A lecture by BSR Assistant Directors: a legacy and trajectory of interdisciplinarity at the BSR

Earlier this month BSR Assistant Directors Peter Campbell, Martina Caruso and Harriet O’Neill gave a lecture in London at the British Academy examining the origins of the British School at Rome and the pathway forward into the BSR’s twelfth decade.

1911.PNGHarriet O’Neill, Assistant Director for the Humanities and Social Sciences: I wanted to use my section to think about why the BSR was conceived as an interdisciplinary institution and how this aspiration worked in practice. In researching this I discovered that the key moment was the move to what had been the British Pavilion at the International Fine Arts Exhibition held in 1911. This is known but what surprised me was the level of BSR involvement in the exhibition itself, particularly the archaeological and ‘historical’ parts of the show which were held elsewhere in Rome.

Martina Caruso, Assistant Director for Art, Architecture and the Creative Industries: For my section of the lecture I presented the latest interdisciplinary work that the artists and scholars undertook together as part of a reflection on Brexit and the wider political climate. The workshop resulted in a series of printed flags for the March Mostra which were hoisted on the rooftop during the opening of the exhibition.

IMG_20190317_170530936

In terms of my personal research I’ve been exploring photography by women archaeologists who were working in the Mediterranean at the turn of the last century, a time when the so-called historical sciences like geology, palaeontology and archaeology were gathering momentum but were still very much a man’s world. Among these women I’ve been examining Agnes and Dora Bulwer’s photographs, which are conserved at the BSR archives, and the way in which they adopted the survey style on archaeological field trips while often deviating from that style to photograph the environment, their travelling companions and the people they met. I’m interested in tracing the lives of these women through the photographs they took, since very little is known about them from other sources.

Bulwer(misc).37.jpg

From the Bulwer collection, courtesy of the BSR Photographic Archives

Peter Campbell, Assistant Director for Archaeology and Archaeological Science: For my section of the lecture, I examined the BSR’s archaeological development from horse-drawn carts to drones. Since 1901 the BSR has been an innovator and early adopter of new methods, from Thomas Ashby’s photography to today’s geophysics. I concluded my time by discussing the future trajectories of the BSR and how our new research strategies will prepare for the next century.

Alumni, Members and friends at the reception following the lecture

Watch the video of the lecture below:

Advertisements

Ward-Perkins permanent exhibition opens at Castelnuovo di Porto for the Giornata Nazionale del Paesaggio

Today, on the occasion of the Giornata Nazionale del Paesaggio, a permanent display of photographs from the BSR Collections will be opened in the Sale della Rocca Colonna – with the room being dedicated to former BSR Director and pioneer of landscape archaeology John Bryan Ward-Perkins – at Castelnuovo di Porto. You can read more in this week’s feature in La Repubblica, or in the press release.

giornata del paesaggio

The exhibition John Bryan Ward-Perkins, SOUTH ETRURIA SURVEY. Un’ indagine fotografica sull’Etruria meridionale negli anni ’50 e ’60 is made up of fifteen photographic prints and is curated by Elisabetta Portoghese and Valerie Scott.

This follows the photographic exhibition Castelnuovo Fotografia in September, an initiative curated by Elisabetta Portoghese, in which a selection of photographs of excavations and archaeological surveys carried out in the area of Castelnuovo di Porto as part of the South Etruria Survey project was exhibited in a three-day event.

wpset_1085_36

Ward-Perkins’ South Etruria Survey (1950s-70s) is one of the most important archaeological surveys conducted in Italy, and is pivotal for our understanding of the archaeological landscape preceding the urban expansion of Rome.

John Bryan Ward-Perkins – the BSR’s director from 1945 to 1974 – is well-known for his role as one of the World War Two Monuments Men in his capacity as Deputy Director of the Monuments, Fine Arts and Archives (MFA&A) Allied Sub-Commission in Italy from 1944 to early 1946.

wpset_1854_06

It was in his capacity as a Monuments Man that Ward-Perkins was initially approached by John Bradford, a pioneer in landscape archaeology and aerial photography for research and scientific purposes. John Bradford was an English historian from Christ Church College, Oxford, who was recruited as photo interpreter in 1943 by the Mediterranean Allied Photographic Reconnaissance Wing (MAPRW) based in San Severo, a small village in Southern Italy (Puglia).

After inducing the RAF authorities to suspend the destruction of their photographs taken for military and intelligence operations, deemed so important for historians, geographers, archaeologists and researchers, Bradford persuaded Ward-Perkins of their unique value, and Ward-Perkins went on to make significant use of aerial photography when undertaking the South Etruria survey.

wpset_1854_01

For further reading see Christopher Smith’s ‘J.B. Ward-Perkins, the BSR and the Landscape Tradition in Post-War Italian Archaeology’ in PBSR 86 (2018), pp. 271-92.

All images courtesy BSR Photographic Archive (Ward-Perkins Collection, South Etruria Series)

 

BSR visit to Pompeii and Herculaneum

IMG-20190219-WA0008

Archaeology Officer Stephen Kay with award-holders at the House of Venus in the Shell, Pompeii (photo by Caroline Barron)

Now is undoubtedly a special time to visit Pompeii. After several years of continuous conservation work by the Parco Archeologico di Pompei as part of its EU-funded Great Pompeii Project there is a wealth of houses now open to the public, previously hidden away behind closed doors. The recently restored frescos have been given a new lease of life: the famous House of the Orchard with its garden scenes or the hunting scene in the House of the Ceii.

This week the award-holders, staff and residents spent two days exploring these two famous UNESCO sites nestled under Mount Vesuvius. The beauty of going at this time of year is that the sites are less overwhelmed with mass tourism and the cooler temperatures allow for the sites to be explored at a more leisurely pace.

IMG_7457_EP

Cast of the blocked street entrance door, House of the Ephebus (photo by Elena Pomar)

Having worked at Porta Nola necropolis for several years, I began our tour at the amphitheatre entrance to the site as it is here that we now find on display the haunting casts of a few of the victims of the eruption of AD 79, some of which were found in the layers of pumice outside Porta Nola. We threaded our way through the amphitheatre and gradually worked our way up Via dell’Abbondanza, enjoying the recently reopened House of Venus in a Shell, House of the Ephebus (with a cast of the blocked street entrance door – pictured here on the left) and the Fullonica of Stephanus.

We took a few minutes to stop outside the Schola Armaturarum as it was the sad collapse of this building in 2010 that instigated this new phase of work (the building has now been restored and has dedicated visits every Thursday). Under the guidance of Professor Massimo Osanna (Honorary Fellow of the BSR) and Generale Giovanni Nistri of the Arma dei Carabinieri, much of the site has been returned to the public. Alongside this, consolidation work to tackle some of the drainage issues in Region V has led to some recent amazing discoveries (see this handy overview map at ècampania), such as frescos of Narcissus, Leda and the Swan and a curious charcoal graffiti that perhaps provides further evidence for a later autumn eruption date (17 October) rather than the established date of 24 August given to us by Pliny the Younger.

IMG_7429_EP

Staff, award-holders and residents at the Schola Armaturarum (photo by Elena Pomar)

After passing through the forum to admire the stunning view of Mount Vesuvius towering over the Temple of Jupiter, our tour concluded in front of the (copy) of the famous mosaic of Alexander depicting the Battle of Issus at the House of the Faun. It’s hard to do justice to such an amazing site in five hours, but hopefully the glimpses that we saw will encourage people to return or perhaps even feed into their work whilst at the BSR.

IMG-20190219-WA0015_PC

Copy of the Alexander Mosaic at the House of the Faun, Pompeii (photo by Peter Campbell)

Our second day on the Bay of Naples was a short hop from Pompeii over to its sister site, Herculaneum. The BSR has a long history of involvement in this extraordinary site, beginning with the important continuing efforts of the Herculaneum Conservation Project (HCP), led by former BSR Director Professor Andrew Wallace-Hadrill and generously funded by the Packard Humanities Institute.

IMG_7594_EP

The SplendOri exhibition at Herculaneum (photo by Elena Pomar)

Similarly to Pompeii, the site has recently become an autonomous park under the direction of another old friend of the BSR, Dr Francesco Sirano. Significant work over the past years has also seen much of the site reopened to the public, a point made by the director in a short introduction given to the BSR visitors on arrival at the site, followed by a tour to the current SplendOri exhibition (a highlight being the reconstruction of a scene in a fresco of a table with glass vessels and silver ornaments, which are displayed alongside).

Thanks to the offices of the Parco Archeologico di Ercolano and the wonderful HCP team, the BSR group was given a special tour of the famous theatre of Herculaneum, the point at which the city was once again discovered in 1738 following the sinking of a well. Led by Dr Domenico Camardo, a leading expert on the city, the group was guided in the darkness around the labyrinth of Bourbon tunnels until emerging at the foot of the shaft where the statues that once adorned the scaenae were hauled away.

IMGP6973_NM

Dr Domenico Camardo shows the group around the Bourbon tunnels inside the theatre at Herculaneum (photo by Niccolò Mugnai)

Whilst much of the marble decoration was stripped away in the 17th and 18th centuries to be sold in Naples, the theatre is unique in that much of the coloured stucco inside and the painted exterior are still preserved.

Herculaneum_14_Kay

Relief of the face of Marcus Nonius Balbus (photo by Stephen Kay)

But perhaps the most poignant impression of the devastating effects of the eruption and the subsequent burying of Herculaneum in volcanic mud is seen in the eerie relief of the face of Marcus Nonius Balbus. A statue of the wealthy benefactor of the city was in the theatre, and an impression of the statue (since removed) was left in the solidified volcanic mud.

The two Vesuvian cities are at another remarkable moment in their history. The ongoing work of the Great Pompeii Project and the new phase of research and conservation underway at Herculaneum by the Parco Archeologico di Ercolano and HCP means that these cities are once again flourishing, being returned to the public in a way not seen before. I can only encourage you to go and visit and, if you have been before, go again!

 

 

IMG_7579

Stephen Kay (Archaeology Officer)

Introducing…Peter Campbell, Assistant Director for Archaeology and Archaeological Science

dsc_2810It has been a pleasure to return to the British School at Rome as the Assistant Director for Archaeology and Archaeological Science. As a Research Fellow at the BSR in 2017-2018 working on the Portus Project, I engulfed myself in the community’s mixing of ideas from artists, historians, filmmakers, poets, archaeologists, and the numerous other disciplines that flow through the building. Starting as Assistant Director, I look forward to facilitating this interconnectedness between our awardees, fellows, visitors, students, and the public.

My PhD in archaeology is from the University of Southampton, while my MA (East Carolina University) and BA (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee) were in maritime archaeology and anthropology. My research broadly examines the spread of ideas through Mediterranean maritime connectivity. As a result, I typically work underwater on shipwrecks, harbours, and sunken cities. However, I enjoy terrestrial survey and excavation, frequently working in cave sites (writing the chapter on archaeology in the National Speleological Society’s Caving Basics). Mixing caves and underwater research, I edited the book The Archaeology of Underwater Caves which examines paleolandscapes and ritual sites around the world. I have directed archaeological projects in six countries, mostly concentrated in the central and eastern Mediterranean. Currently, I co-direct the Egadi Islands Survey Project in Sicily and Fournoi Underwater Survey in Greece. My research uses archaeological science such as elemental and molecular analyses, but also UV/IR fluorescence, paleomagnetic dating, isotope analysis.

SONY DSC

Amphorae from part of a reef where a shipwreck occurred. Photo by Vasilis Mentogianis.

Beyond field archaeology, I research the illicit antiquities trade and my work has been used in policy papers and presented to the OSCE, INTERPOL, and UNESCO. I enjoy teaching and have experience in a variety of higher education contexts, as well as taking new approaches to education through digital learning such as FutureLearn and TED Ed . I also maintain an active public profile, publishing articles in New York Times , Bloomberg, and The Guardian, as well as recently appearing on BBC, CNN, History Channel, and National Geographic. I am often found on Twitter @peterbcampbell.

SONY DSC

A diver carefully raises an amphora to the surface. Photo by Vasilis Mentogianis.

I look forward to the challenge of further building existing research projects and finding new research avenues for the BSR. Together with Director Stephen Milner and Assistant Directors Harriet O’Neill (Humanities and Social Sciences) and Martina Caruso (Art, Architecture and the Creative Industries), we are planning a series of impactful events, conferences, and projects. Over the next year, we will host events on subjects such as Object-Oriented Ontology and the Anthropocene, conferences on archaeological science and machine learning, and seek to bridge art and research through exhibitions. As a person who is collaborative at heart, I am thrilled to have a position within such a prestigious interdisciplinary institution.

Peter Campbell (Assistant Director for Archaeology and Archaeological Science)

Portrait photo by Antonio Palmieri. Cover image by Vasilis Mentogianis.


Peter Campbell, along with fellow Assistant Directors Martina Caruso (BSR) and Harriet O’Neill (BSR), will speak in the UK in March.

MONDAY 11 MARCH 2019, 18.00–20.00

A legacy and trajectory of interdisciplinarity at the BSR

The BSR Assistant Directors will examine the origins of the British School at Rome in the early twentieth century, in particular its award-holders’ exploration of art, architecture and archaeology. They will discuss their personal research and the points of connection between them. Continuing the legacy of interdisciplinarity, the talk will examine the pathway forward, and how to pursue this collaborative trajectory into the BSR’s twelfth decade.

This event will be held at the British Academy, 10 Carlton House Terrace, London SW1Y 5AH. Please contact ukevents@bsrome.it if you wish to attend.

BSR at BMTA 2018

The Borsa Mediterranea del Turismo Archeologico saw its 21st edition this year with a rich range of events hosted in the breath-taking surroundings of the Parco Archeologico di Paestum (15-18 November 2018). Tourism and cultural heritage stakeholders, cultural associations, publishers, academics and educators from Italy and other Mediterranean countries (and beyond) took the opportunity to display and promote their activities at this annual fair.

Fig 1

Paestum, Temples of ‘Neptune’ and Hera 

Fig 2

Andriuolo, Tomb 53: slab with depiction of duel and chariot race

Fig 3

Rome stand at BMTA 2018 

Among the numerous initiatives that took place over these four days, particular emphasis was put on themes of cultural exchanges and interrelationships. Given the growing climate of political – and cultural – isolation in countries such as Italy, the UK and the USA, archaeology is crying out for the need to reach out rather than to hide behind physical or ideological borders. Indeed, cultural heritage as a universal value knows no boundaries by definition.

The Dialogues on the Archaeology of Magna Graecia and the Ancient Mediterranean focused on the concepts of ‘Identity and Belonging’, by assessing and comparing different interpretative models. The session was chaired by Emanuele Greco (President of the Fondazione Paestum) and Carmine Ampolo (Accademia dei Lincei and Emeritus Professor of the Scuola Normale di Pisa). It featured talks by international scholars who addressed this subject through the perspective of archaeology, history, art history and philosophy.

Fig 4

Opening of the Dialogues on Magna Graecia and the Mediterranean

Another highlight was the presentation of current archaeological projects in Italy by the foreign institutes in Rome. As customary, this session was run jointly by the Associazione Italiana di Archeologia Classica – AIAC and the Unione Internazionale degli Istituti di Archeologia, Storia e Storia dell’Arte in Roma. This year’s panel included presentations by Kristian Göransson (President of AIAC and Director of the Swedish Institute of Classical Studies in Rome), Ria Berg (Institutum Romanum Finlandiae) and Tesse Stek (Reale Istituto Neerlandese di Roma). This wide range of research projects, including those conducted by the BSR, is of crucial importance for fostering international collaborations. The work carried out by these institutes is not just based in Italy, but is also for Italy and, especially, with Italy – an example of the far-reaching impact of cultural and scientific exchanges. Over the past month the BSR has worked with colleagues from Berlin at Morgantina, with the Swedish Institute at Francavilla and with the British Museum in Sudan.

Fig 5

Panel with the foreign institutes in Rome

Emblematic of this year’s leading theme, one of the principal sessions was dedicated to ‘Intercultural Dialogue as a Universal Value of Identity and Heritage’. Starting with the remembrance of the tragic episodes of the Bardo Museum and the destructions at Palmyra, the discussion was chaired by Stefania Battistini (RAI Tg1 journalist) and featured contributions by Moncef Ben Moussa (Director of the Development of Museums for INP Tunisia), Paolo Verri (Director of the Foundation Matera-Basilicata 2019) and Paolo Matthiae (Director of the archaeological mission in Syria by the University of Rome La Sapienza) among many others. The ‘Khaled al-Asaad Prize 2018’ was awarded to Benjamin Clément (Researcher of Archaeology and Archaeometry at CNRS) for his discovery of the ‘Small Pompeii’ at Vienne (France).

Fig 6

Discussion on the importance of intercultural dialogue 

Alongside the panels in the two conference venues, the Borsa also hosted a number of events at the Archaeological Museum of Paestum: ‘hands-on’ sessions on archaeological artefacts, re-enactments of ancient production techniques, interactive workshops and meetings with archaeologists for schools and the general public. Walking around the museum display of architectural sculpture from the temples of Paestum and the Heraion at Foce del Sele, visitors could experience the wonders of 3D reconstructions and virtual reality. The exhibition ArcheoVirtual 2018 was co-organized by the CNR ITABC Laboratory of Virtual Reality, the MiBAC General Direction of Museums and BMTA. By stimulating the visitors’ visual senses and perception of ancient monuments, the exhibition was a pleasant way to connect past, present and future, thus making archaeological information easily accessible to a broad audience.

Fig 7

Virtual reality in the Archaeological Museum of Paestum

Fig 8

ArcheoVirtual 2018 exhibition

 

Text and photos by Niccolò Mugnai (Research Fellow)

All about Concrete: from the Pantheon to the Present

Last week we held the workshop All about Concrete: from the Pantheon to the Present, the second in the BSR’s series of interdisciplinary research study days in the UK on the historicity of materials and the work of the BSR. This event was generously sponsored by the Concrete Centre and hosted by the University of Liverpool in London. 

IMG_5414

The day, organised by BSR faculty members Vivien Lovell, MaryAnne Stevens and Marco Iuliano, comprised a series of presentations on the use of concrete over two millennia. Speakers highlighted the extreme versatility, strength and plasticity of the material.

Alan Powers (London School of Architecture) opened the day with a keynote presentation exploring ‘Cult Contrete’, which provoked lively debate.

The first panel session, chaired by MaryAnne Stevens, explored the history of the use of concrete. Presentations encompassed over two thousand years of use from ancient Rome to Carlo Scarpa (1906–1978). Janet DeLaine introduced us to the seven virtues of concrete in ancient Rome, while Joseph Rykwert touched on the Renaissance ‘rediscovery’ of ancient concrete techniques. Richard Murphy closed the session, bringing us forward into the twentieth century, with his discussion of Scarpa’s use of water in his architectural projects – an analogy for concrete.

Related image

Giovanni Paolo Panini,
Interior of the Pantheon, Rome
c. 1734

After lunch participants were split into three groups and were treated to a study visit to to the Barbican Estate and Centre. These groups were led simultaneously by Catherine Croft (C20 Society), Dave King (Architect and Barbican Resident) and Vicky Richardson (Writer and Curator, of architecture and design). Even those who thought they knew the Estate well, were surprised to learn that there are over 100 different property types on the estate; that all of the concrete was hand chiselled (including the towers!); and that the water features were dyed to reflect depth.

We reconvened after the visits for the second panel session chaired by Vivien Lovell, which covered the contemporary use of concrete. Artist, Florian Roithmayr presented current work and described his process. Participants were able to see first hand concrete sculptures which Florian had on display throughout the day.

IMG_0005

Concrete sculptures by Florian Roithmayr

Following this, organiser Marco Iuliano was in conversation with photographer Helene Binet, discussing themes in her architectural photographs of concrete structures. Finally Jo Melvin introduced us to the concept of concrete poetry and how it is produced in contemporary art practice.

The afternoon was concluded by two readings. Organiser Vivien Lovell read a poem entitled ‘Times New Roman’ by Pele Cox (written especially for the event) and Vicky Richardson read a passage from J G Ballard’s ‘Concrete Island’.

IMG_5452 (1)

Concluding remarks were given by architect Eric Parry who succinctly synthesised the presentations and the interdisciplinary conversations of the day.

Text and photographs by Natasha Burbridge and Alice Marsh, BSR London Office.

Ancient tokens and their communities

For the month of October, BSR alumna Clare Rowan has been staying at the BSR to conduct fieldwork for her European Research Council funded project Token Communities in the Ancient Mediterranean. Here she tells us more about her own research on the subject, and the project’s workshop that was held here at the BSR last week.

Tokens in antiquity were monetiform objects, largely made of lead, that were created across the Mediterranean at a very local level. Tokens likely served a variety of purposes: they might aid in governmental procedures (e.g. Athens), serve as banquet tickets (e.g. Palmyra), were used in cults and festivals (e.g. in Rome), and may also have served as a sort of currency at times, particularly in bath houses.

gliti token

Lead token (20mm) from a private collection showing on one side a male head surrounded by the legend P GLITI GALLI; the other side shows a rooster carrying a wreath and palm branch. The image is a visual pun on the name of Gallus, which meant ‘rooster’ in Latin.

The find spots of tokens aid us in understanding how they were used. Their imagery reveals information about ancient identities, imagery and ancient joie de vivre. While at the BSR, I have been focusing on the tokens of Rome and Ostia, working at Ostia to look through the archives of excavations (Giornali degli Scavi) for tokens and token moulds found in the port. I have also been cataloguing the token collections in the Museo Nazionale Palazzo Massimo, the Capitoline Museums, as well as a collection that was recently acquired by the Archaeological Museum at Palestrina. This last collection consists of more than 1000 specimens, many of which are new types. By using archival and library materials to locate where token moulds (made of palombino or lunense marble) and lead casting waste are found, I have been able to begin to identify that tokens were privately manufactured across both Rome and Ostia, connecting particular types to particular buildings, and even particular tabernae.

lighthouse token

Lead token (22mm) from a private collection showing the lighthouse of Portus on one side and the legend ANT on the other.

A workshop was also held at the BSR on the 18 and 19 October, Tokens, Value and Identity, Exploring Monetiform Objects in Antiquity and the Middle Ages, organised by a postdoctoral fellow in the project, Antonino Crisà. Scholars from around the world came to discuss tokens from different collections and excavations across the Mediterranean.

palombino token mould harvard

Half of a palombino marble mould for casting circular tokens showing Fortuna holding a rudder and cornucopiae. Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Transfer from the Alice Corinne McDaniel Collection, Department of the Classics, Harvard University, 2008.118

The workshop underlined the idea that tokens were made very locally, often unique to a particular city – the method of using marble moulds to cast tokens, for example, appears to be found only in Rome and its port. The exchanges among the scholars who attended continued to contribute to the development of a methodology to study these objects, which have not seen serious attention since Rostovtzeff in the 19th century. If you are interested in seeing and learning more about these objects, you can find the blog entries of the team members here: https://blogs.warwick.ac.uk/numismatics/tag/token/

tokens workshop bsr

Speakers at the Tokens, Value and Identity Conference

Clare Rowan (Associate Professor, University of Warwick and former BSR-Macquarie Gale Rome Scholar)