Tag Archives: Archaeology

The Extraordinary Gertrude Bell

In case you missed our original blog post about the Gertrude Bell Newcastle Insights Lecture earlier in the year, this weekend will be your last chance to visit The Extraordinary Gertrude Bell exhibition.

The Extraordinary Gertrude Bell

CBA North members are warmly invited to visit the Extraordinary Gertrude Bell Exhibition which ends on 3 May 2016 in the Great North Museum Hancock, Newcastle. Although much of her work took place in the Middle East, Gertrude Bell remains one of North-East England’s most internationally famous archaeologists; she also had a significant impact on the contemporary world.

Between 1900 and 1914 Bell travelled extensively in what are now Turkey, Syria, Iraq, Jordan and Saudia Arabia. Her main interest at the time was in the Byzantine and early Islamic Architecture which she recorded carefully with notes, photographs and scale drawings. Her travels enabled her to meet people, learn languages and understand the topography of relatively unstudied areas. Bell was one of several archaeologists, including for example T.E. Lawrence and D.G. Hogarth, whose experience travelling in the Ottoman Empire before World War I lead to new influence working for British military intelligence. A century ago Gertrude Bell was based in Mesopotamia supporting the war effort first in Basra and later in Baghdad.

She stayed on after WWI and was given the responsibility of writing the government white paper to review the situation in Mesopotamia from the beginning of British involvement in the region. By her death in 1926 she had been instrumental in the choice of Faisal as the first king of the new state of Iraq, as well as drawing up its boundaries, writing its antiquities laws and founding the Baghdad Museum.

The current exhibition has material from the Imperial War Museum, the British Museum and the Royal Geographical Society as well as artefacts she brought back which were given by her half-sister to the Dorman Museum, Middlesbrough, and numerous photographs and material from the Gertrude Bell Archive which was given to Armstrong College, Durham (now Newcastle University), by her family.

On sale are various books including The Extraordinary Gertrude Bell containing short essays by academics from Newcastle University about various aspects of Bell’s life, and for a longer read, Lisa Cooper’s 2016 In Search of Kings and Conquerors: Gertrude Bell and the Archaeology of the Middle East. I.B. Taurus. There is also a public lecture programme alongside the exhibition (see the website at https://greatnorthmuseum.org.uk/whats-on/the-extraordinary-gertrude-bell).

Dr Mark Jackson
Newcastle University

[Editor’s Note: there is a connection between Gertrude Bell and the site that we’ll be having a guided tour of following our AGM business and updates in mid-June. If you’ve not signed up already for the AGM please do remember to do so. We will announce when the further papers promised in the initial announcement are on our website for your perusal and inspection. All CBA North Members will have had an email with the details of the AGM already].

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CWAAS Anniversary Celebrations

[Though the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society are not a CBA North member, we’ve been passed details by Professor Stringer of the forthcoming 150th Anniversary of the society, so see – and enjoy the links of – that below].

Dear CBA North Members,

As you may know, the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society is celebrating its 150th Anniversary this year. We have a full programme of events appropriate to such a commemoration, and are naturally keen to ensure the widest possible publicity. The Society would therefore be most grateful if you felt it to be appropriate to post on your website a link to our Anniversary webpage. The URL is http://cumbriapast.com/cgi-bin/ms/main.pl?action=150year.

I should add that, as part of our Anniversary celebrations, the Society has digitised its Transactions, accessible on the Archaeological Data Service website at http://archaeologydataservice.ac.uk/archives/view/cumberland/. This may likewise be of
interest to your members, and I hope that you can also draw it to their attention.

Best wishes

Keith Stringer
Vice-President of the CWAAS and Chair of its Outreach Committee

“Forgotten Minerals” Conference

A one day North Pennines Mining Conference will be held on Saturday 14th May 2016 at St John’s Chapel Town Hall, Market Place, St John’s Chapel, Bishop Auckland, DL13 1QF. This is being organised as a joint conference by the Friends of Killhope (FOK) and the Nenthead Mines Conservation Society (NMCS).

Everyone is invited to attend and offer short or long talks or presentations about recent research about mining in the North Pennines.

If you are interest in offering a talk, please contact either Margaret Manchester (FOK Chair) 01388 731131 mmanchester@hotmail.com or Peter Jackson (NMCS Chair) 01388 527532 petesmine@gmail.com.

Speakers including Brian Young, Peter Jackson, Tom Gledhill, Peter Tyle and Bill Heyes are already arranged, but further offers of more talks are welcome.

There is a delegate fee for the event which is £12.50 includes lunch and refreshments. Further details and links to make an online booking for the event can be found on the Friends of Killhope website.

Sadberge Village Trail – a meeting next week

A meeting will be held next week at Sadberge Village Hall, at 7pm, next week on 3 March 2016 to discuss plans for a history trail through the village. Sadberge, near Darlington, is well known for its history including Cade’s Road (a Roman road) which runs through the area, as well as being the centre of a wapentake (an unusual land-holding) which for many years was not part of County Durham proper.

Proposals are being put forward to document its heritage on wooden boards along a special trail. Although Sadberge’s ancient history is fairly well documented, less is known about life in the village in the early 1900s and the organisers behind the trail are keen to receive items and information from residents that can be referred to on the history boards.

For further information, contact Millie Scaife on 01325-332020.

Gertrude Bell and the ‘Woman Question’

Helen Berry, Professor of British History, Newcastle University

This lecture is part of the Newcastle University Insights lecture series.

Admission is free with no pre-booking required.

Date: 23rd February 2016

Time: 17:30 – 18:45

Venue: Curtis Auditorium, Herschel Building

Newcastle University holds an extraordinary and unique archive of letters, diaries and photographs belonging to Gertrude Bell, one of the most remarkable women of the 20th century. A contemporary of T E Lawrence (‘Lawrence of Arabia’), until recently Bell has been little known beyond the specialist world of Middle Eastern archaeology, and yet her legacy is significant: for example, she played a major role in the political settlement that led to the formation of modern-day Iraq. In conjunction with the launch of a major exhibition about Bell at the Great North Museum: Hancock, this lecture will explore the paradoxes and contradictions in Gertrude Bell’s life from the perspective of women’s history.

TillVAS Village Atlas Project

On Saturday, February 20th 10am – 12 noon at Branxton Village Hall, there will be an opportunity to see the maps, photographs, and documents at the Branxton Road Show of the Till Valley Archaeological Society (TillVAS) Village Atlas Project which project members have collected.

If you live, or have lived, in Branxton, or if you ever had family living there or are simply interested in the history of a Northumberland village which dates back centuries you might be interested in this event.

There is no charge to attend the event. Refreshments will be available and all are welcome.

This project is one of those sponsored by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Scottish Soldiers Archaeology Project

The excavation and analysis of a mass grave of Scottish soldiers at Durham has been widely reported in the archaeological and regional press. Further details can be found at the Scottish Soldiers Project homepage.

Next week an event is planned to further report and discuss the project. Please click on the following link for details of the meeting where you have the chance to hear of the findings, as well as contribute to feedback on the project with your views.

Details for when and where this event is can be found at the bottom of the meeting page.