Programme for the 9th Experimental Archaeology Conference

In 2015 the 9th Experimental Archaeology Conference was held in Dublin, Ireland. This event was co-hosted by UCD School of Archaeology, University College Dublin and the Irish National Heritage Park at Ferrycarraig, Co. Wexford from Friday 16th through to Sunday the 18th of January 2015. Oral papers, posters presentations and demonstrations took place from 16th-17th of January. On the final day of the conference there was a field-trip to the Irish National Heritage Park where a range of experiments and Ireland’s most visited prehistoric and historic reconstructions were explored. Almost 200 people from more than 25 countries across the EU and the Americas attended.

Additionally this year EXARC hosted two round-tables and a think-tank for academics, members of associations, organisations and museums involved in experimental archaeology, open-air interpretation and ancient technology the day before the conference, on Thursday 15th January.

A PDF of the full conference programme is now available here.

Day 0: January 15th 2015

13:00 – 15:00 Round Table with Universities on Experimental Archaeology including universities from many corners of the world. 

15:30 – 17:30 Round Table Discussion on the subject: ‘Associations on Experimental Archaeology’.

Day 1: January 16th 2015

8:00‐9:00 Registration
9:00‐9:10 Opening Address: Prof. Aidan O’Sullivan

9:10‐11:00 Session 1: (Re)constructing Houses and Buildings

9:10‐9:30  “buildingmesolithic”: recent experimental reconstructions of Mesolithic houses in Ireland. G Warren & J Murphy, University College Dublin (IE). Abstract available here.

9:30‐9:50 The Construction of Prototype Neolithic Houses for the Stonehenge Visitor Centre. Luke Winter. The Ancient Technology Centre (UK). Abstract available here. Due to personal loss Luke was unable to be at the conference, and a substitute paper was given by Brendon O’Neill.

9:50‐10:10 Understanding Iron Age construction techniques through the reconstruction of ‘Great’ roundhouses. David Freeman, Butser Ancient Farm (UK). Abstract available here.

10:10‐10:30 Daub in Prehistoric Structures: first results of the Experimental Project. Claudia Speciale, Università del Salento (IT). Abstract available here.

10:30‐10:45 Posters

Roman ceramic building materials (CBMs) as “petrified” witnesses of technical know‐how: an experimental and archaeological approach.’ Tim Clerbaut, Ghent University (Belgium). Abstract available here.

Performing A Bowyer’s Craft: Reflections on Craft & Community Through Living History at the Chieftain’s Longhouse at Borg. Stephen Fox, Independent Researcher (UK). Abstract available here.

 The Demands Of The Neolithic Houses At Durrington Walls: Time, Resources And Landscape. Paul Grigsby, The Ancient Technology Centre, (UK). Abstract available here.

 It’s Getting Hot in Here: living conditions in a Neolithic building reconstruction. Briony Clifton, The Ancient Technology Centre (UK). Abstract available here.

10:45-11:00 Discussion

11:00-11:30 Tea

11:30-13:00 Session 2: Daily Life, Practice and Food Technologies

11:30‐11:50 Viking platters and baking plates: experimental manufacture and use. I Dennis & C Freer, Cardiff University (UK). Abstract available here.

11:50‐12:10 Experimental replicas of cooking platforms: hypotheses on making procedures and use. C D’Oronzo, Università del Salento, (IT). Abstract available here.

12:10‐12:30 Half Baked: can the experimental process help us towards a reconstruction of medieval bread? Richard Fitch, Hampton Court Palace (UK). Abstract available here.

12:30‐12:45 Posters

Ethnographic and experimental perspectives on the efficacy of red ochre as a insect repellent. Riaan F Rifkin, University of Bergen, (Norway). Abstract available here.

Pitch and wine in the ancient world: from Bruttium to Etna. Mario Indelicato, University of Catania. Abstract available here.

Bronze Age Alcohol Distillation. John Bartholomew, Independent Researcher. Abstract available here.

Trash or Offering? Experiments with Maya Spindle Whorls. Kathryn Kamp, Grinnell College, Iowa (US). Abstract available here.

12:45-13:00 Discussion

13:00-14:00 Lunch

14:00-15:30 Session 3: Communicating, Knowledge and Learning

14:00 14:20 From data sets to public presentation: communicating experimental archaeology at the Viking Ship Museum. Tríona Sørensen, Viking Ship Museum Roskilde (UK). Abstract available here.

14:20‐14:40 The ShipWrEx Project. Paola Palma, University of Bournemouth (UK). Abstract available here.

14:40‐15:00 Vikings in Victoria: A merging of classroom, exhibition, and experiential learning. E McGuire & K Gough, University of Victoria (Canada). Abstract available here.

15:00‐15:15 Posters

The Hatra Ballista: a Case Study in Experiential Learning and Experimental Archaeology at the Undergraduate Level. A Mowat & C Whately, University of Manitoba (Canada). Abstract available here.

Volunteers in the Open: Volunteer Use in the Open‐Air Archaeological Museums of Europe. Andy Spencer, University of Birmingham (UK). Abstract available here.

Designing a Problem Based Learning Module to Enhance Employability Skills for Undergraduate Students at UCLAN. Gaynor Wood (UK). Abstract available here.

Dugout Boat Reconstruction: Methods, Use and Applications of Naval Architecture. Niall Gregory, Consultant Archaeologist (UK). Abstract available here.

15:15-15:30 Discussion

15:30-16:00 Tea

16:00-17:30 Session 4: Key Note, Posters and Demonstrations

16:00‐16:30 Key Note. Soul Authorship: experimental archaeology, and the value of authentic learning experiences in Higher Education pedagogy. William Schindler, Washington College (US). Abstract available here.

16:30‐17:30 Demonstrations

CookBook of Secrets: Making Color in the Studio and Through the Kitchen. Candice Smith Corby, Stonehill College. Abstract available here.

Archaeo‐Music. Benjamin Simao. 

A practical exercise in the construction and operation of a warp‐weighted loom. Shirley Walsh, Leine Crafters. Abstract available here.

From raw material to final product: Manufacturing techniques of steatite ornament productionCristiana Petrinelli Pannocchia, Università di Pisa (Italy). Abstract available here.

Shoes, Satchels and Scabbards – a demonstration of some sewing techniques used in Early Medieval Irish Leather-work. John Nicholl, EXARC Member and Independent Researcher. Abstract available here.

Day 2: January 17th 2015

9:30‐11:00 Session 5: Forged in the Fire: Aspects of Hot Technologies

9:30‐9:50 Creation and Cremation: Understanding ritual use of Neolithic material culture of the Irish passage tomb tradition. T Clarke & N Inwood, University College Dublin (IE). Abstract available here.

9:50‐10:10 Production of glass beads in open hearth based on findings from Ribe (Early Medieval). M Krzyżanowska & M Frankiewicz, Adam Mickiewicz University (Poland). Abstract available here.

10:10‐10:30 Inverse segregation: It’s not just for artists anymore. Giovanna Fregni, University of Sheffield (UK). Abstract available here.

10:30-10:45 Posters

Steel carburising in a small shaft furnace. The so‐called “Aristotle process” – its possibilities and limitations. P Kucypera, R Kaźmierczak, J Hošek &M Tomaszczyk, Nicolaus Copernicus University (Poland). Abstract available here.

Keeping it simple: Low technology glass bead production in the African context. Jonathan Thornton, Buffalo State University (US). Abstract available here.

Casting into Open One Piece Molds: Problems and Possible Solutions. Padraig McGoran, Umha Aois (IE). Abstract available here.

From Galena to Silver: a first attempt at experimental archaeology. Y Godino & L Teppati Losè, University of Florence (IT). Abstract available here.

10:45-11:00 Discussion

11:00-11:30 Tea

11:30-13:0 Session 6: Thinking Through Methods and Approaches

11:30‐11:50 Capturing fugitive dyes through re‐creation and algorithms: a case study from the north coast of Peru. Flannery Surette, The University of Western Ontario (Canada). Abstract available here.

11:50‐12:10 Relevance of the Sequential Experimentation for Quartz Stone Tools. Sabine Martin, University of Exeter (UK). Abstract available here.

12:10‐12:30 A Study of Prehistoric Irish Shale and Porcellanite Axes/Adzes through Experimentation, Quantification and Comparative Analysis. Bernard Gillhooly, University College Dublin (IE). Abstract available here.

12:30-12:45 Posters

Drilling through antler with wooden and bone drill bits – first observations and conclusions. Justyna Orłowska, Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń (Poland).  Abstract available here.

When the dance ceases & the fire is put out. (Catlin, 1844). Smoking the Shield – Is There An Alternative to Leather. Sally Herriett, University of Bristol (UK). Abstract available here.

Identification of handedness through knapping gesture in experimental studies. Sebastian Teska, University in Poznań (Poland). Abstract available here.

Who made the handaxes? An experimental approach to bifacial expertise during the Acheulian/mousterian production in Central Iberia. C Torres Navas & J Baena Preysler, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (Spain). Abstract available here.

The production of steatite ornaments during the pre‐protohistoric period in Tuscany. Cristiana Petrinelli Pannocchia, University of Pisa (IT). Abstract available here.

Flights of Fancy: The Behavior of Atlatl Darts and the Relevance of Experiments. John C Whittaker, Grinnell College, Iowa (US). Abstract available here.

An Experimental Archaeology Project Examining the Manufacture and Efficacy of Iron Age Bone Spearheads. Yvonne Inall, University of Hull & Naomi Sewpaul, University of Bradford (UK). Abstract available here.

12:45-13:00 Discussion

13:00-14:00 Lunch

14:00-15:30 Session 7: Innovation and Technological Approaches

14:00‐14:20 An archaeological experiment ‐ a method of museum education or joke with science? R Chowaniec & A Burche, University of Warsaw (Poland). Abstract available here.

14:20‐14:40 Perishables, Pragmatics and Perception: the role of experiments in the interpretation, understanding, and presentation of archaeological objects. Linda Hurcombe, University of Exeter (UK). Abstract available here.

14:40‐15:00 Look with your eyes, not with your hands? Combining 3D visualisation and kinaesthetic methods for understanding use‐wear on prehistoric metalwork. B Molloy & M Wisniewski, University College Dublin (IE). Abstract available here.

15:00‐15:20 Using 3D Laser Scanning and Experimental Archaeology to Understand Cretan Bronze Age Figurines. C Morris, A Peatfield and B O’Neill, Trinity College Dublin & University College Dublin (IE). Abstract available here.

15:20-15:35 Posters

Experimental recreation of an ancient Egyptian garland and its interpretation derived from practical knowledge and factual knowledge. Sally McAleely, University College London (UK). Abstract available here.

Experimental Archaeology in the Young Archaeologists’ Club. Katy Whitaker, Christian Brothers Academy. Abstract available here.

Excavating experimental archaeology: The reconstruction of education through reconstruction of the past. Nuala Sheils McNamee, University College London (UK). Abstract available here.

Grange Stone Circle Acoustics: “If only those stones could speak!” T Cassidy & M Fernstrom, Grange Stone Circle Acoustics. Abstract available here.

Making pots that fail: The thermal resistance of large crushed angular quartz tempered pottery, with reference to the early British south west Neolithic. Angela Wickenden, University of Exeter (UK). Abstract available here.

15:35-15:50 Discussion

15:30-16:00 Tea

16:00-17:30 Session 8: Visit to UCD Centre for Experimental Archaeology

Day 3: January 18th 2015

Visit to the Irish National Heritage Park, Ferrycarraig, Co. Wexford.


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  1. […] understanding, and use, of experimental archaeology.   I presented the survey results at the ninth Experimental Archaeology UK Conference, held in Dublin in January 2015.   You can explore my Storify of live tweeting from the […]

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