ASTENE organises various events throughout the year in order to allow members to have access and to learn about the lives, homes and collections formed by early travellers. 

This page provides information about upcoming events and those which have taken place over the years. For more information about ASTENE’s events, please contact events organiser:

Upcoming Events 

ASTENE Seminar: September 2020

 A two-day ASTENE Seminar entitled:

‘Egyptologist Robert Hay (1799–1863) and friends in Egypt’

Robert_Hay_in_turkish_costumeTuesday 8th – Wednesday 9th September 2020

New ASTENE dates for your diary. As our Chairman Neil Cooke explains in his Annual Report, Robert Hay’s travels and records were a substantial impetus for founding ASTENE. Hay was a Scottish traveller, antiquarian and Egyptologist. Born in Duns Castle, Berwickshire in the Scottish Borders, he first visited Alexandria in 1818. In 1824 in Rome, he hired Joseph Bonomi the Younger (1796–1878) as his artist to accompany him to Egypt as part of a vast project to record monuments and inscriptions and make architectural plans. Hay stayed in Egypt from November 1824 to 1828 and again from 1829 to 1834. Hay also employed Edward William Lane and Frederick Catherwood as artists and was a fine water-colourist himself.  His other friends included James Burton, Henry Salt, Gardner Wilkinson,  and many others who have been discussed at ASTENE conferences and in our publications over the years.


His manuscripts are in the British Library and his plaster casts and collection of Egyptian antiquities are in the British Museum, though some artefacts were purchased by the Boston Museum of Fine Arts in 1872. He married Kalitza Psaraki (d.1885), the daughter of the chief magistrate of Apodhulo, Crete, in May 1828 in Malta on the way back to Scotland. Like many others, Kalitza was captured during the Greek war of independence (1821-1829) and transported to Egypt and it was from the slave market in Alexandria that Robert Hay rescued her. They went on to have three children: she even accompanied Hay on his subsequent expeditions to Egypt.

2020 will be the 700-year anniversary of the founding of Duns Castle where members of the Hay family have lived for several centuries, so it is an entirely appropriate and wonderful venue to hold a Seminar about Robert Hay and his friends. We will keep you updated as the plans develop.  After 20 years it is time to reassess the substantial record of the Hay era of travel and the impact that Hay and his friends had on the development of Egyptology and on our understanding of Egypt. Any ideas about speakers, sessions and topics to or any others on the committee would be most welcome.


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