Basil Hennessy

Vale Professor Basil Hennessy

On Sunday 27 October 2013 Emeritus Professor J. Basil Hennessy died after a short illness at the age of 88. He was the founder and driving force behind the establishment of the Near Eastern Archaeology Foundation. He was known to many of you as the Director of the Foundation until 1991. It was under his guidance that the Foundation flourished and established itself as a conduit for the general public to meet and learn of the work and research being undertaken by archaeologists from around the world. It was his concept that young Australian and New Zealand archaeologists should be aided in the opportunity to study overseas. To this end the system of scholarships that are given annually by the Foundation was established.

He was an inspiration to countless students, both those who continued in the discipline and also those who continued to have a passion for further learning and interest in this world though moving into other fields. The legacy of his endeavors is seen today throughout the archaeological world. It is seen in the continuing excavations at Pella in Jordan now directed by his past students. It is seen in the diverse teaching and research positions that are held around the world by his past students. He is remembered by so many with great affection and gratitude for his gift of a lifelong passion to learn of and research the past.

On Tuesday 18 February 2014 a memorial service for Basil was held in the Great Hall at the University of Sydney. This well-attended event displayed both the breadth of his influence and the esteem in which he is held.  

Photo: Professor Basil Hennessy at Pella in Jordan celebrating his birthday (1981).

Timeless Travels

August 2014: Timeless Travels magazine launched. Pella alumni Dr Fionna Richards has launched a unique travel magazine for those who want to read about unusual and captivating destinations from an archaeological, historical or art perspective. This free digital magazine is available on all platforms. Visit the website to start reading today!

Timeless Travels Magazine

Dr Cameron Petrie

March 2014: Decline of Bronze Age ‘megacities’ linked to climate change. Pella and University of Syndey alumni, Dr Cameron Petrie, is part of a team investigaing the collapse of the Indus civilisation 4,100 years ago that has been linked to an identifiable weakening of the summer monsoon.

Please select here

Excavating Mungo Man

February 2014: Mungo Man is a physical reminder of the need for Indigenous recognition. Forty years on from the discovery of Mungo Man, what he represents is as pertinent now as ever. An article from the Guardian by Jim Bowler who, as the article states, was found by Mungo Man.

Please select here

Medieval Damascus

January 2014: Dr Ross Burns (NEAF Board member) has recently completed the main task of listing on the Monuments of Syria website virtually all of the 130 or so sites (and urban itineraries) covered in his book Monuments of Syria (third edition, I B Tauris, London 2009 ISBN 9781845119478).

Please select here

Bactrian Gold

January 2014: A New York Times article on the valuable work being performed by a group of archaeologists, including NEAF member Jamie Fraser, at the National Museum of Afghanistan in Kabul.

Please select here

Viktor Sarianidi

January 2014: Viktor Sarianidi, the archaeologist who unearthed the Bactrian treasure and excavated the Bronze Age city of Gonur Tepe in Turkmenistan dies at the age of 84. The Telegraph's obituary tells of the incredible story of the discovery and re-discovery of the Bactrian Treasure: one of the treasures of the National Museum of Afghanistan where NEAF member Jamie Fraser now works (see above) 

Please select here for the Telegraph's obituary

Ben Churcher recalls meeting Viktor Sarianidi at Gonur Tepe in 2009. His recollections are posted here.

Michele Cotton

December 2013: A recent article from The Jordan Times on the volunteer work NEAF Board member Michele Cotton is currently undertaking in Jordan.

Please select here

Eddie Peltenburg

September 2013: Recent NEAF lecturer, Professor Edgar Peltenburg, interviewd by Margaret Throsby for Radio National.

Please select here

The Mineret at Jam

August 2013: A NATO journalist has just released this video of his trip to the site of Jam in Afghanistan which is an excellent account of the rigours of getting to the site and its magnificence: including the world heritage listed minaret (pictured at left).

Please select here