3D render of the Ashurbanipal Banquet Scene | © Sebastian Hageneuer with kind permission of The British Museum
Academia Archaeology

Presentation about the Banquet Scene of Ashurbanipal


A couple days ago I was presenting about my project on the Banquet Scene of Ashurbanipal to an audience. As I am in the midst of the project itself, I wasn’t sure what to talk about really. I therefore just told the story how I started, what I have done so far and where I want to go from here. I was surprised how entertaining that actually was and how telling a story is a good way of presenting projects.

The presentation

So the presentation was rather short, only 20 minutes. But it helped me to not dive for too long in describing the object or talking about its significance. I started with talking about the first scan in London, which started as a cooperation project. I then talked about my own idea of completing the scan of the Banquet Scene with other fragments of the wider relief. I presented the results from Berlin, Leiden, and most recently London and how I got funding for that.

I then told the story of my search for further fragments and how I was successful at least one time. But I also told the story of what did not work out and that I have to wait to scan further fragments in London until 2028. I actually got some emotional responses from the audience (laughter, pity, encouragement). Although I couldn’t talk much about results in the classical sense, I had the feeling the presentation went quite well.

Telling stories

If you google on how to give good presentations or watch YouTube videos about it, you always get the advice to tell a story. I always hesitated because usually it is not that common. Sure, if you find a gold treasure, there is a story to be told, but usually archaeology isn’t so much about exciting stories. But who said it has to be exciting? It actually only needs to connect to the people, because this way they listen and will remember.

If you search in book-stores, there are whole sections on storytelling. One book in my “still want to read” stack is by Matthew Dicks and called “Storyworthy. Engage, Teach, Persuade, and Change Your Life through the Power of Storytelling”. The title sounds a bit click-baity, but after my experience this week, I will give it a read soon. Maybe it confirms what I have described above and maybe it offers even more insights.

Did you ever tell a story for a presentation?



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Sebastian Hageneuer

Hi! My name is Sebastian. I am an archaeologist, a university lecturer, freelancer, guitarist, and father. You could say I am quiet busy, so I learned to manage my time and energy to build good habits and still have space for myself and my family. Sounds difficult? Read here how I do it. Every Friday.

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