skip to primary navigationskip to content
 

Matthew Spriggs Leverhulme Lecture

Matthew Spriggs, (Leverhulme Trust Visiting Professor, University of Cambridge, 2016-2017) - LEVERHULME LECTURE From prestige goods to prestige practices: Lapita long-distance interactions in the Western Pacific
When May 23, 2016
from 05:30 PM to 06:30 PM
Where McDonald Institute Seminar Room
Contact Name
Attendees All welcome
Add event to calendar vCal
iCal

Abstract:

In this seminar I want to explore whether there is a place for the idea of ‘prestige practices’ alongside the more commonly considered ‘prestige goods’ in discussions of long-distance interactions. I use the Western Pacific during the period of the Lapita culture around 3000BP to try to tease the two ideas apart. It is argued that in some cases exotic goods found in sites are merely incidental to the movement of people engaged in prestige-making activities rather than having any transcendent value themselves as prestige items; as such they may give clues as to what these prestige practices might be, as can the iconography on the elaborately decorated Lapita pottery.

Prestige practices in the Western Pacific in Lapita times could have included being a boat-builder or navigator, the ability to mediate across languages and cultures that a scout or trader might possess, tattooing, wood-carving, ritual specialisms of various kinds, healing and bone-setting, tactical skill in warfare and/or hunting, the magic of being the exemplary first farmer in a region and establishing a new settlement, or of being a prospector and/or stone axe maker or metalworker. Being a chief is in itself a prestige practice, one that has to be reinforced constantly through performance. I pose the question as to whether archaeological interest in “things” and “thingness” may have gone too far?

 

Biography:

Prof. Matthew Spriggs is an Australian Research Council Laureate Fellow at the Australian National University. He is also an Adjunct Professor at the University of Uppsala, Sweden and the Honorary

Showcasing research highlights and outreach from the academic year 2014-2015

Read more

Upcoming events

Americas Archaeology Group

Oct 11, 2016

McDonald Institute Seminar Room, Courtyard Building, Downing Street

CDAL Workshop

Oct 11, 2016

McDonald Institute Seminar Room, Courtyard Building, Downing Street

Festival of Ideas

Oct 18, 2016

McDonald Institute Seminar Room, Courtyard Building, Downing Street

Heritage Research Group Panel Discussion

Oct 18, 2016

McDonald Institute Seminar Room, Courtyard Building, Downing Street

Heritage Research Group Fair

Oct 20, 2016

McDonald Institute Seminar Room, Courtyard Building, Downing Street

Heritage Research Group

Oct 25, 2016

McDonald Institute Seminar Room, Courtyard Building, Downing Street

CDAL Workshop

Oct 25, 2016

McDonald Institute Seminar Room, Courtyard Building, Downing Street

The Pasts and Presence of Art in South Africa: Technologies, Ontologies and Agents

Oct 27, 2016

McDonald Institute Seminar Room, Courtyard Building, Downing Street

Heritage Research Group Panel Discussion

Nov 03, 2016

McDonald Institute Seminar Room, Courtyard Building, Downing Street

Upcoming events

An Oral History of the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research