Friday, March 16, 2012

Programmes on the Past: a recent EES seminar

EES Director's Blog (Chris Naunton)

The effective use of mass media has been centrally important to the work of the Society since its beginnings, when Amelia Edwards regularly re-cast the letters sent by Flinders Petrie from Egypt as dig reports for The Times.

Television in particular has been the subject of scrutiny by historians of archaeology in recent years (see e.g. the recent event featuring Sir David Attenborough organized by the Cambridge Division of Archaeology Personal Histories Project, and this article by Don Henson of the CBA), and series such as ‘Animal, Vegetable, Mineral’, now widely regarded as having been the first in a line of iconic, archaeology-related BBC series along with ‘Chronicle’ and ‘Timewatch’, are now a valuable record of the way in which archaeology has been presented to the public, and an important source for the study of the history of our discipline. In the last half-century television has also played an important role in helping the EES to ‘spread the word’ about its work.

For several years during the 1970s the Society regularly arranged showings of the latest Egyptology-related films for members. As the Annual Reports of the time record, these included films on work at Saqqara, “Professor Harrison’s medical investigation of the Tutankhamun mummy”, “the Ray Smith El-Amarna project, “Nefertiti and the Computer””, and The Night of Counting the Years which was also shown at Doughty Mews in 2010.

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