BIPS is delighted to announce the appointment of Dr Gareth Brereton as the Stronach Fellow at the University of York starting in this role on 10th February. He comes to us from the British Museum where he was Curator for Mesopotamia. He studied at University College London and is an archaeologist and a curator, with experience of excavating in the Middle East and digitisation programmes. While at the British Museum, he curated the major British Museum exhibition on Assyria ‘I am Ashurbanipal, King of the World, King of Assyria’ (November 2018 to February 2019), and edited the accompanying catalogue. He also organised the British Museum touring exhibition ‘Ancient Iraq: New Discoveries’, which was shown at the Great North Museum, Newcastle, and at the University of Nottingham. In the museum, he completed the online registration of the W.G. Lambert collection and the ceramic collection from Tell Taya in northern Iraq, and he was a member of the team working on the Ur of the Chaldees Project which digitally reunifies the archaeological material and archival resources from Sir Leonard Woolley’s excavations at the ancient city of Ur of the Chaldees http://www.ur-online.org. This is the authoritative web resource for all documentation and research produced by the excavations at Ur. Ur Online is a collaboration between the British Museum and the University of Pennsylvania Museum supported by the Leon Levy Foundation. Gareth’s archaeological fieldwork has been in Kurdistan (the Sharizor Prehistory Project), at Ras al-Hadd in Oman and most recently at Tello (ancient Girsu) in the Dhi Qar Governorate of Southern Iraq.
It will be recalled that the purpose of this post is to digitise and make available online the extensive archaeological archive of Professor David Stronach who passed away on 27th June 2020. He was the founding director of BIPS from 1961 to 1979, and during his time in Iran excavated at a number of important sites including Yarim Tepe, Pasargadae, Tepe Nush-i Jan, and Shahr-e Qumis. The bulk of the archive relates to these excavations, and includes black and white photographs, colour slides, notebooks, plans, drawings and registers of pottery and small finds. All these materials have been donated to BIPS by David’s family, and work has already started on digitisation under the supervision of Professor Ali Mousavi at the Pourdavoud Centre for the Study of the Iranian World at UCLA. It is hoped that in addition to creating state-of-the-art online websites for Pasargadae and Nush-i Jan, other outputs might include hard copy publications such as the report of the survey of the MalayerJowkar Plain in the vicinity of Nush-i Jan undertaken in 1977-78. The project will also offer the possibility of collaboration with other British International Research Institutes (BIRIs) such as Ankara (BIAA) and Iraq (BISI).
BIPS is very grateful to the British Academy for supporting what promises to be an innovative and pioneering project that will not only put important material out into the public domain but will also make a major contribution to the study of Ancient Iran.
Prior to this role, Gareth was a curator at the British Museum responsible for the Mesopotamia collections. His main research field is the funerary archaeology and material culture of the ancient Near East. His PhD research at UCL explored the changing moral context of exchange and consumption in the transition from Neolithic to urban life in Mesopotamia. He has worked as a registrar and supervised excavations at the archaeological site of Tello (ancient Girsu) in southern Iraq as part of the British Museum’s Iraq Scheme. He has previously supervised the excavation of a prehistoric settlement in the Kurdistan region of northern Iraq (The Sharizor Prehistory Project, UCL), and worked at the site of Ras al-Hadd in Oman with the British Museum.