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Dr Mark Whittow (1957 - 2017)

All at CBRL have been deeply saddened at the untimely and tragic death of our former Honorary Secretary, Mark Whittow, who died in a car accident just before Christmas. 


On behalf of CBRL, former Chairman, Adrian Sindall, pays tribute to Mark:


“Mark was an Honorary Officer at CBRL from 1999 to late 2001. At that time, Mark was already acquiring his reputation as a gifted scholar, author and teacher. He had recently published his early seminal work, The Making of Byzantium 600 to 1025 and he was increasingly demonstrating his flair for undergraduate teaching having been elected to a teaching fellowship at St Peter's College Oxford. So, what good fortune for CBRL when Mark agreed to become our Hon Secretary. When he joined us, we were in our first year as the joint designated successor to BIAHH and BSAJ, an amalgamation dictated by the British Academy. An early priority was to find new administrative offices for CBRL. Mark decided to have these in his own rooms at St Peter's and drove down to London in his notoriously battered Land Rover to transfer, single-handedly, the archives and other CBRL impedimenta up to Oxford


There was much to do. A new and imaginative Executive Committee was just finding its feet. Bill Finlayson had recently arrived in Jordan to reform and develop our Amman based operations. Jo Clarke was taking the first steps to rebuild and develop CBRL in Jerusalem, a process which would prove a difficult and challenging one over the next couple of years. At the same time, CBRL held an impressive new range of international conferences, launched enhanced programmes of both publications and research grants, and was building a new momentum of activity in Cyprus, Lebanon and Syria. Across this range of endeavour, Mark was unfailingly innovative and supportive, working tirelessly and seasoning all with his special brand of style and wit. Sadly, it was too good to last. By late 2001 Mark had, understandably, concluded that the growing demands of his flourishing teaching and research life at St Peter's meant that he would have to stand down as our Honorary Secretary. The CBRL was, and still is, much in his debt. He was a prime mover in the early building and development of CBRL. So, we remember him with both fondness and gratitude.


Next September Mark was due to become Provost of Oriel College. And, as both a Byzantinist and mediaeval historian, was deeply engaged in a proposed volume for the Oxford History of Mediaeval Europe 1000 to 1100. His loss will be widely felt.  We send our deepest sympathies to his wife Helen and to their three children George Mary and Flossie.”


Adrian Sindall, CBRL Chairman 1999- 2003 


An obituary by Lawrence Goldman and Henrietta Leyser has been published in the Guardian here

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2018 Travel Grant Appeal

Every year, CBRL awards postgraduate travel grants to develop the next generation of researchers. If you’ve ever had the opportunity to travel to the Levant for a research project, you’ll know the value of such an experience.

We are urgently seeking funds to continue the CBRL Travel Grant scheme next year. Our target is to fund five young researchers and to do this, we need to raise £4,000. Your support in helping us reach this target and continue this research programme is essential - donations of all sizes will be gratefully received.

Since 2016, changes and restrictions to CBRL’s core British Academy funding mean that this cannot be used towards postgraduate projects. Instead, over the past two years, CBRL has continued this important part of its activity thanks to the generosity of our members and friends.

By supporting young researchers with a travel grant of up to £800 we can offer students the opportunity to develop field trip investigation for research of either a self-contained project, or for research that is part of a larger project.

If you would like to fund the full value of a travel grant with a donation of £800, we would be delighted to name this scholarship as you would wish.  If you are a UK tax payer, you will be eligible to gift-aid your donation, allowing CBRL to benefit from a further 25% of the value of your donation.

You can donate via our website here, by sending a cheque made out to the ‘Council for British Research in the Levant’, or by completing and returning a form that can be downloaded here. To gift-aid a postal donation, please complete and return the gift-aid declaration in section 2 of this form.

Please return all postal donations to: CBRL, 10 Carlton House Terrace, London, SW1Y 5AH.

If you wish to know more, please contact CBRL’s Development Officer, Maggie McNulty by phone on 0207 969 5330 or email or please feel free to contact any of our Trustees.

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CBRL at the World Science Forum, Jordan, 2017

CBRL hosted a panel at the World Science Forum this year in Jordan to explore the role that science can play in archaeology. A panel of leading British academics in the field of archaeological science research considered how people have responded to perennial challenges, including climate change, and how people have maintained their food supply.

Representing CBRL at the World Science Forum 2017 is Dr Carol Palmer, Director of CBRL’s British Institute in Amman, and James Watt CVO, Chairman of CBRL. Carol is an environmental archaeologist and anthropologist with a special interest in Middle Eastern rural societies past and present. Former Ambassador to Lebanon, Jordan and Egypt, James has a strong interest in scientific diplomacy. HRH Prince Hassan bin Talal has been the British Institute in Amman’s patron since its establishment in the 1970s. Since 2009, the Institute has held formal ties with the Royal Scientific Society. 

For more information about the panellists and the research presented, please see here

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