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Making Things Meaningful in the Ice Age

April 11, 2017 @ 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm



The arts provide a key avenue of insight into ancient human behavior and symbolic evolution. In this lecture we will review some of the evidence and analysis of how our ancestors of the later Ice Age used the material and visual world to create meanings, to develop and solidify social relationships, and to become “effective world settlers.” The scope of what we call “Paleolithic art” will be a focus because it is such a well-preserved collection of material, and so many new and exciting ways of studying it have developed over the past years.

Margaret Conkey is Professor Emerita of the University of California at Berkeley, which she joined in 1987 after positions at the State University of New York at Binghamton and San Jose State University. Dr. Conkey has made significant contributions to our understanding of the European Paleolithic, prehistoric art and symbolism, and feminist and gendered archaeology. One of her most famous fieldwork projects is the Between the Caves project in the French Midi-Pyrenees. The goal of this large-scale project is to provide a context for the art and material culture of the region’s Cro-Magnons through surveying the regions between the caves. With a multidisciplinary international team, she aims to reconstruct daily life and the environments in which Upper Paleolithic people expressed themselves through art. Her 1984 article “Archaeology and the study of gender,” written with Janet Spector, and her 1991 book Engendering the Past: Women and Prehistory, co-edited with Joan Gero, are widely regarded as groundbreaking statements in the history of a gendered and feminist archaeology.

This lecture is presented in partnership with the Chicago Council on Science and Technology with generous support from Columbia College Chicago. Additional support is provided by Ann and Gordon Getty and Camilla and George Smith.


April 11, 2017
6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Event Category:


Conaway Center, Columbia College
1104 S Wabash
Chicago, IL 60605 United States
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I [name], of [city, state ZIP], bequeath the sum of $[ ] or [ ] percent of my estate to L.S.B. Leakey Foundation for Research Related to Man’s Origins, Behavior & Survival, (dba The Leakey Foundation), a nonprofit organization with a business address of 1003B O’Reilly Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94129 and a tax identification number 95-2536475 for its unrestricted use and purpose.

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