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‘In the Bleak Midwinter’: The Archaeology & Anthropology of the Irish Palaeolithic and Beyond.

19 August, 1pm - 2pm

Office of Public Works

  • Reginald's Tower
  • The Quay, Waterford
  • X91 Y880
  • Co. Waterford

For decades, it was believed that the island of Ireland had been inhabited for just 12,500 years, marked by the butchered bones of a bear. In 2021, the radiocarbon dating of a fragment of reindeer’s femur with butchery marks - originally found in Castlepook Cave, Cork in 1972 - changed this, revealing that the human habitation of Ireland actually stretches back to 33,000 years.

This fragment of bone changes the history of Ireland - and indeed the history of Europe - as a whole. Prehistoric peoples made the long journey to Ireland over generations - still connected to the rest of mainland Europe and cloaked in a vast ice sheet - and lived full lives in complex forager societies 20,000 years earlier than was previously understood.

In the Bleak Midwinter will explore the lives of these people, as well as the distinct archaeological cultures that have emerged from European prehistory in recent times.

This hour-long interactive lecture will also include experimental archaeology, and the chance to view and handle several reconstruction artefacts which have been handmade to exact historical specifications. These include Palaeolithic jewellery, weapons, and art.

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