BSR News | Autumn 2021
A Message from our new Director, Abigail Brundin
I am really delighted to be writing to you as we settle into a new academic cycle in Rome, to introduce myself as the new Director of the BSR, having taken up the post at the start of September. Since arriving in Rome I have been busy getting to know the many excellent programmes and meeting staff and award holders. The BSR is an institution I know well already, having first visited in the late 1990s as a doctoral student. On that visit I met people who helped and supported me on my first foray into the Vatican Archives, individuals with whom I continue to collaborate to this day. It was an early and important insight into the value of this very special interdisciplinary community, which I am thrilled to be leading into its 13th decade.

Meet our new award-holders
In September, we welcomed a new cohort of award-holders to the BSR. The group of artists and scholars took part in a Welcome Week, during which they met BSR Research Fellows, went on tours around the city (including the Forum Romanum) and presented on their research and practice to the rest of the group.

Find out more about our award-holders and their projects on our website, or view our latest series, 'Introducing our 20212 award-holders' on Instagram, saved as a highlight here.
Funding target reached for the Simon Keay Award in Mediterranean Archaeology

The BSR is delighted to announce that the funding target for the new award in Mediterranean archaeology in memory of the late Professor Simon Keay has been reached. Thanks to the overwhelming generosity of the BSR's members and friends across the world the BSR will shortly be able to open the first call for applications. Whilst the fund itself will remain open, we are so pleased that we can now begin preparations and make this award a reality.

Thank you all for your tremendous support. Further details of the award and how to apply will be published soon.
Our Autumn events programme is now live

We are pleased to announce our autumn events programme, with a series of hybrid-events in Rome and London.

For event sign ups, and more information about our lectures and speakers, please visit our events page. Advance registration (for both in-person attendance, and online) is essential.

Please note that, for those lectures that can be attended in-person, a valid Covid vaccination pass will be required on entry.
We welcome Emma Talbot, the winner of the Max Mara Art Prize for Women
Emma Talbot is the eighth winner of the Max Mara Art Prize for Women in collaboration with Whitechapel Gallery, a biennial award which aims to encourage and support emerging women artists who live and work in the United Kingdom. The Prize provides the winner an opportunity to develop her career as an artist through a bespoke residency in Italy, organised by Collezione Maramotti.

She will be spending the last two months in residence with us at the BSR, where she will work on a new body of work, taking as a starting point Gustav Klimt’s painting Three Ages of Woman (1905), housed at the Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna next door. We look forward to welcoming Emma back to the BSR, where she previously spent time as a resident and award-holder (Emma was awarded the Rome Scholarship in Fine Arts in 19956).

An in-conversation with Emma and Valentino Nizzo (Museo Nazionale Etrusco di Villa Giulia) will take place on Monday 6 December, 18.0019.30 CET, for which you can now sign up here.

Our Library re-opens to the public

We are pleased to announce that the Library will re-open on the 25 October, for reservations Monday-Friday 9.15 a.m17.00 p.m.

Reservations can be submitted beginning 18 October. In order to reserve a desk for the following week send an email to from Monday 9.00 a.m to Tuesday 17.00 p.m only.

The reservations are on a first come, first served, basis and will be confirmed by 17.00 p.m on the Wednesday.

For those who do not already have a library card please attach to the request a letter of introduction.

All readers must have a valid Green pass or equivalent and use a mask.

The Archive is open for consultation by appointment. Please contact the Archivist at
Papers of the British School at Rome, volume 89

October sees the publication of the latest volume of Papers of the British School at Rome. It presents exciting new research from BSR alumni, staff and the wider academic community, as well as short reports on the BSR's ongoing archaeological projects and upon the research undertaken by award-holders.

The online journal can be accessed here.
In the field

Geophysical Survey at Portopalo di Capo Passero, Sicily
Archaeology at the BSR has begun a new research partnership with the Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche – Catania and the Universidad de Cádiz to support excavations at the Roman garum production site of Portopalo di Capo Passero in southeast Sicily.

Building upon the close collaboration between the institutes that began under the Port Networks Project led by Professor Simon Keay, the BSR team conducted a three-day ground-penetrating radar survey aiming to map parts of the settlement associated with the production facilities recorded along the shoreline.

BSR excavations at Falerii Novi

In late June the BSR began an exciting new excavation project at the Roman city of Falerii Novi, in collaboration with the universities of Harvard, Toronto, Cambridge, Ghent, and under concession of the Soprintendenza Archeologia, Belle Arti e Paesaggio per la Provincia di Viterbo e l’Etruria Meridionale. This follows the School’s extensive research at this site, including surface survey and geophysical prospection from 1997-8 and 2002-8.
In the initial two-week season over 140 test trenches were opened to assess chronological and spatial material distribution and to inform large-scale targeted excavation commencing in May 2022. This project bears enormous potential to reveal new information regarding Roman Republican urbanism, migration, and connectivity across central Italy. You can read more about the 2021 season in The Conversation.
Collaborating with the British Museum
A BSR/British Museum Special:
Mary Beard on Nero: the face of power
On 24 September, we hosted a special online event in collaboration with the British Museum as part of their acclaimed exhibition, Nero: the man behind the myth.

The event was an in-conversation with Mary Beard (Cambridge) and former BSR Director, Andrew Wallace-Hadrill (Cambridge), with an introduction from our new BSR Director, Abigail Brundin.

The two came together to explore how Nero has been imagined and reimagined by artists through time, with reference to themes from Mary's latest book Twelve Caesars: Images of Power from the Ancient World to the Modern.

The in-conversation is now available to watch on our YouTube channel.
A behind the scenes look at
Nero: the man behind the myth
We were so pleased to be able to host a group of our UK-based supporters for an after-hours private view of the exhibition, Nero: the man behind the myth, led by curator, Thorsten Opper.

Thorsten provided insight into his vision for the space, the logistical challenges of hosting an exhibition in a pandemic, as well as providing an expert analysis of the special objects on display.

For exclusive invites to our members' events in the UK and Italy, please consider becoming a BSR member today.
New highlights in the BSR Digital Collections
The BSR has begun a Digital Humanities Research Project in collaboration with Professor Roey Sweet and Dr Richard Ansell, both from the University of Leicester, selecting William Gell’s sketchbook of landscapes and monuments in northern England and Scotland as a pilot project.

Research is currently in progress by Prof. Sweet and Dr. Ansell, in collaboration with the BSR. Their Leverhulme Trust funded 3-year research project, led by Roey Sweet, War, travel and cultural exchange: William Gell and the British in Iberia, 1750–1830 includes research on this notebook which will also be published on our website.

Watch a #BSRShortTalk about this ongoing project below:
A large set of photographs, as well as reports, documentation and publications produced by The Museum, Fine Arts, and Archives (MFAA) Subcommittee, was deposited in the Archive of the BSR thanks to the dual role played by John Bryan Ward-Perkins as both BSR Director (1945-1974) and as first an officer, and subsequently (July 1945) director of the MFAA in Italy.

These records, therefore, represent an outstanding source of evidence and experience to inform and develop best practice for protection of contemporary cultural heritage in conflict.
New additions to the BSR Team

Introducing Sam Kan, our new Administrative Assistant in the BSR London Office. Sam recently graduated from the Courtauld Institute of Art, where they studied History of Art. They will be working across membership, awards and events. Welcome!

We are delighted to announce Roberta Cascino’s appointment as Archaeological Archive Assistant. Roberta, who graduated and specialised in Archaeology at La Sapienza Università di Roma, is completing her PhD at University of Southampton. She is also BSR Research Fellow and staff member of the Portus Project.
Roberta will work alongside the Library and Archive staff to catalogue, digitise and make publicly available a specific section of the John Bryan Ward-Perkins archive.
In the News

  • Our very own Antonio Palmieri features in a series of interviews for the Rome Art Program: 'Art, whatever it takes'.

  • We are seeking to appoint a Head of Research Collections, a position that will be based in Rome. Further details, including how to apply, can be found on our vacancies page.
Image credits: Autumn in St James Park, next to the BSR London Office at the British Academy: Zoe Firth. Professor Abigail Brundin: © 2021 St Catharine's College Cambridge. Award-holders on the steps of the BSR: Antonio Palmieri. Simon Keay giving the Rickman lecture in 2011: Antonio Palmieri. Emma Talbot during her residency in Italy, Ph. Studio Abruzzese: courtesy of Collezione Maramotti. Library Seminar: Sophie Hay. Papers of the British School at Rome, volume 89: courtesy of Cambridge University Press. Emlyn Dodd working at Portopalo: the archaeology team. The BSR archaeology team at Falerii Novi. UK supporters at the Nero exhibition, with curator Thorsten Opper: Zoe Firth. Florence, bridges; Ward-Perkins Collection. Photographs. War Damage Series. BSR Digital Collections. Notebook 6. Spain and Portugal; BSR Digital Collections. Sam Kan in the library at the British Academy; Zoe Firth. Roberta Cascino in the field.