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[Archaeologytalks] The 7 Wonders: Construction, Fame and Destruction

[Archaeologytalks] The 7 Wonders: Construction, Fame and Destruction

Date and time: Saturday, September 5, 2020, 8 to 9:30 pm British Summer Time (UTC+1)

Tickets (£10 +£1.37 fee) here.

Join this talk for a virtual tour around the Eastern Mediterranean and the seven ancient wonders of the world.

After the conquests of Alexander the Great, the world became much larger for Greek culture and influence. Stories of lands now more tightly connected circulated, and various authors began listing famous things to see, or at least to know about. Ranging from monuments built thousands of years earlier (such as the pyramids) to more recent ones (like the colossus of Rhodes) the seven ‘wonders’ were the most impressive structures and statues of their time. During this webinar we will explore the historical and archaeological backgrounds of these ‘wonders’, embarking on a virtual journey around the eastern Mediterranean.

Many of us have encountered lists of ‘seven wonders’ around the world, but the first one preserved to us dates from the second century BC. Antipater, a poet from Sidon, writes a short passage about seven wonderful sites he has seen. A century earlier, a now lost work “A collection of wonders in lands throughout the world” was written by a librarian at the famous library at Alexandria.

What was included in the list, or lists, of wonders, and why were they chosen? We will explore the sites on the now-canonical list in turn, going on a journey from Greece (the statue of Zeus at Olympia and the Colossus of Rhodes), to Turkey (the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus and the temple of Artemis at Ephesus), Iraq (the hanging gardens of Babylon) and Egypt (the pyramids and the lighthouse of Alexandria). Only one of these stands tall today, for the others we will piece together the fragmentary archaeological and literary evidence for what they may have looked like. We will finish the hour with stories of their destruction, and where in the world you might find fragments of them today.

This talk will be led by Helena, an archaeologist with a Ph.D. in ancient history. She regularly does fieldwork in Greece and elsewhere in the Mediterranean, and conducts private tours of the British Museum in London when the museum is open. After an hourlong presentation, she is happy to take your questions on the seven wonders, or archaeology in general.

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