CSAD News and Events

The BBC's "Top Ten Treasures" Programme

During 2002 Adam Hart-Davis from the BBC asked British Museum staff to select what they considered to be the top ten British treasures in the British Museum for a television programme to be aired on New Year's Day 2003.

The selection of only ten 'treasures' was by no means simple: what makes a treasure priceless is not its monetary value, but what it can reveal about our past. After "much heated discussion" the selection committee made their final choice - a hoard of silver coins found at Cuerdale, a hoard of gold coins from Fishpool, a chest full of gold and silver treasure found at Hoxne, Suffolk, the ivory Chessmen from the isle of Lewis, the Mildenhall silver "dinner service", a gold "cape" found at Mold in Flintshire, a gold cup from a burial mound on Bodmin moor, a collection of gold and silver torcs found in Snettisham, Norfolk, the gold and silver treasures from the Sutton Hoo ship burial, and the Vindolanda writing tablets. Each item was given a ten-minute focus on the New Years Day BBC programme. The Vindolanda ten minutes featured the Centre's Director Prof. Alan Bowman, and a fleeting appearance by research assistant Dr. John Pearce.

The British Museum admitted that "thin slivers of wet wood are not what many people would think of as treasure". However, from amongst the illustrious company of gold, silver and ivory contenders, the Vindolanda writing tablets were voted Number One Treasure by the BM curators, because of the "rarity of examples of writing on wood or paper from Britain's ancient past, and the unique window on life in Roman Britain provided by these tablets from Vindolanda". In the public vote, the tablets slipped to second place behind the spectacular finds from Sutton Hoo.

Launch of the Vindolanda Website

On March 20th 2003 the launch of the Vindolanda Tablets On-Line website (http://vindolanda.csad.ox.ac.uk) was celebrated with wine and plates of canapés at a party in the new Common Room of the Classics Centre at 65-67 St. Giles.

About 50 classicists and other interested individuals were invited to enjoy a short demonstration by Dr. John Pearce of the site, its format and navigation facilities. Anthony Birley represented the Vindolanda Trust.

The web-site was well received by the guests, and many compliments on its format and content were proffered. The success of the website as a tool for students of Roman Britain of all levels, from school child to expert researcher, has since become apparent from the rising numbers of its visitors and from local and national awards and commendations.

Laconia Survey Inscriptions

Between 1983 and 1989 a joint team from the British School at Athens and the Universities of Amsterdam and Nottingham carried out an intensive survey of a 70 sq. km. area of Laconia across the Eurotas river to the east of the ancient site of Sparta. In the course of the survey 24 new and previously-known inscriptions from the Roman Period and earlier were recorded. The results of the survey form two Supplementary Volumes of the Annual of the British School at Athens. A website has been created on the CSAD webserver (http://www.csad.ox.ac.uk/Laconia) as the result of a collaboration between Charles Crowther and Prof. Graham Shipley to serve as a complement to Prof. Shipley's catalogue of epigraphical finds in the survey publication by offering digitised images of squeezes and published photographs of the inscriptions.

The Laconia Survey Inscriptions site was designed and created by Frédérique Landuyt; funding was supplied by a British Academy Small Grant and a grant from the University of Leicester's Faculty of Arts to Graham Shipley.

Epigraphy of the Greek Theatre Colloquium, 14-15 July 2003

This event, hosted by the CSAD, was deemed by all who took part to have been a highly successful one, in which new evidence was brought to our attention (including the dramatic discovery of a fragmentary victors' list from Teos by John Ma); and old evidence was sifted to shake some long-held beliefs (concerning the capacity of the classical theatre of Dionysos, for one). It had a truly international range of speakers, including Eric Csapo and William Slater from Canada, Hans Goette and Angelos Chaniotis from Germany, Paola Ceccarelli from Italy and Sophia Aneziri from Greece. The proceedings of the colloquium will be published in the CSAD's Oxford Studies in Ancient Documents series by OUP in 2006.

The colloquium received generous support from the Hellenic Foundation, London, the British Academy, and the Faculty of Classics, Oxford.

Visitors to CSAD

The Centre is able to provide a base for a limited number of visiting scholars working in fields related to its activities. Enquiries concerning admission as Visiting Research Fellow (established scholars) or as Visiting Research Associate should be addressed to the Director. Association with the Centre carries with it membership of the University's Classics Centre.

Visiting members of CSAD during the Academic year 2002/2003 were Prof. V. Kontorini (Ioannina) , Prof. B. Leadbetter (Edith Cowan University) (Visiting Research Fellows), and Ms. F. Marchand (Neuchâtel) (Visiting Research Associate). Prof. A. Schachter was made a Senior Visiting Research Fellow to pursue his work on the inscriptions of Thespiai.

2003-4 visitors were Dr. B. Kelly (ANU), Prof. V. Parker (Canterbury, NZ), Dr. Aude Busine (Université Libre de Bruxelles).

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Created on Wednesday, 18 January, 2006: 11:14:45