The Stone of Life: Grain Processing in Jordan
by Alison McQuitty
This talk is based on both fieldwork carried out in Jordan from the early 80s onwards as well as a presentation given by myself and my colleague, Holly Parton, at The International Molinological Society conference held in Berlin last year. The history and archaeology of grain processing is traced from the Bronze Age (starting c.3,300 BC) though to the mid-20th century AD. The first examples of grinding used hand-operated querns which then developed into animal-operated mills. In Jordan by the 16th century AD and arguably earlier, water-mills became a common sight in the deeply-cut valleys with seasonal water flow (wadi) that drained westwards into the Jordan Valley. Indeed such mills were and are a common sight throughout the Eastern Mediterranean. By the mid-20th century these water-mills were largely replaced by diesel mills.
The images accompanying the talk will illustrate the different types of mill as well as posing suggestions about their relative efficiency.
Alison McQuitty is an archaeologist who has worked on projects in England, Jordan and Syria with a particular interest in the post-mediaeval period, ethno-archaeology and vernacular architecture. Alison became the first Director of the Council for British Research in the Levant. Her subsequent experience ranges from leading the refurbishment of a local Jordanian museum to lecturing on heritage management and organising bespoke tours to the Middle East and North Africa. Alison is co-director of the Khirbat Faris Project. She has lectured and published extensively about archaeology in Jordan and most recently co-authored Khirbat Faris: Rural Settlement, Continuity and Change in Southern Jordan.
Adventures in Egypt
by Beth Asbury
The Egyptian Antiquities Service was established in 1859, attached to the Ministry of Public Works. In 1994 it became the Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA), chaired by the Minister of Culture. In 2002, Dr Zahi Hawass became the Secretary General of the SCA after several years as the Director of the monuments at Giza. A controversial figure, but one who has had an undeniable impact on Egyptology, change threatened on 28 January 2011 when the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir Square was broken into. Beth Asbury, who was one of Dr Zahi’s assistants at the time, will share some of her stories from before and after the Egyptian Revolution.
Beth Asbury is the Assistant Archaeologist (HER and Outreach) for West Berkshire Council. She previously worked for the Chartered Institute for Archaeologists (2004-2010), as a tutor at the University of Reading’s School of Continuing Education (2005-09) and for the Ministry of State for Antiquities in Cairo (2010-11). When she moved back to the UK, Beth worked at the Pitt Rivers Museum (2011-17) and Ashmolean Museum (2018). Beth is the Berkshire representative for the CBA Wessex group and on the Committee of the Thames Valley Ancient Egypt Society.
Archaeology in schools
by Maggie Smith
Should we be doing more to encourage young people to engage with archaeology? If so, how can we do this? This short talk will look at the current educational scene in schools to consider where there are opportunities, or how opportunities might be made, for archaeology to contribute to pupils’ learning and experiences.
Maggie Smith has spent most of her career in education – initially as a teacher in secondary schools, and then training teachers and carrying out research within education faculties in universities. She currently works with Masters and Doctoral students at Reading University and the Open University.
Due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic the above will be conducted on Zoom. Details of how to join the lectures, which will commence as usual at 2.30pm, will be communicated nearer the time
Non-members are welcome to attend the Society’s lectures which are currently taking place on Zoom. There is no charge for this. Places can be requested by emailing lectures(at)berksarch.co.uk a minimum of 3 working days beforehand (i.e. the Wednesday before the lecture at the absolute latest)
For security we are not publishing email addresses as direct links. Please re-type substituting the @ symbol for (at