Articles by Kath Bates

Dr Kathryn Bates is a graduate of archaeology and history. She has excavated across the world as an archaeologist, and tutored medieval history at Leicester University. She joined the administrative team at Oxford Open Learning twelve years ago. Alongside her distance learning work, Dr Bates is a bestselling novelist, and an itinerant creative writing tutor for primary school children.

The Mona Lisa

da Vinci: 500 Years Into a Foreseen Future?

Da Vinci is famed not only for his painting, but for having sketched designs for such things as bicycles, helicopters and parachutes hundreds of years before they were actually invented. He had an endless capacity for learning, and is quoted as saying, “The noblest pleasure is the joy of understanding.”

Hadrian's Wall

Hadrian’s Wall: Frontier or Border?

In reality, Hadrian’s Wall never formed any part of the border between England and Scotland… at the time of its construction the two kingdoms did not officially exist.

Open University

The Open University at 50

Prior to the OU, there had long been a belief that university education was the province of the rich. It was considered beyond the remit of the poorer classes – not to mention being too expensive.

The Death of Julius Caesar

“Beware the Ides of March”

Only two years after his appointment as Emperor, in 46BC, Caesar was to become a victim of the very political unrest he’d used to elevate himself to power.

Guglielmo Marconi

Marconi’s First Wireless Transmission

“…looking back and thinking of those early instruments, we cannot but marvel that the experiment turned out so successfully…” – Guglielmo Marconi on his first transatlantic radio transmission.


The study of mythology can help understand early geology and geography.

The Tragedy of Oscar Wilde

His plays, Lady Windermere’s Fan, A Woman of No Importance, An Ideal Husband and The Importance of Being Earnest, all society comedies, were rapturously received on the West End stage.

The Burial of Pompeii and Herculaneum

“Broad sheets of flame were lighting up many parts of Vesuvius; their light and brightness were the more vivid for the darkness of the night… it was daylight now elsewhere in the world, but there the darkness was darker and thicker than any night.” – Pliny the Younger

Philosophical Transactions – The Importance of the Scientific Journal

Unlike scientific books, which are written as fact, often detailing an individual’s ideas and personal convictions, a journal opens scientific discoveries and new techniques to scrutiny and comment.

The Leakey Family and Revelations under the Sun

In recent weeks, one of the effects of the intense heat that has swept Europe has been to sear away some of the camouflage of history, to the extent that archaeologists have found themselves uncovering more fascinating evidence of early life.

Stay Connected