1.45 pm: Friends of Antiquity Annual General Meeting. Click here to view the AGM agenda (PDF, 80 KB).
2.30 pm: James Donaldson The Shellal Mosaic: Archaeological, Textual and Visual Traditions

The Shellal Mosaic is the largest ancient mosaic pavement in Australia. It was uncovered by ANZAC Service Personnel at Shellal, near Gaza, in 1917, and was excavated and removed by Chaplain William Maitland Woods. While the largest part of the mosaic is held by the AWM, Canberra, other parts were dispersed to collections in Brisbane, Sydney and central western NSW. The main Canberra portion of the mosaic was the subject of guidebooks in 1920 (Rowe) and 1942 (Trendall), and an ANU dissertation by Henderson in 1985, part of which was subsequently published in the Journal of the Australian War Memorial (1988). These previous studies primarily focus on the art-historical aspects of the main mosaic, and to date, no study has examined the complex history of the mosaic, from its initial discovery, to excavation, recovery, dispersal, reconstruction and display. This paper presents the initial results of a study into history of the Shellal Mosaic (Australian War Memorial) and seeks to understand the way that the mosaic has been recorded and transformed since its discovery to the present day. It will utilise written, photographic, artistic and physical evidence from collections in both Australia and New Zealand.

James Donaldson
James Donaldson is the Manager/Curator of the RD Milns Antiquities Museum at The University of Queensland where he has worked for over a decade caring for the Museum’s collection and presenting it to the public.

James holds a Master of Philosophy in Classics, with a thesis exploring the marriage alliances contracted by the famous Herodian dynasty of Judea. He is currently working on a project with the Antiquities Museum to document and understand antiquities that Australian Service Personnel brought back with them from the First World War. This talk is based in part on that project.

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$10 pp includes afternoon tea following the talk


Forgan Smith building, St Lucia campus (lift access is available)