Thematic Collecting

@ Manchester Museum


May 2016

Eastern Mediterranean pottery: migration of techniques

Dr Nicky Nielsen, a ceramicist at the University of Liverpool and Teaching Assistant on the University of Manchester’s Egyptology Online courses, discusses the movement of styles and techniques in pottery production around the eastern Mediterranean region about 1400-1200 BC.


SuhailK talks about SunRa & Migration

Manchester-based creative practitioner SuhailK talks about the theme of migration in his work, and in the output of American jazz musician, poet and philosopher SunRa (1914-1993). SunRa’s work explored intergalactic migration inspired by a close connection to ancient Egypt. Pharaonic iconography – commonly displayed in museums – has migrated out from Egypt, morphed and inspired new ways of creative thinking.


A Swallow on the Four Seasons Mosaic at the Hull and East Riding Museum

A thematic collecting interview with Gabrielle Heffernan, Assistant Curator of Designated Collections at Hull Museums and Art Gallery, about a Barn Swallow shown on the Four Seasons mosaic from Ruston Roman villa in the Hull and East Riding Museum in Hull. The bird is shown perching on the shoulder of the depiction of Spring on the mosaic.

Thematic Collecting: Migration – an interview with Heather Robinson about her work on amphorae

Thematic collecting interview with Heather Robinson of the Faculty of Life Sciences at the University of Manchester about the results of her recent work sampling amphorae. Evidence was found of the re-use of the containers, which sheds light on the migration of bacteria and potentially the spread of disease during the Roman period.

Swallows on a Piece of Minoan Wallplaster

Interview with Dr Laura Houseman who works at the University of Manchester talking about a copy of a piece of Minoan wall plaster for Manchester Museum’s thematic collecting project about migration. Dr Houseman has studied the Minoans relationship with nature and in this interview she speculates on what the swallows might have meant to the inhabitants of the settlement of Akrotiri on the island of Santorini over 3,600 years ago.



Discussion on the Giant Earwig

The Entomology Department retains specimens of a number of extremely rare or already extinct insects. One of them is the magnificent Giant Earwig (Labidura herculeana), of which the Museum holds only two specimens, a male and a female. The Giant Earwig is the world’s largest earwig and derives from the small volcanic island of St Helena in the South Atlantic. Its body length ranges from 36 to 54 millimetres. The largest known specimen is a male of about 78 mm long. The creature is also known as the ‘Dodo of the earwigs’, since it was endemic to a small island and is likely to have become extinct. Fundamental reasons for its disappearance seem to have been the clearing of the Gumwood forest where the species occurred and its predation by introduced animals, particularly by the large centipede (Scolopendra morsitans) and mice. Since 1967, when the earwig was still reasonably common, it has not been seen alive, though three unsuccessful expeditions have been organized and sponsored by the London Zoo in order to find and rescue it. However, the earwig has entered into the folklore of St Helena and many people believe that it is still living out there somewhere. Further details on this earwig species can be found here.

Dmitri Logunov, the Curator of Arthropods at the Manchester Museum, and two Manchester based artists, Ian Clegg and Angela Tait, are talking about the story of the Giant Earwig.


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