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Ancient Rome and the Clash of Civilisations

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Ancient Rome and the Clash of Civilisations


Published by University of Leicester Press Office for University of Leicester in Education

An expert archaeologist from the University of Leicester will give a free public lecture about how even the smallest archaeological artefact can shape our understanding of history and the rise and fall of ancient civilisations.

Professor Simon James, from the School of Archaeology and Ancient History at the University of Leicester, will deliver the lecture, entitled Ancient Rome and the clash of Civilizations: or the curious life of artefact H278, on Tuesday 30 April.

The lecture will discuss how Roman artefacts, particularly the remnants of ancient warfare and battle, can provide clues about our past and the histories and fates of ancient civilisations.

Professor James will focus in particular on artefact H278, a small decorative copper-alloy casting, currently in the store of Yale University Art Gallery in Connecticut, USA.

This tiny artefact has much to reveal about the Roman community to which it belonged, but also about the construction of human identity groups and the interactions and exchanges that occurred between different ancient civilisations, those which are often obscured by the dust and din of war.

Professor James said: “In its form, nature, origins and context of discovery, this small piece of metal involves not just the story of the rise of Roman imperialism, but the fate of the ancient ‘Celtic world’ at Rome’s hands—and also of the rise of the great Iranian empire of the Sasanids.

“The curious history of H278 illustrates how the tiniest human artefact can have encoded within it clues to the grandest themes of history and scholarly research.

“It underlines the key independent contribution which study of ancient material culture can make to our understanding of history; and not least, it reiterates the importance of our museums and archives.”

Ancient Rome and the clash of Civilizations: or the curious life of artefact H278 will be held in the Ken Edwards Building, Lecture Theatre 1, at 5:30pm on Tuesday 30 April 2013.

The lecture is free and open to the public. More information can be found here.


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