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Memory, Cosmology and Materiality in Prehistoric Malta

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Dr Isabelle Vella Gregory (Christ’s; Archaeology) presents at the CRASSH Postdoctoral Research Seminar.



The Maltese Islands have a rich archaeological heritage that includes prehistoric megalithic temples. These architecturally imposing buildings are a dominant feature of the physical and conceptual landscape up to our day. However, if we want to understand Neolithic society we need to reconfigure our view of space and consider the multi-dimensionality of Neolithic life on the islands. The Neolithic period was a time of increasing social complexity that is reflected materially both at a broad level (temples) but, more importantly, at a smaller scale (pottery, stone tools, figurines and various other objects). In this talk I will present my research on how memories and social relations are created across a complex landscape. The examination of the complex figuration (figurines and other complex imagery) and the so-called daily technology reveals an entanglement of social relations and a complex cosmology in a setting that was dominated by the power of memory and embodied performance.

About Isabelle Vella Gregory

Isabelle Vella Gregory is an archaeologist with a strong interest in social anthropology. Her research interests include Mediterranean prehistory, figurative representation and the body, memory, and social complexity. Isabelle’s approach is based on multidisciplinarity, paying particular attention to how people have conceptualized power and its performance in the landscape. Her doctoral research (Magdalene, Cambridge) resulted in a new approach to the archaeology of Sardinia and the study of figurative representation in Mediterranean prehistory. She is currently a Junior Research Fellow at Christ’s College, working on Maltese prehistory. She is the author of The Human Form in Neolithic Malta.

This talk is part of the CRASSH series.

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