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Exeter Dialogue With Science Roadshow: Archäologisches Freilichtmuseum Oerlinghausen

Tuesday, 4 August, 2015 to Thursday, 6 August, 2015
Linda Hurcombe
Number of Participants / Visitors / Audience: 
participants 2 the University of Exeter, Roeland Paardekooper plus 4 other Oerlinghausen staff members; 14 students and 2 staff members from Cardiff University Audience 150 visitors and those re-enactors staying overnight at the Museum

On the way to Northern Germany to participate in the Mesolithic Living project two of the Exeter Dialogue with Science team members, Linda Hurcombe and Theresa Emmerich Kamper stopped at the road shows’ 6th venue of the summer, Archäologisches Freilichtmuseum, in Oerlinghausen Germany. A large group of Cardiff University students were visiting the museum to learn about how an open air museum functions and what types of jobs the staff hold and what is required to perform them. For one day the students learned basic craft skills which would have been necessary in the daily life of past peoples including cordage making and fibre plants, stone tool manufacture and basic hafting, friction fire making, animal processing and the beginning stages of hide tanning.

Each skill built on the next. Flint flakes were used to skin and butcher a deer, strip out and clean back strap sinew, as well as to split the wood used to make the friction fire set used to start the fire which cooked the meat. The cordage made was used (briefly) to spin the drill in the bow drill set. Many of the students contributed cordage samples to the growing collection of samples to be used for strength tests later in the year and a number of stone tools were added to the use wear collection as well. In addition to showing the practical applications of each skill the presentation aspect of demonstrating skills to visitors was covered. The discussions drew out the differences between experiential and experimental archaeology and the strengths and weaknesses of each. An evening meal of deer stew and fillet cooked on planks was the concluding event of the day and was well received by all the participants after a full day of skills practice! Many thanks to Roeland Paardekooper, director of the museum and of our Exarc project partner.

Linda Hurcombe
Theresa Emmerich Kamper

University of Exeter, Department of Archaeology


Cordage making
Skin defleshing
Flint knapping
Friction fire lighting