20 July 2021

Tea-time talk: A case of ritual cannibalism in Iron Age Gloucestershire?

Join us for a tea-time talk and discover a potential case of cannibalism in Iron Age Gloucestershire.

In 1998, local cavers investigated a sinkhole called Fishmonger’s Swallet. They made the macabre discovery of a substantial quantity of human bones, along with many dog and other animal bones. This material dates to the late Iron Age or the early Roman period between circa 170 BC – 120 AD.

Some of the human remains have been modified in a way that is deeply suggestive of cannibalism. The site was subsequently dug by Time Team in 2000. The material has been donated to the University of Bristol Spelaeological Society and is now housed in their museum.

This is a tea-time talk with a difference and will involve a film screening followed by a live Q&A. In the short film, Professor Mark Horton, Director of Research at Royal Agricultural University and Emeritus Professor, University of Bristol, discusses the case for possible ritual cannibalism at this fascinating and important site.

Curator Linda Wilson, archaeologist Adelle Bricking and caver David Hardwick will be available after the film screening to answer your questions.

This tea-time talk is part of the Festival of Archaeology, the UK’s biggest celebration of archaeology.

Speakers: Linda Wilson is a caver and also the curator of the University of Bristol Spelaeological Society Museum where the finds from Fishmonger’s Swallet are housed.

Adelle Bricking is the Finds Officer for Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS) Cymru and a PhD researcher at Cardiff University.

David Hardwick is a caver and a lecturer at Royal Agricultural University. He is one of the original discoverers of the cave and its contents.

How to take part

This free, online talk will be held over Zoom. Please book your place below. Details of how to join the session will be in your registration email. Please check your spam folder if the email does not arrive. Bookings close at 11am on 20 July.

Although this talk is free, we would be grateful if you could consider making a donation.

Please visit the Zoom website for guidance on joining webinar. Please allow extra time before the talk begins to make sure everything is working correctly. It’s up to you whether you turn on your video but all guests will be muted once the talk begins. You are welcome to ask questions in the chat box throughout the talk.