AIA Lecturer/Host: Ronald Hicks
Professor of Anthropology at Ball State University
Archaeological Institute of America lecturer and host Ronald Hicks specializes in pre-Christian Ireland and his research for the past forty years has been concerned with the nature of the pre-Christian religion of Ireland and the way it was expressed not only in Irish myth but also in ancient monuments. He believes that the monuments reflect the fact that the landscape was seen as sacred and intimately related to the belief system that focused on the annual agricultural cycle and thus the calendar. His research can be said to fall within the areas of landscape archaeology and cognitive archaeology, including archaeoastronomy. Professor Hicks is on the Editorial Advisory Board of the AIA’s Archaeology Magazine, and his article "The Sacred Landscape of Ancient Ireland" (Archaeology, May/June 2011) dealt with the royal sites of Iron Age Ireland and their role in Irish myth. He is a professor in the Department of Anthropology at Ball State University, having received his Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania after serving as an officer in the U.S. Navy and working for several years as an editor in New York and Philadelphia.
Professor Hicks has given lectures at a number of AIA local societies, including Valparaiso, Houston, and Toledo. His Irish fieldwork has totaled more than four years, most of it reconnaissance work that has led him down nearly every country road in counties Kildare, Meath, and Westmeath; along the Shannon Valley; and in the southwest. While students have accompanied him as field assistants on some of this Irish work, he has also led study tours to Oxford for a semester, China for five weeks, and South Africa for most of June 2011. On this tour he plans to address such topics as sacred complexes from the Neolithic to the Iron Age; Viking settlement in Ireland; and connections between ancient Ireland’s mythology, monuments, and landscapes.