From Potter’s Wheel to Baker’s Oven: Ancient Craft and Technology

Dr. Sarah K Doherty will be joining us to talk us through ancient crafts and technology in our APRIL 8th episode of PITP! 3PM UK time – join us at

Look forward to seeing you all there!

Screenshot from Assassin's Creed Origins of brick making on the river banks near the Giza plateau
Screenshot near the village of Kerkasoros in Assassin’s Creed Origins

It’s 2021 and Playing in the Past is back!

Thanks to everyone who supported the original broadcast. We are excited to be able to bring you SIX more episodes of Playing in the Past (PITP) focusing on Assassin’s Creed: Origins.

When and where can you watch?

The next events will be on a THURSDAY and finalised dates will be advertised at least 2 weeks before the intended event.

Start times will vary depending on the location of the experts taking part, but will be sometime from 3PM UK time. All events will be broadcast on the channel

As before, you can just click the link to watch, but if you sign up for a free twitch account you can take part in the discussion in the chat.

What will events be like?

The next five events will follow our ‘talk-tour-explore,’ format. This will mean a 20-30 minute talk on a specialist subject from an expert. Following this there will be a 10-20 minute in-game tour with the expert to showcase what was discussed in the talk and a 20 minute ‘free’ explore where viewers are encourage to ask questions to the experts and to direct us to explore the things you are most interested in.

The final event in July will be confirmed closer to the time, but we are hoping it will be a panel discussion with live exploration of the representation of sites in the game.

What’s the schedule?

Subjects and speakers are still to be fully confirmed, but the provisional schedule looks like this:

4th Feb – Ptolemaic Thebes

4th March – Religion

April – Ancient Craft and Technology

May – The people of Ptolemaic Egypt

June – 19th Century influences on the depiction in game

July – Final panel on representation of ancient worlds in games

We look forward to welcoming you on the 4th!

Playing in the Past

Playing in the Past (PITP) is a project to explore digitally recreated worlds, made primarily for games, in a series of live broadcast events. It is intended to facilitate a connection between those studying history and archaeology and others who are interested in it, in an interactive way.

Come and join us, play along with us, explore with us and discover the past.

What are we doing?

Visualising archaeology and life in the past is hard. Understanding how people lived, how economies worked, how technology worked are all difficult to do from descriptions. Pictures and diagrams rely on viewers being able to imagine how something looked or worked.

A carefully reconstructed virtual world allows us to really visualise and engage with what we can read about in books. More importantly, it shows us what the living ancient world might have been like and lets us explore and experience a version of it for ourselves – something that books, museums and lectures can never do.     

Why do this?

  • There needs to be greater interaction between scholarship on history and archaeology and everyone else
  • Visualisations of ancient and historic cultures and the way people understand them are informed by all interactions and experiences of them
  • This includes the popular, non-academic forms of engagement, such as art, literature and computer games
  • Virtual reconstructions of a place and time allow for the kind of immersion that you cannot otherwise get

The aim of Playing in the Past live events is to explore past worlds, to experience them, and to ask questions about the visualisation of the world that we are presented with.

Assassin’s Creed: Origins – what is it?

Assassin’s Creed: Origins is an action adventure game published by Ubisoft. It is set in 49-47 BC during the final phase of the Ptolemaic period and is a blend of historical and fictional events.

It represents one of the most detailed reconstructions of ancient Egyptian places, people and life that we currently have and it draws on many sources to realise this world. Is it 100% accurate? No. But it is the most immersive way to experience ancient Egypt that we currently have, and it is wonderful! See below to get an idea of what to expect!

Launch Event

We will launch the project on 15th September 2020 with a ‘play along’ in Assassin’s Creed: Origins. Gemma Renshaw will be your host, walking you through ancient Alexandria, Saqqara and Giza with Egyptologist Dr. Chris Naunton and Historian of Science, Associate Professor Kathleen Sheppard. No need to register with us, just join us on Twitch on the day!

Check back in for details of future events, which will be posted as updates on the website events page.