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Exploring the Collections at the British Museum, 5 dates from 1st November

1st November 2018



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The course will run on the following Thursdays: 1 Nov, 8 Nov, 22 Nov, 6 Dec, 13 Dec

The British Museum holds one of the greatest collections of art & antiquities in the world, spanning 2 million years of human history & representing both ancient & living cultures. Founded in the Age of Enlightenment as a place of cross-cultural engagement it still strives today to reveal & explain these different cultures to a global audience.

This 5-day course, spread over 5 weeks in November & December, will look at 5 key areas & put some of the most important objects in the British Museum into their historical context. The sessions will be presented by BBG Adrienne Oddey who has been tutoring at the BM on the London Training course since 2006.

Each day will consist of 2 lectures at the Guild in the morning (one to be an in-depth case study of a particular artefact) & 2 gallery tours at the BM in the afternoon. Handouts will be made available that will cover key dates & names.

Week 1: Mesopotamia/Assyria:

Lecture 1: the wider context of Mesopotamia, the rise & fall of the Assyrian Empire & the modern threat to Iraqi cultural heritage

Lecture 2 (case study): Lion Hunt reliefs & King Ashurbanipal’s Library

Gallery visit 1: palace reliefs from Nimrud, Khorsabad & Nineveh

Gallery visit 2: Mesopotamian Galleries (including the earliest civilisations, the Royal Tomb of Ur & tablets from Ashurbanipal’s library)

Week 2: Ancient Greece:

Lecture 1: early Cycladic & Minoan civilisations to the golden age of classical Athens (including the Trojan War & an introduction to Greek mythology)

Lecture 2 (case study): Parthenon Marbles

Gallery visit 1: the Cycladic & Minoan collections & the development of Greek vases

Gallery visit 2: the Parthenon & other monumental sculptures (Nereid Monument & the Bassae Frieze, if available) up to the age of Alexander the Great

Week 3: Ancient Rome:

Lecture 1: the foundation of Rome, the Republic and the rise & fall of the Empire

Lecture 2 (case study): Mildenhall Treasure

Gallery visit 1: Roman Britain

Gallery visit 2: the Etruscans & other aspects of the Roman Empire (including the Portland Vase)

Week 4: Ancient Egypt:

Lecture 1: from pre-dynastic Egypt to the age of the Pharaohs & the arrival of the Greeks

Lecture 2 (case study): the Rosetta Stone & the decipherment of hieroglyphs

Gallery visit 1: highlights of the Egyptian Sculpture Gallery

Gallery visit 2: Early Egypt (including Gebelein Man) & the related cultures of Sudan & Nubia

Week 5: British Isles:

Lecture 1: the pre-history of the British Isles (including the Bronze Age & Iron Age) & the age of the Anglo-Saxons

Lecture 2 (case study): Sutton Hoo ship burial

Gallery visit 1: Bronze Age, Iron Age & Anglo-Saxon Britain

Gallery visit 2: medieval Britain & Europe

Practical information:

The course will run on the following Thursdays: 1 Nov, 8 Nov, 22 Nov, 6 Dec, 13 Dec

Lectures will begin at 10am in the Guild Office & gallery tours will begin at 2pm in the British Museum (meeting place to be advised each day). Ample time will be given to travel to the BM each day & have lunch. Expected finishing time each day is 4.30pm (there will be a comfort break between each lecture & gallery visit).

Places available:  20 places

Cost:  £280 per person non refundable

Note: The BM has recently announced an Ashurbanipal exhibition that will open later this year – as a result, parts of the Lion Hunt relief & of Ashurbanipal’s Library are likely to be missing. The order of the course may change if gallery closures are announced nearer the time.


1st November 2018
Event Category:


Guild House
52d Borough High St
London, SE1 1XN United Kingdom


Adrienne Oddey