Public lecture to review Australian contributions to Archaeology

Published 15 August 2011

chris_daveyHot on the heels of its last Aspects of Antiquity lecture, the University of New England will again play host to a distinguished guest speaker when Christopher Davey, honorary director of the Australian Institute of archaeology, gives a talk entitled “John Garstang and Walter Beasley, and the foundation of the Australian Institute of Archaeology”.

The lecture will take place at 5:30 PM on Thursday, August 25 in The Gallery at Earle Page College.

In January 1935, Walter Beasley, an Australian businessman, met Professor John Garstang (from Liverpool) at his excavation at Jericho. Mr Davey’s lecture will review the life of Garstang and trace his influence on Beasley, who from the time of their meeting funded archaeological expeditions and in 1946 established the AIA.

Christopher Davey has been Honorary Director of the Australian Institute of Archaeology for ten years and has been responsible for re-establishing it at La Trobe University. He studied ancient languages at Cambridge University and archaeology at the Institute of Archaeology, University of London. He has excavated in Europe, Australia and the Middle East, and has undertaken research into the history of mining and metallurgy and the history of archaeology. Prior to retirement, Chris had a professional career initially as a mining engineer at Broken Hill, and then as a mines inspector, a contract engineer, a university lecturer and finally as an international project financier. Chris is coming to UNE by courtesy of the Ingram-Moore Bequest administered by the AIA.

All are welcome to his lecture, which will be held in The Gallery at Earle Page College. The public is also welcome to attend a research seminar held the following day, Friday August 26  at 9.30 in the University’s Arts Building Lecture Theatre 3. At this seminar, Mr. Davey will present a paper entitled “Jim Stewart and Walter Beasley: the beginnings of Near Eastern Archaeology in Australia”.

This seminar will deal with the connection between the two men, which began in 1935, and the consequences for both the AIA and Australian archaeological work in the Mediterranean after Stewart returned to Australia after the War.

In view of UNE being the repository for Stewart’s private collection of archaeological items (in the Museum of Antiquities), copies of his published books with his and his wife Eve’s annotations (in the Dixson Library), and some of his private papers (in the UNE Archives), this seminar should be of exceptional interest. It is Stewart’s material (above all the Cypriot items) which has put our Museum on the international map.

The University of New England has had excellent relations with the AIA for a considerable number of years, and this has been considerably to the benefit of the university. The late Mary Dolan had a long-time association with the Institute; another person at the university is a Life Member of the AIA, on the editorial board of its journal, and a member of its council. Some years ago, the institute lent to the UNE Museum of Antiquities a number of Garstang’s finds from Jericho, together with some of Kathleen Kenyon’s material excavated at Jerusalem. This display was exhibited in the Dixson Library for an extended period.

Enquiries: Greg Horsley 6773 2390 or 6773 2555.