Activities

To book any WMF Britain event, please click on title or call 0207 2518142
(credit cards accepted).

Mar 2016


THE PAST TODAY - The World's Largest Archaeological Project: Using new technology to crowd-source ancient lives in Egypt

Tue 1
Mar
7pm

Public Talk

100 years ago two English archaeologists completed their excavations of the ancient Egyptian town of Oxyrhynchus, and a new science was born: papyrology.  From the town’s rubbish dumps they recovered over 500,000 papyrus fragments recording an extraordinary collection of poems, plays, private letters, tax receipts, wills and government circulars, dating from the 1st to the 6th centuries AD.  New works by Sappho, sit-coms by Menander, the words of Sophocles, Euclid, Thucydides, Plato, Homer and Euripides, and some of the earliest written versions of the Christian gospels, have all come to light from the hand of Egyptian scribes writing over 1,500 years ago.   

Dr Dirk Obbink, Fellow and Tutor from Oxford University and a career papyrologist, will be talking about the collection, which is held in the Ashmolean Museum, and his collaboration with astrophysicists on the Ancient Lives project. Now in its fifth year, this innovative programme allows people from across the world to take part in the transcription of Oxyrhynchus’ priceless texts.

And the results are astonishing: the big classical literary names continue to emerge from the ink, but it is also the pace and rhythm of everyday life in Greco-Roman Egypt ago that fascinates.  Meet Juda, who fell off his horse and needs two nurses to turn him over; Sabina, who hit Syra with her key and put her in bed for four days; Apollonius and Sarapias, who send a thousand roses and four thousand narcissuses for the wedding of a friend’s son.  Need a cure for ulcers or for the treatment of hemorrhoids or poor eyes? Alternatively, 'For drunken headache: wear leaves of Alexandrian chamaedaphne strung together.' The papyri may have an answer.

TICKETS: WMF Members: £15.00, Non-members: £20.00, Students: £5 

Drinks with the speaker following the talk £10 per ticket (International Councillors, Capital and Keystone Supporters - complementary ticket - please call the number below to book your place).

Royal Geographical Society, 1 Kensington Gore, London SW7 2AR

To book please call: 020 7251 8142 or book online


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Apr 2016


THE PAST TODAY - Clumps & Concrete: 300 years of Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown

Tue 26
Apr
7pm

Public Talk

For a nation renowned for its love of gardening, Lancelot ‘ Capability’ Brown is one of our greatest exports. The English landscape garden, epitomised by places such as Stowe or Blenheim Palace, are achievements on world scale. In this, the tercentenary year of Brown’s birth, Oliver Cox will explain how these beautiful garden landscapes were created and how eighteenth century landscape design has inspired post-war reconstruction.

Brown cut his teeth designing the garden landscapes surrounding Stowe House, a building that has been WMFB’s 10 year flagship project. Every window of the mansion frames a view crafted by the hand of Brown. From Stowe, Brown’s name was associated with a further 260 landscapes before his death at the age of 77 – 35 of them in Greater London alone. His work is enduring and the images which his created remain embedded in the English character through art and literature.

In the twenty-first century Brown’s influence remains more powerful than ever, and as we celebrate the 300th year since his birth we explore the way in which his name has become a shorthand in popular culture. We also look to the future: Brown famously described his work as an act of punctuating the landscape: ‘I make a comma, and there where a more decided turn is proper, I make a colon; at another part, where an interruption is desirable to break the view, a parenthesis; now a full stop'… How might we punctuate future landscapes to ensure that they too achieve their ‘capability’?

TICKETS: WMF Members: £15.00, Non-members: £20.00, Students: £5 

Drinks with the speaker following the talk £10 per ticket (International Councillors, Capital and Keystone Supporters - complementary ticket - please call the number below to book your place).

Royal Geographical Society, 1 Kensington Gore, London SW7 2AR

To book please call: 020 7251 8142 or book online

 

 


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May 2016


THE PAST TODAY - The world’s most extreme conservation project: saving Shackleton’s and Scott’s hut

Wed 25
May
7pm

Public Talk

The decade long programme to restore Shackleton’s and Scott’s Huts is an extraordinary conservation story about a remarkable place and people. Nigel Watson travels from New Zealand to describe the painstaking story to ensure that these sites remain a cultural marker of a heroic journey in the era of Antarctic discovery and human endeavour.

At the turn of the twentieth century dozens of men travelled to Antarctica, including Ernest Shackleton and Robert Falcon Scott. The expeditions built prefabricated wooden buildings that served both as homes and laboratories. From here men set out on quests for glory in bids to reach the South Pole, and in many cases to explorer the Antarctic continent in the pursuit of science and knowledge. When WWI cast its shadow on the world Antarctica’s heroic-age of expedition ended. But remarkably, after more than a century, the small wooden buildings remained intact but vulnerable. WMF first watch listed the sites in 2004 and again in 2006 and 2008 and since has been credited as a catalyst in the initiation of the important conservation work. Here, the extreme conservation challenges included buildings threatened by encroaching ice, and a time window for work cut very short by the Antarctic climate. But the stories are rich indeed: a note left pinned inside, stating that there were sufficient provisions and equipment to last fifteen men for one year, the discovery of century old photographic negatives in Ponting’s darkroom, plus bottles of MacKinlay and Co. whisky, found buried underneath Shackleton’s hut.

As we mark the recent completion of the major work on site in the world’s most extreme climate we look back at the importance of these structures and their significance in the twenty-first century. The restoration of these heroic era huts challenge our notions of heritage and connect to global issues, such as climate change, that are as relevant today as they were 100 years ago.

TICKETS: WMF Members: £15.00, Non-members: £20.00, Students: £5 

Royal Geographical Society, 1 Kensington Gore, London SW7 2AR

To book please call: 020 7251 8142 or book online


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