B.C. Archaeology

Study Tours of the Ancient World

LECTURES
Dr Michael Birrell will be giving the following lectures in 2017


CONTINUING EDUCATION
University of Sydney
See website: cce.sydney.edu.au/courses?s=Birrell






 
Sat 22nd April 2017 | 10-4pm
EGYPT'S GOLDEN AGE: THE PHARAOHS OF THE 18TH DYNASTY

This course examines the 18th Dynasty (1570-1293 BC), the early part of the New Kingdom, when Egypt acquired an Empire in the Near East and Nubia. Participants will explore the history of Egypt from the expulsion of the Hyksos down to the end of the 18th Dynasty, a phase when the country was at its most cosmopolitan, wealthy and dynamic. This is the era of such pharaohs as Tuthmosis I, Hatshepsut, Tuthmosis III, Amenhotep III, Akhenaten and Tutankhamun. The course examines the achievements of each pharaoh, their conquests and building work, as well as the changes which took place in Egyptian society in this period.

 
Sat 24th June 2017 | 10-4pm
OUT OF AFRICA: THE FOSSIL EVIDENCE FOR HUMAN EVOLUTION

Archaeological research has been able to identify important examples of the evolution of modern humans from ape-like ancestors. Important finds were made by Louis Leakey in Olduvai Gorge which made it clear that early humans arose in east Africa. Subsequent finds, including the famous 'Lucy' in Ethiopia have made it clear Australopithecus afarensis is out oldest direct hominin ancestor. This course traces the evolution of humans using the latest fossil and DNA evidence.

 
Sat 8th July 2017 | 10-4pm
ANCIENT PERSIA

The region of Persia (modern Iran and beyond), has a long and complex history. Inhabited for 100,000 years ago, the region developed complex urban society under the Elamites. The Medes were the first to politically unify the region in 625 BC. Cyrus the Great subsequently founded the Persian Empire in 550 BC. His heirs would expand Persian power to incorporate much of the ancient Middle East, creating a multi-ethnic Commonwealth that lasted 200 years. The Seleucid, Parthian and Sassanid Empires produced important architectural and artistic traditions which would have long lasting influences in the region.

 
Sat 26th August 2017 | 10-4pm
ANCIENT SICILY: GREEKS, PHOENICIANS AND ROMANS

The island of Sicily preserves a rich heritage from antiquity. Inhabited from the Palaeolithic Era, the location of Sicily saw it as a crossroads of the Mediterranean and numerous colonies were established by the Greeks and Phoenicians. Superb cities developed, many preserving remarkably examples of Greek religious architecture. Conflict between the Greeks and the Carthaginians in the 3rd Century BC saw Rome become involved and the eventual incorporation of the island into the Roman Empire.

 
Sat 2nd Sept 2017 | 10-4pm
MEDIEVAL PERSIA

The Arabs invaded Sassanid Persia in the mid 7th Century AD bringing the Islamization of the region and the gradual decline of Zoroastrianism. Despite this, Persian culture would have a great influence on these and all subsequent conquerors, with mediaeval Persia producing some of the greatest works of architecture, art, science and poetry in the Islamic world. The 17th Century Safavid Dynasty converted Persia from Sunniism to Shiism and produced stunning examples of art and architecture, exemplified by their capital Isfahan. Persian power declined slowly during the 19th Century as neighbouring states took control of the periphery. The Pahlavi Dynasty ruled Persia in the 20th Century down to the Islamic revolution of 1979.

 
Sat 16th Sept 2017 | 10-4pm
MEDIEVAL SICILY: BYZANTINES, ARABS AND NORMANS

Sicily is located in the centre of the Mediterranean and has always been a cross roads of various cultures. In late antiquity the island was ruled by the Vandals, Goths and then the Byzantine Empire. In mediaeval times Sicily was invaded by Muslims from North Africa who created a dynamic multi-cultural society. Their 'Emirate of Sicily' was conquered in 1061 by the Norman Dukes Robert Guiscard and Roger I. Roger II subsequently created a tolerant and sophisticated society which saw a fusion of cultures. Rule of the island passed to Frederick II of the Hohenstaufen Dynasty in the early 13th Century before it was taken over by the Kings of Aragon.

 
Sat 9th December 2017 | 10-4pm
MALTA: FROM PREHISTORY TO NAPOLEON

The islands of Malta have always been a crossroads of civilisations producing diverse cultural influences on its people. Famous for its Neolithic stone temples, the islands of Malta was later occupied by the Phoenicians, Greeks and Romans. The Arabs and Normans incorporated the islands within their control of Sicily. The Knights of St John, expelled from Rhodes by the Ottomans in 1522, made a lasting mark on the islands with the construction of the mighty fortifications designed to guard against Ottoman attack. Napoleon's looting of Malta in 1789 changed everything - the islands would soon be brought within the sphere of the British Empire.