Monday, 24 November 2014

Inaugural Lecture 2014 and the launch of Trowel XV: what a wonderful evening!

Photographs by Sean Kinsella

On Thursday 20th November 2014, the Archaeological Society held its inaugural lecture. This year, we were delighted to welcome Prof. Chris Scarre from the University of Durham. Following a welcome speech from the society auditor, Micheal Butler, and a brief introduction from our Head of School, Prof. Gabriel Cooney, Prof. Scarre delivered an enlightening lecture on the topic of "Missing persons? Formal disposal and funerary practices in Prehistoric Britain". What a thrilling topic! A full report of the seminar will follow, but in a nutshell, Prof. Scarre challenged our assumptions about the archaeological record: we always think that what we dig, what we find, is a fragment of a bigger whole. We obsess over trying to figure out exactly what percentage of the wider picture our evidence represent. But does it really? Or - and especially in the case of the burial record, which was the topic of this lecture - was the reality in the past completely different? What if what we have is in fact the odd, the unusual, the uncommon? His is a very powerful argument which really challenges the way we look at the archaeological record. As I said, full report to follow! 

From left to right: Micheal Butler, Prof. Scarre and Prof. Cooney

This year, the Society decided to change the usual scenery of its inaugural lecture, and booked the FitzGerald debating chamber in the UCD Student centre. The acoustic was so good that the microphone was not needed! 

Following the lecture, the Society, in conjunction with the Trowel editorial team, held a wine and cheese reception. For indeed the evening was also the occasion for the launch of the 15th volume of the journal...
Prof. Muiris O'Sullivan delivering the speech that introduced the latest volume of Trowel
The gathered archaeologists were treated to a wonderful speech by Prof. Muiris O'Sullivan, who reflected on the history of Trowel, and its collaboration with the Society. Even if the two are now separate, Trowel did start off as the Society journal (and the very first issues, available on the Trowel website, bear witness to this). But the partnership between the journal and the Society lives on, and as Prof. O'Sullivan pointed out, the cover of this year's volume was designed by former Society member, Paula Moran, who was an Erasmus student with us last year. Prof'. O'Sullivan went on to praise the wide range of topics covered in the journal, and especially the new "UCDig" section, which features short reports from excavations around Ireland and beyond. It was an immense pleasure to host the inaugural lecture and launch the journal at the same time. 

We would like to thank everyone who came that evening and made it the wonderful event that it was.  All the photographs are available on the Society Flickr gallery. Our renewed thanks to Sean Kinsella for being our official photographer that night!

Yours dearly, 
Alexandra Guglielmi, webmaster
On behalf of the Archaeological Society 2014/2015 Committee

The Committee would like to thank you all for coming to the inaugural lecture 2014!

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