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Archaeology at The Castle - A weekend of talks & discussions in Taunton

Twelve forty-minute talks, question and answer sessions and a panel discussion.

Esteemed archaeologists speak on diverse subjects from Greek Temples to Maya Kingship.

Based at the ever-welcoming Castle Hotel in Taunton.

 

16 - 18 Feb 2018 £700 Book this tour

  • 18th-century capriccio of ancient ruins, designed by Machy and engraved by Basan.
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Overview

Our now renowned series of symposia have so far featured historians, art historians, biographers, travel writers and politicians. This edition draws on the talents of eminent archaeologists. The twelve forty-minute talks will cover a huge variety of subject matter: from the Vikings to the Etruscans, from Palestine to Easter Island, from Roman Palaces to Greek Temples.

The speakers are respected scholars, have been involved in excavations worldwide and most have a book to their name, or several. We are also joined by Tom Mayberry, CEO of the South West Heritage Trust, responsible for the modernisation of The Museum of Somerset located 100 yards from the hotel. There is free time to visit the collections in between talks.

The venue is the perennially charming Castle Hotel in Taunton with a well equipped meeting room and an excellent restaurant.


The speakers

Dr Paul Bahn
Britain’s foremost specialist in prehistoric art, author of Prehistoric Rock Art and Journey Through the Ice Age.

Dr David Beresford Jones
Fellow of the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, Cambridge University, specialising in the Andes.

Dr Felicity Cobbing
Executive and Curator of the Palestine Exploration Fund in London and widely published on the archaeology of the Levant.

Professor Simon Esmonde Cleary
Professor of Roman Archaeology at the University of Birmingham specialising in Gaul and Spain in late antiquity as well as on Roman Britain.

Lucia Gahlin
Lecturer in Egyptology at Exeter and Bristol Universities.

Professor Norman Hammond
A leading expert on Maya civilization and archaeology and Archaeology Correspondent for The Times.

Professor Lloyd Llewellyn-Jones
Chair of Ancient History at the University of Cardiff and specialist in the history and culture of ancient Iran, the Near East and Ancient Greece.

Tom Mayberry MBE
CEO of the South West Heritage Trust, responsible for the modernisation of The Museum of Somerset.

Professor Antony Spawforth
Historian, broadcaster, lecturer and writer specialising in Greek and Roman antiquity.

Nigel Spivey
Senior Lecturer in Classical Art and Archaeology at the University of Cambridge.

Jonathan Tubb
Keeper of the Middle East Department of the British Museum.

Gareth Williams
Curator at the British Museum, specialising in Viking history and archaeology.

Friday 16th February

Afternoon session 3.00pm–6.00pm

Tom Mayberry 
Title to be confirmed

Dr Gareth Williams
Was Alfred so great? Alfred and the Vikings in the light of recent finds

Afternoon refreshments

Professor Norman Hammond
Maya Art and Maya Kingship

Drinks reception and dinner


Saturday 17th February

Morning session, 9.30am–12.30pm

Dr Felicity Cobbing
Cook’s tours and the Palestinian Exploration Fund

Dr David Beresford-Jones
A story of nets – how a cotton revolution lies behind the origins of civilisation in the Andes

Coffee break

Jonathan Tubb
The road to Qatna: the development and destruction of Syrian archaeology

Afternoon session, 3.30pm–6.20pm

Professor Lloyd Llewellyn-Jones
Do animals have histories? The culture of animals in the ancient world

Dr Nigel Spivey
Those mysterious Etruscans – demystified?

Professor Simon Esmonde Cleary
Palaces of the later Roman Emperors

Dinner


Sunday 18th February

Morning session, 9.30am–12.30pm

Professor Antony Spawforth
Greek Temples

Lucia Gahlin
The Art of Akhenaten and Nefertiti, Ancient Egypt’s Unique Royal Couple

Coffee break

Dr Paul Bahn
The archaeology of Easter Island

Panel discussion

Finish c. 12.45pm

Image of Paul Bahn

Dr Paul Bahn

Dr Paul Bahn. Archaeologist and Britain’s foremost specialist in prehistoric art. He obtained his PhD at Cambridge and is a fellow of the Society of Antiquaries and a corresponding member of the Archaeological Institute of America. He led the team which discovered Britain’s only known Ice Age cave art at Creswell in 2003 and his books include Prehistoric Rock Art, Journey Through the Ice Age and Images of the Ice Age, which won Archaeology Book of the Year in the Current Archaeology Awards for 2017.

Image of David Beresford-Jones

Dr David Beresford-Jones

Fellow of the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, Cambridge University. For the past 15 years he has directed investigations into ancient human-environment interactions on the south coast of Peru. He also has interests in the origins of agriculture, Pre-Colombian textiles and the synthesis of archaeology and historical linguistics, particularly in the Andes. He is the author of The Lost Woodlands of Ancient Nasca, the co-editor of Archaeology & Language in the Andes as well as many peer-reviewed journals articles and book chapters.

Image of Felicity Cobbing

Felicity Cobbing

Executive and Curator of the Palestine Exploration Fund in London. She has excavated in Jordan with the British Museum, and worked throughout the Middle East, particularly Syria, Jordan, and Lebanon. Widely published on the archaeology and the history of archaeology in the Levant, she is co-author with Dr Raouf Sa’d Abujaber of Beyond the River – Ottoman Transjordan in Original Photographs, and with David M. Jacobson on Distant Views of the Holy Land.

Image of Simon Esmonde Cleary

Professor Simon Esmonde Cleary

An archaeologist specialising in the western part of the Roman Empire. After reading archaeology at London University followed by a doctorate at Oxford he was on the staff of the University of Birmingham becoming Professor of Roman Archaeology. He retired in 2107 and is now Emeritus Professor of Roman Archaeology and remains an active researcher. As well as working in Britain he has conducted field-work in south-western France. Publications include books on Gaul and Spain in late antiquity as well as on Roman Britain. His interests range across the entire Roman period but with an emphasis on the later Roman empire and include architecture, art, epigraphy and numismatics alongside ‘dirt archaeology’.
Image of Lucia Gahlin

Lucia Gahlin

Lecturer in Egyptology at Exeter and Bristol Universities and a Research Associate at UCL’s Institute of Archaeology. She is closely involved with the Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology and has worked on excavations at Amarna in Egypt. Her publications include Egypt: Gods, Myths & Religion.

Image of Norman Hammond

Professor Norman Hammond

A leading expert on Maya civilization and archaeology. Senior Fellow at Cambridge where he also studied, Associate in Maya Archaeology at the Peabody Museum, Harvard University, and Emeritus Professor of Archaeology at Boston University. His many books include Ancient Maya Civilization, Nohmul: a Prehistoric Maya Community in Belize and Cuello: an early Maya community in Belize. He was Archaeology Editor of the Times Literary Supplement and is Archaeology Correspondent for The Times.

Image of Lloyd Llewellyn Jones

Professor Lloyd Llewellyn-Jones

Chair of Ancient History at the University of Cardiff and specialist in the history and culture of ancient Iran, the Near East and Ancient Greece. Books include Ctesias’ History of Persia, Creating a Hellenistic World and King & Court in Ancient Persia. He has contributed to several TV documentaries and is a regular reviewer for The Times and Times Higher Education.

Image of Antony Spawforth

Professor Antony Spawforth

Historian, broadcaster, lecturer and writer specialising in Greek and Roman antiquity and in rulers’ courts. Books include The Complete Greek Temples, Greece: An Oxford Archaeological Guide (with C. Mee), and Versailles: A Biography of a Palace. Formerly Assistant Director of the British School at Athens, he is now Emeritus Professor of Ancient History at Newcastle University.

Image of Nigel Spivey

Dr Nigel Spivey

Senior Lecturer in Classical Art and Archaeology at the University of Cambridge and Fellow of Emmanuel College. Among his publications are Understanding Greek Sculpture, Greek Art, Enduring Creation, The Ancient Olympics and Classical Civilization: A History in Ten Chapters. He presented the BBC2/PBS series How Art Made the World.

Dr Gareth Williams

Gareth is a curator at the British Museum and Honorary Reader at University College London. He is also Senior Researcher in the research project 'The Viking Phenomenon' and Academic Advisor to the Jorvik Viking Centre. He curated the exhibitions 'Vikings: life and legend' at the British Museum in 2014 and 'Viking Voyagers' at the National Maritime Museum Cornwall in 2015. He is currently involved in the development of a new Viking Museum in Oslo. Gareth has published extensively on Anglo-Saxon and Viking history and archaeology, and is currently completing two books on aspects of Viking warfare.

Prices – per person

Two sharing: standard double or twin £700; garden room £760. Single occupancy: single room (single bed) £700. Depending upon availability, we may be able to offer double rooms for sole use at around 10 weeks prior to the weekend at £750 – please let us know on your booking form if you would be interested in upgrading should the opportunity arise.

Included

Hotel accommodation for 2 nights; breakfasts and 2 dinners with wine; admission to the talks; drinks reception; refreshments during coffee and tea breaks; gratuities for hotel staff; a detailed programme booklet.

‘No dinners’ option: if you would prefer not to join the two evening meals there is a price reduction of £80 per person.

Accommodation

The Castle Hotel, Taunton: The Castle Hotel is renowned for its excellent service, for comforts traditional and modern and for its superb catering. It has been owned and run by the Chapman family for over 60 years.

The hotel’s 44 bedrooms are individually and charmingly decorated and well equipped. The largest – the Garden Rooms – are in the remains of the 12th-century castle overlooking the garden, and are the equivalent of Junior Suites, with a sitting area and separate dressing room. Doubles and twins are mainly of a good size and vary in outlook. Single rooms, while comfortable, are small and generally less well appointed with single beds – for this reason we do not charge a single supplement for them. The majority of rooms have a bath with a shower fitment.

The hotel has a lift, though some bedrooms do then involve some step access. There are no bedrooms on the ground floor. The Music Room is on a mezzanine level, which can only be reached via a flight of stairs from the lobby – there is provision for wheelchair users (if you think you will need this, please let us know in advance).

How strenuous?

These weekends are very leisurely affairs – everything takes place within the confines of the hotel. However please read the previous section if you use a wheelchair or have difficulties with negotiating stairs, and please contact us if you wish to discuss your access requirements in general.

Group size

Maximum 76 resident participants.

Talks only

If you wish to participate in the talks only, without accommodation, tickets are priced at £40 per session or £150 for all four sessions combined. Refreshments during breaks are included, but not lunches or dinners.

Map for Taunton.

'The programme was suitably diverse but collectively comprehensive. All the speakers were fluent and penetrating in their verbal presentations.'

'Well balanced mix of speakers. Good social mix... Easy relaxed atmosphere.'

'I loved the whole weekend and the way that a lot was packed in by virtue of keeping to a strict timetable.'