Highland Underworld Archaeology seminar proves extremely popular (25/04/13)

Recording of Seminar.

Seminar Programme

High demand from people wishing to attend an archaeology seminar - which is due to take place in the Highlands this weekend (27 April) - has seen organisers, Highland Council arrange webcasting of the event to accommodate those unable to get tickets.

All 140 places to the seminar on underground places were snapped up in a short space of time. The seminar titled: “Underworld: the use of caves, rock shelters and underground places during the Scottish Iron Age” will feature research on work undertaken at High Pasture Cave and Fiscavaig Rock Shelter, on the Isle of Skye.

Highland Council has arranged for the seminar to be webcast live and recorded which will be available from the council’s website on Saturday 27 April from 9:30am. An archived version is available here.

High Pasture Cave is one of the most important Iron Age ritual sites excavated in Britain.  Among a host of discoveries, archaeologists found the remains of what is believed to be the earliest stringed instrument ever found in Western Europe. In March 2012, Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Fiona Hyslop revealed that a small wooden fragment found during the excavation had come from a lyre.

The results of the most recent research into the two sites will be presented by eminent academics at the seminar at the Council’s Headquarters in Inverness this Saturday 27 April 2013.

Councillor Thomas Prag, Chairman of The Highland Council’s Planning, Environment and Development Committee said: “We are delighted that demand for the seminar has been high as it reflects the importance that Highland Council weighed in making its decision to support research at these two significant sites. We are very honoured to be able to host the distinguished scientists and academics who will be speaking at the seminar - particularly as 2013 is the 20th anniversary of our own Highland Archaeology Festival.” 

The event is being hosted by The Highland Council’s Planning and Development Service in partnership with Historic Scotland as a Year of Natural Scotland event.

Topics of discussion and speakers at the seminar will include:

  • Through the mouth of hell: caves, heads and cosmology in Iron Age Europe - Professor Ian Armit (University of Bradford);
  • Dark and inaccessible: High Pasture Cave and the Fiscavaig Rock Shelter, Skye - Steven Birch (High Pasture Cave/Fiscavaig Rock Shelter Projects);
  • Sediments and micromorphology - Dr. Jo McKenzie (University of Bradford);
  • Charcoal: small fragments of a bigger picture - Dr. Mike Cressey (CFA Archaeology Ltd);
  • Refuse or Ritual: the animal bones and burnt plant remains from High Pasture Cave - Dr. Carrie Drew (University of Durham);
  • Bringing home the beef: the animal bone from the Fiscavaig Rock Shelter - Dr. Jacqui Mulville (University of Cardiff);
  • Burnt animal bone and isolated human remains from High Pasture Cave - Sheena Fraser (University of Edinburgh) and Dr. Kath McSweeney (University of Edinburgh);
  • The human remains from High Pasture Cave – Dr. Laura Sinfield (University of Edinburgh);
  • Isotope data from the skeletal material - Dr. Mandy Jay (University of Durham); Dr Janet Montgomery (University of Durham); Julia Beaumont (University of Bradford) and ProfessorJane Evans (NERC Isotope Geosciences Laboratory – BGS);
  • The pottery from High Pasture Cave and the Fiscavaig Rock Shelter - Dr. Ann MacSween (Historic Scotland);
  • A material world: people, life and craft on Iron Age Skye - Dr. Fraser Hunter (Curator Iron Age & Roman Collections - National Museums Scotland);
  • Music at the High Pasture Cave site - Dr. Graeme Lawson (University of Cambridge) and Dr. John Purser (University of Glasgow);
  • Underground traditions: the archaeological and social contexts of built underground places in the Scottish Atlantic Iron Age - Martin Carruthers (UHI Orkney)

The seminar will be chaired by Rod McCullagh (Historic Scotland) and Professor Ian Armit (University of Bradford).

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