Free lectures featuring some of today's most prominent archaeologists are held throughout the year. The Museum is open before and after the lectures.
Lawrence of Arabia’s War: The Arabs, the British, and the Remaking of the Middle East in World War I
Sept. 28, 2017, 7:30 p.m.
Neil Faulkner, Research Fellow at the University of Bristol, Editor of Military History Monthly, and Co-director of the Great Arab Revolt Project (in Jordan) and the Sedgeford Historical and Archaeological Research Project (in Norfolk, England)
When the First World War began in 1914, the Middle East had been ruled by the Ottoman Turks for 400 years. Between 1914 and 1918, military campaigns by British regular forces and Arab Bedouin guerrillas caused the collapse of Ottoman rule across the region. A string of great cities, including Jerusalem and Damascus, fell successively to the allied forces. Over the next three years, a new Middle East was created—a Middle East forged by British and French imperialism, Arab nationalism, and Zionism. The region has remained in turmoil ever since.
A young Oxford archaeologist and wartime soldier, T. E. Lawrence, played a pivotal role in these events and, as "Lawrence of Arabia," was destined to become a legendary war hero and international celebrity. His reputation and iconic status have been disputed ever since. Is the legend a myth? Was Lawrence, as some claim, a liar, a charlatan, and a self-promoting imposter? Or does the legend reflect reality? Was he, in fact, a brilliant military commander and a sincere advocate of the Arab national cause?
The Arab Revolt of 1916 to 1918 provides the historical context for the legend. The numerous well-preserved archaeological remains of the conflict, strewn mainly along the line of the former Hijaz Railway, became the focus of a 10-year program of field research led by Dr. Neil Faulkner and his colleague from the University of Bristol, Professor Nicholas Saunders. The results of their work have broken new ground in testing the veracity of Lawrence’s great war memoir (Seven Pillars of Wisdom) and shedding fresh light on the entire conflict that raged in Sinai, Arabia, Palestine, and Syria during World War I.
Drawing on the results of fieldwork in the deserts of southern Jordan, Dr. Faulkner, author of Lawrence of Arabia’s War, will review the "celebrity cult" around T. E. Lawrence, assess the character and contribution of the man behind the image, and provide a compelling new analysis of the war that transformed the region a century ago.
The Kelso Museum of Near Eastern Archaeology will be open from 6:30-7:15 p.m. and after the lecture. The lecture and reception to follow are free and open to the public.
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