Scythians in the new British Archaeology

We put Scythians on the front cover of the new British Archaeology. They look great on the magazine, and they make a really terrific exhibition, a rare display of good old-fashioned archaeology at its jaw-dropping best. The article is written by St John Simpson, the show’s curator. In one of my favourite features of all … Continue reading Scythians in the new British Archaeology

Moving stories worth a stop

Here’s a little thing really worth seeing if you are in central London. The British Museum runs a series of Asahi Shimbun Displays in a small gallery immediately to the right of the main south entrance. They are thoughtful, simple shows of contemporary art and antiquity, and always worth a quick pause (though for now … Continue reading Moving stories worth a stop

Britain’s fabulous totem poles

What connects Berkhamsted, Salford and Edinburgh with remote forests on the Pacific coast? Sixteen totem poles, traditionally carved in cedar. They are informed by beliefs, values and artistic conventions that evolved on the north-west coast of Canada and America and reach back into the 19th century and earlier. Like all traditional poles, they have nothing … Continue reading Britain’s fabulous totem poles

The journeys of Hoa Hakananai’a

  They are small steps compared to crossing part of the Pacific and the whole of the Atlantic, but Hoa Hakananai’a has moved around since it arrived at the British Museum in 1869. I’ve been looking through some old copies of Antiquity, and I came across this photo. It was taken by OGS Crawford for … Continue reading The journeys of Hoa Hakananai’a

The age of A’a

Good to see Martin Bailey write about A’a in the Art Newspaper yesterday. We reported this story in British Archaeology in June, when British Museum curator Julie Adams wrote about the new research she led into the wonderful, unsettling carving from Rurutu taken to London by British missionaries in 1821. This and Hoa Hakananai’a (delivered … Continue reading The age of A’a

London’s new marble arch

Yesterday was a thinking, walking day in London, pleasantly warm and sunny by the end, that began in the British Museum and ended in Spitalfields via Palmyra and Trafalgar Square. As usual, unless otherwise stated, all photos are mine. The new exhibition at the BM, “Sicily: culture and conquest” (from Thursday till August 14) set the … Continue reading London’s new marble arch

You have to see new British Museum show, even if that means travelling the world

“Celts: art & identity” opens at the British Museum tomorrow. After a quick press tour today, I can only say, wow. Wow! I will go again and look more closely when I can, but my immediate reaction was sheer joy. This is really worth going out of the way to see. Why? First, there’s a … Continue reading You have to see new British Museum show, even if that means travelling the world

Here come the Celts!

The cover of the new British Archaeology features a small part of one of the most extraordinary prehistoric treasures from Europe, still in the ground in Norfolk during excavation in the early 1990s. Inside, we hear about new forensic work conducted on the gold and silver jewellery from Snettisham, Norfolk. The Celtic theme looks forward … Continue reading Here come the Celts!

Democracy, or brute force? Guess who wins in the end

I thought again of the British Museum’s Assyrian carvings as I voted on Thursday morning, explaining to my daughter as we walked back home why I had folded the paper. A ballot is secret, I said. Can you vote lots of times, she asked, like the X-Factor? No, only once. (Our discussion backfired a bit … Continue reading Democracy, or brute force? Guess who wins in the end

Nimrud: Battle ignorance and brutality with education and sharing

Before I wrote about the British Museum’s Assyrian galleries, Islamic State released shocking footage of ultimate vandalism at Nimrud (the images here are screen grabs). It shows men using power tools and large amounts of dynamite to destroy classic and important examples of the type of works in the BM, and other museums, that had … Continue reading Nimrud: Battle ignorance and brutality with education and sharing