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2011 Rhind lectures introduction by Dr Barbara Crawford

Society President Dr Barbara Crawford introduces the 2011 Rhind Lectures by Dr Stuart Needham entitled “Material and spiritual engagements; Britain and Ireland in the first age of metal”.

Material and Spiritual Engagements: Britain and Ireland in the First Age of Metal
The Rhind Lectures 2011 by Dr Stuart Needham
29th April 2011 to 1st May 2011

Introduced by Dr Barbara Crawford, President of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland.

The Lectures
Britain and Ireland abound with burials of the early metal age. Many individuals were accorded special treatment on death, interred in finely constructed chambers or deep graves or honoured by cremation and committal to the ground in highly ornamented pottery vessels. Distinctive or exotic grave goods may accompany the burial and the sites themselves came to be memorialised through the construction of impressive mounds and ring works. These conspicuous and pervasive archaeological contexts have come to define a funerary phenomenon and an era. They give the impression of a society totally preoccupied with the dead and their funerary passage and of a comprehensive burial policy. That funerary practices were endemic in most regions is inescapable, but how many people actually received formal burial, who were they and how were they presented in death? In addressing these questions, we will consider the purpose of this phenomenon and interpret anew the meanings of definable burial modes.

The Lecturer
Following his first degree and postgraduate research at University College, Cardiff, Dr Stuart Needham spent thirty years as Curator of the European Bronze Age collections at the British Museum. He is currently an independent researcher and an Honorary Research Fellow of National Museum Wales.

Recorded at the Royal Society of Edinburgh.