Theater/Archaeology: Performing Material History in Charles Kean's Adaptation of Sardanapalus

May 2007
Nineteenth Century Studies;2007, Vol. 21, p139
Academic Journal
The article discusses artist Charles Kean's adaptation of Lord Byron's play "Sardanapalus." According to the article, Kean had billed his show as being built on the archaeological excavations conducted by archaeologist Henry Layard on missions for the British Museum between 1845 and 1851 of the lost Assyrian cities of Nineveh and Nimrud. How archaeology and theater generate historical meanings for audiences and what they reveal about the Victorian understanding of ancient Assyria are discussed through the work by the archaeologist Michael Shanks and by the performance artist Mike Pearson, who have collaborated to promote dialogue between archaeology and drama, which they term "theater/archaeology."


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