The Archaeological Institute of America Iowa Lecture Program presents Dr. Simon James, University of Leicester, England
Isle of Druids & Celtic Warriors? Britain on the Eve of Roman Invasion
Britain on the eve of invasion by Rome 2,000 years ago is often seen as a mysterious land, populated by warrior heroes and druid priests, its dark forests the scene of hideous and bloody rites. These peoples are commonly thought to have been relatively recent Celtic invaders from continental Europe. Such views, largely inherited from the imperial invaders and further refracted through modern nationalist histories, have been profoundly challenged in recent decades by a massive effort of archaeological investigation into this, the last phase of British prehistory: the Iron Age (c. eighth century BC to first century AD). Modern research reveals a far more complex picture than the traditional view of essentially uniform 'Celts'
Simon James read archaeology at the London Institute of Archaeology, where he also took his PhD, by which time the Institute had become part of University College, London. He moved to the British Museum, first as an archaeological illustrator and then as a museum educator, responsible for programs relating to the later prehistoric and Roman collections. After a decade at the British Museum, he decided to seek a career in research and teaching. Having held a Leverhulme Special Research Fellowship at the University of Durham, he joined the School in January 2000, was promoted Senior Lecturer in 2002, and Reader in 2005. In April 2012 he was awarded a personal chair. Currently as the School's Director of Research, he chairs the Research Committee.