Postgraduate Open Day

Join Us On 19 October 2018

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The Society of Antiquaries of London has the largest antiquarian library in the country, with a collection spanning items from the 10th century to present day, reflecting 300 years of research and scholarship into the history and material remains of Great Britain and other countries.

Spend the day learning about our collections and resources that can help you with your research. Hear from Fellows of the Society who are experts in their fields. Network with other postgraduate students and early-career researchers. Spend time in the Library, exploring our collections.

Aimed at early-career researchers and students currently undertaking or about to begin postgraduate studies.

A complimentary lunch will be provided!


Although this event is free, space is limited and reservations are required. A programme (with schedule) will be distributed to registered guests closer to the event.

Questions? Send an email to

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Morning Session (Meeting Room)

  • 9.30-10.00am - Registration (Tea and Coffee available)
  • 10.00-10.15am - Welcome
  • 10.15-10.45am - History of the Society and an overview of its collections (Heather Rowland, Head of Library and Collections)

10.45-11.00am - Break

  • 11.00-11.45am - Getting started with your research (Dr Amara Thornton, Honorary Research Associate, University College London, Institute of Archaeology)
  • 11.45-12.20pm - How the Society supports research: grants and publications (Professor Chris Scull, Honorary Director, Visiting Professor, Dept Archaeology & Conservation, Cardiff University, and Institute of Archaeology, University College London, and Lavinia Porter, Publications Manager)
  • 12.20-12.30pm - Questions and close of morning session

12.20-1.30pm - Lunch (the library will be open during the lunch break)

Afternoon Workshops (1.30-4.30pm)

Sessions A (Meeting Room)

  • 1.30-2.20pm - Seals as a resource (Dr Elizabeth New, Aberystwyth University Dept. of History & Welsh History)
  • 2.30-3.20pm - Heraldry and heraldic resources (Dr Adrian Ailes, Visiting Fellow, Bristol University & VP Heraldry Society)
  • 3.30-4.20pm - Medieval history resources (Professor Stephen Church, University of East Anglia, School of History)

Sessions B (Council Room)

  • 1.30-2.30pm - History of collecting (Professor Maurice Howard, OBE, Professor History of Art, University of Sussex)
  • 2.30-3.20pm - Prints & drawings as a resource for designed landscape and estate history (Dr Ann Benson, Associate, Institute for the Study of Welsh Estates, University of Wales)

Sessions C (Fellows Room)

  • 1.30-2.20pm - Archaeology (Professor Chris Scull)
  • 2.30-3.20pm - Society of Antiquaries archives (Adrian James FSA)
  • 3.30-4.20pm -Visual representations and the Antiquaries (Professor Stephanie Moser FSA, University of Southampton Dept. of Archaeology) 

Evening Roundup

4.30-6.00pm - Library open to delegates


Our PG Open Day has inspired a few students to write about their visits and related research. Read more from Evonne on Wednesday and Cypriot Art Leeds.

More About the Library Collection

The Society’s Library has an outstanding collection, particularly of historic material on British archaeology, local and architectural history. Beyond this, the subject coverage ranges from European archaeology to the historic environment, the decorative arts (especially medieval), heraldry and numismatics. The Library’s holdings reflect nearly 300 years of research into the history and material remains of Great Britain and other countries.

The Library collection includes:

  • Printed books (ca. 130,000 volumes, representing ca. 60,000 titles). Remarkable among the historic collection of printed books are 52 incunables and particularly rich holdings of 18th-19th century county histories as well as other publications relating to British and foreign archaeology and architectural history. The modern printed collection, in as far as it relates to archaeology, covers not only the UK and Ireland, but also contains a wealth of publications on European archaeology (covering northern, eastern as well as southern Europe), in many instances not represented in any other UK library.
  • Periodicals (ca. 2,800 titles of which 860 are current), including:
    • a unique collection of British county journals (almost always the complete run, going back to the very first issue)
    • most British and Irish archaeological journals
    • an outstanding collection of European archaeological journals, in some cases going back to the early 19th century and before
    • a small collection of titles covering the history of art, architecture and decorative arts, as well as heraldry and numerous other subjects relating to the Society’s research interests.
  • Broadsides (1,000) and Proclamations (2,000) dating from the late medieval/early modern period to the 19th century.
  • The Lowther Collection of Civil War tracts (ca. 2,000 items).
  • Numerous historic collections of manuscript material relating mostly to the history and archaeology of Great Britain (often representing the lifetime’s work notes and drawings of 18th- and 19th-century scholars).
  • Topographical drawings (ca. 30,000)
  • Just over 1,020 historical manuscripts, ranging in date from the 10th to the 20th century, relating largely to antiquities, local history and heraldry, including also a number of outstanding illuminated manuscripts, three copies of Magna Carta, an inventory of Henry VIII, a royal wardrobe inventory of 1627 and much more.

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