Institute of Archaeology


UCL Institute of Archaeology Gordon Childe Lecture 2024

15 May 2024, 6:00 pm–7:30 pm

A black & white image of a man in a suit wearing glasses and smoking a pipe, holding a teddy bear, and leaning against an old-style car

This year's UCL Institute of Archaeology Gordon Childe Lecture, to be given by Richard Bradley (Emeritus Professor, University of Reading), will take place on 15 May 2024.

This event is free.

Event Information

Open to







Prof Kevin MacDonald


Archaeology Lecture Theatre G6
UCL Institute of Archaeology
31-34 Gordon Square
United Kingdom

‘Hidden valuables: hidden variables. Hoards and other deposits from Mesolithic to modern times’


For Gordon Childe deposits of intact or broken metalwork were a key component of the European Bronze Age. They shed light on the important role played by smiths in the processing of ores and the distribution of valuable objects. More recent work has extended his analysis in two ways. Firstly, it is obvious that the artefacts found in hoards also occur in graves, and that some of the same types were deposited in rivers and lakes. And, secondly, these practices extended to other materials and other periods. They began as early as the Mesolithic phase and retained their importance into the early medieval period and even after. The lecture will review some of the main ways of interpreting these finds and will extend from late prehistoric hunter gatherers in Scandinavia to the curious behaviour of a retired archbishop during the 1980s. 

The 'Welcome’ will be given by Kevin MacDonald (Professor of African Archaeology and Director, UCL Institute of Archaeology) and ‘Vote of Thanks’ by Andrew Reynolds (Professor of Medieval Archaeology, UCL Institute of Archaeology).

This in-person event is ticketed, with pre-booking essential, via the link above. 

The Lecture will be followed by a reception in the A.G. Leventis Gallery.

Read more about previous Gordon Childe Lectures

About the Speaker

Richard Bradley

Emeritus Professor at University of Reading

Monochrome image of a man in historic dress in a boat on a lake receiving a sword from a hand coming out of the water

Professor Richard Bradley has written a number of books on prehistoric archaeology. His fieldwork has centred on prehistoric settlements, landscapes and monuments in England, Scotland, Spain and Scandinavia.

Image: A book illustration by the Victorian artist Daniel Maclise showing King Arthur receiving his sword Excalibur from the Lady of the Lake (Image courtesy of Prof Richard Bradley)

More about Richard Bradley