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May 2013: 2nd Exeter Workshop
The life cycle of structures in
an object biography approach:
A very successful second Dialogue with Science workshop exploring the life cycle of structures in experimental archaeology was held in May 2013 at the University of Exeter, UK. Participants from Finland, the Netherlands, Italy, Denmark and the UK who are either working on experimental research projects and/or atmet to discussthe birth, life and death of various structures including houses, boats and a furnace.
Tuesday began with participants meeting in the Department of Archaeology for a day of presentations. Linda Hurcombe began the proceedings with an introductory talk defining the overall theme of the workshop. The birth, life and death of structures were explored through the presentation of various experimental projects and included topics such as the planning phase, the choice and collecting of materials, thephases, the maintenance and repair needs and air quality within the structures and the changes in use of buildings as they age.
After each presentation there was time for participants to ask questions and as all the papers raised important issues, they were followed by lively discussions. It also became clear from these discussions that there was a wealth of knowledge and experience within the room and that a number of key themes were being raised that ultimately influenced the topics to be discussed at roundtable sessions. In the late afternoon, participants were given the opportunity to either explore the cathedral city of Exeter or to attend the departmental lecture given by a visiting speaker.
On Wednesday morning, participants once again met in the Department of Archaeology for the final papers exploring thedismantling and destruction of experimental structures and how the dilapidation of structures can be used to engage visitors. This session also saw presentation more away from structures as ‘houses’ to structures that included boats and furnaces.
Wednesday afternoon was set aside for roundtable discussions with themes determined by the nature of earlier discussions and included Recording and monitoring, Engaging and keeping volunteers, Log boats, and Roofs: smoke, air quality and firewood. Once the themes were agreed, the participants were given post-it notes to write a comment/thought/solution for each topic. Three of the above themes which attracted the most interest and suggestions were chosen for further discussions.
Participants split in three groups and were asked to consider and identify problems, solutions and recommendations to Engaging and keeping volunteers, Log boats, and Roofs: smoke, air quality and firewood and then present their ideas to the rest of the participants. Common problems were identified and solutions established but each group brought something different and unique to the discussion.
On Thursday morning, participants meet with Luke Winter of the AncientCentre at the reconstructed Neolithic structures, Old Sarum in Wiltshire. The three structures, based on archaeological remains from the Neolithic site of Durrington Walls near Stonehenge, are part of an to test different construction methods and materials. The results will then be used to inform the structures to be created as part of the new Stonehenge Visitors’ Centre. The visit to the newly constructed houses offered participants not only the opportunity to see the houses but to discuss some of the issues faced by the team, issued raised from the of the archaeology and the impact of visitors to the structures.
After taking a slight detour to see Stonehenge, we moved on to the Ancient Technology Centre, Dorset. On arrival we were greeted by a group of school children dressed in Viking costumes eating lunch in a Viking longhouse and thanks to Pascale Barnes, a warming cup of coffee! Once we had warmed up, participants were given a brief history and tour of the Centre, discussed future plans and how the Centre’s staff work with volunteers and schools.
Tuesday 21st May – Presentation of formal papers
9.00 - 9.15
GREETING AND COFFEE
9.15 - 9.45
Welcome and Introduction
Taking a life-cycle approach to structures in experimental archaeology
9.45 – 10.15
Reconstructing Avalon; experimental and experiential archaeology on the Somerset Levels
10.15 - 10.45
“U Pagghiaru”: studies of traditional shepherd’s huts and their relevance to ahut-rebuilding project in Sicily
Kati Caruso & Claudia Speciale
10.45 – 11.15
11.15 – 11.45
Huize Horsterwold’, the reconstruction of a Neolithic houseplan usingequipment
Annelou van Gijn and Diederik Pomstra
11.45 - 12.00
Skin as Building Material
12.00 - 12.30
Indoorand personal health in a reconstructed Viking house
Jannie Marie Christensen
12.30 - 1.30
Annelou van Gijn
1.30 – 2.00
Extending the life of anround house; investigating slot trenches and post holes in the archaeological record
2.00 – 2.30
Building Botai: problems with (re)constructing superstructures in the absence of postholes, a case study from Eneolithic Kazakhstan
2.30 - 3.00
The day the house sat down: the deterioration and collapse of the Ferrycarrig roundhouses
3.00 - 3.30
On-going Biography of a Subterranean Masonry Structure
3.30 - 4.00
COFFEE BREAK and FREE TIME to visit Exeter City Centre and/or the Royal Albert Memorial(Museum of the year 2012)
4.00 – 5.00
Richard Buckley (Leicester University) visiting speaker
Wednesday 22nd May – Presentation of formal papers and roundtable discussion, Rooms 218 & 211, Department of Archaeology, University of Exeter
9.00 - 9.30
Life, and death, of a round house construction at Butser Ancient Farm
9.30 - 9.50
There's always something new here!": wear, tear and the considerate visitor
9.50 - 10.20
A venerable structure: the gentle decline of a once powerful furnace
11.00 - 11.30
Boats as structures: an overview
11.30 – 11.50
Boats: Questions and Answers with a Shipwright
11.50 - 12.20
(re)constructions in archaeological open-air museums, what's the use?
12.20 – 1.00
Setting the topics for the discussions
1.00 - 2.00
2.00 – 5.00
Thursday 23rd May – A visit to the Ancient Technology Centre, whose staff have worked with English Heritage to construct three different house structuresbased on archaeological remains from the Neolithic site of Durrington Walls near Stonehenge.
This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This publication [communication] reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.
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