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Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Wessex and Mycenae: Bronze Age Links and Connections; Amber Spacer Plates/Bead Sets/Necklaces; Dr. Kate Verkooijen

Archaeology Unearthed, Dorset County Museum,  March 3, 2017, 7.30pm (doors open 7pm)

Tears of the Sun: Bronze Age Amber Spacer Beads - Tracking the connections between Wessex, Mycenae and Central Europe by Dr. Kate Verkooijen.

"In the early and mid 20th century, techniques such as radiocarbon dating did not exist or were still in their infancy. It was difficult, then, to date the various cultural groups in different regions of Europe to see whether they existed at the same time or flourished many centuries apart. In light of this, the similarities between the amber spacer beads in Britain and Europe have been used for decades as evidence of direct links between the different

European cultural groups during the Bronze Age. One of the main conclusions has been that there was a direct link between Early Bronze Age Wessex and Mycenaean Greece, due to the idea of nearly identical amber spacers found in both places.

Despite the prominent role they play in Bronze Age research, the evidence of the spacers both individually and within their original excavation contexts has always been poorly understood. For several decades the corpus was ill-defined and neither described nor presented consistently nor comprehensively. Dr. Verkooijen’s research addresses this problem and, in the light of more recently excavated material and dating evidence, she re-assesses the previous conclusions about direct connections between regions. As well as presenting these results, she will also be bringing along two replicas of British Bronze Age amber spacer sets/’necklaces’."

More information:

Tears of the Sun: Amber Spacer Plates in Bronze Age Britain and Europe

"The amber spacers (Bernsteinschiebers, plaquettes d’espacement) are some of the most iconic artefacts of the European Bronze Age; not for their undoubted original beauty, but because of what they may be able to tell us about the cultural and chronological relationships between North-west and Central Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean during the 2nd millennium BC. In 1940 Merhart first drew attention to the similarities between the spacers found at Kakovatos in Mycenaean Greece with those from the Bavarian site of Asenkofen. He illustrated these beads, along with several others from the South German Tumulus Culture, demonstrating their variety of perforation patterns. Comparison of these patterns between the three regions has been at the heart of the interpretation of the relationships of these cultural areas and of the spacers themselves. However, the present condition of the amber means that it is difficult to determine these patterns with certainty. In 1993 Harding expressed the view that this situation could only be remedied by x-raying the beads. Obtaining these x-rays has been one focus of the speaker’s recent PhD and she presents here the results of that research".

Dr Kate Verkooijen - "Kate Verkooijen is an experimental archaeologist. She has a growing collection of replica artefacts relating to ancient material culture. She is studying at Exeter University".

"Following a degree from Swindon University of The Old Age in Archaeological Illustration and Horse Flaying, she has earned an MA in Archaeological Experimentation at Exeter University and is currently setting up a PhD there", Beaker Folk

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