100 Year of Female Antiquaries

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100 Year of Female Antiquaries

March 9, 2020 @ 12:00 pm - 5:00 pm


Seminar organised with support from Amara Thornton FSA

This year the Society celebrates 100 years since we elected female Fellows. To mark this momentous occasion we are holding a seminar to highlight the role of female Fellows in the Society and in particular the first female Antiquaries and their legacy.

This is a free event but booking is essential.

Speakers include Dr Amara Thornton FSA, Dr Jennifer Wexler FSA and Professor David Gill FSA.

Programme is subject to change  

11:45 am – Registration

12.00am:  Welcome from former President of the Society of Antiquaries, Gill Andrews Hon VPSA

Session 1:

  • 12:15 – Dr Amara Thornton FSAA Flock of Fellows: Introducing some of the early women FSAs 

This talk will introduce some of the early women who were elected FSAs between the 1920s and the 1950s, a time of great change for women in Britain.  Drawing on research in the Society’s blue papers, it will discuss how these women were presented to their peers and explore some of the networks that are revealed in the archive.

  • 12:45 – Ellie MilesResearching the lives and work of Margot Eates and Hartley Ramsden: the role of partnership and passions

Margot Eates was an archaeologist and museum curator; she presented the first TV archaeology and led the London Museum through the second world war. Eates worked and lived in London in the twentieth century with her partner Hartley Ramsden. They worked together throughout their lives and their papers are now kept in the Tate’s archive. This research looks at how their relationship and work were sustained and inextricably linked, how they supported one another through their lives and how Eates’ career was formed through her loving relationship with Ramsden.

  • 13:15 – Dr Christne Finn FSAJacquetta Hawkes FSA: An Excavated Life

Jacquetta Hawkes (1910 – 1996) was a pioneer in public archaeology: first as the wife of a notable prehistorian, Christopher Hawkes, and then as the wife of the notable playwright, JB Priestley, placing her at the heart of British postwar culture. By the time of her death, Hawkes’s own legacy appeared notably buried. When Christine Finn rescued her papers, she began what was to become a 25-year literary excavation. Finn reflects on the many layers of Hawkes’s personal and professional past – with, and without, the men who for so long defined her.

13.45 – 14:15 Break Tea/Coffee & Light refreshments (lunch not included)

Session 2:

  • 14:15 – Prof David Gill FSAWinifred Lamb: from the Argolid to Anatolia

Winifred Lamb (1894–1963) was a pioneering archaeologist conducting fieldwork in Greece and Turkey. She read classics at Newnham College, Cambridge, where Dorothy Garrod was her contemporary, before joining Room 40 at the Admiralty in the later stages of the First World War. She was admitted as a student of the British School at Athens in the autumn of 1920 and excavated at Mycenae with Alan J.B. Wace and Carl Blegen. She subsequently worked on the British excavations at Sparta (1924) and in Macedonia (1925, 1929), before directing her own excavation at Thermi on Lesbos (1929–33). Her work on Lesbos was recognised by her election as a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries on 25 February 1932, and later by the award of a ScD from the University of Cambridge (1940). After work on Chios (1934), she directed the excavation of the Bronze Age site of Kusura in western Turkey (1935–37).

  • 14:45 – Dr Jennifer Wexler FSA:Choose Your Own Adventure? Using Digital Meanderings and Archaeological Enchantments via Winifred Lamb and Beyond

Over the last year the Fitzwilliam Museum, University of Cambridge has been looking at how creative, digital tools can be used for developing new and exciting ways to tell stories around museum research and archaeological collections. Inspired by the work of Winifred Lamb, former honorary Keeper of Greek Antiquities at the Fitzwilliam Museum (1920 – 1958), this project allows audiences to be exploratory using digitally-connected mixed media to discover different routes, places, objects, and stories via our Museum in a Box, with Lamb acting as our guide to the collection. Lamb not only modernised and greatly-enhanced the Classical collections at the Fitzwilliam, she was also an active field archaeologist who worked extensively across Greece and Turkey, discovering a previously-unrecorded prehistoric link between the Aegean, Turkey, and the Balkans. The world represented by this box (an old chest) is essentially that of Winifred Lamb’s – an archaeologist’s ‘dig box’ full of archives and objects sent back to the museum for audiences to explore and help curate. The goal of the project has been to not only highlight women’s contributions to archaeology but to explore different narrative journeys around how archaeologists study the past and understand the connections between islands in the Mediterranean, as well as broader issues around modern island identities.

This project has been developed as part of the AHRC-funded Creative Economy Engagement Fellowship in conjunction with the Being An Islander Project.

  • 15:15 – Panel Session: Chaired by Emma Carver FSA

Janet Miller FSA Chief Executive MOLA

Dr Gillian Hey FSA Chief Executive Oxford Archaeology

Dr Janet Owen FSA Executive Director, The Earth Museum

Victoria Bryant FSA Manager, Worcestershire Archive and Archaeology Service

Prof Rosemary Sweet FSA Professor of Urban History, School of History, Politics and International Relations

16.00 – Close by Paul Drury PSA [Wine Reception in the Library]

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March 9, 2020
12:00 pm - 5:00 pm
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Society of Antiquaries of London
Burlington House, Piccadilly
London, W1J 0BE United Kingdom
020 7479 7080


Society of Antiquaries of London
020 7479 7080
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