The Dalrymple Lectures

This prestigious lecture series was instituted by James Dalrymple Gray of Dalrymple. He was born in July 1852 in Newcastle – upon – Tyne to the Reverend Thomas Gray and his wife Mary Dalrymple. He later assumed his mother’s family name when, on the death of his uncle, he succeeded to the estates belonging to the family. He studied law at both Edinburgh and Glasgow Universities, and subsequently practised in Glasgow.James Dalrymple Gray

In 1877 he became the honorary Secretary of Glasgow Archaeological Society which was in decline at that time. With the help of others he succeeded in reinvigorating the Society and held the post of Secretary for some 25 years. He introduced the regular monthly meeting on the third Thursday of the month (a practice still in force today) and often presented papers on a range of topics, particularly castles and churches. He became President of the Society in 1904.

In 1908 he instituted the Dalrymple Lectureship in Archaeology in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Society. By means of a generous bequest in his will he ensured its continuation to this day. The subject of the lectures was to be ‘some branch of European archaeology’.

The annual Dalrymple Lectures have been given by many of the most distinguished figures in 20th and 21st century archaeology and is administered by a committee of Curators drawn from the University of Glasgow and Glasgow Archaeological Society.

Dalrymple Lecture Series 2021

Archaeology, Climate Change and Sustainability: Island Perspectives

Please register here for **in person tickets

Please register here for **online tickets

Hosted by The University of Glasgow and Glasgow Archaeological Society, The Dalrymple Lecture series for 2021 will be delivered by Professor Jane Downes, Director of the University of the Highlands and Islands Archaeology Institute.

In Scotland’s celebratory Year of Coasts and Waters and as world leaders gather in Glasgow for the UN Climate Change Conference COP26, the four evening lectures in this series will explore how island archaeology, from Rapa Nui in the Pacific to Orkney, contributes timely and vital understandings around sustainability and living with climate change now and in the future.

The four evening lectures in this series will be delivered from the 8-11 November 2021 in the Sir Charles Wilson Building at The University of Glasgow and simultaneously livestreamed.

Evening lectures will begin at 6.30pm, Monday-Wednesday and from 7.30pm on Thursday evening. The lectures will be followed by a short Q&A session. Doors will open half an hour before and due to Covid regulations, numbers are limited to 40 people with 1m social distancing in operation and face masks required.

Lecture 1: Worlds apart: Islands’ sustainability stories

Monday 8 November 2021, 6.30pm-8pm
It is assumed that people’s responses in the past to environmental and climate change will have relevance to our present issues. In this lecture the relevance of archaeology and the uses of the past will be examined critically: how can the experiences of communities in the more remote pre-Anthropocene past provide answers to our present day climate crisis? Fairly crude and well known ‘lessons from the past’ have been drawn previously from island contexts, and here the effectiveness of and justification for these will be examined. Questions around conceptions of past sustainability, how we perceive resilience and adaptation will be explored, and relational approaches that are culturally and historically specific will be espoused.

Lecture 2: Winds of Change: a study of the dialectic between cultural and environmental change

Tuesday 9 November 2021, 6.30pm-8pm
This lecture looks at climate change and sustainability in the past, exploring the relationship between environmental and societal and cultural change. Archaeology and palaeoecology form our understanding of past societies and their relationship to the environment but have not been combined effectively with social theory to explore at a community or ‘lived’ scale the dialectic of environmental and societal change. This lecture examines the particularities of the dialectic between societal and environmental dynamics and change through an analysis of prehistoric island communities.

Lecture 3: Belief in Sustainability: examining the role of ontology and belief systems in sustaining prehistoric communities

Wednesday 10 November 2021, 6.30pm-8pm
In this lecture it is suggested that belief systems and ritual activity was equally as important as subsistence strategies and agricultural activities in sustaining and regenerating prehistoric communities. Examining burial practices, and other overtly ritual or ceremonial contexts, helps understand past ontological understandings of the world and belief systems; it is proposed that ritual efficacy was central to the resilience of communities. The examination of the centrality of attitudes and values in the past in adaptation to climate change presents new models for how the past can be relevant to behavioural change.

Lecture 4: ‘From encounters to actions’: the transformative potential of archaeology in relation to climate change

Thursday 11 November 2021, 7.30-9pm
Here the relevance of archaeology in addressing climate change and sustainable development goals, and the potential role of archaeological heritage in climate action is explored. It is apparent that fundamental shifts in policy and professional practice needed, and a reconsideration of the ‘value’ of archaeological heritage in context of global climate change will be presented. The impact of climate-change induced coastal erosion on archaeological heritage is the focus of the lecture – an impact that affects small islands disproportionality. Examples will be used to illustrate how public engagement in archaeology can improve climate literacy, and the potential power of archaeological heritage to promote a sense of urgency and engender climate action.

Dalrymple Lectures November 2019

Please check this link for information on the Dalrymple Lectures which took place in November 2019.

Dalrymple Nov 2019

Dalrymple Lectures February 2019

Professor Gavin Lucas: Department of Archaeology, University of Iceland

Gavin Lucas

Gavin Lucas has been working in archaeology since he was a teenager in the early 1980s, volunteering during the summers for the Museum of London on various developer-led excavations. It was the start of a long, if discontinuous career in contract archaeology which existed parallel to most of his academic life until his first university position in 2006. His formal education in archaeology began as an undergraduate at the Institute of Archaeology UCL in the late 1980s and continued through doctoral studies under Ian Hodder at the University of Cambridge on the topic of time. After completing his PhD in the mid-1990s he took up full-time work in contract archaeology with the Cambridge Archaeological Unit.  It was also during this time he started to develop an interest in the archaeology of the modern world, leading a project in South Africa for three years. He moved to Iceland in 2002 to work for an independent archaeological research institution and there led a major excavation project on a Bishop’s seat for six years. Finally in 2006, he joined the University of Iceland, where he remains today as Professor of Archaeology.

Gavin has published extensively in archaeological theory as well as the archaeology of the modern world. His key theoretical texts focus on the practices and methods of archaeology and include the books Critical Approaches to Fieldwork (2001), The Archaeology of Time (2005), Understanding the Archaeological Record (2012) and most recently, Writing the Past (2019). He has also published a book on his South African project An Archaeology of Colonial Identity (2004) and co-edited a volume on Archaeologies of the Contemporary Past (2001). He is currently working on a manuscript on the excavations of a Bishop’s seat in Iceland as well as directing a project on the archaeology of commerce and con‌sumption in Iceland during the 17th-18th centuries.

Lecture 1 Monday 18 February 2019

The Archaeological Clock.
In this talk, he discusses the temporal structure of the archaeological record and the question of scale. Issues such as temporal resolution, time averaging and the long-term all intersect and raise questions about the appropriate time scale of archaeological analysis.

Lecture 2 Tuesday 19 February 2019

Changing Times.
His second lecture addresses the problem of change in archaeology. What is it and how does our view of time affect how we comprehend it? The question will be especially linked to pragmatic issues of periodization as well as more abstract concepts such as tempo, revolution and evolution.Reconstruction of a settlement house in Herjόlfsdalur, Vestmannanaeylar.‌‌

Lecture 3 Wednesday 20 February 2019

Contemporary Pasts.
The notion of contemporaneity is the focus of this third talk. How do - and - could, Archaeologists use this concept and what implications might it have for archaeology as different way to engage with time and the past? The topics of memory and duration take a central place in this discussion.  Lava flow from 1970s, Heimaey, Vestmannanaeylar.‌

Lecture 4 Thursday 21 February 2019

Back to the Future.
In his final lecture, he addressed the concept of the future in archaeology. How might/is a sense of the future written into our accounts of the past? Both as past futures (i.e. how do we conceive of the future in past) and as futures of our present (i.e. the relevance of studying the past to our own future). Archaeological site of Skálholt, Iceland in the winter‌

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Dalrymple Lectures 2016

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Dalrymple Lectures 2015

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Dalrymple Lectures 2014

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Dalrymple Lectures 2013

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Dalrymple Lectures 2012

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Dalrymple Lectures 2011

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Dalrymple Lectures 2009

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Dalrymple Lectures 2007

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