Magic: A View From Archaeology

Event status:

The Department of Archaeology and History at La Trobe University invites you to the 2017 Allen Lecture:

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Wednesday 04 October 2017 06:00 pm until Wednesday 04 October 2017 09:00 pm (Add to calendar)
Holly Wilson
Presented by:
Professor Chris Gosden
Type of Event:
Public Lecture; Public

Three great strands of thought have shaped our cultural and intellectual history: religion, science and magic. The influence of religion and science is accepted; that of magic is not. Magic is the oldest of humanity’s intellectual attitudes and can only be fully understood through the results of archaeology. Magic starts from a feeling of oneness with the world, which is sometimes known as animism.
Prof. Gosden shall begin his story twelve thousand years ago, although the origins of magic are far older and provide a series of brief case studies focusing on how material things are used in magical practices. He will end by looking at European magical practices in Australia.

Chris Gosden has carried out archaeological fieldwork in Papua New Guinea, Borneo, Turkmenistan and Britain, among other places. He was a lecturer-curator in archaeology at the Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford, where he worked on the history of collections and their relevance to post-colonial relations and identity.
More recently he has run research projects on the history of the English landscape from the Bronze Age to the Domesday Book in the early middle ages and on Celtic art first in Britain and now in Europe taking into account Eurasian links. He has written on archaeological theory concerning material culture, colonialism, art and identity. He is writing a book on the long-term history of magic.  He is currently Professor of European Archaeology, University of Oxford. He is a trustee of the Art Fund and a fellow of a number of learned societies.


Melbourne Museum

11 Nicholson Street Carlton, VIC 3053

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