The course will examine the social, cultural and economic factors that have influenced consumption in the human past via a wide range of archaeological evidence from around the world. Dates: Monday 4 June – 2 July 2018 Times: 10.00 am – 12.00 pm Number of weeks: 5 Venue: Newarke Houses Museum, The Newarke, Leicester LE2 7BY Tutor: Stephanie Vann Price: £38.50 […]
One of the civilisations mentioned during the course was the Assyrians, including one of their Kings, Ashurbanipal, and his library. Before the sun never set on the British Empire; before Genghis Khan swept the steppe; before Rome extended its influence to encircle the Mediterranean Sea; there was ancient Assyria. Considered by historians to be the first true empire, Assyria’s innovations laid the groundwork for every superpower that has followed. Marian H Feldman details the rise and fall of the Assyrian Empire.
Curator Mathilde Touillon-Ricci shares her research into the letters of Old Assyrian traders and the sometimes surprising ways in which they get around paying taxes
In this episode Curator Mathilde Touillon-Ricci explains the ancient Assyrian postal system and shows a number of rare examples of Assyrian envelopes – which don’t differ all that much from those still used today.
In our final session, we looked at religion and belief in Mesopotamia and their link to the rise of complex societies. We considered Mesopotamian deities, comparing and contrasting them to other, perhaps more familiar mythologies such as Graeco-Roman and Ancient Egyptian. We also examined case study sites such as Göbekli Tepe and the Royal Cemetery of Ur.
In this video from the British Museum Curator’s Corner series, Irving Finkel talks Mesopotamian demons, ghosts and sprites and how to deal with them:
In this video, artefacts and treasures from the Royal Tombs of Ur are re-examined:
In our last session on Iron Age Leicestershire, we looked at the end of the Iron Age and the arrival of the Romans. This English Heritage webpage discusses the Iron Age Kings and their Roman Connections, whilst in this BBC Radio 4 programme from 2003, Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the Romans in Britain.
Historian Bettany Hughes explores what made Britain so attractive to the ancient Romans that they made it a province of their great empire:
This animation explores life in Britain during the Roman Invasion and Boudica’s rebellion in 60AD:
In our last session, we looked at trade in ancient Mesopotamia, touching on related concepts such as transportation and money such as the gold coin of Croesus, which was featured in A History of the World in 100 Objects, the podcast of which is available to listen to online.
Overland trade routes to the north and west followed the Euphrates and Tigris rivers, while to the east routes passed through the Zagros Mountains onto the resource rich Iranian plateau and beyond. The sea route via the Persian Gulf to the Arabian Sea and the Indus Valley was also very active.
In our last session, we discussed the topic of daily life in the Iron Age in Leicestershire. What was life like in an Iron Age village? How did Iron Age people live? What did they eat? What did they wear? For those who are interested in finding out more about the latter, it is possible to search the Portable Antiquities Scheme database to discover more about what small objects e.g. brooches have been discovered in the county.
This video clip on family life in the Iron Age was originally filmed for for the Museum of Liverpool Life.
In our last session we discussed the origins of writing, in particular the development of cuneiform. This included a brief look at the Epic of Gilgamesh and the Cyrus Cylinder as examples of texts written in cuneiform.
Below are two videos which discuss the Cyrus Cylinder and its significance in more detail:
The Hallaton Treasure, which can be seen at the Harborough Museum in Leicestershire, was discovered in 2000 by metal detectorist, Ken Wallace, and other volunteers from the Hallaton Fieldwork Group. Along with the Hallaton Fieldwork group, The University of Leicester Archaeological Services (ULAS) began excavating what turned out to be one of the most important Iron Age sites in Britain. They discovered over 5,000 glittering coins, mysterious offerings and a beautiful and unique 1st century Roman cavalry helmet as part of what is known as the Hallaton Treasure project.
– The Hallaton Treasure: evidence of a new kind of shrine? (Current Archaeology)
– The Hallaton Hoard (Portable Antiquities Scheme)
– The Iron Age and Roman East Leicestershire Hoards (British Museum)
– The Hallaton Treasure (Wikipedia)
– Hallaton helmet unveiled after nine-year restoration (BBC News)
– Hallaton Roman coin is ‘oldest found in Britain’ (BBC News)
In our last session we discussed the rise of the first cities, in particular Uruk, but also Ur, Jericho and Çatalhöyük. This short video clip shows a CGI reconstruction of the Shrine of the Hunters at Çatalhöyük:
Ian Hodder has been involved with the Çatalhöyük excavation for some years and in this video he talks about the ‘Origins of Settled Life: Göbekli and Çatalhöyük’:
In our second session about Iron Age Leicestershire, we looked at the topic of settlement, investigating both hillforts and roundhouses. One of the sites we examined was the hillfort at Burrough Hill which was the subject of a training excavation by the University of Leicester from 2010 – 2014. Information about the project’s findings, including posters presenting each season’s discoveries, are available on their website.
This news clip, which aired on BBC East Midlands Today, relates to an Iron Age skeleton discovered at Burrough Hill:
This video by the University of Leicester discusses recent Iron Age finds from Glenfield Park:
There is an article, published in the BBC Countryfile magazine, which provides more information about British hillforts and recommends some that they consider worth a visit.
You may also want to check out Atlas of Hillforts website; if you agree to their Terms and Conditions, then click OK, you can explore the map of hillforts in Britain and Ireland.
The BBC History website has an animated reconstruction of an Iron Age roundhouse, which may also be of interest.