scholarly organisation of foreign schools, and through them, on the organisation of classical archaeology and classical studies around the Mediterranean. With its breadth and depth of archival resources, Western Ways offers new perspectives on funding, national prestige and international collaboration in the world of scholarship, and places the foreign schools in a framework of nineteenth and twentieth century Italian and Greek history.

More information can be found here. Frederick has asked that anyone interested in reviewing this monograph contact him directly here, preferably with an indication of a likely journal or other publication where a potential review might be placed.

Book Review: Winifred Lamb: Aegean Prehistorian and Museum Curator,

November 15, 2018

Lamb_cover (1)

Winifred Lamb: Aegean Prehistorian and Museum Curator, by David W. J. Gill, published by Archaeopress, 2018. Paperback (₤30.00) and Ebook (₤16.00), 340pp.

Review by Caroline J. Tully.

Winifred Lamb (1894–1963) was an Aegean and Anatolian archaeologist, an academic, and keeper of Greek and Roman antiquities at the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge. In both her archaeological fieldwork and her museum curation Lamb was a pioneer. At a time when British women were not customarily engaged in archaeological fieldwork, Lamb excavated at Mycenae under Alan Wace, later becoming the deputy director. In subsequent years she would go on to excavations at Sparta and the mound of Vardaroftsa near Salonica, eventually directing her own excavations at Thermi on Lesbos, on Chios, and at Kusura in western Anatolia. Lamb was also involved in the development of the British Schools at Athens and Ankara.

As keeper of Greek and Roman antiquities at the Fitzwilliam Museum, Lamb filled a position usually given to men. She developed the classical holdings of the museum, and created a new Prehistoric Gallery in which were displayed finds from British work in the Aegean and on Cyprus. Lamb brought the Fitzwilliam’s collection to the attention of an international audience through her publications, particularly two volumes of the Corpus Vasorum Antiquorum. As a result of her wealthy background, she contributed financially to the department, donated many objects to the collection, and encouraged her relatives and contacts to become benefactors.

Gill’s biography situates Lamb in the midst of many famous names from early twentieth century British, American and European archaeology in Greece, and later Anatolia. Alan Wace has already been mentioned, Lamb was also very friendly with John Beazley, she worked with Arthur Woodward, Piet de Jong, Robert Carr Bosanquet, Richard M. Dawkins, consulted Arthur Evans, Percy Gardner, knew Joan Evans, Carl Blegen, Richard Seager, Leonard Woolley, Wilhelm Dörpfeld, John L. Myres, A. B. Cook, Jane Ellen Harrison, James G. Frazer, Vere Gordon Childe, and even Andromache Melas, daughter of Heinrich Schliemann. As well as working amongst what, these days, are considered famous classicists, prehistorians and archaeologists, Lamb also frequented celebrity sites such as Mycenae, where she was assigned the palace, previously excavated by Christos Tsountas in 1886 and re-examined by Gerhart Rodenwaldt in 1914. She was responsible for study and publication of the frescoes, particularly those from the Ramp House which had been excavated by Schliemann in 1876 – surely an archaeological opportunity to be admired and envied.

The book begins with Chapter 1 focusing on the Lamb Family, new moneyed colliers and textile mill owners from the north-east of England and Manchester, and Winifred’s early years. In Chapter 2 the story moves to Cambridge University and the study of Classics, Newnham College, and the beginnings of Lamb’s archaeological fieldwork. Chapter 3 focuses on naval intelligence, looking at Winifred’s work for the Admiralty during the First World War, her assumption of the role of honorary keeper at the Fitzwilliam Museum, important bequests such as the Ricketts and Shannon Collection, and Lamb’s first visit to Greece. In Chapter 4 we hear about her first year in Athens, travels in Greece, and life at the British School. Chapter 5 focuses on prehistory and the Fitzwilliam Museum, examines Lamb’s work at the museum under the directorship of Sydney Cockerell, and the purchase of the controversial Fitzwilliam Goddess, an expensive Minoan marble figurine for the Fitzwilliam Museum that turned out to be a forgery. Chapter 6 focuses on Lamb’s archaeological excavations in Greece and her travels to Turkey. In Chapter 7 we return again to the Fitzwilliam Museum and the development of the classical collections, particularly Greek and Roman bronzes, Greek pottery, classical gems and jewellery, and Etruscan and Italian antiquities. Winifred travels to the Eastern Aegean, Lesbos and Chios in Chapter 8, and in Chapter 9 we hear about her early visits to Anatolia, excavation at Kusara, and research on Anatolian archaeology. Chapter 10 focuses on the period of the Second World War, the fall of Greece and Crete, Lamb’s work in Turkey and at the BBC, and her injury in a German air raid over north London. Chapter 11 concerns the British Institute of Archaeology at Ankara, Lamb’s continuing work at the Fitzwilliam Museum, her role as a benefactor, and her final years and legacy.      

Despite Lamb being involved in exciting archaeological activities, knowing famous scholars, and performing the creative activity of curatorship of interesting and often rare ancient artefacts, Lamb herself does not come across as an interesting subject. Winifred Lamb was obviously intelligent, she did important things, she was a pioneer, but in this biography – which makes copious use of her papers, diaries, letters, photograph albums, reports, and friend May Herford’s diaries – she fails to actually be interesting. The overall impression is of a character in an Enid Blyton story. Although Winifred did many pioneering and adventurous activities, the biography comes across as a story of “the mild adventures of an archaeology student.” This may be because Lamb was wealthy and privileged and therefore did not encounter any adversity that she needed to heroically overcome; however, other archaeologists, such as Arthur Evans, were wealthy. It may be because there is no interesting personal intrigue in the biography. Winifred seems to interact with everyone in a sensible and chaste manner, she does not seem to have deep thoughts, and everything works out well for her, so there is no stimulation of extreme emotional responses in the reader. 

Gill’s biography of Winifred Lamb provides us with everything one would want to know about her and more, but the question is: do we want to know it? Is Winifred Lamb worth knowing about? The answer is, yes, she deserves to be known, but she pales in comparison to other Modernists and their relationship with Hellenism – again, this may be because Winifred comes across as having played it safe. In fact, the most interesting aspects of the book are not about Winifred herself, but about antiquities, the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge University, other archaeologists, and the British foreign schools. The book is therefore an important contribution to the histories of British archaeology in Greece and Anatolia, and of the Fitzwilliam Museum. It would certainly be a useful reference for researching the early history of British archaeology in Greece and Anatolia, but as a biography one would not read it for inspiration or pleasure. For someone as unremarkable as Winifred Lamb, it is an extremely long book. I cannot help comparing (possibly unfairly) Lamb’s story with that of Gertrude Bell – also wealthy and privileged – but whose life was characterised by utterly gob-smacking bravery and independence. One could also compare Lamb to Margaret A. Murray, whose legacy continues today in both archaeological and alternative religion circles. Winifred Lamb: Aegean Prehistorian and Museum Curator is an admirably and minutely researched work of biography but as a character, Winifred Lamb fails to intrigue this reviewer.



CfP – Redressing Diversity: Making hidden histories visible

November 8, 2018



The theme for the Dress and Textile Specialists Conference is

Redressing Diversity:

Making hidden histories visible

and will be kindly hosted by Norfolk Museums Service on Thursday 16 – Friday 17 May 2019.

DATS invites submissions for the two-day conference for papers which explores how dress and textiles can be used to make hidden histories more visible and accessible within museums.

Museums are increasingly looking to diversify their collections, audiences and outputs. What part can dress and textile collections play in trying to represent BME, Deaf, disabled, LGBTQIA+ and other hidden histories? How do curators, co-curators and community collaborators discover stories within existing collections or under-take new collecting?

Papers focusing on any historical period or geographical area are welcome. Museum professionals, conservators, students, academics with an interest in the subject are warmly invited to submit a proposal. We welcome both experienced and new speakers, including speakers without an institutional affiliation.

Please mention any access requirements for your presentation in your proposal.

Please note that to keep costs to a minimum for all delegates to DATS conferences we are unable to offer discounts to speakers on conference fees or expenses.


Individual papers should last 20 minutes (c. 2,400 words). Individuals should submit

(1) paper title,

(2) abstract (up to 300 words),

(3) biography (c. 100 – 150 words),

(4) postal address, email, contact telephone number and affiliation (if any), and

(5) audio-visual requirements.

To submit a proposal please send details to

 Deadline for submission is 31 January 2019.

For any other enquiries please contact:

Lectureship in Trafficking Culture, University of Glasgow, Scotland

November 6, 2018

HARN member, Donna Yates, has sent us the following job opportunity:

The University of Glasgow is seeking a Lecturer to contribute to teaching master’s-level topics in Antiquities Trafficking and Art Crime at the University of Glasgow, with a particular focus on online teaching. This position is part time (60%), is funded for the next five years, and will be based in the subject of sociology/criminology, specifically in the Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research.

Please see the full advertisement at:

Applicants should:

  • Have a PhD in a related discipline (criminology, sociology, archaeology, heritage studies, law, etc)
  • Have demonstrable expertise in some aspect of antiquities trafficking, art or heritage crime, heritage repatriation, or cultural property law, interpreted broadly
  • Have a strong interest in online teaching and distance learning, preferably with online teaching experience
  • Be comfortable in a digital environment, with using online tools and with helping students do the same
  • Be willing to be based in Glasgow. Scotland (visas can be supported for this role in many circumstances)

Ideally, the successful applicant would start in January, although some provision can be made for a particularly strong candidate. The Univeristy of Glasgow has a vibrant student and research community focused on this topic. We hope that this will form the basis for future research collaboration.

Please email Donna Yates ( for more information about this position.

INVITATION to a Preliminary Report

November 6, 2018

HARN founder, Pamela Jane Smith, has issued the following invitation:

INVITATION to a Preliminary Report by Pamela Jane Smith on
oral-histories of women-in-Cambridge, 21st November, Wednesday, 1 till
2pm Wolfson College, Combination Room.

“Small, Dark and Alive” to “Crippling Shy” a review of Dorothy
Garrod’s experience as the first female Professor at Cambridge in the
light of recent experiences of women in Cambridge.
Pamela’s original Garrod essay is here

Pamela’s early research was based on in-depth interviews with Garrod’s 
family, her students and colleagues, and, in order to re-evaluate 
Garrod’s experiences, Pamela is now collecting comparative oral 
histories of women in Cambridge to answer the query, ‘how does your life 
history compare with Dorothy Garrod’s’? ‘What has changed’?

If you wish to join this study and be recorded, please contact Pamela here.

CfP: Social resilience to climate changes, at Kiel, Germany, Mar.11, 2019

November 5, 2018
Session 11 (title):
Social resilience to climate changes with perspectives on the past 5000 years
Session conveners:
Liang Emlyn Yang, Mara Weinelt, Joana Seguin, Ingmar Unkel, Jutta Kneisel, Artur Ribeiro

During the past few decades, many studies have highlighted periods when significant climatic changes coincided with social upheavals. However, fewer studies have discussed periods of social stability or prosperity when faced with climate risks. The concept of social resilience has gradually become an important topic in scientific communities (e.g. Climatology, Geography, Socio-ecology, Geo-archaeology, Sustainability). It refers to the capability of a human social system to cope with stresses, maintain its function and evolve into a more sustainable society with respect to climate stresses. In fact, increasing studies are suggesting that societies continued to settle and develop in hazard-prone areas and periods.

The overall aim of this session is to understand different cases, manifestations, and changes of social resilience to climate impacts from pre-historic, historical and contemporary perspectives, from local to global perspectives, and from theoretical, empirical as well as quantitative modelling perspectives. Specifically, the session will discuss the following questions (but not limited to):
·     What are typical cases of social resilience to climate changes in past societies?
·     What are the key factors and features for a social system to be resilient in face of climate variation?
·     How was resilience performed in key societal sectors, e.g. agriculture, nomadism, livelihood, urbanization or population development?
·     How can social resilience to climate changes be quantified, evaluated, modeled or simulated?
·     What kind of changes and evolution of social resilience to climate changes could be observed?
·     What are the scope, thresholds, and tipping points of social resilience to climate changes?
·     What can we learn from the experience and lessons of the past resilient and/or “un-resilient” cases? Are these learnings up-scalable to explanatory theories?
·     What could be the pathways, measures, strategies and priorities for building social resilience in present societies?

We aim to reach a big session of around 20 presentations and propose to publish a Special Issue of 12-15 full papers in a scientific journal that captures the variety of subjects and approaches discussed in this session. Upon specific requests, we may consider partly covering the participating costs of those who submit qualified full papers.

The abstract submission deadline is November 15, 2018. Please go to the conference website to register and submit, and also inform the conveners about your intention of full paper submission. First version of full papers is due a week before the conference, i.e. by March 04, 2019. A target journal and other issues are to be discussed with all participants during the workshop.

Best wishes,

Liang Emlyn Yang