BSR News Autumn 2015

This issue of BSR News takes a look back on a productive summer, as well as looking forwards to another exciting academic year with our new award-holders. Throughout July and August BSR archaeologists were hard at work embarking on a new project in Pompeii which has received significant attention from the press. Closer to home, we saw a rather'magical' restoration project come to fruition in the Library; and we are pleased to report that we are making great progress with our Sustainable Building Project. We were especially delighted to read Mary Beard's warm words of support for the BSR this week.
We have many fascinating events to look forward to over the coming year and I am delighted to announce that we shall be visiting New Zealand and Australia in February 2016 and I do hope that many of you will be able to join us and take the opportunity to celebrate the BSR and reunite with old friends.
Christopher Smith

The BSR welcomes new Assistant Director

Dr Thomas-Leo True has taken up the position of Assistant Director at the BSR, after two years working at Sir John Soane's Museum. 

Working on the Papal States during the long 16th century, his interests include  Romanitas and cultural identity, artistic geographies and the role of localism on art, and cultural display as an instrument of control to cement periphery to centre.

Tom's current research focuses on the sociological, political and cultural relationship between Rome and its dependent territories, concentrating on the Marche, Emilia Romagna, parts of Umbria, and other outcrops of papal dominion. 

He is interested in the many independent minor lordships entrenched within the politically fragmented Papal States, and the socio-cultural developments that enabled, celebrated and sustained their assimilation into the lands of the Church.

As a demon bowler, he is also hoping to break into the Vatican cricket team. 

Excavations and restorations
Pompeii in the press
This summer the British School at Rome began an exciting new international research project at the necropolis of Porta Nola at Pompeii. In partnership with the Ilustre Colegio Oficial de Doctores y Licenciados en Letras y Ciencias de Valencia and the Museo de Prehistoria de Valencia, the project uses a range of new techniques to study the inhabitants of Pompeii, both those buried in the necropolis and those who were caught fleeing the city during the eruption of 79 AD, and whose bodies were conserved as casts during earlier excavations.

In its first season of field work, the Porta Nola Necropolis Project began by investigating a series of different types of funerary monument, each representative of different levels of society. See our blog post to read about the excavation results and to follow links to national press coverage.

The BSR's Magic Lantern is restored 

Our Magic Lantern is working again, after over half a century of inactivity, thanks to the generosity of The John R. Murray Charitable Trust, and Antonio Di Carlo who carried out the restoration. John and Ginnie Murray were our guests at the first slideshow, held on Friday 4 September, together with BSR residents and colleagues.

We relived Thomas Ashby's talk given in the BSR Library in 1910 (when we were still in the Palazzo Odescalchi in the centre of Rome) recounting his trip to Lampedusa, Lampione and Linosa in 1908 - one of the first archaeologists to explore these islands off Sicily - and we projected the very lantern slides he used to illustrate his talk, made from the photographs he took during the trip.

Building blocks for the future
Sustainable Building Project makes headway

We are now a little more than half-way through the Sustainable Building Project. The roofs on the east and north wings of the building are now watertight, and the artists' studios have new windows and skylights. Further good news is that new hot water heaters have been installed. 

All of this means that we are on track to complete the work by the end of the year. 

Donation to SBP gratefully received from former award-holder

The Sustainable Building Project has also kept our Development Office busy. Contrary to the myth that no donations arrive in the summer, we were delighted to receive a spontaneous donation to the SBP from one of our former award-holders. His most generous cheque arrived with a note simply saying: 'I am so impressed by the news of work on the BSR that I'd like to make a contribution.' We are truly grateful to him, and are always pleased to receive support like this - whether we know about it in advance or not.


Image acknowledgements 
Christopher Smith: Antonio Palmieri. Thomas-Leo True: Antonio Palmieri. Pompeii Porta Nola Necropolis Project field school: Porta Nola Necropolis Project. The BSR's Magic Lantern: Natalie Arrowsmith. The completed east wing after the first phase of the Sustainable Building Project: Natalie Arrowsmith. Roof tiles: Natalie Arrowsmith.