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EVANS MEMORIAL LECTURE: The Sunbeam Struck the Roof – a Journey of Discovery in Jerusalem

Archie Walls, FSA.



4pm, 7th December 2017, 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. 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.                                                     


PEF Lecture Poster 7th December 2017.pdf

View of the Old City, Jerusalem, 1864-5

Photo: View of the Old City of Jerusalem from Hezekiah's Pool. By Sergeant James MacDonald R.E., 1864-5, from the Ordnance Survey of Jerusalem. PEF Archives P4327


This journey of discovery began in 1977 when the Awqaf of Jerusalem, the Muslim custodial authority of the Haram al-Sharif, took the unusual step of inviting the speaker into the Haram in the middle of the night. During his night-time visit, by pure chance he turned to face west towards the Church of the Holy Sepulchre as the first beams of the rising sun of the new day came over the Mount of Olives.  Not only did these sunbeams strike the roof of the Rotunda of the Church they illuminated the tops of two nearby minarets.  As Architect to the British School of Archaeology between 1968 and 75 and also in his spare time architect to the Armenians in the Church, Dr. Walls knew these buildings very well, but had never thought there could be an architectural relationship connecting them until this moment.  In this lecture Dr. Walls will present the architectural evidence for a direct and conscious relationship made in stone between these three monuments, and will draw an unconventional conclusion as to how this architectural connection should be interpreted.

Drawing by A. Walls %26 plan%2C Jerusalem

Drawing by A. Walls showing relative elevations and alignments of the three religious landmarks. Courtesy of A. Walls.

Dr. Archie Walls is an architect and architectural historian of considerable experience and note.
His career began in Jerusalem in the late 1960s, when he was employed as Architect to the British School of Archaeology in Jerusalem (BSAJ). He has worked on a huge number of historic buildings projects in the UK and in the Middle East, including the Royal Naval College at Greenwich and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, and the Old Dispensary in Zanzibar. He has acted as a UNESCO consultant in Bahrain, Kuwait, Yemen and Oman, and has been a historic buildings advisor to the governments of Sharjah and Bahrain. From 1996 to 1998 he was Mud Brick Advisor to the Saudi National Museum in Riyadh, and in 2004, he was the sole British representative on the International Workshop for the Recovery of Bam in Iran. He has been associated with the architectural firm Giles Quarme and Associates in the UK since the late 1980s. Archie has been Fellow of the Royal Asiatic Society, the Society of Antiquaries, and the Society of Antiquaries Scotland, and has in his time also been a Committee member of the PEF.


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