Sites Visited: British Museum
Group Leaders: Max and Nathalie
Hey everyone! Welcome to our blog! Today was the first day of our adventure. We all came in on different flights and arrived at different times, but we met up at the British Museum at noon for some quick introductions and shortly got to work. Most of our time in the museum will be spent in Greek, Roman, Egyptian, and other ancient Mediterranean exhibits, so Professor Christesen took us to some of his favorite non-Mediterranean pieces in the museum before we got started. We saw a giant Easter Island statue, a turquoise inlaid human skull from Central America, ivory belt accessories from Japan called Netsuke (google them, they’re pretty cool!). We also saw the Lewis Chessmen which are ancient ivory chess pieces found in Scotland. Even though they’re from the other side of the world, they really resembled the Netsuke. We then studied a couple black-figure and red-figure pots. We learned about how to describe the artwork and how careful description can help you find important details. Lines and shapes can tell you a lot about a pot!
We ended the day by looking at the Parthenon marbles. We learned all about their controversial removal from Greece. Long story short, this British guy bribed the Ottomans, who ruled Greece at the time, and shipped half of the Parthenon’s sculptures to England. He was only able to sell the stones to the British Museum for ￡35,000! This is still a very sensitive subject for both the Greeks and the Brits.
Then, we were put into pairs and each group got assigned one section of the Parthenon sculpture at the British Museum. Tonight we are working on oral presentations on our assigned sections and later this week we will meet with Ian Jenkins, one of the leading experts on the Elgin Marbles. It’s going to be an early night because we are all pretty jet-lagged!
Lots of Love,
Nat, Barg, and the rest of the crew