TUESDAY 28th JULY
Grounding in Her Presence
YVETTE STAELENS: THE BIRDLIP WOMAN – UNDERSTANDING AND RE-INTERPRETING THE BURIAL OF A IRON AGE ‘PRIESTESS-SHAMAN’ IN THE COTSWOLD HILLS 2000 YEARS AGO.
In 1879, a workman discovered an ancient grave high on the Cotswold escarpment overlooking the vale of Gloucestershire. The so-called ‘Birdlip Grave Group’ included a female interred with grave goods that included a magnificent bronze mirror. The finds have been exhibited and examined over many years, including by myself for my honours degree dissertation in archaeology. I later published my research in the Transactions of the Bristol and Gloucestershire Archaeological Society in 1983 (volume 100, 19-31). At the time, concepts and ideas that embraced intangible heritage, shamanism and ethnography were not prevalent. In this short presentation, using these tools, I will attempt a re-interpretation of the archaeological remains. Through this process, I hope to gain some fresh insights that may bring us closer to understanding who this female was and what her role in society may have been. There will be magic.