The Prehistory Guys are very proud to share with you this fantastic interview with Dr. Alison Sheridan, recently retired Principal Archaeological Research Curator at the National Museums of Scotland.
As you'll find out in the first minutes of this podcast, Alison's C.V. is simply spectacular. If there's such a thing as an A-List archaeologist, she is a prime example of what that looks like - not only in terms of her output and influence, but in the extraordinary breadth of her study.
Her special area however, is the crossover period between the Mesolithic and Neolithic periods in Britain and Ireland. In this interview you'll find out what makes her thesis on how the Neolithic 'package' made it across from the continent 6,000 years ago both compelling and controversial and discover her passion for the life archaeological!
Ancient craft and brewing specialist Merryn Dineley, together with her brewing expert husband Graham join us to discus how the general unawareness of the way beer is brewed leads to the evidence for it in prehistory being overlooked. Once the process is understood, then the existence of large vessels, like the Grooved Ware pot from Durrington Walls above, suddenly makes sense, as do some of the details inside many excavated ancient and Neolithic buildings up and down Britain and beyond.
We're kicking off our regular interview features with our good friend and colleague Dr. Rick Pettigrew of the Archaeological Legacy Institute in Eugene, Oregon.
The photo above is of Rick standing in front of West Kennet long barrow back in September this year when we were on the 'Backbone of Neolithic Britain' tour. The tour was instigated by Rick and we were delighted to collaborate with him organising this huge adventure and we're delighted to say that we'll be doing it again next year. The point is though that we got to know Rick rather better and found out that (as well as being a great guy!) he's quite a mover and shaker in the world of archaeology and very much aligned to our way of thinking in terms of how it gets communicated.
And communication is really something that shines out in this conversation as (via the Columbia River, obsidian dating, Iran, prehistoric migration, and Malta) we arrive at the subject of the development of language in prehistory.
Does our ancient landscape lie to us? Well, there is a sense in which we are deceived ... or is it we who deceive ourselves? Michael and Rupert discuss how our natural instinct for creating meaning out of what we see might lead us a little astray.
All this and the regular magazine slots in the latest episode of what is now THE PREHISTORY GUYS podcast!
When things don't seem so great in the present, it's easy to idealise the past.
Not so fast!
Archaeology has thrown light on some remarkable and truly brutal events in European prehistory recently. It seems that 7,000 years ago a particular phase of angst and conflict in the Neolithic 'Linearbandkeramik' (LBK) culture of central Europe was kicking off and led to some horrific examples of man's inhumanity to man being left in the archaeological record.
Rupert and Michael duck the crime scene tape and take a peek under the sheet ...
If we're talking about standing stones and the Neolithic, then we have to talk about origins ... and if we talk about origins we have to talk about the Middle East and Anatolia. If we talk about the Middle East and Anatolia, the names Çatalhöyük and Göbekli Tepe seem to come up. But Tell Qaramel? Tell es-Sultan? Motza? Maybe nearer to home on the Danube; Lepinski Vir?
By merely scratching the surface of the subject of ancient settlements, Michael & Rupert have their minds quietly blown taking on the implications of the timescales involved in relation to our own, home-grown developments in the British Neolithic.
It seems ages since we last posted a podcast. But it's only just over a month - it must be that we've been incredibly busy! And some of that business is down to Michael's excursion to Orkney to take part in a three-day field archaeology course at the Cairns Broch dig on South Ronaldsay.
Yes, the new trowel was well and truly broken in and in this episode, Rupert grills Michael about his adventure and actually manages to extract some interesting information from him about the dig and his hands-on archaeological experience. (Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition).
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Since we began this podcast in March 2018, archaeological facts and finds have been coming at us fast and furious - so much so that it's becoming hard to keep track of what happened where and in what order!
So, in an effort to claw back some clarity, we've begun compiling a Timeline of Prehistory.
The simple question: "what was going on in the rest of the world when megalith building was happening in Britain?" has thrown up some surprising facts. In order to give some context to the Neolithic and early Bronze Age this side of the Channel, we explore what was going on in the world from 8,000 to 2,000 BC.
We hope you find it as eye-opening as we did!
Back in November 2018, we found ourselves sitting on the front row for the a lecture in the Wiltshire Museum by Dr. Katharine Walker of Bournemouth University entitled 'Taking Sides, Scandinavian Flint Axe type in Britain'. This wasn't really an accident because, as you probably know, the subject of axe-heads, their meaning, production and trade is one that we find ourselves returning to often in the podcast. We kept in communication with Dr. Walker after the talk and we were very pleased when she agreed to do a Standing with Stones podcast interview with us.
In it, we chat about her work, her experiences and the insights that pursuing her fascination with neolithic axeheads has given her.
Dr Katharine Walker is a prehistorian specialising in the Neolithic of northwest Europe and is a Visiting Research Fellow at Bournemouth University. She gained a first class degree in Archaeology from the University of Bristol; an MA in the European Neolithic from Cardiff University, funded by the AHRC; and a PhD from the University of Southampton entitled ‘Axe-heads and Identity: an Investigation into theRoles of Identity Formation in Neolithic Britain.’
And that’s about all you need to know for the time being - Oh, that and the fact that we recorded the interview in the saloon of a 43 ft sailing boat in Southampton marina.