The Prehistoric Society

Europa Day Conference 2011


The late Professor Grahame Clark was one of the greatest prehistorians in Britain in the last century. For much of his career, he was closely connected to the Prehistoric Society, editing the Proceedings for over 30 years and becoming President from 1958 to 1962. In his will, he left a bequest to the Society to create an annual Europa Prize for prehistorians who had made a lifelong contribution to European prehistory. He also provided for an annual Europa Lecture, at which the winner of the Prize would give a special lecture. Four years ago, the Society decided to build a day-conference around the Europa Lecture, each year focussing on the principal research themes of the Prize-winner.


This year’s winner is the Russian prehistorian, Natalia Ivanovna Shishlina, the current Head of the Archaeology Department in the State History Museum, in Moscow. Natalia has been the Head of the Steppe (former Kalmykia) expedition of the State History Museum, during which she has carried out ground-breaking excavations and fieldwork on Bronze Age steppe landscapes in the period 4300 – 2000 BC. These investigations confirmed, for the first time, that a socio-economic system of mobile pastoralism had been established as early as the Bronze Age in the Eastern Steppes. Natalia is the first Russian prehistorian to be awarded the Europa Prize.


This year’s Europa Day Conference will be held in Durham on Saturday 14th May in the Arthur Holmes Lecture Theatre (CG 91), Science Site, Durham University. The theme of the conference is ‘Eurasian Interactions 4000 – 1000 BC’, in which we shall hear from a group of prehistorians renowned for engaging with the big picture of social networks, from the Late Neolithic (Volker Heyd) to the Bronze Age (Kristian Kristiansen, Tony Wilkinson, Sofia Voutsaki and Billy O’Brien) and concluding with the Iron Age (Tim Taylor). Our speakers explore the inter-connectedness of much of later prehistory over huge distances, showing how innovations spread far and wide from the Near East to the Russian Steppes, from the Levant to the Mediterranean and between Northern and Southern Europe. The climax of the Day Conference will be Natalia Shishlina’s Europa Lecture on ‘The mysterious Bronze Age steppe nomads”.  The Europa Lecture will be followed by a wine reception.


An important prequel to this year’s Europa Day Conference is the Prehistoric Society’s Postgraduate Workshop, which will be held the day before, Friday 13th May, on the theme of ‘The Tyranny of the Tell? Settlement and Society in the Bronze Age’. This workshop is open to all postgraduates. There will be two keynote speakers – Professor Kristian Kristiansen (Gothenburg) and Dr. Cameron Petrie (Cambridge). Any postgraduate wishing to offer a paper for this meeting should contact the organizers, Mrs. Jennie Bradbury and Mr. Dan Lawrence.