I’m in the process of helping out my final-year students organise their first student conference. It is organised as a free day-conference supported by the Grosvenor Museum, Chester, on the theme of The Public Archaeology of Frontiers and Borderlands. 

This makes me reflect on my own first experiences of attending academic conferences. Yes, this takes us back to the dawn of civilization and my undergraduate days in the early 1990s. I distinctively remember a fabulous student-organised day conference at the University of Sheffield on The Archaeology of Death which included fabulous speakers including Mike Parker Pearson and Paul Graves-Brown, but I think earlier still than this, might first conference attendance was in Oxford.

I would have been just starting my second-year at the University of Sheffield, but since I come from Reading, it was a short trip and great opportunity to attend a day conference in Oxford. The event was the Louis S. B Leakey Symposium held on Sunday 24 October 1993. The venue was the Oxford University Museum Lecture Theatre.

Miraculously, I’ve just ‘dug up’ the conference booklet. It is smart, with room for notes and a lovely publication-quality paper. The conference itself had a star-studded line-up of Palaeolithic greats.

Yup, this reveals something: as an undergraduate I had aspirations of being a Palaeolithic archaeologist….