2017 - March : Robert M Chapple
The Swastika in Irish art & Archaeology:
Origins, associations, and general decorations.
The presentation will demonstrate the extremely long and varied history of the swastika symbol and provides context for the Irish examples where it was chiefly used during the Early Christian (6th - 11th centuries) and Medieval (15th century) periods. During these times it was utilised as a representation of the sun, a variant of the cross, along with communicating Christian ideas about resurrection.
The presentation also examines the re-emergence of the swastika during the late 19th and early 20th centuries and how that manifested itself in a variety of ways from swastika jewellery and general ‘good luck’ charms to eventually becoming synonymous with the evils of the Nazi regime. The presentation does not in any way attempt to ‘reclaim’ or normalise the swastika, but it does seek to address the possible futures for this contentious symbol.
Robert M Chapple grew up in the west of Ireland, and received a BA (1991) and MA (1998) in archaeology from UCG/NUIG. Since 1997 he has been based in Belfast, in Northern Ireland. He is a former member of both the Historic Monuments Council and The Joint Committee for Industrial Heritage. After more than 20 years in commercial field archaeology, he left the profession in 2010 and now works in IT. He still maintains a presence in the profession through his writing, blogging, and advocacy activities, along with personal research interests such as the Irish Radiocarbon Determinations and Dendrochronological Dates (IR&DD) projects.