TODL Technologies of Daily Life in Ancient Greece

TODL Technologies of Daily Life in Ancient Greece

Swansea University will host the first SPHS* Regional Conference on 2-3 July 2015.

Talks on a variety of everyday ancient Greek technologies, some with demonstrations, and all with Q & A, will run from late afternoon on Thursday through to Friday evening, concluding with a reception and lecture at the Waterfront Museum Swansea, sponsored by the Learned Society of Wales, and held there jointly with the British Society for the History of Science. There will be multiple opportunities for delegates to try their hand at some of the ancient arts and crafts featured, such as gem-cutting, food production and preservation, drilling and grinding, and cosmetic-, medicine- and pigment-production.

The conference will be of interest to anyone wanting to learn about the quotidian technologies of Ancient Greece. To register, please click here. Closing date for registration is 12 June 2015.


*Society for the Promotion of Hellenic Studies


Programme and costs


Thursday 2 July

5-6 pm

Conference Arrivals: Registration with beverages and pastries

6-7 pm

Keynote Lecture: Serafina Cuomo on the Foundry Cup

after dark (c.10 - 11pm)

Metallurgy demonstration




Friday 3 July

9-10.15 am



Nicola Reggiani on books


Sue Shephard on food preservation


Shaun Mudd on water and wine


Coffee; demonstrations and opportunities 1


Laurence Totelin on medicines


Giovanni Verri on pigments


Denis Morin on metallurgy

12.15-2 pm

Lunch; demonstrations and opportunities 2


Victoria Keitel on standardised skyphoi


Dyfri Williams on potteries


Adam Hart-Davis on woodworking


Tea; demonstrations and opportunities 3


Ian Longhurst on rotary motion


Duncan Keenan-Jones on Heron


Ian Ruffell on Heron’s automata-making audience


Discussion on the teaching of ancient technology


LSW-sponsored lecture and reception @ Waterfront Museum, held jointly with the British Society for the History of Science

7-8 pm

Mike Edmunds on the Antikythera mechanism

The Delegate Rate of £40 (£15 for students and the unwaged) covers admission to all the talks,  demonstrations, and hands-on sessions, materials used in the hands-on sessions, lunch, and mid-morning/ afternoon refreshments. It does not cover dinner. A variety of catering outlets on campus, and the Pub on the Pond in the park nearby, will be open.

Those wishing to stay over on a B&B basis in an ensuite room in a campus hall next to Singleton Park on Wednesday, Thursday or Friday, @ £39.25 pppn, can book it on the Conferences Services Registration website, here. For alternative accommodation in Swansea see below.

Opportunities and Synergies

During breaks between papers throughout the day on Friday there will be opportunities for delegates to try their hand at a variety of ancient arts and crafts, from drilling and gem-cutting to wrestling.

During the day on Thursday 2nd, before the conference begins, 95 children from local primary schools and 35 from local secondary schools will be attending workshops of their choice on a variety of everyday ancient technologies, including grinding grain, making rope, or concocting pharmaceuticals.

If delegates wish to bring their own children along to join in these activities, please contact the organizers at the email address below.

The conference has been scheduled to overlap with the annual meeting of the British Society for the History of Science, which is being held in Swansea this year. More information about that meeting is available here.

And a little later, 19 July - 1 August, the ancient languages summer school will be running at Swansea, for those who want to begin or improve their Greek, Latin, or Egyptian! For further details see here.

Venue, area, travel, accommodation

The Venue

The conference will take place on Swansea University campus, which is located in the grounds of Singleton Park, adjacent to a golden beach stretching west to Mumbles and the Gower Peninsula. Amongst the buildings on campus is the Egypt Centre, a museum of Egyptian antiquities, with over 4000 items in the collection, and open to the public during the conference.

The Area

Swansea is the ‘lovely, ugly’ birthplace of the world-famous Welsh poet Dylan Thomas, and the 'Copperopolis' of the Industrial Revolution. The five mile sweep of Swansea Bay was home to the world's first passenger railway, and now features a pier, promenade, pool, marina, Maritime quarter (home to the tallest building in Wales, with restaurant atop with fabulous bird's eye views all round), Lido, Watersports centre, and the National Waterfront Museum. Swansea is also the gateway to the Gower Peninsular. This area of outstanding natural beauty boasts global award-winning beaches such as Rhossilli, Broughton and Three Cliffs; salt marshes producing cockles and lamb; and high moors grazed by free-roaming ponies, sheep and cattle. 


Swansea is accessible by train, road, boat and air; for directions please click here.


Delegates who wish to stay in a University Hall with ensuite facilities, on campus and next to the Park, with on campus parking included, please click here

Alternatively, for a list of some local hotels and guest houses to suit all budgets, see below.

Registration and Sponsors


To register for the conference, please click here.


The conference has been generously supported by the following organizations, to whom we record our sincere thanks:


Society for the Promotion of Hellenic Studies

College of Arts and Humanities, Swansea University

School of Humanities, Cardiff University

Learned Society of Wales

South West Wales Classical Association

British Society for the History of Science

Research Institute for Arts and Humanities

A selection of off campus accommodation

Alexander Hotel
3 Sketty Rd
01792 470045
1.5 miles from campus.

Premier Inn Swansea City Centre
Salubrious Place
Wind Street, Swansea
0871 527 9060
2.3 miles from campus.

Premier Inn Swansea Waterfront
The Waterfront Development
Langdon Road, Swansea
0871 527 9212
3 miles from campus.

Travelodge Swansea Central
Princess Way
0871 984 6326
2.2 miles from campus.

Norton House Hotel
Norton Road, Mumbles
01792 404891
2.7 miles from campus.

Swansea Marriott
Maritime Quarter
01792 642020
2.5 miles from campus.

Morgans Hotel
Somerset Place
01792 484848
2.4 miles from campus

The Dragon Hotel
The Kingsway
01792 657100
2.6 miles from campus

All of these hotels are well served by local bus routes; a taxi to campus will cost around £5.
Many (far too many to list here!) small and independent Bed and Breakfasts can also be found on Oystermouth Road, about a 1.5 mile walk from campus. Most are priced from £25.

For more choices click here.