NEAF Saturday Seminar series: Great Archaeologists 3 – School of Humanities NEAF Saturday Seminar series: Great Archaeologists 3 – School of Humanities

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NEAF Saturday Seminar series: Great Archaeologists 3

Great Archaeologists | Saturday Seminar Series

10.00am Dr Kate da Costa | Two extraordinary early archaeologists – Gertrude Caton Thompson and Gertrude Bell

As a side-line during her extensive career in Palaeolithic Egypt, Gertrude Caton Thompson led an all-female expedition to undertake the third examination of Great Zimbabwe in 1928. Unlike earlier investigators, she was sure it was part of a local African cultural tradition. Her conclusions rested on field techniques not commonly used at the time – she was meticulous in recording where artefacts were found within a stratified excavation, and she made use of air surveys to identify sites. She dug mainly in Egypt, although her work stretched from Malta to Yemen. She was ‘The Archaeologist’ Freya Stark struggled to deal with during their winter in Arabia.

Gertrude Bell is possibly best known for her political work, above all in the establishment of modern Iraq and the installation of Hashemite kings in several Middle Eastern countries after World War I. Her authority was based on decades of travel from 1892 in the Levant, Mesopotamia and Persia (using the terminology of the time), her fluency in Farsi, Arabic, and her understanding of the cultures and heritage of the region.

She is buried in Baghdad, not far from the National Museum she established, operating under the antiquities laws she drafted, and the British School she endowed. But she was no mere patron. She worked with Ramsay at Binbirkilise, mapped Ukhaidir, and was involved in excavations at Carchemish, Nuzi and Ur. She wrote to her father: “If you had read the latest German archaeology books, you would be wild with excitement at seeing where I am”. (The Desert and the Sown, 1907)

11.00 am Professor Keith Dobney* | Don Brothwell: The Birth of Archaeological Science

Donald Reginald Brothwell, FRAI (1933 – 26 September 2016) was a British archaeologist, anthropologist and academic, who specialised in human palaeoecology and environmental archaeology. He had worked at the University of Cambridge, the British Museum, and the Institute of Archaeology of University of London, before ending his career as Professor of Human Palaeoecology at the University of York.

He has been described as “one of the pioneers in the field of archaeological science”.

*We are delighted that Head of School, Professor Keith Dobney will present this, his first lecture to our NEAF audience.


About the series

The history of archaeology is marked by significant figures, some for their discoveries that changed the discipline forever, others for the new perspectives gained from their seminal writings, and still others through the sheer force of their personalities.

This Series will examine the lives and times of nine major figures in archaeology, some famous for discovery (Woolley, Petrie, Caton-Thompson, Bass, Mellaart), some for new perspectives on the field (Childe, Brothwell) and some for intrepid early explorations (Stark, Bell). All, through their research, writings and discovery changed the field of archaeology forever.

This fully illustrated lecture series will explore the life and works of a selection of great archaeologists and explorers, discuss their significance to their contemporaries, and how their work is considered today.

  • The lectures will be held remotely via Zoom.
  • The lecture will start at 10am with a break at 10.45, then the second lecture will begin at 11 am and finish at 11.45.
  • The lecturer will be available to answer questions at the end of each session.
  • The cost of the series is:
    • NEAF Members: $20 per session All 4 sessions: $60
    • Non-Members $30 per session All 4 sessions: $90
    • All students are free
    • A minimum of 20 is required for each lecture for this series to run – our upper limit is 300 per lecture.
  • Once payment is received a receipt and Meeting ID and password will be sent to you.
  • To avoid this being passed onto anyone who has not paid, participants will be matched against a list by their screen name to ensure they are a financial participant. Please ensure your zoom screen name correctly identifies you or telephone number if you are connecting via telephone and add this in the area provided when you book.


Please click here to book for this seminar


Hosted by the Near Eastern Archaeology Foundation (NEAF)

Enquiries and RSVP:
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Apr 24 2021


Followed by a drinks and a chat with the lecturer
10:00 am - 12:00 pm

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+61 2 9351 4151

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