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 

Palestine Exploration Fund (PEF) and ASTENE: Joint Event

Thursday 13th September 2018

Palestine Exploration Fund Free Lecture Series (in association with the British Museum Dept. of Middle East – Jointly with ASTENE)
‘The Cynic Abroad: Mark Twain in the Holy Land’
by Rupert Chapman (British Museum & PEF)

In 1867 the PEF began its first serious fieldwork in the Holy Land, sending a team of Royal Engineers led by the young Captain Charles Warren to explore the topography of Jerusalem and seek to identify the location of the Temple.  During the first part of the expedition Warren and his team stayed in the best hotel in Jerusalem, the Mediterranean.  Also in 1867 the Reverend Henry Ward Beecher’s Plymouth Church organised one of the first American ‘package tours’, and a young journalist and budding author, Samuel Langhorne Clemens, from Hannibal, Missouri, better known to posterity as Mark Twain, rushed to secure a place on the tour.  While the group were in Jerusalem, they, also, stayed in the Mediterranean Hotel.  The result of Mark Twain’s tour was the book which catapulted him to national fame, The Innocents Abroad.  This talk will follow Mark Twain and his fellow tourists through Lebanon and the Holy Land, as he pokes fun at himself, his fellow ‘innocents abroad’, and the people and countries through which he travelled.

Date:       Thursday 13th September 2018
Venue:     BP Lecture Theatre
Time:       16.00
Cost:        Free
Booking:   Via the British Museum’s Box Office – Tel: +44 (0)20 7323 8181                                                                                                   Online:

PLEASE NOTE: Booking for the event (via the BM box office) won’t be available until a month to two weeks before the start of the event, so for those who are interested please save the date and ASTENE will send a reminder to book closer to the time.

Please see attached flyer: PEF -ASTENE Lecture Sept13th 2018

For more information please see the PEF website:

Western Perceptions of Ancient Egypt

Saturday 22nd September 2018

Chaired by: Dr Aidan Dodson, FSA, Senior Research Fellow, Department of Anthropology & Archaeology, University of Bristol

ASTENE are pleased to present an Autumn Study Day, to be held at BRLSI (Bath Royal Literary & Scientific Institution) in the beautiful Georgian city of Bath. The programme will be suitable for both Egyptology enthusiasts and those with a general interest in Art.

The day will trace the depiction of Ancient Egypt through the ages, by looking at the artists charged with portraying this exotic land and introducing Egypt to the Western world.

First, we examine the opening up of Egypt with Napoleon’s Campaign and study the work of Vivant Denon, who accompanied Napoleon, and depicted Egypt so vividly in his art.

After a break for coffee, Briony Llewellyn will look at Victorian Orientalist painter David Roberts, who showed the ancient monuments in a contemporary setting with his beautiful paintings.

After lunch, we consider the work of Norman and Nina de Garis Davies. Nina is acknowledged as the leading 20th-century exponent in recording the ancient tombs.

Finally, we bring the day to a close with a look at the way Ancient Egypt has been depicted on the stage and screen.

For full details see the Astene Western Perceptions Programme

Travellers in Ottoman Lands: The Botanical Legacy

Book Launch & Lecture 

Travellers in Ottoman Lands

Thursday 18th October 2018

ASTENE’s Travellers in Ottoman Lands: The Botanical Legacy book launch and lecture, hosted by the committee for Travellers in Ottoman Lands, at the Nomads Tent, Edinburgh.

Come along and enjoy the wonderful atmosphere at the Nomads Tent, for the launch of Travellers in Ottoman Lands: The Botanical Legacy published by Archaeopress, July 2018. Dr Crinan Alexander of the Royal Botanic Garden will give a talk on Prof. Peter Davis and his work on the Flora of Turkey. A buffet will be provided.

Please see attached flyer: TIOL launch invite ASTENE

Details of the new book: Travellers in Ottoman Lands: The Botanical Legacy

This splendidly illustrated book has its origins in a two-day seminar held in May 2017 at the Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh, organised by the Association for the Study of Travel in Egypt and the Near East (ASTENE) in conjunction with the Centre for Middle Eastern Plants, with additional support from Cornucopia and the Turkish Consulate General, Edinburgh. The book focuses on the botanical legacy of many parts of the former Ottoman Empire – including present-day Turkey, the Levant, Egypt, the Balkans, and the Arabian Peninsula – as seen and described by travellers both from within and from outside the region.

Date:           Thursday 18th October 2018
Venue:        Nomad’s Tent, 21-23 St Leonard’s Lane, Edinburgh, EH8 9SH                                         (Tel: 01316621612)
Time:          18.30-20.30pm
Cost:           Free
Booking:     RSVP to: by 8th October 2018

Thirteenth Biennial ASTENE Conference
University of York & National Railway Museum, York
12th-15th July 2019

Mary Wortley Montague
ASTENE is proud to announce its 13th biennial conference, which will be held at the University of York and the National Railway Museum in York, from Friday 12th to Sunday 14th July 2019, with a day trip on Monday 15th July 2019.
A preliminary call for papers has been issued and we welcome applications to our 2019 conference address:
Deadline for abstract submission is 28th February 2019
Further details are available on our dedicated web page, and the attached flyer: 2019_ASTENE_York_Call for Papers
We look forward to seeing you in York.


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