Section Newsletter #4 – October

October 2015

Welcome to the October 2015 edition of the IOA World Archaeology Section Newsletter.

‘Off The Record’ World Archaeology Section Lunch time Discussions – Thinking Megalithic special

We’re delighted to announce details of a special megalith focused series of lunchtime discussions for November. Speakers include Sue Hamilton, Mike Parker Pearson, Susanna Harris and, for the first time, a post-graduate student; Barney Harris. Whilst these discussions address archaeology from disparate times and places they are united in their focus on megalithic architecture.

The series is kicking off with Barney’s talk — Roll me a great stone: the megalithic roller hypothesis and other legends  — this Thursday Nov. 5th at the slightly later time of 1pm. We are still seeking more input from the section post-graduate community – if you’re interested in talking please contact Andrew Brown to find out about available dates.


Section member: Richard Bussmann reports on fieldwork in Egypt

Provincial life in Egypt: Fieldwork at Zawyet Sultan


Ancient Egypt is best known for its pyramids, temples, and hieroglyphs. But how did the life of local communities look like? A first season of fieldwork jointly organised by UCL, the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities and Pisa University and funded by the Egypt Exploration Society took place in September 2015 to survey the archaeological site of Zawyet Sultan. The site was home of a provinicial capital in the Nile Valley during Pharaonic times and is the historical forerunner of the modern city of el-Minya. The project aims to explore community life in the Pharaonic hinterland through time at a local level and in the context of regional settlement dynamics.


The survey resulted in the discovery of previously unkonwn cemeteries dating to the early Pharaonic period (ca. 2700 BC), the time of Egypt’s empire (ca. 1300 BC), and the Roman period (ca. 300 AD). Another extensive Pharaonic cemetery was overbuilt by a settlement in Roman times, when the community expanded. The mud bricks of the Roman town were used as fertilisers on the fields, probably in the 19th century, but tons of pottery that remained on site shed light on the busy life of the community up to the early Islamic period, when the site was abandoned and a new regional centre formed at modern el-Minya. Whether the small royal pyramid, built at around 2700 BC and now dominating the site, was still visible at this time or had long been forgotten is a question of future research.

Today, Zawyet Sultan is a village attached to a large Muslim cemetery. The founder of the Egyptian feminist union and anti-British activist Hoda Sha’arawy (1879-1947) is buried here. Her tomb, a destiny for visitors and friends from across the world, probably stands on parts of the ancient settlement. Past and present history are closely intertwined at the site and the study of one does not go without the other. Future activities are intended to explore local life over time up to the present day.

Two UCL students took part in the project. Marta Krzyzanska (MSc GIS and Spatial Analysis) explained the total station to one of our Egyptian colleagues. Kristian Brink (MA Egyptian Archaeology) tested the use of a GoPro camera attached to a long pole for aerial photography. The collaboration of students, archaeologists and Egyptologists from Egypt and Europe was a great success. We look forward to meeting everybody again next season!

For more information, see

News & Announcements

Professor Kevin MacDonald on BBC Radio 4’s In our Time

Professor MacDonald and guests discussed the Empire of Mali which flourished from 1200 to 1600 and was famous in the wider world for the wealth of rulers such as Mansa Musa.

Listen again

Making practice perfect: approaches to everyday life in Roman archaeology


The ‘Making practice perfect’ workshop will be a one-day event focussed on ‘practice theories’, organised into three sessions: ‘Structuration and related traditions’; ‘Practice theory and materiality’; and ‘Comparative perspectives’, in which we want to pursue dialogues between Romanists and archaeologists of other complex societies.

Saturday 30th January 2016, UCL Institute of Archaeology

More information

AFRICAN CIVILIZATIONS: Kongo Art and the Rethinking of Civilisation

Barbaro Martinez-Ruiz (Michaelis School of Fine Art, University of Capetown)

The lecture will focus on agency in Kongo society, exploring a complex state of social development in which legal, political, religious and visual systems motivate responses to and interpretations of Kongo cultural principles in the Atlantic world. Martinez-Ruiz will argue that the myriad forms of communication known as Ndinga i Sinsu seamlessly integrate into a wide range of audio and visual communicative techniques that he terms ‘graphic writing systems’.

Thursday 5 November 2015, 6-7.30 p.m.

Location: Gordon Street (25) E28 Harrie Massey Lecture Theatre

More information

Thank you to our Mphil/PhD Student Reps

A big thank you to both the incumbent and newly nominated Mphil/PhD student reps who organised an excellent staff and student Halloween party this month! We look forward to the next social.

Liz’s Future Medical Fund

Liz Frood in Oxford, who acted as an external examiner for the Institute from 2012 to 2014, is currently undergoing life-changing surgery of her hands and legs, following a septic shock earlier this summer. I would like to draw your attention to a fund that has been established to assist with future medical costs.

Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellowships

UCL has confirmed its support for the Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellowship scheme for 2016/17

The Institute of Archaeology internal deadline for applications will be 5pm on Monday 7 December 2015.

These applications will then be considered by an IoA panel, comprising of the Director, the Chair of Research Committee, Deputy Chair of Research Committee, Graduate Tutor and a previous Fellowship-holder, and nominations will be put forward for consideration by the Faculty panel

More information

Section research

Detecting and Understanding Historical Lansdcapes

PCA-studies-landscape-coverAndrew Reynolds has co-edited with Alexandra Chavarría Arnau a new book on Detecting and Understanding Historic Landscapes.

The origins of this book lay in the international summerschool “Detecting and interpreting landscape transfomations” held in the inspiring setting of the Euganean Hills south of Padua, Italy in September 2013.

More information

Susanna_Harris_1_LDHarris, S.M. (2015). Folded, layered textiles from a Bronze Age pit pyre excavated from Over Barrow 2, Cambridgeshire. .. In Grömer, K., Pritchard, F. (Eds.), Aspects of the Design, Production and Use of Textiles and Clothing from the Bronze Age to the Early Modern Era. NESAT XII. The North European Symposium of Archaeological Textiles, 21st – 24th May 2014 in Hallstatt, Austria.. (pp. 49-57). Budapest: Archaeolingua.

VB_bw_1Legarra Herrero, B. 2015. A Square tomb with a round soul. In The Myrtos Pyrgos tomb in the funerary context of Middle Bronze Age Crete. In In Macdonald, C, Hatzaki, E, and Andreou, S, (eds) The Great Islands: Studies of Crete and Cyprus Presented to Gerald Cadogan. Kapon Editions., 76-81.

KevinMacDonald_photo_greyscaleRichard, F., MacDonald, K.C., e.d.s. (2015). Ethnic Ambiguity and the African Past: Materiality, History, and the Shaping of Cultural Identities. Walnut Creek, California: Left Coast Press.

Conferences & events

Annual Conference 2015: Coastal and Maritime Archaeology of the Modern Era

21 November — 22 November 2015

The Society for Post-Medieval Archaeology is pleased to be partnering with the Nautical Archaeology Society to host a joint conference in Portsmouth on Saturday 21st and Sunday 22nd November 2015, at the University of Portsmouth’s Portland Building.

More information

LAHP Pathways into Public Policy Engagement (PPPE)

The London Arts & Humanities Partnership has developed a public policy engagement programme, Pathways into Public Policy Engagement (PPPE), for late-stage PGRs and early-stage ECRs.

As places are capped at 24 per session and will be offered on a first-come-first-served basis, please register using the online form by 23rd November. Your place will be confirmed after the deadline. Events include:

Government, Civil Society and Law policy
2 December 2015

Humanities, Health and Society
3 December 2015

Language and Policy Matters
7 December 2015

Being Human Festival

Being Human is the UK’s only national festival of the humanities. From philosophy in pubs, history in coffeehouses, classics on social media and language lessons on street corners – the festival provides new ways to experience how the humanities can inspire and enrich our everyday lives.

Here’s my pick of the best London based events:

Maya art journeys

An overview of the British Museum’s Mexico gallery will precede a look at the Yaxchilán lintels, extraordinary 8th-century AD stone carvings from the ruined Maya city of Yaxchilán, an archaeological site in what is now southern Mexico.

Medieval music: chant as cure and miracle

During this free public lecture Professor Christopher Page will highlight the cripple who crawled into a French abbey in the 12th century and, while the monks were singing, began to cry aloud and extend his contorted limbs.

Post anarchism – public lecture

Saul Newman, professor of political theory at Goldsmiths, will give a public lecture on post anarchism, an anarchist-inspired political theory he has developed to explain contemporary forms of resistance to neoliberalism.

A historical walk through brilliant Bloomsbury

This guided history walk leads visitors through this remarkably brainy and often controversial part of London with stories about the eminent scientists, physicians and cultural figures who lived and worked in the area and the surprising connections, scandals and sources of inspiration that they found here.

Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS) 2015 conference

Monday 23 November, 10.00–16.30 BP Lecture Theatre, British Museum Free, booking required Tea/coffee provided

More information


Please note that the call for sessions for the eighth World Archaeological Congress is now open and full details on session format and the proposal form are available on the WAC8 website (

Against Delivery

On 12-13 November 2015 the Slade School of Fine Art, UCL, doctoral programme will be hosting a two-
day research event under the auspices of the European Artistic Research Network (EARN) and the London Arts and Humanities Partnership (LAHP) entitled Against Delivery. The event will take place at the Slade Research Centre Woburn Square in central London and is open to staff and students from UCL, LAHP and EARN.

More information

Area Studies in the 21st Century

Centre for East European Language Based Area Studies  would like to remind you that registration for Conference “Area Studies in the 21st Century” which takes place on 9th November and Workshop “Eastern Europe without Borders” which takes place on 10th November is still open but  it will close on 5 November at 6.00 pm.

More information

Conference: Climate Change and Human Society Resilience, Impact and Perceptions in the Past and Present

Interdisciplinary postgraduate conference, 4th – 5th December 2015
Durham University, Department of Archaeology

Conference website

Conference: The Neolithic and Early Bronze Age Research Student Symposium

NEBARSS is an annual conference for postgraduate and early career researchers; the conference aims to promote PhD and Masters level research into the Neolithic and Early Bronze Age of Britain and Ireland.The 2015 NEBARSS Conference will be held at the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne on Friday 20th and Saturday 21st November 2015.

Conference website

Call for papers:12th International Congress of Cretan Studies

All wishing to participate in the Congress are invited to submit an abstract of 300-500 words of their proposal at the electronic platform, from the 15th of July to the 30th of November 2015.

Call for papers: The Prehistoric Society Europa Conference 2016

Dynamics of Art, Design, and Vision in Iron Age Europe. University of Edinburgh, 3–4 June 2016. The Prehistoric Society and the University of Edinburgh School of History, Classics and Archaeology invite early career researchers to submit a paper proposal for the Europa Conference.

More information

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