Canterbury is a very long way from Glasgow. This was my first observation, as I eventually arrived at the University of Kent on Friday, after four trains, a tube and a taxi ride!
Fortunately, that is not my only lasting impression from a truly fantastic weekend at the Lyminge Conference. As a historian-in-training (I’m not quite sure at what stage I can start calling myself a historian without feeling self-conscious!) much of the archaeology was very new to me – especially the final two papers on archaeobotany and zooarchaeology! I’ve come away with so many new ideas and inspiration for my future research – it’s what I was hoping for, but it was far more than I could have expected.
One of my major highlights was the mixed nature of the conference – there were a number of non-academics, including both commercial and amateur archaeologists, alongside academics from a number of disciplines ranging from an undergraduate, through a smattering of masters students, PhDs, all the way up to Dame Rosemary Cramp! This gave it such a lovely atmosphere, and at no point did it feel hierarchical or elitist – no small task when you look at the profiles of many of the speakers. This openness extended throughout the conference – I’ve come away with so many suggestions of people to contact and things to read for my research. Special credit must go to the University of Kent’s Dr Helen Gittos for her masterful chairing of the panel discussion, something which I imagine could easily descend into academic ego-massage, but instead was a genuinely enlightening and engaging session.
I’ll post up a fuller report at some point responding to some of the ideas raised, but for now, these initial thoughts were things I wanted to get down as soon as I could; the rest may take a little bit longer to digest!