No formal courses were taught at the BSA before 1973, the year of the first annual undergraduate programme. This was the brainchild of the then Assistant Director, Robin Barber, and helped to inspire a second, this time for UK school teachers in Ancient History, established in 1979. Both initiatives occurred under the directorship of Dr Hector Catling, who personally led the first six schoolteachers’ courses. The speakers will discuss the early history of these two courses (others—on epigraphy, numismatics and pottery—have been established more recently), including the organisation and itineraries, which frequently involved unforeseen and sometimes hilarious episodes.
Robin Barber was Assistant Director of the BSA from 1972 to 1976 and subsequently taught Classical Archaeology at Edinburgh University. He is author of The Cyclades in the Bronze Age and edited several Greek volumes in the Blue Guide series. He was invested with an honorary doctorate by the University of Athens in 2012.
Tony Spawforth (professor emeritus of Ancient History, Newcastle University) was Assistant Director of the BSA but one after Robin Barber, from 1979 to 1981, and contributed to both courses for over a decade. His new book, The Story of Greece and Rome (Yale, 2018), will appear in paperback early in 2020.