AGM and Winter Symposium 2021

Posted On: November 15th, 2021

The 2021 AGM and Winter Symposium will be held on online at 12:00 on Monday, 6th December. The AGM Agenda and Winter Symposium line-up are below or view the full programme here: SMA AGM and Winter Symposium 2021.

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Winter Symposium
The AGM will be followed by the Winter Symposium at around 12:30 pm (on the same Zoom link).

12:30  Prof. Duncan Sayer (University of Central Lancashire): New ancient DNA from multiple early Anglo-Saxon cemeteries

There is considerable controversy about the term Anglo-Saxon. It has been used to describe an art style, a culture, a people, an ethnicity (ancient and modern) and an archaeological sites or a period. As others have suggested these uses have lacked refinement. In this talk I will present some preliminary results of a large ancient DNA study which has analysed samples from a series of early Medieval cemeteries across the UK and Europe. In this talk I will focus on the fifth, sixth and seventh century cemeteries from the east coast of England and will discuss the genetic origin of the occupants, their burial style and material culture. The results are outstanding, implying up to 75% of the occupants of these sites were immigrants or their descendants. As no doubt you spotted this means that 25% of the occupants where indigenous, and so the archaeological details real matter. It is my hope that these results will contribute to a nuanced and archeologically informed conversation about migration, ethnicity, and multiculturalism in this increasingly critical time period.

13:00  Dr. Dawn McLaren (AOC Archaeology): Recent discoveries at the Bon Accord site in Aberdeen

In 2007-8, AOC Archaeology Group carried out excavations in advance of an extension to the Bon Accord Centre in Aberdeen. This excavation uncovered the backlands of the industrial quarter of the medieval town, revealing a complex series of backland boundaries, hearth/ovens, wells, pits and other structures dating from the late 12th century AD into the early modern period. The waterlogged conditions within the pits and the wells allowed the preservation of a remarkable assemblage of organic remains including the largest leather assemblage ever to be found in Scotland which has provided evidence of hide processing, tanning and shoe making.  Metalwork, crucibles, clay mould fragments and ceramics all testify to the industrial character of the area, while the large quantities of animal and fishbone demonstrate that butchery took place on an industrial scale. This talk presents a brief overview of the site, focussing on the artefacts recovered and the stories that they tell us about the changing character of the area from the 12th century onwards.

13:30  Prof. Gordon Noble (University of Aberdeen): The CITADEL Project: Rescue- and Research-led Investigations at a Pictish Elite Centre

Burghead Fort on the Moray Coast of Scotland is the largest and most complex early medieval forts known, one of less than 20 forts of this date identified in Scotland and one of only three Pictish coastal promontory forts, with the best-preserved defences of its type in Britain and Ireland. Yet significant parts of this site have been lost to development and through coastal erosion. The Citadel project, funded by Historic Environment Scotland aims to mitigate further loss through rescue-led excavations within a wider programme of research-led excavation and scientific analysis to provide unparalleled insights into the development and demise of an early medieval centre and the economy that underpinned its success (and ultimate failure). This talk will outline the progress of the project to date.