Saturday Study Day Programme

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Spring 2016

As from January 2016 our prices are rising by just £2 to £38.

16th January King Rædwald the Great with Dr Sam Newton (Independent Scholar)
We shall reconsider the history of early England in general and of Rædwald of East Anglia (died c.625) in particular. Although Bede does not state it explicitly, when we unravel his narrative and reorder the events to which he refers in a chronological order, Rædwald emerges as first of the great English kings to been overlords of all of Britain. Also of special interest is the part Rædwald can be seen to have played in reconciling the religious differences in the transitional age of the early seventh century. In the surviving record he is the first baptised king to obtain victory on the field of battle. His success at the Battle of the River Idle in 617 seems to have been a factor in the re-establishment of Roman Christianity in England following the Canterbury crisis after the death of King Æthelbert of Kent in 616. We shall thus see that Rædwald may have been regarded as very great king indeed, all of which strengthens the possibility that he was the East Anglian king who lay in state aboard the magnificent Sutton Hoo ship-burial.
23rd January From Catacombs to Basilicas- the first eight hundred years of Christianity in Rome with Charles Freeman (Independent Scholar)
This Study Day will focus on what we know, from tradition, documents and surviving buildings, of early Christianity in Rome and how a distinctive Latin Christianity evolved. It will end with the crowning of Charlemagne in St Peter’s in AD 800, a turning point in the history of western Christianity.
30th January Smiths, Soldiers, and Princes of pre-Roman Essex with Howard Brookes (Colchester Archaeological Trust)
Essex has never featured as strongly in the archaeological consciousness (or literature) as it deserves, but its archaeological remains (especially in later prehistory and the Roman period) are of exceptional interest.
We shall explore the landscape of Essex from the Neolithic to the eve of the Roman invasion, looking at the causewayed enclosures, the defended homes of Bronze Age metal traders, the Iron Age hillforts, and the Iron Age village sites (some of which may have been defended against the invasion of Julius Caesar in 55BC).  After Caesar’s time, we will examine the evidence from recent excavations in the ‘proto-town’ or oppidum of Camulodunum (the home of Cunobelin and the target of the Roman invasion of AD 43), and the extraordinary élite burials of princes (or druids?) at Stanway.
6th February The Archaeology of the House with Edward Martin (Independent Scholar)
An exploration of the archaeological evidence for houses from prehistory down to post-medieval times, a journey that will start with a wide European view but will focus more closely on Britain and East Anglia as time progresses.
27th February The Anglo-Saxon Settlements with Dr Richard Hoggett (Suffolk County Council Archaeological Service)
This Study Day examines the changing nature of settlements throughout the Anglo-Saxon period, using newly excavated and recently published sites from across the region. The Early Saxon period is well represented by the excavated examples from Carlton Colville and West Stow, where important experimental archaeology still continues. By contrast, the Middle Saxon period saw dramatic changes in settlement patterns, exemplified by the recently published excavations at Brandon and Sedgeford. Don’t miss this chance to explore the Anglo-Saxon landscape with an expert who has been studying and excavating Anglo-Saxon settlements for 15 years.
5th March Charlemagne (748-814) with Professor Rosamond McKitterick (University of Cambridge)
This Study Day will assess Charlemagne’s career from the emergence of the Carolingian family to the creation of the Carolingian empire; the ‘special relationship’ with the papacy and Rome; and new forms of cultural activity. There will be a particular opportunity to study the original sources – texts, images and buildings.
12th March Bishoprics and Battlefields: East Anglia during the 7th Century with Dr Sam Newton (Independent Scholar)
On the feast day of St Gregory, the pope who sent St Augustine’s mission to the English-speaking peoples in 597, we shall reassess the coming of Roman Christianity to East Anglia after the reign of the great king Rædwald (died c.625). We shall also attempt to chart the heroic history of the Wuffing kingdom up to and including the Battle the River Winwæd (15th Nov. 655), one of the great battles of Anglo-Saxon history, which seems to seal the success of the Gregorian mission.
19th March A day with Andy Orchard, FRSC, Rawlinson and Bosworth Professor of Anglo-Saxon, University of Oxford.Details to follow

Please phone or email to check the availability of places.  All Study Days are £36 each, which includes a full day of lectures, access to the NT site, parking, coffee and tea throughout the day, and access to the NT exhibition. Click here for more details about how to book.

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