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The University of Sussex Archaeological Society

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The University of Sussex Archaeological Society (USAS) was initially set up in 1998 by a small group of part-time students who were studying archaeology at the Centre for Continuing Education (CCE), University of Sussex, for the benefit of other students, staff and members of the local archaeology community.  Sadly, despite the popularity of CCE and the teaching of archaeology at the university, both came to an end in 2013, but the USAS has continued and has welcomed anyone who has an interest in archaeology, whatever level that interest may be. During the pandemic we took our lectures online, and this proved to be very popular, and so we decided to continue on that route.


Not wanting to see the end of the USAS and the great community of supporters that we have been fortunate to have with us over our 25 years, we have decided that we will merge the USAS to become a part of the Sussex School of Archaeology and History (SSA&H).  The name USAS will remain and we will have this dedicated area of the website for the 'USAS Lecture Series'


We make a nominal charge of £3 for registration and attendance at each USAS lecture.  This helps to pay our speakers and zoom fees. Any surpluses are added to our reserves to help fund archaeological research in Sussex. However, you are able to purchase a 'USAS membership' for the academic which will entitle you to attend all USAS lectures during the academic year, plus access recordings of those lectures that the speakers allow us to make available -- please email for details.  We also offer other ‘membership’ benefits – such as reduced fees at some events or courses.  Details of our previous lectures can be found on the USAS website.


Booking for our lectures will continue to be through Eventbrite, and those links that are currently available are shown below each event.


The talks will start at 7.30pm and you will need to register online in order to receive the link for the lecture. 

 

We look forward to welcoming you to our lecture series.

Future USAS Lectures for 2024

(more details and sign-up coming soon)

Wednesday 25th September 2024

The South Downs Explored from Above

Speaker: Gary Webster (Heritage officer, National Trust)

Wednesday 16th October 2024

Plumpton Place

Speaker: Diccon Hart (HB Archaeology and Construction Ltd)

Wednesday 27th November 2024

‘Down these viae sordidae’

Speaker: Lindsey Davis (Author & Historical Novelist)

Lindsey will talk about her life as a historical novelist, with particular reference to using

Fishbourne Roman Palace as a location in A Body in the Bathhouse.

Details of the last 2 lectures for our 2023-2024 lecture series are given below and recordings of those talks that the speaker has given permission for will shortly be available to USAS members 

About the speaker: Professor Sue Hamilton

Sue is Vice Dean Research and Global Engagement at the Faculty of Social and Historical Sciences UCL and Professor of Prehistory at the UCL Institute of Archaeology, where she has recently completed an 8-year term as its Director. She is currently writing-up a decade of fieldwork work on Rapa Nui (Easter Island) and her new book, The Making of Rapa Nui. She has directed large-scale inter-disciplinary landscape projects on past environments and their archaeology in the UK, Europe, and Oceania. Her research combines traditional fieldwork with innovative methodologies and interpretative approaches that consider the interfaces between social, conceptual and sensory practice, and the implications of these for interpreting material culture. Her published works include the books: New Sensory Approaches to the Past: Applied Methods in Sensory Heritage and Archaeology (UCL Press, forthcoming with P. Jordon and S. Mura); Sensual and Social Landscapes of the Prehistory of Northern Puglia, S. Italy (2021 with R. Whitehouse); Stone Worlds: Narrative and Reflexivity in Landscape Archaeology (2007 with B. Bender and C. Tilley); and Archaeology and Women (2007 with K. Wright and R. Whitehouse).

Wednesday 10th April 2024

 The Annual USAS Holleyman Archaeology Lecture

Re-making Rapa Nui (Easter Island): archaeology’s Polynesian narrative

Speaker:  Professor Sue Hamilton (UCL)

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Re-making Rapa Nui (Easter Island): archaeology’s Polynesian narrative
Rapa Nui is a tiny, remote, Polynesian island. It is famed for the 1000+ giant statues made by its first inhabitants c. AD 1200, and for theories about the end of this tradition. Rapa Nui's past has been used and misused as a cautionary tale for social collapse triggered by environmental denigration. By contrast, there has been little exploration of how, following arrival on an uninhabited island, the architectural and conceptual landscape created by its ancient communities came into being and successfully matured. The re-making of Rapa Nui is an interpretative analysis of the island's prehistoric archaeology as an island entity. The lecture presents a socially and ideologically articulated cultural landscape structured by the meanings of things as much as being a response and adaption to environmental impacts. It contrasts western narratives of the island's archaeology, with evaluations influenced by Rapanui and Polynesian perspectives. It highlights the dynamic contribution of Rapa Nui's ancient past to the re-making of today's Rapa Nui, as one of the most iconic places in the world for heritage tourism.

Wednesday 1st May 2024

USAS Online Lecture

Disarticulated Iron Age & Roman human remains within the town of Silchester

Speaker:  Professor Mike Fulford

(University of Reading)

Disarticulated Iron Age & Roman human remains within the town of Silchester
The antiquarian excavators of Silchester noted the occasional find of human bone as well as a few complete or partial skeletons. Apart from recording their general location within the town there is little or no further information about context. Excavations since the 1980s have added further examples of disarticulated human bone as well as one or two complete or partial skeletons and have provided a stratigraphic context for them. Sixteen radiocarbon dates have been obtained from modern finds and from all five remaining bones in Reading Museum, 21 in total. The talk will review the contexts, character and dating of the remains against the background of similar urban finds from Roman Britain.

About the speaker: Professor Mike Fulford

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Mike was promoted to Professor of Archaeology at the University of Reading in 1988, following previous appointments as Reader (1985) and Lecturer (1974). He has served as Dean of the former Faculty of Letters and Social Sciences (1994-1997) and Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Teaching and Learning (1998-2004).
His principal research interests are in Roman archaeology, particularly in the fields of rural settlement, urbanism, economy, material culture, technology and trade.
Professor Fulford was elected Fellow of the British Academy in 1994, recently serving as its Treasurer and Vice-President (2010-15). He has served as Commissioner, Historic England (English Heritage) and Chair of its Advisory Committee (HEAC) (2014-19), continuing as a member. He is a Trustee of the Roman Research Trust. He has also served as President of the Society for the Promotion of Roman Studies (2005-8).

Future USAS Lectures for 2025

More details coming soon

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