Dr Andrew Birley (Site Director for Vindolanda) Vindolanda – the excavation of a site and frontier in transition

We were delighted to welcome Dr Andrew Birley to speak to the society this evening. Dr Birley spoke to the society on modern Vindolanda, which is owned and administered by a registered Charity, The Vindolanda Trust, and is continually changing as research and excavations expanding our knowledge of this frontier settlement. Dr Birley addressed the Roman occupation of Vindolanda which was restless and involved radical changes to the environment, landscape and its people. He informed us of the fact that there were no fewer than nine separate Vindolanda’s; Roman forts build on top or beside one another, constructed by Roman army regiments with diverse backgrounds and identities such as Tungrians and Batavians, Gauls, Spaniards, Italians, Germans and North Africans. The soldiers were just a part of the story of the site, often outnumbered by other members of the military communitys such as women and children, merchants, freedmen and slaves and those for whom we have no ready pigeon hole or category we may today use to define them. The people of Vindolanda left behind a rich and diverse material culture dataset, some of which has been well-preserved in anaerobic conditions, offering a unique and often intimate perspective on life from almost 2000 years ago. His talk examined some of that evidence and discussed the most recent work and ongoing excavations at the site.

Talk held at Magdalen College’s Daubeny Laboratory, 9th March 2017

Written by Alice Jaspars, President Hilary Term 2017

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Professor David Perrett (Newcomen Society for the Study of History of Engineering and Technology) Industrial Archaeology – Archaeology or History of Technology?

We were delighted to welcome Professor David Perrett to speak to us this evening on Industrial Archaeology – Archaeology or History of Technology?. Prof Perrett is a past President of the Newcomen Society, the international Society for the History of Technology and also Chairman of the Greater London Industrial Archaeology Society (GLIAS). Professor Perrett explored this grey area of academic study using examples from his own research as well as the wider field of IA, and was able to answer the question ‘is it possible to say when IA should start or is the technology of the last decade also worth record and study?’

We thank him for his kindness in speaking to the society this evening.

Talk held at Magdalen College’s Daubeny Laboratory, 27th February 2017

Written by Alice Jaspars, President Hilary Term 2017

Professor Chris Gosden (University of Oxford, Professor of European Archaeology, Director of Archaeology Institute) – English Landscapes and Identities

The Oxford Archaeological Society was privileged to present a talk by Professor Chris Gosden on the English Landscape and Identities project. The project explores the longterm history of the English landscape from c.1500BC to AD 1086, from the start of the settled agricultural landscape in the middle Bronze Age to the date of the Domesday Book. The project combines evidence on landscape features, such as trackways, fields and settlements, combining data from a range of sources.

Professor Gosden kindly agreed to be interviewed by the Cherwell which can be viewed here: https://www.facebook.com/cherwellbroadcasting/videos/1636904306336569/?pnref=story

Talk held at Magdalen College’s Daubeny Laboratory, 20th February 2017

Written by Alice Jaspars, President Hilary Term 2017

Dr Eleanor Standley (University of Oxford, University Lecturer and Assistant Keeper in Medieval Archaeology (AD 500-1800)) Spinning Yarns and Skinning rabbits

We were privileged to welcome Dr Eleanor Standley to speak to us this evening on Spinning Yarns and Skinning Rabbits. Dr Standley did a tremendous job in presenting new research of later medieval material culture. By using archaeological and documentary evidence, themes related to the role of spinning and the consumption of rabbits as food and clothing were addressed. This perhaps unlikely pairing was investigated to reveal how valuable simple spindle whorls and ubiquitous zooarchaeological evidence can be when investigated in a holistic manner. Evidence from medieval villages to great households was presented to develop our understanding of medieval economy, status and daily life.

We offer her our thanks for her generosity with both her time and knowledge.

Talk held at Magdalen College’s Daubeny Laboratory, 6th February 2017

Written by Alice Jaspars, President Hilary Term 2017

Dr Sally Crawford (University of Oxford, Senior Research Fellow) ‘The importance of bicycles and other surprising discoveries: a photographic archive of Oxfordshire’s archaeology’

This week the society was delighted to welcome Dr Sally Crawford, Senior Research Fellow at the University of Oxford. Dr Crawford gave a tremendous talk on the University of Oxford Archives and the rather unusual ways in which it has been influenced by various methods of transport, with particular reference to bicycles. It was revealed to the audience that the building above the current Pret a Manger on Cornmarket street, is in fact from the 1920s arts and craft revolution, and is therefore not as old as appearance would have us believe. Dr Crawford’s talk also brought to light the way in which individuals take photos from very similar perspectives, supported by multiple examples. 

We offer her our thanks for her generosity with both her time and knowledge and encourage you to look up the Heir project here: http://heirtagger.ox.ac.uk./

Talk held at Magdalen College’s Daubeny Laboratory, 30th January 2017

Written by Alice Jaspars, President Hilary Term 2017

Dr Eleanor Scerri (University of Oxford, British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow) – Human Origins: The View from North Africa

We were delighted to welcome Dr Eleanor Scerri to speak to us this evening. Despite initial technical difficulties, which both speaker and audience dealt with admirably, Dr Scerri delivered an insightful and interesting talk on human origins, the view from Africa. Dr Scerri was able to address the presence in North Africa, of among the earliest examples of modern human fossils, regional technological diversification and ‘symbolic’ material culture which make this region critical for understanding the earliest period of the prehistory of our species. Furthermore she spoke on how North Africa occupies a critical space between sub-Saharan Africa and Eurasia, which hominins had to cross in order to exit the continent and how dramatic climatic oscillations, affecting the expansion and contraction of the Sahara Desert which calibrates the timing of potential dispersals, making North Africa particularly conducive to understanding such demographic processes and their articulation with the archaeological record.

We offer her our thanks for sharing her time and knowledge with us.

Talk held at Magdalen College’s Daubeny Laboratory, 23rd January 2017

Written by Alice Jaspars, President Hilary Term 2017