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Exeter Dialogue With Science Roadshow : Ancient Technology Centre

Saturday, 25 July, 2015 to Sunday, 26 July, 2015
Linda Hurcombe
Number of Participants / Visitors / Audience: 
4 participants from the University of Exeter plus 4 ATC staff members and other demonstrators and volunteers Audience:+140 visitors

The Ancient Technologies Centre located in Cranborne, Dorset in the United Kingdom was the 5th venue for the Exeter University Dialogue with Science road show. The Exeter team along with a number of other presenters from around the UK demonstrated a range of traditional living skills which covered a wide range of periods. The Experimental Archaeology day at the ATC focus was on the experimental aspect of the skills so the stress was very much on the science behind the experiments being part of the public presentation. Therefore few participants were in period dress but we all experienced staying in the Viking hall which is part of the experience for many school groups. From the Exeter team Linda Hurcombe demonstrated a range of cordage, fibre and weaving technologies, Angie Wickenden oversaw a pottery firing using a bonfire method, and Theresa Emmerich Kamper demonstrated the wet scrape method of defleshing and degraining a sheep skin. Whilst the famous British weather conspired to keep people at home an intrepid 140 visitors made their way through the open air museum despite the wind, rain and chilly temperature!

Over the course of the day the Exeter team spoke with many visitors as well as interested staff and fellow presenters about these basic everyday living skills and the importance cordage, pottery and leather products would have had throughout history and prehistory. Often included in these discussions was the nature of experimental archaeology and how it as a methodology, can be used by archaeologists in conjunction with crafts people to help flesh out our understanding of the past. The day concluded with a series of lectures given by presenters, including Angie Wickenden and Linda Hurcombe. Though this was a short stop for the Dialogue with Science team it was a productive day with a reasonable visitor turnout. It was also a great opportunity to interact with other experimental archaeologists and crafts persons from the area as well as get involved with another fantastic open air museum and Exarc member!

Linda Hurcombe
Robin Dennell
Theresa Emmerich Kamper
Angie Wickenden

University of Exeter, Department of Archaeology