The American School of Classical Studies at Athens is marking 90 years of excavation in the Athenian agora. John McK Camp II, the director, has given an on-site webinar to explain the early fifth century BC Stoa Basileios on the north side of this public space adjacent to the Panathenaic Way. He runs through various features including ‘the oath stone’, the placing of herms, and the public display of the Athenian constitution. He then expands on the vision to make this part of the agora more accessible to the public. It is a privilege to hear such a distinguished excavator explain his work and thinking in situ.
On 3 June 1920 the first two women, Rose Graham (1875–1963) and Eugénie Strong (1860–1943), were elected as Fellows of the Society of Antiquaries of London. The Society of Antiquaries will be marking the centenary of this event with a series of papers on International Women’s Day on Monday 9 March 2020.
I have been invited to speak about Winifred Lamb who excavated in Greece and Turkey in the 1920s and 1930s, and later contributed to the establishment of the British Institute of Archaeology at Ankara.
Winifred Lamb (1894–1963) was a pioneering archaeologist conducting fieldwork in Greece and Turkey. She read classics at Newnham College, Cambridge, where Dorothy Garrod (1892–1968) was her contemporary, before joining Room 40 at the Admiralty in the later stages of the First World War. She was admitted as a student of the British School at Athens in the autumn of 1920 and excavated at Mycenae with Alan J.B. Wace and Carl Blegen. She subsequently worked on the British excavations at Sparta (1924) and in Macedonia (1925, 1929), before directing her own excavation at Thermi on Lesbos (1929–33). Her work on Lesbos was recognised by her election as a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries on 25 February 1932, and later by the award of a ScD from the University of Cambridge (1940). After work on Chios (1934), she directed the excavation of the Bronze Age site of Kusura in western Turkey (1935–37).
I had the pleasure of sitting in Benny Higgins’ inaugural lecture at the University of Edinburgh last week, as he explored ‘Hinterlands’ making connections between his passion for and deep knowledge of art, literature and poetry, and situations faced in business. He ranged widely in time and geography, and in drawing inspiration from his cultural knowledge has been able to consider many operational and strategic decisions in a broader context. His lecture was inspiring and a reminder that engagement with culture, heritage and context is a useful hinterland which can have far-reaching effects.
I will be exploring the relationship between Winifred Lamb’s work as an archaeologist in the Aegean, and her role as Honorary Keeper of Greek Antiquities at the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge. In the museum there are recognisable strands to her curatorial work: the display (and publication) of the Greek figure-decorated pottery, supplemented by the Ricketts and Shannon loan (and later Shannon bequest); the formation of a prehistoric gallery; the development of a collection of Greek, Etruscan and Roman bronzes; and finally material from Anatolia. The Greek pottery interest was influenced by her work with (Sir) John Beazley in Room 40 during the final stages of World War 1.
In a second paper I will consider the process of writing Lamb’s biography: the archive sources including her correspondence, diaries, and photographs; her acquisitions for and gifts to the Fitzwilliam; and her publications. I will then turn to the writing of a life from an essay in Breaking Ground to the memoir in ODNB. What should be included or excluded? Where do the emphases lie?
The International Tourism Studies Association (ITSA) Biennial Conference 2016 is taking place in Greenwich this week. One of the themes is ‘Heritage tourism in cities’, with an emphasis on UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
I will be presenting an analysis of visitor figures for UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Greece with a special emphasis on the period of austerity. One of my strands will be the city of Athens with the UNESCO World Heritage site of the Athenian Acropolis.
I have been working on the spread of board games alongside the consumption of wine. Board games appear in the iconography of Athenian sympotic pottery from at least the sixth century BC. Physical board games appear in burials in the Po Valley from the late 6th century BC onwards, often placed alongside Attic sympotic pottery.
The appearance of a board games, with glass counters, in the Welwyn Garden City Iron Age burial (and now displayed in the British Museum) may be an extension of this earlier phenomenon. The burial itself dates to the late 1st century BC. Scholars have mapped the spread of wine consumption across western Europe through the distribution of wine amphorae. But are board games part of this cultural impact?
My paper on ‘Heritage Tourism and Suffolk’ explored the potential of creating a narrative looking at the transformation of Late Roman Suffolk to the East Anglian kingdom. Suffolk has the internationally significant ship burial site of Sutton Hoo, the newly explored vicus regius at Rendlesham, the reconstructed Anglo-Saxon village at West Stow (‘England’s oldest village’), and the harbour settlement of Ipswich (‘England’s oldest English-speaking town’).
The slides for the presentation are available here.