MEET THE EXPERTS
2021 AUTUMN EVENING TALKS
PRIMITIVE MONEY AND THE ORIGINS OF COINAGE
DR DAVID RUDLING
Friday 17th September, 7-8pm
This lecture will explore the purposes of money in ancient times and in more recent non-western cultures throughout the world. It will also consider the wide variety of forms that ‘money’ has taken, from cowrie shells and items or pieces of metal to moulded or struck coins, from Ancient China and Greek and Roman times, and the ethnographic record. This talk is suitable for archaeologists, coin collectors, and those interested generally in the history of money.
THE WRECK OF THE AMSTERDAM, 1749
DR. PETER MARSDEN
Friday 22nd October, 7-8pm
This Dutch East Indiaman, one of the largest merchant ships of the 18th century, was wrecked during a storm on the Sussex shore west of Hastings in January 1749, on her voyage from Amsterdam city to Java. There are plans to raise the ship and return her home.
A SHOE UP THE CHIMNEY - OR A SYMBOL AT YOUR DOOR?
DR. JANET PENNINGTON
Monday 1st November, 7-8.30pm
Most of us know that horseshoes are lucky (but why?) and many keep a small, holed stone on the windowsill, believing that it will somehow act as a lucky charm. Our ancestors used graffiti and many physical objects to protect their homes from evil influences or ‘bad luck’. Belief in witchcraft abounded so there was every reason to ensure that one’s home was kept safe. This talk, fingers crossed, will reveal much about past beliefs, and also highlight what some of us might still be doing to avert danger today.
DEALING WITH POVERTY IN 19TH CENTURY EASTERN SUSSEX
MARY RUDLING MA
Monday 15th November, 7-8pm
The New Poor Law aimed to impose a more deterrent system, notably in agricultural parishes in the south-east, where pressure on the relief system had escalated during the early 1800s. This talk will compare the support given to the poor under the Old and New Poor Laws and discuss the intra-regional variations which existed in eastern Sussex. The officials responsible for administering poor relief are also considered; both the local overseers and guardians, and the Poor Law Commissioners in London.
MARITIME ARCHAEOLOGY AND THE LAW
DR. PETER MARSDEN
Friday 3rd December, 7-8pm
Law involving maritime archaeological sites is very complex, and urgently needs to be simplified. For example, the cargo of wine in the local protected wreck of the Amsterdam, sunk near Hastings in January 1749, needs import duty to be paid on it – although it is not drinkable!
DOWNLAND RAMBLES: A 5,000 YEAR HUMAN AFFAIR WITH THE EASTBOURNE DOWNS
Monday 4th October, 7-8pm
Over 5000 years ago people started to make their mark on the Eastbourne Downs by creating the first monuments in the area. Since then the Downs have attracted human interaction and attention that has not only physically changed the environment but has also impacted on the way we see the ‘natural’ world around us. This talk will discuss this interaction by looking at some of the archaeological evidence left behind and also see how the Downland has provided inspiration and created stories that still resonate today.
Date pending, 7-8pm
PRAYER, PROTECTION AND PERSONALITY
Monday 8th November, 7-8pm
As a founder of the Sussex Historic Graffiti Project Jo has been involved in a survey of the C12th St Mary’s Church in Eastbourne and the discoveries there have changed not only the story of the Church but of the town itself. This talk shows how the study of graffiti can trigger a complete rethink of a buildings’ narrative and can also give a valuable insight into the minds of the people who created it in the first place.
THE EGYPTIAN INFLUENCE ON ART DECO
Friday 26th November, 7-8pm
This illustrated talk considers the Egyptian influence on the iconic, distinctive style known as "Art Deco" (really Modernism). The craze for all things Egyptian resulted from the discovery of Tutankhamun's tomb in 1922 by Howard Carter and Lord Carnaervon, which led to "Egyptomania". The effect was seen on and in everything: architecture (especially cinema buildings), fashion, jewellery, furniture, accessories, ornaments, electrical items and advertising.
MEET THE SPEAKERS
Dr Peter Marsden
Peter Marsden achieved his doctorate in archaeology from Oxford University. He has excavated, researched and published many sites in London, and has specialised in investigating historic ships and boats, from the Bronze Age boat of 1550 BC at Dover, Roman and medieval vessels in London, the warship Mary Rose sunk in 1545, the warship Anne wrecked on the Sussex coast in 1690, and so on. He is also an author and speaker.
Dr Janet Pennington
Janet Pennington is an independent historian with a PhD in early-modern Sussex inn and tavern history. Her MA dissertation is about Sir Thomas Sherley, the Elizabethan owner of Wiston House near Steyning. While working as the archivist at Lancing College, she also taught local history and palaeography for the Centre of Continuing Education at the University of Sussex. She is a long-time member of the Wealden Buildings Study Group and a former council member of the Sussex Record Society.
Janet gives illustrated talks throughout Sussex, particularly about pubs and their signs, aspects of Wiston Estate history and a variety of other subjects - see www.sussexhistorytalks.co.uk . She has a particular interest in apotropaism - the methods used to avert evil influences or bad luck from buildings and their occupants. She lives in Steyning, West Sussex.
Mary Rudling MA
Mary completed an MA in History in 2016. In her dissertation she compared poor relief in the wealden parish of Chiddingly and the downland parish of Rottingdean (see Sussex Archaeological Collections Volume 155). Mary is in the final stage of a History PhD which focuses on the Poor Laws in sixteen Sussex parishes from 1800-1860.
Although originating from South London, Jo Seaman has had an affinity for the archaeology of Sussex since 1984 when he experienced his first training excavation at the dovecote in Alciston. After working for English Heritage (now Historic England) at their headquarters, Jo realised that a degree would be needed to develop a career in the area he loved and gained a BSc Hons in Heritage Conservation from Bournemouth University. The following years of employment included time as a freelance archaeologist and 6 years with the National Trust at Petworth House where his love of the natural world was rekindled. In the early 2000’s Jo joined the staff team at the East Sussex Archaeology and Museums Partnership where he was able to learn some invaluable skills in ancient building techniques and experiential archaeological interpretation. Since 2009 he has worked for Eastbourne Borough Council, helping to establish the Heritage Service that has focussed on community projects in field archaeology, historical research and collections management including the nationally significant Eastbourne Ancestors which re-assessed the Council’s entire human skeletal collection. This role also involved creating and curating a number of successful exhibitions and visitor experiences at The Redoubt, The Pavilion and The Story of Eastbourne near the Seafront. The latest, The Beachy Head Story which opened in May 2021, is helping visitors reconnect with the Downland heritage of the Eastbourne area and has taken inspiration from artists and writers from the past and present alongside the archaeology, history and most importantly stories associated with the landscape.
Jo is fascinated by the everyday human experience in the past, no matter how mundane or profane as this tells us more about peoples’ lives than grand statements in stone or indeed politics. He has also maintained a love of the natural world and is currently working to ensure that the Eastbourne area’s substantial natural resources have a bright and sustainable future.
Still to come..