Our knowledge of past cultures is mediated by the stone artefacts our ancestors left behind—the carved spandrels of medieval cathedrals evidence the intricate artistic practices of our predecessors, while ancient stone monuments, like the Giant’s Ring in Belfast, remind us of traditions that have long ceased.
Such artefacts are silent storytellers that reveal much about the ways we used to think and live. They stand as historical signposts that encourage us to look back into the past and reflect on how things have changed, in both positive and negative ways. In the current era of the Anthropocene, where landscapes are quarried and emptied for their resources, such reflections are now more important than ever.
It is within this context that the 20-minute presentations outline how and why stone was important in past cultures. Compiled and presented by current postgraduate students in the School of English at Queen’s University Belfast, these lectures explore the curious ways in which stones have shaped our shared history and continue to influence present narratives. Join us in this journey of discovery as we unravel the enduring tales embedded in these ancient artefacts!
Watch Amy Nelson explore stones in the Aberdeen Bestiary:
Watch Niamh Lundy’s presentation on stone in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight: