Other Conferences

Life in the land of the dead: skyscape archaeology and the ontology of other world

Dear SEAC colleagues

I hope you are all well and safe.

We are very pleased to let you know that we have just successfully had our session proposal accepted for the biggest archaeology conference in Britain – The Theoretical Archaeology Conference 2020. Many hundreds attend and include senior and student archaeologists. See:


Life in the land of the dead: skyscape archaeology and the ontology of other worlds

Several prehistoric monuments of western Europe are frequently interpreted through sepulchral models and more generally as places for rites of passage. Many monuments appear to have been designed either to be seen on the horizon or to prescribe views towards a point on a horizon – at the intersection of land and sky. Any monument alignments will bracket these monuments with the settings and risings of Moon, Sun, stars and/or particular horizon features. In a stationary ‘flat’-earth ontology any settings and risings may therefore have been understood as portals to other worlds, such as the underworld or the vault of the heavens. Selected celestial bodies would visit the dead below, and/or ascended above or may have been sacred entities in other worlds. Skyscape archaeology, by revealing the relational links between the structure and periodicity of celestial bodies and the archaeological record, can inform interpretive narratives for the contents of prehistoric rituals by which returning from the dead, for example, allowed renewal for the living. This session will explore how life may be seen as particular types of transition between states of being and provide insights into the mutability of life between organic and inorganic domains. Proposals for paper abstracts are invited which, by adopting the ontological turn, aim to reveal some of the hidden meanings in the intersections between material culture and skyscape and landscape archaeology for understanding life in this and other worlds.

If Covid 19 forces its closure this year, then it will be postponed to 2021 at the same Leicester University in late December. So if you want to be involved it will be happening either this year or next. We are pleased to invite you to offer papers for presentation at this conference, and the details for this follow.

Best wishes,

Lionel Sims

Proposals for papers are invited for the session ‘Life in the land of the dead’ at the Theoretical Archaeology Group 42 at Leicester University, 18-20 December. If Covid 19 disallows it for this year, it will take place in 2021 – so ensure you send abstracts by the end of August 2020 if you want to offer papers for either date.

Please add full name and title, affiliation and email with the title to your paper and a 250-word abstract as a Word file. The session will be a standard paper session of a half-day block, with 6-10 papers at 20 minutes each.

The co-organisers for the session are Lionel Sims (University of East London), Fabio Silva (Bournemouth University) and Tim Darvill (Bournemouth University).

Send your proposals to lionel.sims@btinternet.com before the end of August 2020.

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