Biweekly Colloquium: “Making Sense of Scottish Neolithic Funerary Monuments and Practices”

Feb 08, 2021 from 04:15 PM to 05:45 PM

virtual meeting

Alison Sheridan National Museums Scotland

Making Sense of Scottish Neolithic Funerary Monumentsand Practices


Megalithic chamber tombs – of widely varying shape and size – and non-megalithic funerary monuments loom large in the visible traces of Scotland’s Neolithic, but they formed just one element in a diverse range of practices concerned with dealing with, relating to, and commemorating the dead. This lecture explores this diversity and draws out the regional and chronological trends that can now be discerned, thanks to our growing body of radiocarbon dates. It also attempts to understand the origins, meanings and significance of these funerary monuments, and to identify the ‘drivers’ for the specific trajectories of change that we see.

Dr Alison Sheridan recently retired, in 2019, as Principal Archaeological Research Curator in National Museums Scotland, Edinburgh, having worked there since 1987 after obtaining her doctorate on the Irish Neolithic from the University of Cambridge. Her research focuses on the Scottish Neolithic, Chalcolithic and Early Bronze Age in their wider European context, and she specialises in pottery, stone axeheads, and jewellery of jet, faience and gold. She has been a member of several major national and international projects including the Beaker People Project and Projet JADE, and was the Principal Investigator on an AHRC-funded project to create a Research Network to formulate a Research Framework and Strategy for Chalcolithic and Bronze Age gold in Britain’s auriferous regions. She was the President of the Prehistoric Society 2010–2014, and was made a Corresponding Member of the Deutsches Archäologisches Institut in 2017, a Fellow of the British Academy in 2019 after winning the Academy’s Grahame Clark medal in 2018, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 2020. Most recently, last December she has presented the 2020 series of 6 lectures on Neolithic Scotland in honour of Alexander Henry Rhind for the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland. You can view these on the Society’s Youtube channel.

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