All posts by MANCENT Course Director

I have been the Course Director of MANCENT for 10 years after a career in Adult Education and Academia in Europe and the US.

Today we are 12 years old!


Birgitta Hoffmann

World Heritage Sites represent the best and most important cultural sites from the beginning of Human existence to nearly the Modern era.

This summer we are putting together a virtual tour of a selection of the 908 cultural World Heritage Sites, introducing them and discussing why they should be considered important.

The lectures will be organised in thematic groups of five and will be spread over several weekdays, depending on the lecturers presenting.

Format: Each date will consist of a 50-60min lecture, 10 minutes break and 15-20 minutes discussion.

We hope to add further lectures as the summer progresses.

All lectures can be booked individually or as part of a set of 5.

In addition to these online lectures. Dr. Mike Nevell is offering a face to face course on the Industrial Revolution WHS in England and Wales in Spring 2021.

Fridays 1st Block: German and French Monasteries from the Early medieval to the Romanesque

21 May: Skellig Michael

28 May: Corvey Abbey, Verden

4 June: Reichenau Abbey

11 June: St. Mary’s Cathedral and St. Michael’s Cathedral Hildesheim/Germany

18 June: St Savin de Gartempe/France

Fridays 2nd Block: European Prehistoric Sites

Lecturer: Birgitta Hoffmann

9 July : The prehistoric Caves in France, Spain and Germany

10 July: The Megalithic temples of Malta

11 July: The Prehistoric Pile Dwellings around the Alps

12 July: The Nuraghi of Sardinia

13th August: Brú na Boínne – the Archaeological landscape at the Bend of the Boyne: Newgrange and beyond.

Friday 3rd Block: European and Mediterranean Prehistoric Sites

27 August: Çatalhöyük

3 September: Choirokoitia – The Neolithic in Cyprus

10 September: Neolithic Orkney

17 September: Avebury

24 September: Stonehenge

You can send a cheque and completed booking form to the address below or contact Birgitta Hoffmann for BACS details.

Fridays:  2-3 pm  starting 10 th July , 2020 

Virtual Learning Environment: Zoom

Single lecture:

Price Concessions Minimum No. Maximum No.
£6 * 1 50

Booking for the full Block of five lectures: ( only available for postal bookings).

Price Concessions Minimum No. Maximum No.
£30 * 1 50

To book, complete the MANCENT booking form and send it with payment to the address below. Alternatively, you can book via the relevant Eventbrite links above.
Birgitta Hoffmann
55 Broadwalk, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5PL
email: mobile: 07747 533 070

An Introduction to the Art of the Ancient Greek World

Gina Muskett

A thousand years of Greek art, from its beginnings in the 11th century BC, has influenced other societies from Ancient Rome until the present day. This introductory course considers the impressive achievements in architecture, sculpture, painted pottery and mosaics of the Ancient Greek world, together with an appreciation of the ways in which art was used in society. Alongside discussion of changes in artistic style and subjects, as well as the challenge of identifying individual artists, the course also explores the enduring influence of Ancient Greek art on painters, sculptors and architects of more recent times.

Recommended reading:

  • Georgina Muskett, 2012, Greek Sculpture, Bloomsbury
  • Elizabeth Moignard, 2006, Greek Vases: An Introduction, Bloomsbury

The lectures can be attended individually or as a complete course.

Day:   Wednesdays  Time: 14.00-16.00

5 weeks, starting 3rd March – 31 March 2021

Online Platform: Zoom

Price Concessions Minimum No. Maximum No.
£35 3 50

To book, please contact Gina Muskett for details

Ostia II – Portus, Isola Sacra and the Via Salaria

Birgitta Hoffmann

A landlocked city of a million inhabitants needs good harbours to keep itself supplied, from the earliest times Rome was very keen at controlling the mouth of the Tiber and the resources it offered, creating its first colony at the mouth of the river – Ostia (literally the mouth of the river).
Focusing on Portus (the man-made harbour at the other branch of the Tiber), this dayschool will explore the economy and infrastructure in the Tiber estuary and its transport links with Rome.

Wilmslow Parish Hall
Cliff Road, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 4AA

Please note: The car park is a very busy pay and display car park (£2).

Price Concessions Minimum No. Maximum No.
£32 £28* 9 35

*£28, if booked before, 15 January  2020.

To book, complete the MANCENT booking form and send it with payment to the address below. If you would like to pay via BACS or Paypal please contact Birgitta Hoffmann for details.
Birgitta Hoffmann
55 Broadwalk, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5PL
email: mobile: 07747 533 070

Past Courses

I know some of you organise lectures for the U3A or local societies and are looking for suitable topics and lecturers. Many of our lecturers are available for one off lectures and will be happy to discuss terms with you.

After a lot of requests, we decided to leave the past courses online, so you can see what we have already done, and what the area of general interest of our lecturers is. I hope you approve.

New exhibition co-curated by our lecturer Anthony Burton

The Elizabeth Gaskell house in Manchester is  showing from February an exhibition on
Elizabeth Gaskell’s Manchester

Elizabeth Gaskell lived in Manchester from 1832 until her death in 1865, a time of huge change and expansion for the city, which raised many challenges for its residents from the coming of the railways and the Free Trade Movement and the Reform Acts to the Cholera and the Cotton Famine on the other.

The exhibition focuses on the Politics, Commerce, Transport, Learning, Churches, the Mills, the Poor, the Shops, Art, Music and Literature.

Anthony is hoping to offer a day school in the Summer term on the topic

The Elizabeth Gaskell House at 84 Plymouth Grove, Manchester M13 9LW

is open Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays from 11.00am – 4.30pm (last admission 4pm) enquiries: 0161 273 2215 or



What is Heka? – An introduction to the Course

Joanne Backhouse

fertility-figurine-2 The course

Heka: The Magical Arts of Ancient Egypt

will focus on the concept of Heka (magic) in ancient Egypt. Heka was a divine force imbued in deities, the king and the dead.  It could be used for good or bad, private or state purposes.  This course will focus on two main areas.  Firstly, deities and ritual practitioners (priests and priestesses), this will include the god Heka and and the gods as healers, for example Sekhmet.  Secondly, the course will examine the objects and images created to channel the power of heka, including execration and fertility figurines, amulets, wands and spell books.

sekhmet-figure-3Although much, if not all, of Egyptian art was magical this course will examine images and objects created specifically for magical practice. A broad definition of magic will be used; which is, any activity that seeks to obtain its goal outside the natural laws of cause and effect, will be deemed magical.

This includes rituals in the home, temples and in the funeral realm; most rituals in ancient Egypt used a combination of recitation and action.

The lectures will demonstrate the assimilation of magic, medicine and religion in ancient Egypt and illustrate how magical practice was part of everyday life. As Egyptologist, Robert Ritner said, ‘one man’s magic is another man’s religion’.  The course also presents a rare opportunity to handle and photograph many magical objects from ancient Egypt at Manchester Museum.


Late Addition to the Course “Can’t live with them, can’t live without them: living on the edge of the Roman Empire

On October 28th, 2016 we are running a dayschool in Wilmslow to address how the smaller neighbours responded to having Rome as an overmighty neighbour. As you can imagine no two people react in quite the same way, and questions of size of the state and the history between Rome and the state/tribe in question played as significant role. After all, while Parthia or the Dacians did have the power to inflict crushing defeats on the Romans, other tribes, such as the Parisi in East Yorkshire would have a lot less options in their response to Rome. However, archaeology has shown that the situation could be very fluid with Iron Age hill forts active within sight of Roman forts, as in the picture here from the XD136BGerman Limes on the Main at Miltenberg in one area, while other areas appear to have been empty of Iron Age populations and there is historic evidence for deportation and genocide.


As part of the dayschool we are happy to announce that Prof Euan MacKie from the University of Glasgow has agreed to come and talk to us about how the residents of the Iron Age Brochs in Western Scotland interacted with Rome and how the archaeological evidence can be used to reconstruct their relationship with Rome.

Prof. MacKie has just finished the final report on his excavations on the Broch of Leckie in Stirlingshire and we look forward to hearing all about his findings.

For more information or to book your course, please visit the course site at

More information on Prof MacKie can be found on numerous sites, including his Wikipedia page.