My time with the Robert Anderson Trust was both productive and eventful. It allowed me to consult experts in my field and access resources that would have otherwise been unavailable to me. My PhD topic – birds in Roman life and myth – is a rather niche one, but London has a particularly fine concentration of resources relating to the subject.
My time in the UK began with accessing ornithological specimens held by Historic England. I visited the British Museum to study the numismatics collection, and there also met with a Roman jewellery expert who kindly assisted with the identification of birds on Roman gemstones. I met an ornithologist who has recently published a book on Birds in the Ancient World to discuss his work and seek advice for my own topic. I attended the Roman Finds Conference held at the Museum of London, visited the Roman exhibits there, and later went to the London Mithraeum.
I made a day trip to Cambridge to visit the Fitzwilliam, and while there met up with two archaeologists working on Romano-British sites. I also visited Oxford to see the Ashmolean and photograph some important Etruscan pieces. I made a journey to the University of Exeter, where I delivered a presentation on my research to the zooarchaeology team, and received valuable feedback and resources in return.
Ash giving a presentation on ‘Chickens in Roman Ritual Practice’ to the Zooarchaeology team at Exeter University
In between these events, I spent most of my time collecting data at the British Library, the library of the Classics Institute, and the Warburg Institute.