Exclusively for Members

An Exclusive Talk for Members of the Ashmolean

For those attending in person, the talk is in the Museum's Headley Lecture Theatre

Tea, coffee and cake will be served from 3pm

The online event is via Zoom

Onsite tickets are now fully booked, online tickets are still available

With Professor Sir Barry Cunliffe, Emeritus Professor of European Archaeology, School of Archaeology, Oxford 

The Sahara desert, the great sea of sand, stretching across Africa from the Atlantic to the Red Sea, might be thought to be a barrier to travel. But far from it.

For 5,000 years people have faced the challenge of crossing it, driven by the desire to trade or simply by their curiosity to find out what is beyond.

Before that, when the climate was very different, much that is now desert was green and welcoming. Deserts change and people change with them.

Professor Barry Cunliffe, well-known to generations of Oxford students as an inspirational teacher and renowned for his ground-breaking archaeological research, will show how the Sahara has, and continues, to play a crucial part in world history.

Sahara book jacket written by Professor Barry Cunliffe

Facing the sea of sand: the Sahara and the peoples of northern Africa by Barry Cunliffe

Professor Cunliffe's book, Facing the sea of sand: The Sahara and the peoples of North Africa is published in summer 2023.


Tickets are £15 in-person and £10 online. Tickets are only available to Ashmolean Members

This talk will take place in the Ashmolean's Lecture Theatre (in-person) and on Zoom (online)

Onsite tickets are now fully booked, online tickets are still available


If you have any questions before the event, please email us at

Find out more about Ashmolean Membership: Become a Member