Walking Historic and Ancient sites: the Areas around Three Cliffs Bay and Cefn Bryn – Thomas Alexander Husøy

In our final post this side of 2019, Thomas Husøy writes about some of the ancient sites that he has encountered on his walking adventures. We hope this inspires and encourages you to explore some of these amazing local places of interest…weather permitting!

 

The Gower peninsula is full of historical sites, and in this blog post, I will be discussing some of these sites, namely: Arthur’s Stone (Maen Ceti), the neolithic sites at Parc Le Bereos and some historical sites around Three Cliffs Bay.

Arthur’s Stone or Mean Ceti.

Arthur’s Stone, or in Welsh Maen Ceti, is a large Neolithic burial site on the North-Western edge of the Cefn Bryn Ridge. Cefn Bryn is a ridge on Gower, with the second-highest point of the Gower (186 m) and offers spectacular views over the Gower coast and towards Carmarthenshire, the Brecon Beacons, Glamorgan and Devon.

The main burial mound at Arthur’s Stone is a prominent landmark and has been a visitor attraction for the past half a millennia. The site consists of a large boulder, sitting on top of several smaller rock-pillars holding the large boulder up. The current boulder on top of the burial chambers used to be larger, however, parts of the rock have broken off, this part of the boulder is now laying around the site.

 

Arthur’s Stone.

Owing to its prominent position in the landscape, several legends and folktales surround Arthur’s Stone:

  1. When King Arthur travelled through Carmarthenshire, he discovered a small stone in his shoes and threw it away. The stone flew across the estuary and landed on Cefn Bryn, owing to the powerful touch of the king the stone grew in size as it flew across the estuary, and became the boulder we see today held up by smaller stones.
  2. Another piece of local folklore suggests that the rock travels down to the sea, in some cases this is a stream, for a drink. According to some, this is a daily event, albeit another variety suggest that this event takes place at New Year’s Eve.
  3. Folklore suggests that young ladies could use Arthur’s Stone to determine whether or not their partners would be loyal and worthy of keeping. This by taking advantage of the magic properties of Arthur’s Stone by doing a ritual; bring cakes made out of barley meal and honey, dipped in milk and place them on the stone. After placing the cakes on the rock the young lady must crawl around the stone three times if after the third time was completed the partner of the young man would appear if he did not he was not faithful and worth keeping around.

 

Parc Le Bereos.

On the South-Eastern side of Cefn Bryn, Camp Le Bereos is located, with a scout campsite on the grounds. Close to this there is a large partial restored Neolithic tomb, named Parc Cwm Long Cairn and is only a short walk from Parkmill and is dated to roughly 5850 BCE. It is considered to be of the Severn-Costwold type of burial chambers, the type takes its name from many of these structures being found in the areas around the Severn and Costwold, however, burials of the same type have been found in the Brecons and on the Gower. This type of burial chambers is recognized from their wedge shape. The structure of the cairn is rather large, and therefore it has been nicknamed Giant’s Grave.

 

Parc Le Cwm Carin.

The tomb was first discovered in 1859, and first excavated following this, sine this the burial site has been excavated several times. In the tomb, there was discovered remains of forty people in the tomb. These remains seem to be from both males and females, children and adult. The remains of the side suggested that the burial site was in use for somewhere between 300-800 years. Inside the structure, there is a passageway, often called a gallery, with burial chambers on each side.

Close to the Parc Cwm Long Cairn, you find the Catholm Cave, located approximately fifteen meters above the valley bottom where the Cairn is found.

 

Cathole Cave

 

This a large limestone cave, with two main entrances. In 2010 Rock Art dated to the Upper Paleolithic period was discovered in this cave, dated to be the oldest in the British Isles and potentially in North-Western Europe, next to the Rock Art there has been found Late Glacial Tools and animal bones from the Upper Paleolithic period. From the Bronze Age, there were found two human skeletons, an axe and pottery. Unfortunately, owing to vandalism the cave is now partly barred off.

 

Three Cliffs Bay.

 

Pennard Castle.

 

Two sites around Three Cliffs Bay will be briefly discussed here, the first one will be Pennard Castle. This castle is found on the eastern edge of Pennard Castle, on the Pennard Golf course. The overlooks the bay and has dramatic sheer drops towards the Northern and Western side of the Castle. The castle was originally built as a timber ringwork as a part of the Norman invasion of Wales and was used to secure the Lordship of Gower. The current castle ruins we can see today dates from the 13th century when it was rebuilt in stone by using limestone and sandstone. Pennard Castle is a small, but beautiful castle well worth a visit.

Finally, I will finish by mentioning Penmaen Burrows, located to the west of Three Cliffs Bay where another Neolithic burial site is located. Just like Arthur’s Stone, the Panmaen Burrows burial chamber is mostly buried and much harder to find as it buried again after excavations in the 19th century on account of blowing sand. The structure is built of a combination of conglomerate, sandstone and limestone.

 

 

Penmaen Burrows.

 

All of these sites are relatively easy to get through, albeit Penmaen Burrows is slightly tricky to find, and all of these are located on good public footpaths on the Gower and can be included in a hike or similar.

All photographs by Thomas Alexander Husøy.

 

Archaeology and Climate Change throughout Wales

This week, Amber Andrews reflects upon the impact of climate change on Welsh archaeological discoveries. More than this, she shares with us her experiences working with local heritage sites and how these can offer essential resources for academic study and future opportunities.  Amber completed her undergraduate studies here at Swansea in 2019. and is currently studying for her MA in Ancient History and Classical Culture.

Placements and Their Importance: Archaeology and Climate Change throughout Wales.

By Amber Andrews

Amber at Castell Bach, September 2019.

 

After much consideration of archaeological developments across Wales, it was a no-brainer for me to pursue research on Roman Wales in the final year of my undergraduate degree.  The idea for my dissertation, Roman Wales: The Impacts of Climate Change on Aerial Photography and Influence on New Archaeological Discoveries, came about due to the extreme weather Wales experienced during the summer of 2018. As climate change dried out the ground, hundreds of new archaeological sites ranging from prehistoric hill forts to medieval churches and buildings were exposed and then studied through the medium of aerial photography. These new discoveries shed exciting new light on our understanding of all eras throughout Wales’ history, as well as highlighting significant implications for its future. Writing a dissertation in this field, however, requires a vast amount of knowledge of the archaeological scene pre- 2018. This would have caused severe issues for the progress of the dissertation if I had not taken part in a voluntary placement during the summer of 2018.

Voluntary placements offered me a chance to attend archaeological sites and at one exciting site in Carmarthen I got to hold a newly unearthed 1st century Roman bowl (below); it was exquisitely intact. On the bottom of the bowl a flower had been carved into the clay before firing. Parallels of this mark had also been found across Europe indicating that Roman Wales had been more in tune with wider trading networks than has previously been assumed.

Bowl excavated in Roman Wales – 1st century AD

Archaeological site visits also allowed me to meet and discuss ideas about Roman Wales with a number of academics and volunteers who also came to have a look at the new discoveries. During one of these trips I met Dr Toby Driver – an archaeologist and aerial investigator. We discussed aerial photography at length as he had been busy over the earlier parts of the summer, taking flight paths over the lesser explored areas of Wales, searching for newly exposed archaeological sites made visible by the extreme, dry weather. Dr Driver’s expertise was invaluable as I researched my dissertation and he granted me access to reports and images that were not accessible to the public. I was also able to run ideas past him regarding archaeological practices and interpretations of the evidence.

When I submitted my dissertation I began to think about future career opportunities. I contacted Toby to see if I could join him on his work and this led to me gaining more experience on another voluntary placement during the summer of 2019 with the Royal Commission for the Ancient and Historic Monuments of Wales. Simultaneously fortunate, yet also not, the weather during the summer of 2019 did not go to the same extreme as in 2018, but there were other opportunities for developing our understanding of the archaeology throughout Wales such as working with The CHERISH Project. This five-year project, run by the Royal Commission for Ancient and Historic Monuments of Wales and the Centre for Archaeology and Innovation in Ireland, aims to close gaps in our archaeological knowledge along the coasts of Wales and Ireland as many potential sites are at risk of being affected by climate change. During my work for them I successfully developed a range of skills such as the ability to use computer software to process LiDAR information taken by flight paths beaming lasers onto the ground. I focussed on six coastal islands around Wales by creating both Digital Surface Models and Digital Terrain Models, as well as creating 3D images of the islands, that highlighted the archaeology present in a clear and aesthetic way. These images are in the process of being placed into the Royal Commission’s archives, as well as being posted on the Coflein website for the wider public to use, to bring attention to the wonderful archaeology present around the Welsh coastline that could be at risk from climate change.

Placements such as these cannot be underestimated. Their benefits are palpable and give you experience in a working environment that can be extremely rewarding whilst gaining new skills. More than this they are opportunities to gain work experience with a range of experts, expand your contacts for future opportunities, and broaden your outlook on academic and real world circumstances.

Beyond Mainland Greece: Herodotus 3.118-119 and drama at the Persian court!

This week’s post features more student work from the module Beyond Mainland Greece (the second in our mini series!). Below, Ben Squire critically assesses an episode concerning the Persian court recounted by Herodotus. To introduce the piece Stephen Harrison (module co-ordinator) writes: Herodotus is one of the most important sources for studying the Persian Empire. Born in Halicarnassus, which at the time was part of the Persian Empire, Herodotus documented the military conflict between the Persians and Greeks at the start of the Fifth Century BC and invented a whole new genre of writing to do it – history. This assignment asked students to think critically about Herodotus’ account of drama at the Persian court…

Translation:

Herodotus (trans. A. D. Godley), The Histories. Loeb Classical Library. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1920.

[118] Of the seven men who revolted against the Magus, one, Intaphrenes, got his death through his own violence immediately after the rebellion. He wanted to enter the palace and speak with the king; and in fact the law was, that the rebels against the Magus could come into the king’s presence unannounced, if the king were not having intercourse with one of his wives. [2] Intaphrenes, as one of the seven, claimed his right to enter unannounced; but the gatekeeper and the messenger forbade him, telling him that the king was having intercourse with one of his wives. Intaphrenes thought that they were lying; drawing his scimitar he cut off their noses and ears, then strung these on his horse’s bridle and hung it around the men’s necks, and so let them go.

[119] They showed themselves to the king and told him why they had been treated so. Darius, fearing that the six had done this by common consent, sent for each and asked his opinion, whether they approved what had been done; [2] and being assured that they had no part in it, he seized Intaphrenes with his sons and all his household—for he strongly suspected that the man was plotting a rebellion with his kinsmen—and imprisoned them with the intention of putting them to death. [3] Then Intaphrenes’ wife began coming to the palace gates, weeping and lamenting; and by continuing to do this same thing she persuaded Darius to pity her; and he sent a messenger to tell her, “Woman, King Darius will allow one of your imprisoned relatives to survive, whomever you prefer of them all.” [4] After considering she answered, “If indeed the king gives me the life of one, I chose from them all my brother.” [5] Darius was astonished when he heard her answer, and sent someone who asked her: “Woman, the king asks you with what in mind you abandon your husband and your children and choose to save the life of your brother, who is less close to you than your children and less dear than your husband?” [6] “O King,” she answered, “I may have another husband, if a god is willing, and other children, if I lose these; but since my father and mother are no longer living, there is no way that I can have another brother; I said what I did with that in mind.” [7] Darius thought that the woman answered well, and for her sake he released the one for whom she had asked, and the eldest of her sons as well; he put to death all the rest. Thus immediately perished one of the seven.

Critical Assessment of Herodotus, 3.118-119 – Ben Squire:

Herodotus’ discussion of the death of Intaphrenes,1 while likely exaggerated and perhaps primarily fictional, is revealing of a very significant aspect of Persian royal ideology – access to the king, and ergo Persian social stratification. I intend to discuss this passage alongside two other sources that relate to access to the king, namely the book of Esther and Darius’ tomb at Naqs-e-Rustam.

Herodotus states that nobody was permitted an audience with the king unless he was announced, but Darius made exceptions for his co-conspirators who had almost unrestricted access. While we should be sceptical of such a claim due to the uncertain nature of Herodotus’ sources, we can see that the basic idea of restricted access to the king was reflected both in Persian sources and in the writings of other nations that were Persian subjects. In the book of Esther, there are two passages that relate to access to the king. The first of these is when Mordecai attempts to see the king, and the second is when Esther tells Mordecai of the consequences of seeing the king unsummoned.2 These verses show us that the poorest members of society were completely restricted from seeing the king, and that any attempt to see the king without permission would result in severe punishment. When compared with the Herodotus extract, we can see in both sources that access to the king is restricted to the upper echelons of society, especially to those whom the king especially favours, which is later seen in Esther when Xerxes grants Esther permission to approach him.3 Both sources also reveal that punishment could be expected if this custom was abused.4 The similarities in the discussion of the custom from a Greek source and a Hebrew source show that the idea of restricted access to the king had permeated throughout the empire in different ways, but the central components of stratification and restriction were universal, which is likely what the Persian kings intended. Even if we cannot be sure of the details of Herodotus, or indeed Esther, we can accept that the central idea of the extract is accurate due to its similarity with other sources.

This idea is also reflected in Persian archaeological sources, one of which is the relief on Darius I’s tomb. While Darius is supported by the peoples of his empire, I believe that a central aspect of the relief is that Darius cannot be seen nor accessed by these people. Darius is both invisible and untouchable to his subjects, showing us that the stories passed down through Herodotus and Esther were products of Persian royal ideology. Ultimately, access to the king is shown by all three sources as a privilege that many cannot attain, likely intended to place the king in a position of reverence. By examining Herodotus alongside these other sources, we can see how although our Greek sources may contain a degree of bias, they are revealing of Persian customs and ideology, especially when compared with other sources, both subaltern and Persian.

 1     Hdt. 3.118.

2     Est. 4:2 & 4:11.

3     Est. 5:2.

4     Hdt. 3.119.2.

 

Bibliography

Ancient Sources

Book of Esther, New International Version.

Herodotus, trans. Holland, T. (2014) The Histories, Penguin Books, London.

 

Gaining work experience in the heritage sector – by Pierre Vagneur-Jones

This week’s post is a reflective account by Pierre Vagneur-Jones. Having worked in a range of public facing jobs during his early UG studies, Pierre was keen to gain work experience directly in or related to the heritage sector. He took the initiative to approach  ATS Heritage and was employed with them for two summers working on a range of exciting projects. Most notable of these include developing audio guides for The Ashmolean Museum’s current exhibition: Last Supper in Pompeii!  Pierre shares with us how the research, interpersonal, and employability skills that he gained during his undergraduate studies enabled him to apply for work and how he developed them in his posts. He also discusses the impact of digital applications, such as virtual reality, on how visitors engage with history at a range of heritage sites and museums. Pierre graduated with a degree in Ancient and Medieval History (Swansea) last year and is currently studying for his MA in Medieval Studies. He writes:

Pierre Vagneur-Jones

During a family visit Hever Castle we were given iPods with a multimedia tour on it. I thought it was pretty cool as whenever I had used an audio-guide in the past it had looked like a massive black brick. The guide had video interviews, quizzes and further reading about each room. Following the tour, I looked at the back of the iPod case the guide was in and jotted down the details of the company who had made it. The next day, I emailed the company and wrote something along the lines of, “Hey, I think your product is cool … also, if you have an internship open this summer then I would like to apply”. Obviously, my letter was professional in tone and I attached my CV to demonstrate my suitability for the post should it be open. That afternoon the boss of the company (this isn’t a brag, the company is just pretty small) responded to me and invited me in for an interview at my earliest convenience. The next week I started work!

For that summer, I was assigned to work with the Senior Producer who initially tasked me with proof-reading scripts for multimedia guides and sourcing photos of the sites in question. A challenging element of the job was having to assemble 5000 multimedia guides by putting them in their cases and sealing them with screws and hot glue for Buckingham Palace in two days (I swear I couldn’t feel my fingers after the first day!). Proof-reading scripts about ancient and medieval sites were my favourite tasks and I managed to fix quite a few historical inaccuracies in some pertaining to the medieval kings of France. It certainly beat my earlier experiences of working at the Butcher’s or the local pub. More importantly, it gave me invaluable experience working with a heritage company and demonstrated that I could apply skills that I had developed during my studies (such as conducting research, sourcing appropriate materials, proof reading and fact checking, and working unsupervised on a project) to this context.

After the final year of my undergraduate study, that is to say last summer, I contacted the company again and asked if I could be assigned jobs with more scope for developing these skills and with more responsibility. My initiative paid off. Over that summer, I was sent to sites such as Buckingham Palace and Bletchley Park. I was involved in discussion with clients about what they wanted tour of their site to be like and how to best present the artefacts on show in the context of a multimedia guide. I also helped produce the multimedia guide for the Last Supper in Pompeii exhibition which is currently on-going at the Ashmolean. As an Assistant Producer, I was expected to edit the scripts in both English and French, as well as quality-check the guides themselves throughout the process. It was fantastic working for an exhibition displaying items that I had seen with my own eyes in the museums around Pompeii and Naples the year before on the department’s Ancient and Historic Places module and study trip. For example, the near-intact loaf of bread (that I also used as the subject of an essay in the Roman Economy module) and the numerous famous frescos of Vesuvius. As the exhibition came out right at the beginning of the summer, I was also tasked with keeping up with on-going edits to the tour. If the museum or any visitor found a factual error in the guide it was important that these were amended right away.

Whilst not necessarily exactly what I want to be doing following my Master’s degree, working directly with an exhibition related to the ancient world gave me an in-depth understanding of how museums run as a whole, how they put exhibitions together, and how they communicate ideas with a range of audiences. Moreover, it was also simply a fun experience and I really enjoyed seeing a project come together and be released!

Working as a “Hands on History Guide” at a castle during my first year of undergraduate study made me appreciate how important the medium through which we learn things is – most children were engaging with the history around them because of the way they were learning it, not necessarily because of the subject matter itself. The most interesting part of working for the multimedia guide company was seeing how technology could be used when interacting with history. Other projects I worked on were focussed on streaming the tour directly onto phones, so that visitors could walk around at their own pace without having to worry about handing a big clunky device. Additionally, advancements in virtual reality and augmented reality mean that we can have guides which display a 3D representation of what the environment would have looked like hundreds, if not thousands of years ago. Something which was of great use to the museum curators I worked with was the statistics we could extract from the multimedia guides regarding visitor interaction. It was possible to asses which rooms in a given castle people spent the most time in and which areas people skimmed past. At a more simple level, works of art in famous galleries have been digitised in order to be accessible to a far wider audience. The Louvre’s “Léonard de Vinci” exhibition has taken full advantage of these technologies, using virtual reality and interactive multimedia guides throughout. These are important factors to consider for the future of the heritage sector because they are not only changing the accessibility of historic sites, they are changing the way we approach and interact with history.

In Wales alone there are numerous opportunities to get involved in this. Every year in Aberystwyth, the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales holds the “Digital Past” conference, which focusses on exactly this – how technology and heritage works together. Their website lists these applications of digital technologies (e.g. Digital surveys – Terrestrial Scanning, Geo-physics, LiDAR, Photogrammetry, etc.; 3D modelling and reconstruction; Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality; 3D printing and e-publication) and demonstrates that the possibilities for engaging with history, and gaining fresh insight using these are, endless.

I started my job search at the beginning of my undergraduate degree with the simple intention of building my CV in a general sense. I didn’t expect that I would be able to secure such engaging jobs that put my research and interpersonal skills to use! Without doubt, these invaluable experiences have confirmed that I want to pursue work in the heritage sector when I finish my Master’s degree.

UWICAH Conference 2019- Narratives of Power.

This week’s blog post is by Thomas Husøy on the conference ‘Narratives of Power’ that took place on 16th November in Singleton Abbey. A huge congratulations to the committee for coordinating this event! Full details of the programme and speakers can be found here.

The conference organisers (front centre: William Clayton, Thomas Husøy and Urška Furlan) with conference delegates outside Singleton Abbey.

On behalf of the UWICAH 2019 committee, Thomas writes:

For the third time since the beginning in 2013, Swansea University was responsible for the organization of the Universities of Wales Institute of Classics and Ancient History Postgraduate Conference. Over the last eight months or so I have worked with two other PhD students in the Department of Classics, Ancient History and Egyptology (William Clayton; PhD in Classics and Urška Furlan; PhD in Egyptology) to organise this event. The UWICAH Postgraduate Conference is an annual event organized at one of the three UWICAH Universities and we are already looking forward to the next conference which will be hosted at the University of Wales Trinity St. David in Lampeter.

The theme for this year’s conference was Narratives of Power. The call for papers was sent out in June and attracted a wide number of speakers from all the UWICAH Universities, the rest of the UK and the wider world. Traditionally, the UWICAH conference has been hosted in one room throughout the day with three panels following one another. However, owing to the success of the call for papers, we had to book extra space to accommodate the papers that were submitted and we utilised both the Council Chamber and Committee Room 2 in Singleton Abbey. All together we had six panels, running parallel in the two rooms.

The speakers at the conference came from across the world, including the United States, Egypt, Italy, Greece, the Netherlands and France and the topic was interpreted in a variety of ways. We had talks in topics representing narratives of power in linguistics, mythology, politics, symbology and reception studies. The majority of the speakers were able to attend in person with the exception of four Egyptologists who delivered their talks via Skype. All of the papers were of high quality, prompting much discussion and the conference was a resounding success. As organisers, we were encouraged by the response and reach of this event as we had requests from scholars in both Europe and America to live stream the conference. While we were unable to facilitate this, the event was live tweeted by @suancientworld and @uwicah2019 to capture the day as it unfolded.

Everyone in the Council Chamber for the discussion of the day.

After the conference was over, several of the delegate and organizers headed down to Pub on the Pond for dinner, a few drinks and a post-conference chat. We are now looking into the possibility of publishing papers from the conference in an edited volume and look forward to working more on this.

We extend our gratitude to everyone who aided in making the UWICAH 2019 a successful international conference, including but not limited to Singleton Abbey reception, the College of Arts and Humanities at Swansea University and the Department of Classics, Ancient History and Egyptology. Particular thanks go to Professor Mark Humphries (the Head of Department) for opening the conference and Dr. Maria Pretzler for providing fantastic baked goods and finally, UWICAH itself.

Thomas Alexander Husøy (PhD in Ancient History).

 

Thomas Husøy giving his talk about identities and Thessaly.

 

OLCAP Workshop

Mapping Landscapes and Monuments

Saturday 9th November, Singleton Park

On a sometimes wet and sometimes gorgeous autumnal Saturday, OLCAP ran its first Master’s workshop aimed at level six (third year) and MA students. For our first event we went back to basics to practice mapping monuments. The main aim was to get students thinking about the types of skills that they might need to fulfil their career aspirations as well as to get them thinking critically about space, maps and the landscape.

Using Singleton Park as our base, and armed with wellies and rain coats, we spent the day measuring and recording parts of the Gorsedd stone circle that was built in 1925 and expanded for the 1964 Eisteddford. The “master” who kindly donated his expertise for the day was Alex Makovics, a GIS specialist, surveyor and archaeologist. Alex has worked all over the world surveying a range of environments from the deserts of Egypt and Sudan to the jungle of Laos and now with the GIS office for Keep Wales Tidy.

Measuring and recording one of the circle stones.

Our students, from History, Egyptology and Ancient History worked in two groups to measure, record and draw the key contours and features of the central “altar”  and one of the taller stones in the circle. We got to grips with drawing skills, using tape measures, string, plumb bobs, wooden stakes, and grid paper. Precision, patience, problem solving and teamwork were key!

Our students were also able to practice setting up and levelling an auto level to measure heights – easier said than done. Our main challenges were keeping dry, making sure that the grass did not interfere with measurements we needed to take on the ground, and trying not to get too distracted by the many dogs that wanted to join in! Over the space of four hours we were able to mark out grids on the ground, measure and fully record our “excavation” units.

Alex Makovics guiding the students as they get to grips with the auto level.

We rounded the workshop off with a short talk from Alex who shared with us some of his favourite maps. Highlights included data collated to visually represent the spread of cholera in 19th century London (the led to stemming the disease), the dramatic depletion of army recruits involved in the Napoleonic War (see the map below!), the density of hedge rows across Wales, and an intriguing example of map misuse that juxtaposed voting patterns with wild boar populations in modern day Poland. What a great way to get us thinking about how precise measurements of the minutiae can feed into the bigger picture!

Alex sharing some striking maps from a range of historical periods with us. This one charts the decline in army numbers during the Napoleonic Wars.
The Napoleonic army on the march! The beige line charts their march to Moscow and the black one their return. The width corresponds to their declining numbers.

A huge thank you to Alex for joining us, to Alex Langlands (History, Swansea) for supporting the event by sharing equipment needed to undertake our surveys, and to our wonderful students for taking part!

Team Selfie!

We look forward to our next workshop next term that will focus on digital epigraphy. If you would like more information about it or to sign up please do not hesitate to get in touch with us via email: (ersin.hussein@swansea.ac.uk or christian.knobluach@swansea.ac.uk)

In the meantime, for more information about the affiliated projects mentioned in the post see the links below:

Departmental Social Events: Mummies on Halloween

This year the Department of Classics, Ancient History & Egyptology decided to start a series of social events for staff and students, with the aim to celebrate and strengthen our sense of community. This week’s post is by Dr Maria Pretzer who has been co-ordinating these events. Maria reports:

As it happened, the first event was scheduled for 31st October, so a Halloween theme was a given. We decided to start with frightening our Egyptologists particularly by putting on The Mummy (1999) with its highly accurate depiction of ancient Egypt and Egyptian archaeology.

Film still: It’s Egypt. There have to be cats!

After the end of the movie, Troy Sagrillo offered some comments about some of the details. Astonishingly, the production did have an Egyptologist as adviser, and with some effort and expertise, one can actually spot their impact, in places where details are somewhat more Egyptologically inaccurate than throughout the rest of the movie.

One crucial take-away from the story is certainly that speed-reading hieroglyphs is a necessary survival skill: the ancient historian struggling with the hieroglyphics on the DVD menu could have done with some of that, too. It is clear that may more people should take our modules in Ancient Egyptian language! The film also features spoken ancient Egyptian, using a pronunciation that’s a few thousand years out of date.

Prizes were handed out for the best costume (a carrot, as it happens) and to the winner and runners-up in the move bingo, which featured, among other questions, the identification of various things Christian Knoblauch wouldn’t do on his excavation in Sudan. Christian will be relieved to hear that the accumulated answers pretty much encompass everything anybody does with ancient artefacts in this film.

Cup cakes by Maria… Bake Off eat your heart out!

This was a lot of fun, and we had a good turn-out, too: thanks to everybody for coming! The ‘Departmental Social Event’ experiment continues on 21st November, when we’ll be putting Socrates on trial all over again.

KYKNOS Colloquium

KYKNOS Research Colloquium

 

The Department of Classics, Ancient History and Egyptology and KYKNOS, The Centre for Research on the Narrative Literatures of the Ancient World, hosted a COAH-sponsored Research Colloquium on Friday, 25 October 2019, in the Mall Room, Taliesin, on Singleton Campus.

 

The international event – part of the regular biannual Colloquia programme of KYKNOS – centred around four exciting lectures on Greek and Latin texts and their historical and cultural contexts.

 

Alan Lloyd (Swansea)                          ‘Timeo Danaos: Motifs can walk’

Rachel Bird (Swansea)                        ‘The Greek Novel: Voyeurism, Sophrosyne and Heroines as Text’

Olivier Demerre (Ghent)                     ‘Catching Bodies, Catching Texts: Longus and Ovid on hunting’

Koen de Temmerman (Ghent)            ‘Stories of Erotic Desire in Late Antique Hagiography:

the curious case of Euphemia and the Goth (and Callirhoe)’

 

The Colloquium, organised by Ian Repath and Fritz-Gregor Herrmann, marked the 15th anniversary of the foundation of KYKNOS at Swansea, and at the same time celebrated the 40th anniversary of the arrival at Swansea of Prof. em. John Morgan, at whose initiative KYKNOS was established as a research centre in 2004. At the end of the formal proceedings, John Morgan was presented with a Festschrift with contributions by former colleagues and students, many of whom were present at the event. Some Organic Readings in Narrative, Ancient and Modern contains seventeen original essays which reflect both the wide range of John’s interests and the high esteem in which he is held internationally.

 

KYKNOS promotes research on the narrative literatures of ancient Greece, Rome, Egypt and the Near East.

https://www.swansea.ac.uk/arts-and-humanities/research/research-groups/kyknos/

Launching OLCAP (the research group for Object and Landscape Centred Approaches to the Past): Swansea in the Sudan!

Launching OLCAP!

OLCAP – the research group for Object and Landscape Centred Approaches to the Past is new to the College of Arts and Humanities. The group’s core aim is to promote and support research, teaching, and training that falls broadly in the fields of material culture studies and landscape, especially where these relate to the ancient world. There are three main, related strands of our mission: Research, Pedagogy, Training and Employability. You can read more about these on OLCAP’s webpage. On 14th October, OLCAP celebrated its official launch and we introduced these aims to staff and students across COAH to explore research synergies and potential future collaborations. The kick-off event was a wonderful opportunity to advertise our annual programme – details of which can also be found here:  OLCAP 2019 2020 Events. This term we particularly look forward to hosting our first (of many!) termly core skills training workshops, ‘Mapping Material Culture’ where our students will have the chance to practice mapping the landscape in preparation for archaeological investigation! This will take place on 09.11.19 at Singleton Campus, 11.00-16.00.

 

OLCAP’s first sponsored post on Hieroglyphs, Heroes, and Heretics is a report from Dr Christian Knoblauch (Lecturer in Egyptian material Culture) about his collaboration with Brown University and their excavations in the Sudan. If you would like to hear more about the project, Christian will be giving a talk at 3pm on Tuesday 29th of October at Singleton Campus, Keir Hardie Building Room 429 as part of the CLAHE Research Seminar Series.

Swansea in the Sudan

Image 1: The Swansea-Brown Uronarti Regional Archaeological Project team on site in the Sudan, January 2019.

The first ever Swansea-Brown Uronarti Regional Archaeological Project team on site in the Sudan, January 2019 (image 1). The project is co-directed by Dr Christian Knoblauch (Swansea, far right) and Dr Laurel Bestock (Brown, front left). In the background, there is the remains of the massive mudbrick gateway that controlled entry into the Middle Kingdom fortress – the focus of our work. Although it is almost 4000 years old, the fortress still stands in places to a height of 7 metres. In the foreground is a back-filled administrative building excavated by the team where we were able to observe, for the first time, the arrival of the Egyptians at the site and their organisation of a mammoth building project. Beyond the fortress, looking south, one can see Lake Nasser/Lake Nubia and the desert adjacent to the ancient border with Kush at the Semna Nile Cataract. During the season, we conducted a systematic survey (image 2) of these areas in order to contextualise the fortress in wider settlement and activity patterns. A report on this last aspect of the work has been accepted for publication by Antiquity and will appear in the Project Gallery shortly.

Image 2: The team conducting their survey.

One interesting aspect of the season was the recording and micro-morphological sampling of an intact column of stratigraphy (image 3)  Such well-defined occupation layers are a rarity due to the clearing of most of the interior of the  fortress in the 1930’s.

Image 3.

We are hopeful the final scientific analysis of the layers and artefacts will shed light on the changing nature of the occupation of the site over two and a half centuries. Finds from these layers included fish-bones and angling equipment, administrative seals, stone arrowheads and some remarkably well preserved textiles (image 4).

Image 4: Preserved textile.

There was also time to conduct a condition report of the New Kingdom stone temple that has suffered considerable damage in recent years. An inventory of all decorated blocks (e.g. image 5) was compiled and recommendations were made to our partner, the National Corporation of Museums and Antiquities concerning conserving the structure and making it better accessible to other scholars and the public in the future. We plan to continue this work in early 2020.

Image 5: A decorated block from the New Kingdom stone temple.

The author thanks the COAH Research Fund for enabling his participation in the project in January 2019. Images courtesy of URAP.

 

Beyond Mainland Greece: The Tomb of Darius the Great in Naqsh-e Rustam, Iran.

Today’s post kick-starts a mini series that will feature on Hieroglyphs, Heroes and Heretics this academic year that showcases the type of teaching that we deliver and our student work. Dr Stephen Harrison, module co-ordinator, introduces the focus and aims of the module, to provide that all important context for the first of our student pieces!

Stephen Harrison: Ronseal don’t sponsor any of our modules at Swansea University, but if they did Beyond Mainland Greece would probably be that module because, like their quick drying wood stain, it is a course that does exactly what It says on the tin: it takes students beyond the Greek mainland – into Asia. The course focuses on two empires, the Persian (Achaemenid) Empire and the Seleucid Empire. The Persians are traditionally seen as the bad guys in Western history: the barbarian invaders whose cruel kings Darius and Xerxes (especially Xerxes) burned Athens to the ground, threatening to snuff out democracy before it was fully established. 150 years later, the Greeks were to have their revenge thanks to Alexander III of Macedon, who earned the moniker ‘Alexander the Great’ as a result of his conquest of Persia. But Alexander died without an established heir and his empire quickly disintegrated as his leading generals fought to succeed to the throne. In territorial terms, at least, the most successful of the contenders was Seleucus I, who emerged who carved out an empire which stretched from India to the Ionian coast. His family would rule much of Asia before pressure from the twin threats of Parthia and Rome in the Second Century BC reduced the Seleucid Empire to a small kingdom centred on Syria.

Traditionally, university courses have given short shrift to these empires – the Persians pop up as invaders at the foundational moment of Classical Greece but are soon dismissed in favour of a focus on Athenian democracy, Spartan idiosyncrasies, and the Peloponnesian War. Then they reappear as the dramatic foil for Alexander’s heroic exploits in the Fourth Century. The Seleucids fair even worse, often dealt with only as one of a succession of powers defeated by the Romans on their march to imperial glory. But the privileging of the Greek mainland is hugely problematic for lots of reasons not least the fact that these two empires were the superpowers of their day – it is as though one were to write a history of the 20th Century and focus solely on, say, Cuba, without ever mentioning the United States. So, this module sought to allow students to study the Persian and Seleucid Empires on their own terms.

All of this reflects my firm belief that extending beyond the usual geographic limitations of ancient history courses offers students the opportunity to develop a much broader understanding of the ancient world, which also helps them to appreciate the importance of some of the unique developments in Greece itself. But in order to do this, students need to be able to work with an array of sources produced in Asia itself, rather than rely solely on written accounts produced on the fringes of these empires by men such as Herodotus, Xenophon, and Polybius. Consequently, we looked at a wide range of sources – from inscriptions written in the name of reigning kings to celebrate and to emphasise their power, to the fascinating astronomical diaries from Babylon, which were recorded fastidiously for several centuries – primarily, these diaries are records of astrological observations, but details such as price data from the local market give us a glimpse into life in the city. Coins, civic inscriptions, archaeology, art, and even letters between local officials in Bactria (ancient Afghanistan) also featured. The students were asked to write four critical analyses of 500 words on some of these pieces of evidence over the course of the term – we have selected some of the best responses for publication here to give you an insight into the sort of thing that our students get up to here at Swansea and the things they are capable of achieving. You will find some creative and original thinking in these pieces of work.

 

Our first piece is a contribution from Aidan Kee, an Ancient History student, who assessed an inscription from the tomb of Darius I as part of his coursework for the module.

The Persians did not produce the sort of written histories that we often use to explore a society. Instead, one of our best ways into examining the topic are a series of royal inscriptions that the Persian kings set up at key places to emphasise their power and to outline their ideology. These inscriptions very much reflect a top-down perspective on the Persian Empire so there are very real questions about how far the claims made in these documents reflect reality, but they can still be revealing. This particular inscription is part of the text that was carved onto the tomb of Darius I at Naqs-i-Rustam, a few miles from Persepolis, the most important city in the empire. (Introduction by Stephen Harrison)

View of Tomb of Darius the Great in Naqsh-e Rustam

Image source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tomb_of_Darius_the_Great

Translation (from: Kuhrt, A., The Persian Empire: A Corpus of Sources from the Achaemenid Period. Routledge, 2007):

(1) A great god is Ahuramazda, who created this excellent thing which is seen, who created happiness for man, who set wisdom and capability down upon King Darius.

(2a) King Darius/Xerxes says: By the grace of Ahuramazda I am of such a sort, I am a friend of the right, of wrong I am not a friend. It is not my wish that the weak should have harm done him by the strong, nor is it my wish that the strong should have harm done him by the weak.

(2b) The right, that is my desire. To the man who is a follower of the lie I am no friend. I am not hot-tempered. What things develop in my anger, I hold firmly under control by my thinking power. I am firmly ruling over my own impulses.

(2c) The man who is cooperative, according to his cooperation thus I reward him. Who does harm, him according to the harm I punish. It is not my wish that a man should do harm; nor indeed is it my wish that if he does harm he should not be punished.

(2d) What a man says against a man, that does not convince me, until I hear the sworn statements of both.

(2e) What a man does or performs, according to his ability, by that I become satisfied with him, and it is much to my desire, and I am well pleased, and I give much to loyal men.

(2f) Of such a sort are my understanding and my judgment: if what has been done by me you see or hear of, both in in the palace and in the expeditionary camp, this is my capability over will and understanding.

(2g) This indeed my capability: that my body is strong. As a fighter of battles I am a good fighter of battles. When ever with my judgment in a place I determine whether I behold or do not behold an enemy, both with understanding and with judgment, then I think prior to panic, when I see an enemy as when I do not see one.

(2h) I am skilled both in hands and in feet. As a horseman, I am a good horseman. As a bowman, I am a good bowman, both on foot and on horseback. As a spearman, I am a good spearman, both on foot and on horseback.

(2i) These skills that Ahuramazda set down upon me, and which I am strong enough to bear, by the will of Ahuramazda, what was done by me, with these skills I did, which Ahuramazda set down upon me.

(3a) Man, vigorously make you known of what sort I am, and of what sort my skillfulnesses, and of what sort my superiority. Let not that seem false to you, which has been heard by your ears. Listen to what is said to you.

(3b) Man, let that not be made to seem false to you, which has been done by me. That do you behold, which has been inscribed. Let not the laws be disobeyed by you. Let not anyone be untrained in obedience. [The last line is unintelligible]

Aidan’s analysis:

‘Although […] the Achaemenid History Workshop profoundly transformed our understanding of the Achaemenid empire, members of that group devoted surprisingly little attention to the role of religion.’[1] So, Lincoln shows, the question of Achaemenid religion is far from answered in scholarship. Therefore, considering the religious aspect of the inscription, it is a useful source of evidence on the subject, especially in relation to Achaemenid kingship. Darius thanks the help that Ahurumazda has given him in his journey to kingship multiple times in the passage.[2] Its placement at the site of Darius’ tomb means that the text is what Darius wishes to be remembered for, clearly revealing the importance of Ahurumazda to his reign.

Zoroaster, a prophet considered active around 1000 BC, allegedly produced the Gāthās setting out ‘a dualistic system in which aša (truth, rightness) is opposed to druj (lie, deceit) with Ahurumazda as the supreme deity.’[3] Whilst Zoroaster may not have been a historical figure, the rough estimate of when he lived usefully provides us with a rough date for the commencement of the oral tradition conveying the Gāthās. Considering this oral tradition that carried the Gāthās from this time through to Sasanian times, where it was eventually textualized, it stands to reason that it reflected Achaemenid religious ideology in order to survive.[4] Therefore, whilst the Achaemenids may not strictly have been Zoroastrians, it is likely that the Achaemenid Ahurumazda is very similar to its Zoroastrian counterpart. Thus, in the inscription where Darius attributes his ‘wisdom and capability’ to being gifted to him by Ahurumazda, Darius legitimises his reign. Darius has been supported by the protector of aša with skills that make him a good king. Perhaps surprisingly, Darius also presents himself as a judge of aša and druj in the passage, ‘I am a friend of the right, of the wrong I am not a friend’.[5] This idea is also present in the Bisitun inscription, indicating it as an important aspect of his kingship and how he legitimised himself.[6] Therefore, in the inscription Darius aligns himself with Ahurumazda with a subtle hint at his own divinity. However, this is counterbalanced by Darius also presenting himself as a human, subject to aša and druj respectively, ‘I am firmly ruling over my own impulses’.[7] He is clearly below Ahurumazda here, as the Gāthās state ‘look upon the two sides, between which each man must choose for himself.’[1] Darius clearly is subject to the trials of ‘each man’ demonstrated by his ‘impulses’. This illustrates the caution that Darius had to take when dealing with religion as on one hand it was a useful tool for legitimising his reign, whilst on the other it was vital to simultaneously remain humble and pious. The religious aspect of the inscription is replicated by Xerxes at Persepolis indicating that the way Darius deals with religion in the passage was deemed contemporarily successful.[8] So, the inscription presents us with a useful opportunity to examine how religion was utilised successfully to legitimise the early Achaemenid king’s reigns.

 

Bibliography

Ancient Evidence

Achaemenid Royal Inscriptions

Lendering, J., ‘Achaemenid Royal Inscriptions’, www.livius.org (2004-2019). URL: https://www.livius.org/sources/content/achaemenid-royal-inscriptions/

Zoroaster, Gāthās. Trans. J. Duchesne-Guillemin & M. Henning, J Murray: London (1952).

Modern Scholarship

Lincoln, B. (2013) ‘Religion, Empire and the Spectre of Orientalism: A Recent Controversy in Achaemenid Studies’, Journal of Near Eastern Studies 72(2): 253-65.

Sancisi-Weerdenburg, H. (2005a) Persian Religion. In S. Hornblower & A. Spawforth (Eds.), The Oxford Classical Dictionary. Oxford University Press: Oxford.

Sancisi-Weerdenburg, H. (2005b) Zoroaster. In S. Hornblower & A. Spawforth (Eds.), The Oxford Classical Dictionary. Oxford University Press: Oxford.

 

[1] Lincoln (2013), 253.

[2] DNb 1, 2a & 2i. His thankfulness to Ahurumazda is also clearly present in the other inscription on his tomb at Naqs-i-Rustam, see DNa.

[3] Sancisi-Weerdenburg (2005b).

[4] Sancisi-Weerdenburg (2005a).

[5] DNb 2a.

[6] DB 54-7.

[7] DNb 2b.

[8] XPl.

Exploring ancient Greece by Jan Doskocil

 

In this week’s post Jan Doskocil, a third year Ancient History undergraduate, writes about his travels to Greece over the Summer. With the support of his academic mentor, Dr Janja Soldo, Jan applied for a Society of Dilettanti Travel Scholarship to fund this study trip. This is a wonderful opportunity for undergraduate students to apply for funding to support independent travel to classical sites and museums in Greece, Italy or the Eastern Mediterranean. More information about this scheme – and many others that support and encourage exploration of the ancient world – can be found here. Reflecting on the application process, Janja says, ‘When Jan asked me if I would support his application, I was happy to help him with the application letter and to write a reference – his enthusiasm for Greece is contagious and inspiring. I am very glad that he received the scholarship and that he had the opportunity to see the ancient sites, which he learned so much about in his classes, with his own eyes.’

 

Exploring ancient Greece by Jan Doskocil

Images by Jan Doskocil: The Temple of Hephaestus, Athens; The Temple of Apollo at Corinth with the acropolis in the distance; Palaestra of Ancient Messene; Fortress at Rhamnous; The Lion Gate, Mycenae.

“Awesome! So, this is the place I’ve heard so much about. How could they build that thing?” Such were my thoughts as I visited ancient monuments and wondered which king, hero or famous statesman stood at the same spot thousands of years before me. Although I admit I had to use my imagination quite a lot sometimes, the sites, which some call mere ruins, have still preserved a magical sense of mystery.

First, on my two-week trip around Greece, I explored Pella and Vergina. This area formed the heart of ancient Macedonia. Among the remains of the city of Pella there were elaborated mosaics, and the museum contained a number of fine objects – especially the exhibition of weapons decorated with gold, but what really impressed me was the scenery. Dark green mountains in the distance, red roofs of tiny villages, columns made of white stone, olive trees covering the flat land, and the sea mirroring the azure sky… And after this colourful play I entered the underground museum of Vergina and could observe the royal tombs in near darkness. It is worth visiting for lively frescos depicting mythological stories and hunting scenes, gold crowns imitating a wreath of oak leaves, or armour and weapons that may have belonged to Philip II himself. Further south I was fascinated by the epic view of cloud-covered Mt Olympos, the highest mountain in Greece and seat of the gods.

Next I spent some time wandering around Athens. Imagine you sit under the temple of Hephaestus listening to the sound of cicadas early in the morning, feeling the aura of the place. Then you look up at the Acropolis and can’t believe your eyes. There were tourists everywhere, almost falling over the edges. As I went up, it got very hot. Crowds were pushed into one long queue that moved at a snail’s pace. Guards with whistles were screaming at us: “Quick photos and keep moving! Don’t touch it!” Classical monuments, like isolated islands lost in that turmoil of the modern city, were being attacked by roaring masses of selfie hunters. Still, popularity of the place is a proof that the ancient world with its splendour and staggering megalomania has something to say even today. For those who appreciate more peaceful places, I would recommend Rhamnous, situated near the Marathon battlefield, where you can find the temple of Nemesis and fortress. But it is quite an adventure to get there.

Olympia and Delphi also enjoy extraordinary prestige. To visit both sites, I took serpentine roads in the mountains. Then I walked around the temples of Zeus and Apollo respectively. It had to be amazing to be a spectator of the Panhellenic Games or to ask the oracle for advice. Another impressive places were Mycenae and Tiryns – the Lion Gate, citadels, massive walls composed of huge pieces of rock – frankly, some Cyclops were surely assisting… I chanced to attend Epidaurus theatre festival and watched Euripides’ play Iphigenia in Aulis. The performance took place at the ancient theatre in the open air at night. Even though it was in Greek (with English subtitles), I was drawn in the play, the atmosphere and experience were fabulous.

Sometimes I can’t find enough words to describe everything, or, maybe, I use to many – nothing can compare when you see it for yourself.

WOW Opportunity: Social Media and Digital Marketing Assistants (Classics, Ancient History and Egyptology)

Interested in a career in broadcasting, journalism or marketing? Enjoy creative writing and Social media? Want to work with like-minded people to share knowledge about the ancient world to a wider audience?

Look no further! The Department of Classics, Ancient History, and Egyptology is inviting students interested in developing a range of transferable skills to apply for a one of a number of Week of Work (WOW) placements.

 

 The Department of Classics, Ancient History and Egyptology is offering up to four WOW placements to support the department’s web officer with the development and maintenance of the department’s blog, newly launched newsletter and their Twitter and Facebook accounts.

This is a fantastic opportunity to gain employability skills, meet new people, and create web and media content for our department! Ella Thomas (a second year Media and Communication Student) held a WOW placement last year and was a Social Media Assistant to Dr. Ersin Hussein, Department of Classics, Ancient History and Egyptology. Ella said the following of her experience:

“I have been responsible managing future contributions to the departmental blog Hieroglyphs, Heroes, and Heretics and I have worked closely with Ersin to create an official annual departmental newsletter. Duties have included emailing staff and students (current and alumni) for contributions to the newsletter’s content and helping in the design and layout of the newsletter. The placement greatly helped me to develop and implement marketing and PR skills that I had been taught on my course, such as managing social media platforms and designing layouts for public facing documents (e.g. leaflets). I have also developed valuable administration skills, such as time management. As a result of my placement I am eligible to gain the SEA award, which will greatly enhance my career prospects after University. The amount of support received from Ersin has been amazing and has greatly enhanced my confidence and belief in my own capabilities. I would recommend undertaking a placement to all students who wish to improve upon their academic and personal  skills.”

Person Specification

  1. Good organisational skills and the ability to complete a task to a deadline
  2. Excellent attention to detail and accuracy
  3. The ability to work independently, and to know when and how to seek guidance
  4. Excellent verbal and written communication skills
  5. Good interpersonal skills
  6. A quick learner and able to adapt to change/display flexibility

 

Timings

Est. 04/11/19 – 04/05/20

18 teaching weeks, 1-2 hours per week. Scheduled workshops of 2-3 hours throughout the term.

 

Application and Closing Date

To apply, please send your CV and covering letter to COAHEmployability@swansea.ac.uk by midnight on Sunday 20th October. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to get in touch with the employability office (using the email above) or with Dr Ersin Hussein (ersin.hussein@Swansea.ac.uk).

We look forward to receiving you applications!

 

 

Welcome back and looking forward to the 2019/2020 academic year!

A very warm welcome back to everyone!

We may have been a little quiet on the blog front last term, but by no means did this mean that we weren’t busy! For example, we saw the completion and launch of the Ancient World on Film project and the successful delivery of new, innovative modules (including handlings sessions in the Egypt Centre and a trip to the British Museum) – you can read about these in the COAH College newsletter here. Towards the end of term, many staff and students delivered papers at The Egypt Centre’s conference ‘Wonderful Things‘, an event that showcased the history of the museum and current research that is taking place there in conjunction with our department. The Egypt Centre Collection Blog is a fantastic read as it regularly features news about its volunteers, the research that our students undertake,  collaborative work with the department and the current renovations to its store rooms. All in all it has been an exciting year and the 2019/20 academic year promises to be equally as busy for all staff and students here in the department…

Along with the rest of the university, we are celebrating the Swansea 2020 centenary! This academic year will also see the official launch of OLCAP – our new research group for object and landscape centred approaches to the ancient past. More on this to come! In April, the department will also host the Classical Association conference in April 2020 – a truly international event that draws attention to cutting edge research, innovations in pedagogy across all stages of education provision and pressing issues for our fields of study and work. So watch this space as more information about these events, as well as many others, will be featured on the blog! We also have a number of contributions from our undergraduate and postgraduate researchers to look forward to.

To kick start the year, I draw your attention to the UWICAH postgraduate conference that will take place on 16th November on the theme of Narratives of Power! This conference has been organised by our postgraduate research students and, as you can see below, promises to be a fantastic event. We look forward to seeing you there!

From the organisers:

On the sixteenth of November the Universities of Wales Institute of Classics and Ancient History Postgraduate conference will take place in the Council Chamber and Conference Room 2 in Singleton Abbey. PhD candidates in the Department of Classics, Ancient History and Egyptology at Swansea University have this year organized the conference. The topic of this year’s conference will be Narratives of Power, and explores powerful narratives in Ancient Egypt, Greece, Rome and the Near East. After a successful call for papers, the conference has drawn speakers from across Britain and beyond. The conference will feature twenty-two speakers, from eighteen institutions (including all three UWICAH Universities, Swansea, Cardiff and Trinity St David’s, Lampeter) and run from 09:30-17:30; followed by a roundtable debate and drinks in a nearby pub.

The delegates have interpreted Narratives of Power in a wide variety of ways, and therefore there will be talks on many topics including mythology, material culture, rulers, identity and more. Furthermore, we are thinking of publishing some of the papers from the conference in an edited volume. Food and drinks will be provided for attendees of the conference, and we hope to see as many people as possible from Swansea to support the event. If you are interested in attending, email uwicahconference2019@gmail.com and/or sign up on Eventbrite (https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/uwicah-2019-narratives-of-power-tickets-73538673151).

 

Eventbrite QR code:

Best Regards

Thomas Alexander Husøy, William Clayton, Urska Furlan.

Conference Programme

Singleton Abbey, Swansea University, SA2 8PP

 

Time Council Chamber Conference Room 2
9.30 Registration
  Classics Egyptology I
10.00 Rebecca Rusk (Reading): The Rule of Zeus in Hesiod’s Theogony Thomas Humphrey (UWTSD): Power and Diplomacy in the Amarna Letters: Cypro-Egyptian Relations in the 14th Century BCE
10.30 Brian McPhee (North Carolina): Brawn Without Brain? Mythopoetic Trajectories in Heracles’ Teratomachies Rachael Cornwell (Liverpool): The Power of Change: The Accumulated Impact of Minor Linguistic Changes on the Egyptian Verbal System
11.00 Georgina Homer (Open University): Infamous Medea: Power Through Reputation and Infamy John Rogers (Swansea): “I Made This as an Act of Praise”: Power and Agency in 7th-Century BCE Egyptian Non-Royal Statuary
11.30 Gina Bevan (Cardiff): Medusa’s Rape: Lady Gaga and Victimhood Marwa Abdel Razek (Cairo/Cairo Museum): The Mystery of Female Figurines (Concubines) Represented on Plaques and Beds in the Cairo Museum
12.00 Lunch
  Archaic and Classical Greece Egyptology II
12.45 Thomas Alexander Husøy (Swansea): Thessaly and the Narrative of Identities in Central Greece Lonneke Deipeut (Leiden): Horses in Egypt: A Status Symbol or a Status Marker?
13.15 Richard Phillips (Birkbeck College, London): Cultural and Political Soft Power in the Ancient Greek World: Paros and Athens Islam Alwakeel (Ain Shams): Offering of the Field (sḫt) in the Egyptian Temples of the Greco-Roman Period (Edfou-Dendara)
13.45 Matt Thompson (Nottingham): Projecting Power By Displaying Nothing? Possible Motivations for the Apparent Refusal of the Spartans to Dedicate Captured Arms Henry Bohun (UWTSD): Exploring Ptolemy II Within the Narrative of Ancient Egyptian Kingship: Ruler Cult and Material Culture
14.15 Ana Garcia Espinosa (Cardiff): Mercenary Armies and Power: The Narrative of Leadership in Xenophon’s Anabasis Frédéric Rouffet (Paul-Valéry): Title TBC, Egyptian Magic
14.45 Tea/Coffee

 

 

Time Council Chamber Conference Room 2
  Late Classical Greece Egyptian and Roman History
15.15 Maria Gisella Giannone (Exeter): Narratives of Power By and Within Athens in Isocrates’ On the Peace Ella McCafferty Wright (Cambridge): The Meroe Bust of Augustus and Narratives of Rebellion
15.45 Leon Battista Borsano (Scuola Normale Superiore): Kyrios Estō: Narrative(s) of Power in Late Classical Lycia Consuelo Martino (St. Andrews): The Last Republican or the First Emperor? Discussing Suetonius’ Divus Iulius and the Political Power of Biographical Writing
16.15 Roberta Dainotto (Crete): Building Concepts of Power Through Narrative in Forensic Speeches: The Case of Apollodorus Domiziana Rossi (Cardiff): Sasanian Kings as Decision-Makers: Reshaping the Ērānshahr
16.45 Roundtable Discussion of Day
17.30 Close

 

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