Dr. Amara Thornton

“Supply[ing] a third dimension”: Architects (Re) Constructing Archaeology, 1900s-1960s

Series: AA Collections Talks
Date: Tuesday 25 April 2017
Time: 18:30
Venue: Lecture Hall
Running time: 75 mins

Architect-archaeologist and Architectural Association graduate Seton Lloyd wrote his memoirs in the 1980s.  He reflected on his own route into archaeology – through architecture – stating that what architects brought to the table (literally) was the ability to “supply a third dimension”.  Reconstructing the past has always been of utmost importance to archaeology, but how much of this vision was actually the work of architects? 

This talk will present an overview of some key architects in archaeology (several of them former AA students) and the vision they brought to interpreting the past – both technical and artistic.  It will draw on research into the lives and work of these architect-archaeologists to explore how their practice and experiences shaped the way that archaeology was presented both on and off the page, from technical surveys and site plans to exhibition displays, films and children’s books.

Amara Thornton is an Honorary Research Associate at the UCL Institute of Archaeology.  She specialises in the history of archaeology, with a focus on British archaeologists working in the Eastern Mediterranean and Middle East in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.  She is coordinator of the History of Archaeology Network at the Institute, and Principal Investigator of Filming Antiquity, a project digitising and researching excavation films from the early-mid 20th century.  She blogs on her research at http://www.readingroomnotes.com.

Image: copyright UCL Institute of Archaeology

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