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Read, Watch and Listen

AHRC's Summer Reading List 2018

We asked you to send in your recommendations for superb summer reads. We’ve picked some of our favourites and put them below with some top recommendations from AHRC staff to form the ultimate summer reading list.

Alliance through contraception

“If the husband prefers to take charge and be responsible for birth control, he will want to use withdrawal or a sheath. If the wife takes the responsibility she has a wide choice. In either case the needs and views of the other partner will have to be considered”. 1966. Physician's circulars / Syntex, 'Norinyl-1'. By kind permission of Roche. Courtesy of Julia Larden, and the Wellcome Library, London. Photography by J Borge 2014 CC BY 4.0

Amazing organics!

Permafrost and waterlogged soils at the site have preserved an extensive assemblage of organic remains, like the basketry shown in this picture. These kinds of materials are rarely found at archaeological sites, as they would normally decay, but Nunalleq has yielded many preserved wooden artefacts, seeds, plants, animal fur, and even cut strands of human hair (the waste from prehistoric haircuts). Laid on the woven grass are a pair of carved ivory earrings found at the site.

© This image is credited to Sven Haakanson, and is made available under Creative Commons BY

An abraded ceramic tile

This abraded ceramic tile, of Romano-British or post-Roman date, is from Pitt-Rivers’ fieldwork at Castle Hill in Folkestone, Kent in 1878. Initially believing its earthworks (known locally as ‘Caesar’s Camp’) dated from the Roman invasions of Britain, his excavations revealed the monument in fact to be a medieval castle. Four different museum catalogue numbers are present, and a hand-written label describes the circumstances of discovery. Written for museum display, the label’s text retains elements of the General’s interpretive challenges in the field – singling out this possibly Romano-British find from a site that proved to be medieval in date, and describing the monument as a ‘camp’ rather than a castle. (Pitt Rivers Museum Accession Number 1884.138.25)​.

An eight at 'Henli' (and a canoeist), c.1932

Ep01-699.  © 2013 Adrienne Livesey, Elaine Ryder and Irene Brien.

Sport – in Ephgrave’s case soccer, golf, and rowing – was embedded in foreign settler culture. Young Jack took many shots of the Shanghai Rowing Club’s activities outside Shanghai at a place dubbed ‘Henli’. The double-exposure may well be accidental, but Ephgrave’s decision to keep the print from it and add it to the albums suggests that he liked the effect.

An Englishwoman's life

More than a decade after it received AHRC funding, a digitisation project continues to impact across the world


Unknown writer and Marie Duval (artist), Ally Sloper: A Moral Lesson (1873). Ally Sloper was a highly popular character during the Victorian period, so popular that his appearances in the periodical Judy were collected together and republished in book form, starting with A Moral Lesson in 1873. Sloper was invented by Charles Ross; his wife Marie Duval drew most of the comics in this book. Despite – or because – he was constantly drunk, Sloper the conman was beloved by nineteenth-century readers and the character was used to sell a staggering range of commodities, from toys to cigars to relish to ties.