Conference call, 14-15 November '09, Aberdeen (Scotland): 'Experimental Archaeology: Craft, Skill and Performance'
" Following upon the conferences in London, Exeter and Edinburgh, the University of Aberdeen is delighted to host the next Experimental Archaeology conference on Saturday 14th & Sunday 15th November 2009, King's College campus, Old Aberdeen.
Registration of papers as well as registration of participation is still possible. Please check on line.
"Experimental Archaeology: The systematic approach used to test, evaluate and explicate method, technique, assumption, hypothesis and theories at any and all levels of archaeological research." (Ingersoll, Yellen, McDonald, 1977)
Archaeologists are commonly imagined to spend their time patiently scraping back layers of earth and rubble in the hope of finding the wealth of artefacts and treasures hidden beneath. However, archaeological research does not end at the site of excavation. For the discoveries made there can open the door to a range of further opportunities for experimental investigation based on skill, craft and performance.
Experimental archaeology embraces at least two approaches to research. The first, and perhaps the most widely acknowledged, is to set up structured experiments designed to test clearly defined hypotheses, involving the precise replication of archaeologically recovered artefacts or the activities known to be associated with them. This is the approach advocated by Ingersoll, Yellen and McDonald. Secondly and more recently, experimental archaeologists have sought to learn for themselves the craft skills associated with what is known from the archaeological evidence about how people lived and worked in the past, in particular places and with the materials available to them. This latter approach has been motivated in part by a desire to gain a more visceral or experiential understanding of how past people may have lived and engaged with one another, with their possessions and with their environments. But it is also driven by the growing public demand that information about the prehistoric and historic past be presented in forms that are both visible and tangible, for purposes of both entertainment and education.
Both approaches are valid. Yet the scientific value of craft and performance remains insufficiently recognised within the bastions of academic archaeology, and as a result, they do not yet receive the credit they deserve as ways of expanding archaeological knowledge. The aim of this conference is to show how by working together, experimental archaeologists and craft practitioners can contribute towards a better understanding of the past. "
For more information or registration, please check http://www.abdn.ac.uk/experimental-archaeology/