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Held in the Merlin Theatre at Pembrokeshire College, and organised by Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority and PLANED, this unique archaeological event will welcome a selection of expert speakers and give a fascinating insight into Pembrokeshire’s rich archaeological history.

Planned talks include:

  • Palaeolithic cave art on the Gower
  • Neolithic art on a Cromlech at Trefael
  • Recent discoveries at the ongoing archaeological dig at Nevern Castle.
  • The 19th Century fortification of Pembrokeshire
  • Pembrokeshire Archaeology 2011, which will cover all the new discoveries in the National Park this year
  • Among Tombs and Stone Circles on the Preselis

The event takes place on November 19th with tickets costing £10 including a light lunch and morning and afternoon coffee. Registration and coffee is between 9.30am – 10.15am and the event finishes at 4pm.

Full details can be found on the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park website.

The gold zoomorphic mount form the Staffordshire Hoard. The mount portrays two eagles facing each other while holding a fish between them

The Symbolic Nature of Gold in Magical and Religious Contexts by Charlotte Behr (University of Roehampton) may be of interest. This paper is one of 27 presented at the Papers from the Staffordshire Hoard Symposium held at the British Museum in March of last year. In her paper Behr writes –

Gold can adopt many different meanings. In economic contexts it can acquire material value, in social contexts it can gain significance for status and position within a hierarchical structure, in religious contexts it can be used to express veneration of the divine or a divinity, in magical contexts it can be perceived as a material with inherent powerful qualities. We can define the symbolic nature of gold as a means of communication. That implies, firstly, communication among humans in different situations for different purposes but also, secondly, between humans and a spiritual world.

How can we use the study of the objects and their material to gain insight into contemporary mentality? I would like to make some brief remarks about the evidence we have for the significance of gold in religious and in magical relations, before suggesting some ideas why it may be fruitful to consider in the research of the Staffordshire Hoard the possibility that the gold in the hoard may have had – apart from its material value and social significance – an additional layer of meaning that connected the gold and the hoard to religious and/or magical spheres, quite apart from the crosses and the biblical inscription in the hoard with their obvious religious connotations. When we discuss economic, social or religious functions of the gold, and the hoard, we need to be aware that this distinction is more an analytical device than a reflection of a historical reality, where these different functions overlapped and were intricately related.

The rest of Charlotte Behr’s paper can be found here.

See also the video of the Hoard Conservation team discussing the silver fragments in the Hoard. The video shows one of the results of 3D scanning test on silver fragments by the National Conservation Centre at National Museums Liverpool. The test enabled conservators to see patterns and edges more clearly on the small number of fragments scanned in this way.

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