The Royal Archaeological Institute (RAI) is a leading national archaeology society, with a history dating back to 1844. Its interests span all aspects of the archaeological, architectural and landscape history of the British Isles.

Through our annual publication of the Archaeological Journal and our programme of monthly lectures, we have a strong tradition of presenting archaeological research. We also give grants to enable research projects, host conferences and run specialist tours for our members to archaeological sites, historic buildings and landscapes.

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View our comprehensive lecture program, covering a variety of topics between October and May every year.
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11 DECEMBER LECTURE by Dr Matthew Pope
Thursday 12th December 2019

'The Boxgrove Horse Butchery Site: Solving a Puzzle from the Deep Past'

The internationally important Palaeolithic site of Boxgrove is an incredible, high-resolution record of human behaviour dating to almost half a million years ago. A series of activity areas, concentrations of stone tools, sometimes accompanied by faunal remains, are preserved in sediments left behind during the silting up and eventual burial of a large embayment now located in West Sussex. This lecture focuses on one such locality, named the Horse Butchery Site, where evidence for the dismemberment of a horse was perfectly preserved in the silts and clays of intertidal mudflats. Extensive programmes of refitting have since been undertaken to piece back together the hundreds flint artefacts to establish what activities was taking place at the site. The results show a vivid picture of an early human group working over a period of just a few hours to make the tools necessary to butcher a large horse. We consider what short, intense periods of activity mean in both the evolution of human social behaviour and landscape use.

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