Historic ARLT photos on line

The photograph albums that are enjoyed by ARLT Summer School members have been scanned, so that digital versions exist should anything befall the originals.

Some early photos are now accessible from this page.

At the moment it is a matter of looking up various years to see if photos are available.

The important work of labelling them is still to be done, but if you click on the thumbnails you should reach a large version with a title.

I don’t intend to put many photos of recent Summer Schools up, in case people are unhappy to appear on line, but shall put up a group photo for each year where they exists.

Listen to the talks, watch the powerpoint, all on your laptop

The Digital Classicist has been presenting papers in Malet Street during the summer, and I am at the moment listening to a talk about the Catalogue of Ships from Iliad 2, illustrated by PowerPoint.

The topics, all on the use of computers in the study of the Classics, may not appeal to everyone, but if you do have an interest, these talks are an excellent resource. Most are in mp3 format, with an abstract and either PPt or pdf.

Rich Scots attracted the Romans

From The Times

Mike Wade

archaeological dig in North East Scotland has laid bare the quality of
the opposition the Romans faced at the very fringes of their empire.

discovery of a tiny piece of a horse’s harness at a site at Birnie near
Elgin shows the tribe that lived there had wealth and prestige enough
to warrant the attention of the would-be invaders from the south.

harness, which was found along with a dagger and sheath, was almost
certainly part of a fixing from a chariot, “the Ferrari of the Iron
Age”, according to Fraser Hunter, the leader of the dig.

people were well connected and wealthy. It is no surprise that the
Romans should choose to do business with them. It was almost certainly
a means of keeping the boundaries of their empire intact,” he said.

Between the first and third
centuries AD, the Romans attempted twice to conquer Scotland, but in
the intervening years they tried to keep Scots at bay with bribes. Some
tribes were sweetened to fight others who were not so favoured – a
classic case of divide and rule, a policy beloved of dictators ever

Dr Hunter, curator of Iron Age of Roman Collections at
the National Museums of Scotland, said it was plain that the Birnie
group was favoured by Roman patronage because of the influence it
wielded in the area.

“This was essentially a big powerful
family group. There would have been others living in the area, but this
would have been one of the most important. The range of finds is
spectacular,” he said.

The site, which lies on farmland, first
came to the attention of archaeologists in 2000 after the discovery of
two hoards of Roman coins there. Since then two ancient roundhouses
have been found, with a third likely to be uncovered on Monday. Dr
Hunter said that aerial photography had shown that 15 roundhouses, each
with a diameter of about 16 metres, had been built on the site. Other
discoveries include a gold torc, glass beads and quernstones for
grinding corn. There is also evidence of smelting, casting and of a
blacksmith on the site.

It is probable that the rich farming
countryside close by accounted for the wealth of the settlement, which
is likely to have remained inhabited for at least 1,000 years from
800BC. “It’s not a coincidence that this part of Speyside would
eventually become so famous for its barley and its whisky. This was and
is good land for growing crops,” Dr Hunter said.

Some of the
finds offered new insights into the lives of the inhabitants. The
dagger and sword were both found in the roofs of houses, suggesting
they might have been left as gifts to the gods when the houses were
abandoned. Likewise, broken quernstones had been found that had
probably been deliberately destroyed.

One building had been
badly damaged in a fire. Dr Hunter speculated that a house might be
burnt if it had become associated with bad luck.

The Moray
Forth represented the limits of the Roman invasion of Scotland. When
the bribes of silver coins proved insufficient to quell powerful groups
like those at Birnie, the Emperor Septimius Severus led his troops
north in the third century. “There was no climactic battle, but he
certainly got to Aberdeen and possibly as far as the Moray Firth. But
areas there were never settled; the Romans just campaigned right
through,” Dr Hunter said.

More Bank Holiday Roman soldiery

From the Bridlington Free Press

Romans of the Comitatus Group filled the grounds of Sewerby Hall with
battle cries and galloping hoofs over the bank holiday weekend.
services officer Graeme Harvey said: “Considering the poor weather we
had a cracking weekend. More than 4,000 visitors enjoyed the events.

due to the saturated ground, the East Yorkshire Thoroughbred Car Rally
had to be moved to Sewerby Fields, however more than 300 classic
vehicles made their annual pilgrimage to the coast and they had a
fantastic day.

“The Romans put on a brilliant show.”

The full article contains 95 words and appears in Bridlington Free Press newspaper.
Page 1 of 1

Lists of ‘soft’ A levels

The Times has an article on what subjects to avoid if you are trying to impress certain top universities. Whether it is tactful for Classics teachers to have these lists on their notice boards, or during Year 9 parents’ evenings, you will have to decide.

I reproduce only the first para and the LSE and Cambridge lists. Refer to the original article for other wise advice.
With GCSE results out tomorrow, teenagers across the country will be
deciding what to study next. But beware, some A levels are not good
bets for some universities, as the Good University Guide’s John O’Leary explains..

See below for the lists of “soft” subjects to beware of at A level.

London School of Economics list

• Accounting
• Art and Design
• Business Studies
• Communication Studies
• Design and Technology
• Drama/Theatre Studies*
• Home Economics
• Information and Communication Technology
• Law
• Media Studies
• Music Technology
• Sports Studies
• Travel and Tourism

Cambridge list

A levels

• Accounting
• Art and Design
• Business Studies
• Communication Studies
• Dance
• Design and Technology
• Drama/Theatre Studies
• Film Studies
• Health and Social Care
• Home Economics
• Information and Communication Technology
• Leisure Studies
• Media Studies
• Music Technology
• Performance Studies
• Performing Arts
• Photography
• Physical Education
• Sports Studies
• Travel and Tourism


• Business and Management
• Design and Technology
• Information Technology in a Global Society
• Theatre Arts
• Visual Arts

Studies and Critical Thinking A levels will only be considered as
fourth A level subjects and not as part of a conditional offer.

Dorchester Roman Festival

I blogged about plans for this, earlier in the year. Now it’s upon us. From This is Dorset

TAKE a trip back in time this weekend as Dorchester hosts its first ever Roman Festival.

Held over two days and centred around the Roman Town House at County
Hall, it promises to be a fantastic opportunity to find out more about
Dorchester’s classical heritage.

Historical re-enactment team Legio II Augusta – named after the most
successful Roman legion to serve in Britain – will be billeted in the
town over the two days and will be marching through the town,
practising military drills and looking for new members in recruitment
and training drives at Maumbury Rings and Maiden Castle.

At the Town House you will be able to meet and talk to Roman
soldiers, aristocrats and slaves and learn about Roman cookery,
midwifery techniques, children’s toys and medical science. There will
also be storytelling with Tim Laycock and time with Dorset County
Council’s Family Learning Team.

A number of events are also taking part at Dorset County Museum in
High West Street, including a talk by Lindsey Davies, the author of the
hugely popular Falco detective novels. There will also be Roman craft
workshops for children.

Blue Badge Guide Christine McGhee is leading a walk around the
ancient town of Durnovaria and there are also plans for a walk to
Maiden Castle.

Festival organiser and Roman Town House heritage officer Sarah
Harbige is delighted that it is taking place and hopes it will take off
and be held every other year in future.

“There is a real move to make more of the town’s Roman heritage,
which has come in the wake of the revamp of the Roman Town House,” she
said. “It is a great opportunity to highlight the Romans’ influence on

“Kids will love the legion being in town, especially if they get the
chance to become a Roman recruit! The adults will be fascinated by it
all too as Legio II Augusta are very professional and extremely
knowledgeable. If you have any questions they will be able to tell you
the answers.”

Sarah joined the Town House team this year and is excited by what it could hold for the future.”

Dorchester’s Roman Festival takes place on Saturday and Sunday,
August 30 and 31 in and around the town. Call Dorset County Museum on
01305 262735 for full details and event bookings.

Copper ingot donated to Amlwch museum

AN ANCIENT copper ingot is being donated to a museum by a member of the family who found it.

The relic was made from copper ore dug out of the Parys Mountain mine around 2,000 years ago.

The ingot was found by the Fanning-Evans family who ran the Mona Mine in the mid-to-late 1800s.

Thomas Fanning Evans lived in Amlwch and he was the first metal mine’s inspector in North Wales, he was also a J.P., High Sheriff, and shipowner.

Anne Brennan, of Dwyran, is a distant relative of the family and has donated most of the family heirlooms to various museums.

Hope is the secretary of the Amlwch Industrial Heritage Trust and said
the gift was ‘priceless’ to the town in historical terms.

“It’s something like a very thick copper lens about 12-13 inches in diametre and three inches thick,” said Mr Hope.

“It’s reminiscent of the way that the Romans cast their ingots when they occupied Britain,” he said.

“Three were found in the late 1800s and this one has been returned to Amlwch from the family of Mrs Brennan.

“Previous ones had borne Roman letters stamped on them but this one doesn’t have a stamp at all.

looks like a black mass and is quite interesting. It would have come
from the bottom of a furnace and formed this ‘cake’ shape that’s
like a lens.

“Then they would have been taken back to Rome to make arms and the short daggers that the Romans used,” he said.

The “bun ingot” will be officially donated to the trust on Monday at the Old Sail Loft in Amlwch Port.

Mrs Brennan said: “It should be in a museum. It’s very heavy and I’ve given the thing to them.”

Edinburgh Roman fort to be opened to pubic

Roman fort will be centrepiece of new tourist attraction

August 2008
By Brian Ferguson ONE of Britain’s most important Roman sites – the remains of a fort on the outskirts of Edinburgh – will be opened up permanently to the public within months, The Scotsman has learned.
An excavation has exposed what is left of the ancient building for the first time since in more than 50 years.

Work carried out over the last few days in the shadow of Cramond Kirk has opened up the remains of the fort, which dates back to 142AD,

The new work will include uncovering parts of the fort, which is thought to have once housed more than 1,000 men, for the first time, including its gatehouse, and former grain stores.

It is hoped the archaeological project will not only unearth new treasures but will shed new light on whether the Romans actually stayed in the area longer than already thought.

Once that work is completed landscaping will be carried out around the remains before the site is opened up to the public.

A similar project will then be carried out on the nearby remains, which are currently below ground, of a Roman bathhouse, discovered in the mid-1970s, which is widely regarded as the best-surviving Roman building in Scotland.

It is hoped a long-awaited multi-million pound visitor centre and museum, housing most of the Roman artefacts discovered in the area over the years, will then become a reality. The new attraction will recount the famous story of the Cramond Lioness sculpture, discovered 11 years ago by a ferryman in the nearby River Almond. It can currently be seen in the National Museum of Scotland.

Historians believe the fort was originally constructed as an outpost of the Antonine Wall, on the frontier of an empire during the campaigns of Emperor Antoninus Pius around 142-144 AD.

John Lawson, the city archaeologist, who is leading the dig, said: “The remains of the fort at Cramond are actually one of the most important Roman sites anywhere in Britain.

“Although there was an extensive dig in the 1950s, overseen by a local couple, Alan and Viola Rae, this one will cover areas that have never been looked at before. Archaeological techniques and our knowledge of the Roman occupation of Scotland have moved on hugely since then, so it’s a very important dig.

“We are hoping to find out more about the origins of the fort, who might have been occupied there and at what time. It may be that the Romans were in Cramond much later than we currently think.”

Cllr Deidre Brock, the council’s culture and leisure leader, “I can’t wait to see the results . The local community have always been very enthusiastic about the Roman Fort and I’m pleased they’re able to take part in these new excavations.”

29 August 2008 12:12 AM The Scotsman Edinburgh

Norfolk re-enactment day

The latest in a heap of reports to come my way about re-enactment days around the country that feature the Romans in Britain. This one is from the Watton and Swaffham Times.

West Acre in the bloody wars

27 August 2008

A series of bloody wars descended upon a picturesque Norfolk village over the bank holiday weekend.

Battle cries carried across deserted fields and the smell of gunpowder filled the air.

Thankfully, despite the ambulance service on standby, no-one was injured for while the swords were sharp and the guns working, the fighting was all re-enacted as part of the two-day West Acre History Fair.

More than 1,000 history enthusiasts set up camp near Swaffham to take part in dozens of activities Sunday and Monday.

There was an English Civil War Society private drill, infantry displays, cavalry displays and an impressive recreation of a civil war battle.

Horses galloped up and down the battlefield while their skilled riders fought the opposition with swords.

Visitors could head back even further in time by watching the Romans and Britons in a gladiatorial combat show, fighting displays covering Saxons through to Elizabeth I, and how the cavalry changed from the Romans to the Spanish Armada.

Hundreds of people flocked to the site too caught up in peering into civil war tents to look at needlework and mediaeval doctors healing battlewounds, to notice the muddy ground.

Children took part in an archaeology excavation to hunt for Roman coins, winning a Roman artefact if they did.

The event also saw the Priory, usually closed off to the public, open its doors, a live mediaeval excavation and a working iron-age farm.

Ovid contributes to the abortion debate

A blogger who is a priest has (re)published a couple of Ovid poems with comments. Any teacher wanting to show the contribution of the Classics to contemporary moral problems might like to look up his blog here.