The Real Peggy Piggott (Prehistoric Society lecture), 7.30pm
Dr Rachel Pope (University of Liverpool) and Dr Mairi Davies (Historic Environment Scotland)
Following the 2021 film The Dig,one might be forgiven for thinking that Peggy Piggott was a ditzy young wife who stumbled into archaeology. Here we discuss the real Peggy Piggott, leading British archaeologist, prehistorian, and finds specialist, who produced over sixty published works and did much to progress the fields of Bronze Age and Iron Age studies between the 1930s-1990s.
We discuss her early career (1930-1939) – having trained with the Curwens, the Wheelers, and the Bersus, few were as well-placed to progress British field archaeology, as we see in her work on Bronze Age barrows, at Sutton Hoo, and her work during WWII, which established the modern standard for barrow excavation.
We trace her Edinburgh years (1947-1955) working on hillforts and houses, the Hownam Model, and her excavations at Milton Loch crannog.
We assess her intellectual relationship with Gerhard Bersu and Stuart Piggott, and her subtle rejection of Hawkesian thinking in favour of archaeological reasoning – predating the 1960s thinking of Clark and Clarke. Finishing on her Italy years (1955-1972) and her later life in Wiltshire (1972-1994) where she focused on glass beads. Overall, we find Peggy to have been Wheeler’s clear successor, just not the right man for job.
Image: Wiltshire Museum, Devizes (http://www.wiltshiremuseum.org.uk)