Please check this page periodically for news of events I am involved in, or project updates. If you scroll down, you’ll be able to see past events as well as the future ones! I’ll post images and material after each event as well so you can see what I have been up to. For more information, email me at email@example.com and follow me on Twitter @urbanprehisto.
Faifley Rocks! The Cochno Stone and the prehistoric rock art of West Dunbartonshire
I’m giving this talk to the Baldernock Local History Group (Baldernock is between Milngavie and Torrance) in the distant future!
13-02-20 Public meeting
Faifley Rocks! A public meeting at Skypoint, Faifley, 6.30pm to 8pm. Come along to hear updates on the 2019 excavations and survey of Faifley’s prehistoric rock-art and learn about some very exciting plans for 2020!
Faifley Rocks and the rock art of West Dunbartonshire
A talk to the Lennox Heritage Society. This took place at 730pm in the Concord Centre, Dumbarton on a wet and windy night, in front of a great audience.
Lingering timbers: the decline and fall of monuments of wood
Timber monuments were common elements of the monumental repertoire of the British Neolithic, from early Neolithic timber cursus monuments and timber halls, to later timber circles and palisaded enclosures. Research into the lives of these structures has tended to focus on their construction and use, with their afterlife a less considered – and yet important aspect – of our understanding of these monuments and their role within prehistoric society. While some of these monuments, mostly the earlier Neolithic variants, were dramatically burned down, many massive timber post structures were allowed to slide into decay and ruination. In this paper I will consider the processes of ruination and decay at timber monuments through the lens of three contemporary case-studies: replica timber circles at Archaeolink prehistory park (Aberdeenshire), Maelmin Heritage Trail (Northumberland) and the grounds of Brodick Castle (Arran). These monuments offer insights, within a concentrated window of time, of the processes of the decline, collapse, repair and ruination of monuments of wood. They also beg the question: to what extent did lingering skeletal wooden structures haunt the later prehistoric landscape?
This lecture was given as part of a UHI conference on the theme of Ruination and Decay.
Outputs: I am hoping to turn this talk into a published paper during 2020, and I also squeezed a blog post out of the visit…
The Mann the Myth: a re-evaluation and celebration of the life and work of Ludovic McLellan Mann
2019 marks the 150th anniversary of the birth of Glasgow’s great eccentric antiquarian and amateur archaeologist Ludovic Mclellan Mann (1869-1955). A controversial figure during his lifetime, Mann nonetheless carried out important excavations, was Scotland’s first ‘rescue archaeologist’ and lived a life committed to public archaeology and heritage education. He is well known for his colourful books on ancient measurements and Earliest Glasgow, and his excavations at the Druid Temple, Clydebank in 1937-9. But what is his legacy? How should we view his eclectic activities and ideas? What role did he play in the development and professionalisation of the archaeology in Glasgow, Scotland and beyond? And what about his non-archaeological interests?
To mark this anniversary, a conference and celebration of Mann was held at the Glasgow University Union Debating Chamber on Saturday 5th October. This was the programme.
This was a great success and I will update in a blog post and on the conference webpage in the near future. This is my favourite tweet about the event from Myles Painter. For more coverage and thoughts on the conference, check out #theManntheMyth on twitter.
Audience: c70 across the whole day
Outputs: Edited volume in 2020, podcast / audio version of some papers, lots of other stuff, zine!
The Balfarg Story: 4000BC to AD2019
A talk to the Pitcairn Society in Glenrothes about my research into the modern biography of three prehistoric monuments which were reconstructed in a suburb of the New Town in the 1970s-1990s. I explored the archaeological and contemporary significance of Balfarg, and the unique relationship the reconstructed monuments here have with the town’s public art. A lovely evening of reminiscing and I was paid in free range eggs.
Hyperprehistory: unleashing the deep time of non-places
I gave a lecture at the Society for Post-Medieval Archaeology (SPMA) conference at the University of Glasgow, as part of a session called The Archaeologies of Now organised by James Dixon and Sefryn Penrose.
Outputs: blog post: Hyperprehistory
The Cochno Stone
A talk on latest developments in the Cochno Stone project in Milngavie, part of a series of events organised by the Milngavie Heritage Centre. I gave the talk in a packed Court Room in the town hall.
Revealing the Cochno Stone
A talk on latest developments in the Cochno Stone project in Helensburgh. I gave this talk to the North Clyde Archaeological Society in Helensburgh Parish Church. It takes a long time to get back to Airdrie from here by train.
Prehistory between the A77 and A78
I gave a talk at the wonderful Dundonald Castle, near Kilmarnock, covering the amazing, unheralded prehistory – some of it urban – situated in a triangle of three A roads in Ayrshire. Not as weird as it sounds. Thanks to the Friends of Dundonald Castle, Kirsteen and Lauren for inviting me.
Audience: c25, certainly a full house!
29-11-2018 Public meeting
The future of the Cochno Stone
Skypoint Centre, Faifley, from 7pm onwards
An evening event to promote and celebrate the launch of the Friends of the Cochno Stone group. This was a really great evening, with lots of people signing up to be Friends, and some passionate words about local heritage from fellow committee members local to Faifley and local MSP Gil Paterson. I also set out some possible visions, projects and future plans for the Cochno Stone and Faifley’s rock-art despite my laptop battery conking out 2 minutes in! Thanks so much for Sandra, Patricia, Alison and Lizzie as well as Gil for your support.
I’m was honoured to give the The Wallace McIntyre Memorial Lecture to the Clydebank Local History Society on the topic of the Cochno Stone (what else!). This event took place at the Morison Memorial Church, Dumbarton Road, Clydebank. See their website.
School of Humanities lecture series, University of Glasgow.
Ludovic McLellan Mann and Clydebank’s weird prehistory
Lecture held in Room 208, John MacIntyre Building, University of Glasgow, between noon and 1pm
Audience: 12 (!!)
You can view this lecture here
A version of this lecture will be published in 2019/2020. More information to follow.
Govan Old Parish Church: A Tea, a talk and a Tunnocks
Revealing the Cochno Stone
A talk with chocolate snacks at the end in the wonderful surroundings of Govan Old Parish Church, Glasgow.
Audience: 40 people
13-09-2018 Public meeting
Balfarg / Balbirnie: a unique opportunity?
I gave a short talk at a meeting of the North Glenrothes Community Council in Collydean Community Centre, Glenrothes. The public were invited along and we had a positive conversation about schools, better signage for the Neolithic monument reconstructions and future needs and plans. Watch this space! Thanks to Ron and Liam for inviting me.
Audience: 30 people
Clydebank’s cups and rings: the Cochno Stone and Faifley’s rock-art
Callander and District Heritage Society, 7.30pm, Masonic Hall, Craigard Road, Callander.
Audience: 35 people
This exciting open day allowed the chance for those coming along to see Scotland’s Rock-Art team clean and record two rock-art panels near Faifley, and there were also demonstrations of 360 degree cameras and virtual reality technology, both of which could be used in the future to help bring the Cochno Stone back to life digitally. There was also an exhibition, update on excavation results, and we had a chunk of 3D printed Cochno Stone replica as well. Lots of lovely people came along for a chat and we had a wonderful few hours!
This event would not have been possible without the support of Faifley Community Council, Knowes Housing Association, TCV Scotland, MSP Gil Paterson’s team, Cochno Stone social media star Alison Douglas and a team of Glasgow University students. Thanks also to Scotland’s Rock-art project who came along in the form of Tertia Barnett and Maya Hoole, and Stuart Jeffrey and Daniel Livingstone from the Glasgow School of Art School of Simulation and Visualisation. Thanks also to Prof Sian Jones!
Audience: 80+ people
Community archaeology, rock-art and the Cochno Stone
I gave a talk as part of the Bryn Celli Ddu programme of events in June this year on the beautiful island of Anglesey. For more details about the festival and the amazing work done on this project, see the project blog. It was a real pleasure to spend some time on this beautiful island and share the Cochno love!
I helped lead an archaeology fieldtrip for S2 pupils from Clifton Hall school, Edinburgh, thanks to history teacher Sam McKeand. As well as the essential Rough Castle and the Antonine Wall, and Cairnpapple Hill, we also visited Huly Hill Bronze Age cairn and standing stones, near the school and an absolute stone-cold urban prehistory classic. On site, we discussed the lack of information on the site and how we might improve this situation, all the while having a succession of airliners flying above our heads.
29-05-2018 Launch and talk
Strathearn Community Campus cursus monument noticeboard
I was delighted to be asked to attend the ‘unveiling’ of the second noticeboard on the developing Strathearn Community Campus Archaeology Trail. This trail will celebrate prehistoric sites found during the construction of the campus and neighbouring primary school in Crieff, as well as some other sites from the surrounding landscape. It is a unique and innovative project, and it was a pleasure to work on the second noticeboard on the trail, on the subject of Broich cursus which runs 800m north-south beneath the campus and was partially excavated during construction in 2006-2010. After the ceremony, I gave a short talk on Scotland’s cursus monuments in the newly named Cursus Theatre.
L-R: Ian Hamilton, Mel Johnson, the Urban Prehistorian, Eila MacQueen, Steven Timoney, Ally Beckett and Christine Deeley. Photo courtesy of George Logan
Location of the trail: google map
22-03-2018 Public meeting
The future of the Cochno Stone
A public meeting organised by Faifley Community Council on the future of the Cochno Stone and other local rock-art. This was a great evening event, with lots of different perspectives represented. I’ll update with a brief summary of the key points soon.
Ludovic Mann and his application of barium sulphate paints to the Cochno Stone
Langside Community Heritage meeting. Double-header with Katinka Dalglish who gave a fantastic talk about her ongoing research into the Ludovic Mann collections in Glasgow Life. It was a real Mann-fest!
Wee poster advertising the talks from Katinka and I.
The Cochno Stone revealed
Lanark and District Archaeological Society talk. 7.30pm, Lanark Library.
Houses upon houses: the impact of urbanisation on our understanding of Neolithic settlement in Scotland
Scottish Archaeology Student Society Conference 2018, University of Glasgow
This lecture explored the relationship between development, urbanisation and the study of Neolithic settlement in Scotland. I argued that the polluter pays principal in archaeology since the late 1980s has helped archaeologists find Neolithic sites and material in places where they would either not have thought about looking or would not have been able to get funding to investigate. For a sense of this great weekend conference, check out #SSASC2018 on twitter.
Associated outputs: video of the lecture.
23-11-2017 Talk and exhibition
Ludovic Mann and the eclipse eating monster
As part of the 2017 Being Human festival, I ran several workshops with local school children followed by an evening talk and exhibition in Faifley, Clydebank. The theme drew on Ludovic Mann’s assertion that the symbols carved onto the Cochno Stone represent the story of how prehistoric people came to predict eclipses.
The workshop and exhibition showcased specially commissioned artwork by Hannah Sackett, comics drawn by local children and information about our excavations at the Cochno Stone. For images and comment on these events, check out #eclipsemonster on twitter.
Associated outputs: The Cochno Stone comic book. You can purchase a copy at Hannah’s Etsy page.
Audience: 128 children and seven teachers during six workshops; 65 people at the exhibition
The Cochno Stone: project update
Glasgow Archaeological Society lecture series, Members’ Night. 7.30pm, Boyd Orr building, University of Glasgow
The Cochno Stone revealed
Milngavie and Bearsden Historical Society meeting. 7.30pm, Lesser Hall, Bearsden Community Hub, 66 Drymen Road, Bearsden, G61 3QT.
A really enjoyable evening where I met three people who remembered visiting the Cochno Stone pre-1965, and one woman who met Ludovic Mann while visiting the excavations at Knappers in 1937.
Urban prehistory: a beginner’s guide
University of York Archaeology Department seminar series.
The first public outing for my urban prehistory venn. You can watch a video of this lecture here.
Associated outputs: video of lecture, forthcoming paper
30-09-2017 Pop-up stall
Urban prehistory stall, Riverside Museum, Explorathon 2017
I stood and looked lonely for a few hours beside my jumbled mass of weird imagery and objects.
Audience: c25 interactions
Glasgow’s Prehistoric Geometry: Ludovic Mann and Harry Bell’s search for Glasgow’s urban prehistory
A public lecture on Glasgow’s ancient prehistoric geometry as part, part of the 2017 Glasgow’s Doors Open Day Festival.
Associated outputs: Essay in the forthcoming book Urban Wyrd (Wild Harvest Press).
Psychogeography in the Park
Two guided walks with primary school children around Glasgow’s Queen’s Park. This event was part of Glasgow’s Unity Festival.
The walks were a chance to encourage children from local schools to really look hard at the park as they walked around, and travel back in time to a Victorian designed park landscape, an eighteenth century farm and back as far – maybe – as the Iron Age at the Camphill enclosure in the centre of the park.
In the end, c60 children attended and most got soaked in the incessant rain, but I think they enjoyed time travelling and learning about urban prehistory and psychogeography with Mr Kenny.
Associated outputs: Psychogeography in the Park blog post
Audience: c70 (including teachers)