The 2024 Edwin Cuthbert Hall Annual Lecture in Archaeology

Professor Barbara Helwing | Thursday 11 April 2024
Chau Chak Wing Museum | 5:30pm doors for 6:00pm start.

The Museum of the Ancient Near East in Berlin is one of the major museums focusing on this field within the global north. Best known for the reconstruction of the bright blue Ishtar Gate from Babylon, the museum is world famous for the carefully curated staging of its exhibition that offers the visitors a lively and immersive experience. The lecture explores the history of the Museum of the Ancient Near East in Berlin before a backdrop of political and intellectual history since the inception of a museum culture in the early 19th century. The museum represents both a prototypical case of museums from the imperial age and a specifically Berlin-based case of museum making. It had a deep influence on the development of the discipline of Ancient Near Eastern studies in Germany. As the museum is currently closed for refurbishing, the lecture will conclude with an outlook to the future of this institution.

Barbara Helwing is the director of the Museum of the Ancient Near East SMB PK in Berlin, Germany, and honorary professor at the Freie Universität Berlin and The University of Sydney, Australia, where she previously held the Edwin Cuthbert Hall chair from 2016 to 2019. She gained her PhD in the field of Prehistoric and Near Eastern Archaeology from the University of Heidelberg. From 2000 to 2014, she was head of the Tehran Branch of the German Archaeological Institute. She has conducted archaeological fieldwork in Iran, Turkey, Azerbaijan, and Sri Lanka, and is currently engaged in excavating the late PPNB site Gürcü Tepe in Turkey. Her research interests focus on the emergence of social inequality, and on the history of technology and innovations and their cultural impact, with a special perspective on the role of metallurgy therein. Another line of interest is the history of research into ancient Southwest Asia and the consequences this entails for today’s perception of the field.

This event is free. Click here to register

Image courtesy of Prof Helwing


Near Eastern Archaeological Foundation
Level 4, CCANESA Madsen F09, University of Sydney NSW 2006 Australia
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