Dive into the fascinating world of experimental archaeology, where scientists, craftspeople, sound-experts, musicians, artists and re-enactors come together to recreate the past. They investigate human activities from a wide range of eras, areas and civilizations. Their work involves both the use of traditional materials and techniques but increasingly also modern digital technology. In each of these podcasts two experts from a particular field discuss their experiences, triumphs and tribulations. Each session is followed by a live Q&A session where listeners can join in to ask questions but also to share their own expertise. For more information, visit us at https://exarc.net.So far topics have covered ancient bread baking; the know-how required for skin tanning and antler work; sewing and embroidery techniques in the Middle Ages; the re-creation of ancient music and the recording and collection of soundscapes; the delicate act of interpreting history; and last but not least how current hot topics like sustainability and conservation impact on the practices of experimental archaeology.
The use of metal has transformed almost every aspect of life, helping us to clothe ourselves, create cars, trains and planes, get to the bottom of the ocean and out into space. On this month’s episode of Finally Friday, we take a look at how experimental archaeology helps us to understand metal in the past, with guests Fergus Milton and Giovanna Fregni. Fergus Milton is a long-standing prehistoric metalworking demonstrator at Butser Ancient Farm in the UK. He works closely with the public, giving frequent demonstrations of his work. Giovanna Fregni is an experienced jeweller and archaeologist with particular interests in non-ferrous metals and replicating ancient metalworking techniques from the Bronze Age to Medieval period. Similarly to Fergus, she now offers demonstration and teaching on these ancient techniques.
Fergus Milton is a long-standing prehistoric metalworking demonstrator at Butser Ancient Farm in the UK. Having been involved in experimental metalworking since the early 2000s, Fergus has developed particular interests in smelting, principally of copper ores (although also delving into other metals such as tin, lead, brass and occasionally, iron). In his demonstrator role at Butser, Fergus works closely with the public, offering demonstrations and occasional teaching, of these fascinating skills.
Giovanna Fregni is an experienced jeweller and archaeologist with particular interests in non-ferrous metals and replicating ancient metalworking techniques from the Bronze Age to Medieval period. She particularly enjoys reconstructing hammers, anvils and other tools to understand metalworking technologies. She has also contributed to research on the preservation and reconstruction of archaeological metal. Currently, Giovanna travels significantly, offering demonstration and teaching on these ancient metalworking techniques.
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Sustain Ability on Show
We all enjoy visiting museums and other archaeological areas, but what are the implications of sustainability when maintaining and rebuilding these sites? This month we consider open-air museums and cultural heritage sites from the perspective of the Sustainable Development Goals, as Matilda chats with guests Amy Stewart and Silje Evjenth Bentsen.
Amy Stewart is the curator at the Crannog Centre Open Air Museum in Scotland. Since the unfortunate destruction of the central Crannog several years ago, Amy has become involved in planning the new build, and part of this job involves considering the implications of sustainability at the museum site.
Dr Silje Evjenth Bentsen is the project manager of “Fotefar mot nord” (“Traces towards the North”) in Norway. This project aims to promote cultural heritage as a resource for both the local community and the tourism industry, and one of the main themes of developing it further is that of sustainability.
Together, they discuss issues of social, material, and environmental sustainability when rebuilding cultural heritage sites.
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EXARC Extracts 2023/3
The 2023/3 EXARC Journal is bringing you four reviewed and eight mixed matter articles. All the articles are open access to allow for free exchange of information and further development of our knowledge of the past.
The reviewed articles come from Denmark, United Kingdom and two from Italy. Two of them concern metal production – Henriette Lyngstrøm’s article on drawing wire from bog ore iron and Mauro Fiorentini’s article on casting a copper axe. Another article by Francesca Tomei and Juan Ignacio Jimenez Rivero deals with pottery production. The last article by a collective of Italian researchers is dedicated to garum, one of the most famous sauce in Roman cuisine.
In the mixed matters section you can find reports on conferences and events including the EAC 13, which took place in Torun Poland in May 2023, the RETOLD meeting in Sibiu, Romania and Archaeology Days in Kernave, Lithuania. You can also find there reviews of Rethinking Heritage for Sustainable development and Draft animals in the Past, Present and Future.
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In this month’s episode of Finally Friday we are talking sustainable and natural buildings! Most of us live in and around buildings every day, but could going back to historic or natural building techniques add new dimension to our architecture? This month Phoebe is joined by two experts from our EXARC community, Caroline Nicolay and Daniel Postma.
Caroline Nicolay is an archaeologist and heritage specialist who focusses on the public’s interaction, interpretation and experience of archaeology. She has worked in a number of open-air museums across England and France but has since established her own living history and experiential archaeology company, Pario Gallico. With Pario Gallico, Caroline particularly likes to focus on recreating Iron Age wall paintings, but she also works on other areas of history up until the Tudor period. More recently, to complement her research in wall painting, she has begun training in the conservation and maintenance of traditional earth buildings.
Daniel Postma is a natural builder and archaeologist based in Scotland. His first involvement in experimental archaeology began in the research and eventual reconstruction of an early medieval turf building located in the north of the Netherlands and he is now a specialist in this material. Since then, Daniel has trained in contemporary natural and sustainable building techniques, which help contribute to a more holistic idea of how buildings in the past may have been constructed. His company Archaeo Build, takes this idea further, focussing on the interaction between past and present forms of natural building.
Tune in from Friday 7th July to hear Caroline and Daniel chat everything from floors made with blood to the effects of the Industrial Revolution.
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EXARC Extracts 2023/2
The 2023/2 EXARC Journal is bringing you six reviewed and eight mixed matter articles. All the articles are open access to allow for free exchange of information and further development of our knowledge of the past.
As usual the articles vary widely. Among the reviewed articles we have for example articles on Reconstructing Ötzi’s shoes by Eva IJsveld (NL), production of Roma screws by David Sim and Chris Legg (UK) and Tannūr ovens by Carmen Ramírez Cañas, Penélope I. Martínez de los Reyes and Antonio M. Sáez Romero (ES).
In the mixed matters section you can find continuation of the discussion with Ukrainians archaeologists on the topic Heritage in Times of War, review of the book Archaeological Open-Air Museums: Reconstruction and Reenactment – Reality or Fiction? containing contributions from the 2018 conference of the same name and reports on a number of events.
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Have Beans, Will Travel
Beans, beans! They’re good for the heart! In this month’s episode we are joined by two specialists from the EXARC Experimental Archaeology Award winning project Investigating the Origin of the Common Bean in the New World. We hear about the difficulties identifying beans in the archaeological record and how using organic residue analysis might begin to spill the beans… on beans.
Timothy Baumann is the lead investigator on the project. His research interests in experimental archaeology focus mainly on prehistoric and historic foodways, pottery and tools from the south-eastern United States, which is where the idea for the project came from. Tim is also the former director the University of Tennessee’s Laboratory of Environmental Archaeology and Curator of Archaeology at the University of Tennessee’s McClung Museum of Natural History and Culture.
Eleanora Reber is a Professor of Archaeology at the University of North Carolina Wilmington and Interim Chair of the International Studies Department. She is also a specialist in organic residue analysis and her lab, the UNCW Pottery Residue Lab is a dedicated facility for gas chromatography – mass spectrometry analysis of absorbed and visible pottery residue analysis. Nora has research interests in plant domestication and agriculture, and she plays an important role in the project as lead in absorbed residue analysis.
Tune in from Friday 9 th June to hear Tim and Nora chat everything beans!
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