What was the role of dark places in the life of a community? Were there associations with solitude, transformation, sanctuary, regeneration, or death? How did interactions between people and darkness affect the individual and how s/he was regarded by the rest of the community? And how did this interaction transform places in the landscape? The archaeology of darkness conference will explore Palaeolithic use of deep caves in Europe and the placement of art; how the orientation of mortuary monuments in the Neolithic and Bronze Age changed from a focus on the rising to the setting sun; how the senses are affected in caves and monuments that were used for ritual activities; the experiences of Bronze Age miners who worked in dangerous subterranean settings; journeying deep inside caves in Late Bronze Age Ireland; the interplay between darkness and light from a Christian monastic perspective; a caver’s experience of spending long periods underground; and darkness as represented in folklore and mythology.
This archaeological and multidisciplinary conference, hosted by I.T. Sligo, will be the first to examine this subject in a dedicated fashion and promises to be a thought-provoking and exciting event.