Sixth Form Lecture with Lithics Analyst Rebecca Devaney
Monday 2nd December 2019
On Friday 22 November, our Lower Sixth students were joined by lithics analyst Rebecca Devaney.
Rebecca has an undergraduate degree in Archaeology from the University of Reading (BA Hons, 1st class, 2002) and a Masters in Artefact Studies from the Institute of Archaeology at UCL (MA, Distinction, 2005). She has been an Associate member (ACIfA) of the Chartered Institute for Archaeologists since 2006 and is an active member of the Lithic Studies Society.
To begin her lecture, Rebecca Devaney first explained what lithics is: “The word lithics is related to stone, and usually refers to stone that has been modified by humans.” So, as a lithics analyst, her job is to identify stone artefacts, particularly stone tools that are well over 3000 years old.
As Rebecca now works freelance, artefacts are sent directly to her: “My garage is stacked full of boxes of hundreds of prehistoric artefacts!” It is her job to identify and date each one of them.
Rebecca Devaney’s speciality, and favourite type of artefact to analyse, is arrowheads. This fascination started whilst she was at university. When visiting an archaeological site in Europe, her team were able to work out which side an attack came from based on the position of arrowheads in the ground. She also showed our students an image of a prehistoric arrowhead which was found lodged into a human vertebra, proving that prehistoric weapons were deadly and effective.
Rebecca was kind enough to bring in a selection of her finds to show the girls. They were even allowed to pick up and handle these valuable artefacts, and see for themselves the craftsmanship involved in creating these weapons. Even after thousands of years of being buried in the ground, the arrowheads were still extremely sharp, and the girls were excited to be able to hold pieces of history in their own hands.
We would like to extend a big thank you to Rebecca Devaney for coming in to speak to our girls, explaining what it takes to be a lithics analyst, and showing our students another exciting side of studying history.