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8th November 2018: IAIN BROWNING MEMORIAL LECTURE: Woolley Thinking: The British Museum's Excavations at Carchemish 1911 - 1920

Jonathan Tubb, Keeper, Department of Middle East, The British Museum



4pm, 8th November 2018, BP Lecture Theatre, British Museum

Tickets are available through the British Museum 1 month - 2 weeks before the lecture. To book, contact the British Museum Box Office:  020 7323 8181 or     and go to the 'What's On' option at the top of the BM homepage. Then choose the 'Events Calendar'  and scroll down the page to see events listed by date and time.  If the event is not yet listed, please try again at a later date.

Poster Nov 8th (Carchemish).pdf

In 1920, following the Turkish War of Independence, the great Hittite and Neo-Hittite site of Carchemish on the Euphrates, then the focus of British Museum excavations, found itself directly on the border between Syria and Turkey, in an area strictly controlled by Turkish military authorities. With the work abruptly terminated, and the site totally inaccessible for some 90 years, it is only recently that the military control has been partially lifted, and excavations by an Italian mission directed by Nicolo Marchetti have been made possible.
With new and spectacular results already appearing from this new campaign, it seems appropriate to re-evaluate the work of the British Museum at Carchemish in the late 19th and early 20th century, in particular that of Sir Leonard Woolley and his assistant, T. E. Lawrence between 1912 and 1914. This lecture critically examines the Carchemish excavations in terms of their quality, interpretation and, perhaps most significantly, their contribution to our understanding of the archaeology of Syria.


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The mound of Carchemish, with the Ottoman railway bridge crossing the Euphrates. Courtesy of J. Tubb.


Jonathan N. Tubb, FSA
Jonathan Tubb is Keeper (Head) of the Middle East Department of the British Museum, President of The Palestine Exploration Fund and a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries.  A specialist in the archaeology and history of the Levant, he studied at the Institute of Archaeology in London (now a part of University College), and began his field career in Syria and Iraq in the 1970’s.  In 1984 he excavated the Early Bronze Age site of Tiwal esh-Sharqi in the Jordan Valley (Jordan) on behalf of the British Museum, and between 1985 and 1996 conducted nine seasons of excavations at the nearby major site of Tell es-Sa‘idiyeh.  From 2013 to 2015 he undertook an excavation project at Ras al-Hadd in Oman. An expert on Canaanite civilization, he is the author of many articles and several books on Levantine archaeology, and lectures internationally.  Jonathan is Director of the British Museum’s Iraq Emergency Heritage Management Training Scheme.



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