Section Newsletter #5 November

November 2015

Welcome to the November 2015 edition of the IOA World Archaeology Section Newsletter.


A round-up of the Thinking Megalithic ‘Off the Record’ special series

The section would like to thank all speakers and attendees. Thinking Megalithic began with a stimulating talk by Barney Harris, who discussed the changing intellectual landscape of megalithic construction studies from the 17th century onwards. Whilst many theories have come and gone with the times, one idea – that megaliths   were transported by being dragging over wooden, log rollers – has persisted for many centuries. Today the idea finds currency in popular texts and academia alike, despite possessing little archaeological basis.


An example of megalith transport sans rollers

The second talk was given by Susanna Harris, who highlighted megaliths as an unlikely source of evidence for archaeologists interested in studying organic remains. Her research focused on the carved statue-menhirs (stelae) of  southern and western Europe, which show clothing and garment types depicted alongside other anatomical features such as eyes, arms and legs. The location of these statue-menhirs as standing stones clustered in the landscape offers another unique opportunity: to study the spatial distribution of clothing. Given the importance of clothing in marking social grouping, this stelae can indicate the scale of such grouping.

Murat sur Vebre (21)

The third discussion was led by Sue Hamilton who emphasised the importance of studying megaliths in terms of their wider landscape. Sue used the archaeology of Easter Island to highlight a number of recurrent binary oppositions materialised through large and small rocks and their juxtaposed location and orientations within the landscape. She argued that to understand the significance of the larger, more intensively studies megaliths here, we must examine their relationship with other complementary elements of Rapa Nui. In short: small things matter too.

englert house god 6-1 (1)

The final seminar was given by Mike Parker Pearson, who shared his latest thoughts on the origins of Stonehenge and its relationship to West Wales. He summarised five years of fieldwork in the region during which he and his team excavated two quarry sites and associated prehistoric features. Radiocarbon dates associated with the quarrying revealed that activity at these sites occurred significantly earlier than the first phase of Stonehenge. Mike concluded that the stones were probably originally used for a local monument and shared his thoughts as to the location and particulars of one such such site. If such an early link with the region can be proven, it will significantly alter our understanding of Stonehenge and wider British prehistory.

12308082_10153763941374603_3196903403473110906_o (1)

Call to section members

We are currently searching for speakers and themes for future Off the Record lunchtime seminars. In particular, we would welcome post graduate students and postdoctoral researchers. There is no fixed format or theme for the lunchtime series. If you are;

  • A postgraduate student able to present their masters research
  • A group of post-graduate students and / or staff willing to propose a series of talks
  • A recently appointed member of staff or doctoral researcher

…then please, get in touch with Andy Brown now to arrange a date for your talk right now.

In addition please consider if any of your research relates to the following themes;

Surveying – The Art of life and death

Exploring – The spirit of this place

Hunting networks & communication


Global Warming, Climate Crisis and Past. Discussing some links between Climate Change and Archaeology

02-Wadhams 2Miguel Fuentes

Last November 30th, World Archaeology Section has carried out a lecture with Peter Wadhams (University of Cambridge) on Climate Change and its implication for human society in the short and long term.

Peter Wadhams is professor of Ocean Physics and Head of the Polar Ocean Physics Group in the Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics of the University of Cambridge. During the last couple of decades he has been one of the leading experts on climate change in the world.

The main objective of this presentation was to discuss the magnitude, rhythm and scale of current global warming and climate change, considering the environmental processes that are taking place in the Arctic Region. This last by discussing several scenarios of Global Warming during this century and its possible impacts on human society and civilization.

05-Wadhams 5

With a full attendance, the presentation of Peter Wadhams was a quite remarkable opportunity to discuss some possible linkages between the current climatic situation and some cases of climate change in the archaeological past. One of the main topic on table was to evaluate the potentialities and limits of social and technological resilience of human societies.

The presentation was organized by Miguel Fuentes (PhD Research Student of the IoA) and Jose Oliver (Professor and Researcher of the Institute).

The lecture of Peter Wadhams and a short interview that was carried out before the presentation will be uploaded to the web page of the IoA and YouTube.

If you request some additional information of the presentation and further activities related to the topic, please contact Miguel Fuentes:

News & Announcements

New World Archaeology Section Poster board between floors 1 & 2!

The section has been allotted a space within the building to display news and information. Plans are underway to install a bright background display onto which notices, leaflets and posters may be attached. See preview below. If you have any media you would like displaying on the board please contact section co-ordinators Andrew Reynolds and David Wengrow in the first instance.


Section research

Oxford Handbook of Archaeological Theory

Edited by Andrew Gardner, Mark Lake, and Ulrike Sommer


Archaeological theory is a fluid and fractured field that is an arena of lively debate. This Handbook will guide students and practitioners through this field in a novel way, connecting ideas in different schools of thought through the key problems upon which they focus. Major themes are tackled in review papers by experts in those areas, while the schools of thought that archaeologists frequently draw upon are also given extended treatment by specialists in neighbouring fields. Another innovative aspect of this Handbook is the attention given to archaeological theory outside of the Anglo-American debate which has tended to dominate publications on the subject

More information

Conferences, events and forums

Ghostly and Ghastly Antiquarian Fiction

Tuesday 8 December 2015, Room 209, Institute of Archaeology, 6-7 pm

Gabriel Moshenska (UCL Institute of Archaeology)

This talk will explore the connections between ghosts and antiquarians in late 19th to early 20th century supernatural fiction. Focusing on the works of M.R. James and E.F. Benson it aims to highlight and examine distinct themes that emerge in the literature. One such common theme is the concept of ghostly guardians of buried or forgotten antiquities. Another is the tension between relics and ghosts of Christian, non-Christian and pre-Christian pasts, particularly when the latter are depicted as demonic. Finally I want to consider the fictional ghost as subject of scholarship by the antiquarians depicted in the stories – sometimes leading to their dooms.

Call for papers: JFIGS Friday Forum

The JFIGS Friday Forum series is an interdisciplinary set of conferences held at UCL for graduate students and staff. The events provide a friendly atmosphere for researchers from different disciplines to present work on the same topic. 

Next Forum topic: Recognition

Submission deadline: 23 December 2015

Forum date: 5 February 2016

We welcome proposals from graduate students and staff from across UCL, and especially from departments in the faculties of Arts and Humanities, and Social and Historical Sciences. Presentations should be between 15 and 20 minutes.

If you would like to participate, please send an abstract of no more than 250 words by 23 December to Mohammed Abouelleil Rashed at the Institute of Advanced Studies (

UCL Institute of Archaeology & Beta Analytic Radiocarbon Draw for the Archaeology of the Americas

A call for entries for the inaugural UCL Institute of Archaeology & Beta Analytic Radiocarbon Draw for the Archaeology of the Americas is announced with a deadline of 18 December 2015.

The winner of the draw will be able to fund a radiocarbon date from Beta Analytic Inc.


The draw is open to all current Institute of Archaeology research students and postdoctoral staff who are conducting research in the Archaeology of the Americas.

Application procedure

Download and complete the application form, returning it by email to Jo Dullaghan, Research Administrator, by 18 December 2015.

Please note only one application per person is allowable.

The winner will be selected by draw from all eligible entries in January 2016.

The East is Calling: Trade and Exchange of Ceramics in Southeast Asia (AD 1400s-1800s)

Thursday 10th Dec. Room 612 at 4pm – open to all.

Chen Sian Lim  (Nalanda-Sriwijaya Centre, Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, Singapore and IoA MPhil/PhD candidate)

This talk explores the ceramic finds from three historical port settlements of Temasek (Singapore), Melaka (Malaya), and Banten (Java), as well as ceramic cargoes from shipwrecks over the past 500 years, spanning pre-modern Southeast Asia prior to European contact, through the advent of the East India companies, and the age of colonization.

BSR Residential Awards


IOA: Equality & Diversity Forum: Gender & Sexuality

The aims of the group would be for staff and students to:

Meet formally once a term at an open forum meeting – Tuesday 15th December 1-2pm Staff Room (this will be the first meeting)

  • This is open to all staff & students of the IoA regarding any issues / thoughts surrounding Equality, Diversity, Gender and/or Sexuality.
  • This will be an open forum but if people (students or staff) would like to get involved to help then that would be great (do get in touch)!
  • We will have termly social events aimed at all in the Institute: including talks around Gay History Month in February (other ideas welcomed)
  • We will also invite people in to run workshops (diversity / equality in the workplace etc.) and invite speakers in from the UCL Equalities / Diversity Office and LGBT group as well as Stonewall etc.

Zela, acclamations, Caracalla – and Parthia?

Thursday, 3 December4.45pm in Senate House, South Block, room 349

Andrew Burnett (British Museum)

A coin which has lain unrecognised for many years in the BM can be identified as an unpublished coin of Caracalla from Zela, proclaiming that ‘The Lords are victorious! The world prospers! The formula is analysed in the context of other rare imperial acclamations on coins, to show that their language is alien to the norm for coins; on the rare occasions that acclamations ‘spill over’ onto coins they bring a different set of concepts with them.


Tuesdays 5pm, Senate House, South Block, Room 349

12 January 2016 – Stuart Laidlaw (UCL): Archaeological Illustration: Digital vs. Analogue

9 February 2016 – Lucy Shipley (Southampton): Pots, Past, Present, and Future: Translating the Corpus Vasorum Antiquorum

8 March 2016 – Vinnie Nørskov (Aarhus): Photographs in the Antiquities Trade

Full poster

Funding opportunities IOA

NERC Valuing Nature Placements

The purpose of this scheme is to fund researchers to spend up to 3 months working on a topic within the remit of the Valuing Nature Programme in a new disciplinary, institutional or applied setting.

Smithsonian Institution Anne van Biema Fellowships

The Anne van Biema Fellowship was established by bequest to promote excellence in research and publication on the Japanese visual arts.  Fellowships support research at the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC.  While the Galleries provide excellent opportunities for collections-based study, access to their collections will be severely limited from January 2016 until summer 2017, due to the closure and renovation of the Freer Gallery

Open Society Fellowships

The Open Society Fellowship was founded in 2008 to support individuals pursuing innovative and unconventional approaches to fundamental open society challenges.  The fellowship funds work that will enrich public understanding of those challenges and stimulate far-reaching and probing conversations within the Open Society Foundations and in the world.

Bibliographical Society Major & Minor Grants

The Bibliographical Society invites applications for awards from scholars engaged in bibliographical research (on, for example, book history, textual transmission, publishing, printing, bookbinding, book-ownership and book-collecting).

Bibliographical Society Katharine F Pantzer Jr Research Fellowships

Applicants’ research must be within the field of the bibliographical or book-historical study of the printed book in the hand-press period, that is up to c.1830.  Applicants should be established scholars in the field but may be university-based or independent researchers.

South African Department of Science and Technology (DST)-National Research Foundation (NRF) Fellowships for Early Career Researchers from the UK 2016

The NRF has partnered with the Academy of Medical Sciences, the British Academy and the Royal Society with the aim to develop science and innovation partnerships (across the humanities, social sciences and natural and physical sciences) through building research and innovation capacity.

Royal Society Dorothy Hodgkin Fellowships

These awards are for outstanding early career researchers (up to 6 yrs postdoctoral experience) who do not hold a permanent post and are a citizen of the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland (or have a ‘relevant connection’ to the EEA or Switzerland) and who require flexible working patterns due to personal circumstances such as parenting or caring responsibilities or health issues.

Society in Science Branco Weiss Fellowships

The Branco Weiss Fellowships are aimed at early-career researchers in the social, natural and physical sciences and engineering (who were awarded their PhD less than 5 years ago on the closing date for the call and who do not hold, and have not held, a permanent academic position) who are willing to engage in a dialogue on relevant social, cultural, political or economic issues across the frontiers of their particular discipline.

Wellcome Trust funding call Our Planet, Our Health

With Our Planet, Our Health, Wellcome want to invest in high-quality, transdisciplinary programmes of research that investigate novel aspects of – and build evidence for – how complex changes in our environment affect our health.

Horizon 2020 Call CULT-COOP-08-2016: Virtual museums and social platform on European digital heritage, memory, identity and cultural interaction

Proposals under this call for collaborative European projects will focus on the development of highly innovative technologies, methods and ICT tools to significantly improve the ‘digital encounter’ including quality of images, sonic narratives, the display and interactivity with digital objects.

NERC Call for Open Knowledge Exchange (KE) Fellowships

KE Fellows work between 20% and 80% of their time on a work plan of their own choosing to generate impact from NERC-funded research in their host institution.

Horizon 2020 Call ICT-22-2016: Technologies for Learning and Skills

Research and Innovation Action: Technologies for deeper learning of Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, combined with Arts (STEAM), improving the innovation and creative capacities of learners and supporting the new role of teacher as a coach of the learner


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