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Home Events Annual General Meeting & Annual Mallowan Lecture


Wednesday, November 8, 2023 @ 6:00 pm-9:00 pm

Annual General Meeting & Annual Mallowan Lecture

Dr John Curtis on ‘William Kennett Loftus: a 19th Century Archaeologist in Mesopotamia’

By Ali Khadr

Dr John Curtis on ‘William Kennett Loftus: a 19th Century Archaeologist in Mesopotamia’

This lecture is based on a collection of  unpublished letters from William Kennett Loftus (1820-1858) to friends and relatives in Newcastle-upon-Tyne.  Loftus was a geologist originally attached to the Turco-Persian Frontier Commission and he undertook pioneering archaeological work at sites including Warka, Nimrud and Nineveh in Iraq and Susa in Iran. Loftus is now regarded, alongside his contemporary Austen Henry Layard, as one of the foremost British archaeologists of the Victorian period. In addition to reviewing Loftus’ archaeological work, the lecture will describe  conditions in the Ottoman Empire and Persia at that time and the attitude of foreigners  towards local people and their traditions. Loftus himself had to contend with wild tribesmen, travelled on horseback through the Taurus Mountains in winter, worked in temperatures of up to 50° centigrade in the summer, and hunted hyenas and wild pigs. The lecture will also include biographical information about Loftus and his family.


John Curtis OBE was a curator in the British Museum for more than 40 years and was Keeper of the Middle East department from 1989 until 2011. He has travelled widely and excavated in both Iraq and Iran and has published extensively on the history and archaeology of both areas. He was elected a Fellow of the British Academy in 2003 and is currently President of the British Institute for the Study of Iraq.

Date and time

Date : 

Wednesday, November 8, 2023

Time : 

@ 6:00 pm-9:00 pm


Category : 


Address : 

SOAS Main Building, Torrington Square,



United Kingdom

, Khalili Lecture Theatre 



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