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Experimental Archaeology - Any Ideas??
Student's camp of experimental archaeology is organized in Republic of Macedonia - Negotino from 29th August till 4th September.
The price which includes accommodation and food is I think somewhere around 60€.
For more informations turn to the main organizer Ordanče Petrov -
Hi Archie, I think it is not so much what you do but how you do it. Are the sessions only practical or can you build in some theoretical / methodological introduction? What do you expect your students to learn from it? If you can be more specific about required outcomes (and age of the students to name just something), I can help. We are EXARC, the international ICOM Affiliated Organisation for archaeological open air museums and experimental archaeology, mainly but not only active in Europe. I can bring you in contact with other professionals, or with museums or with key literature. Check for example for a listing of almost 10,000 references to experimental and similar literature. There you'll also find description sin English of 275 archaeological open air museums. I know several colleagues who have given longer or shorter introduction sessions on experimental archaeology - I myself have worked for example with iron smelting (which is a great project even with pupils of age 8 - 12) and with ship reconstructions. A very good contact person in the UK is David Freeman, currently working at Butser Ancient farm - but with a vast experience. Phone him and within 30 minutes you are so much more clever that you hop over the most common beginner's mistakes.
Thanks for the link EXARC.:face-approve:
Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, Merlot in one hand, Cigar in the other; body thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and screaming "WOO HOO, what a ride!
Hi folks, I copied the original question to the Facebook group on experimental archaeology (, and Mark Butler replied there. He is the chair of an American Society for reconstructive and experimental archaeology If you like to reply to him, please log on: "Can you provide some more specifics? How are the classes structured? How many students do you expect? How much time per session will you have with your students? What are their age ranges and/or how much experience do they have with archaeology? Do you have specific experimental projects/goals established? You know, the basics...."
Sorry I havn't replied sooner folks, been a crazy couple of weeks. thank you for all the advice and help. EXARC, thanks for sending the query on, I can't log into the facebook group because you have to request to be a member (which I've now done) - The answers to the questions...

How are the classes structured?
5 sessions stretching over 3 days each of about 3 hours long each

How many students do you expect?
Its a relatively small group of students, no exact numbers yet, but probably between 8 and 10 for each session, with different groups for each session.

What are their age ranges and/or how much experience do they have with archaeology?
The students are just starting their undergraduate degrees so probably not that experienced,

Do you have specific experimental projects/goals established?
As per my earlier posts, this is primarily a way for the students to get to know each other and interact with the archaeology that they will be learning about over the next three years. Excavations for the students apparently come later so I thought introducing them to elements they would see in the field would be a bonus.

At the moment, i don't have the 'basics' and the aims/goals are up for debate as I am trying to structure my program according so any help pointing me in the right direction, as many of you have already done, would be greatly appreciated.

thanks guys
I have one idea/comment..........but not sure how relevant it'll be.

I find the most misunderstood thing in archaeology is deposit formation processes.

Lots of diggers I have worked with/trained have never had good teaching/training in asking the right questions/ looking for the right clues or understanding how to understand how a deposit was formed; or how important this is to every aspect of site interpretation.

It sounds like your project is designed to help with this. How about digging two pits, leaving one open to fill up naturally, and backfilling another. Excavate these at a later date and record. This would start the students thinking along the right lines for interpreting deposits.

Or were you planning on doing similar at the end of de-constructing your post-holes/structure.

Ooo and while I remember, if the postholes are to be excavated and recorded after........don't forget to teach them to look for the three deposits, back-fill, postpipe and the occupational debris in the little dip at the top caused by settling. You could go on to explain how dating evidence in these three deposits actually date three different events........before and up to construction, occupation and demolition and after.

But maybe stating the obvious......sorry.
Great stuff - i was going to leave the postholes to fill up afterwards and the detail on the three fills will be ideal....there was also some discussion of burning the posts while in the ground - see the impact it makes, although will see if we can get that past the health and safety person first - apart from burning and pulling out, any other ways of deconstruction anyone can think of?
Rotting in situ.............but takes ages.

Or a combination.........collapse of structure then rots in situ, i.e. post moves but stays mostly in the posthole.
If you have 5 sessions stretching over 3 days each of about 3 hours long each you can do a lot of simple introductions. I see it more like a 'hands on experience' with materials and techniques used in our archaeological past then it is experimental archaeology. An easy one is ceramics and it is nice to burn your own made pottery in a own made kiln. Another good one is getting an animal carcass and take it apart - using all parts for different purposes. A little more difficult but very feasible is iron smelting. It is not as dangerous as bronze casting. If you consider making a wooden structure, set fire to it and then excavate it one, two weeks later, you have a great "cycle". Many more ideas, if you need help, let me know and I'll get you the contacts or literature.
Jack Wrote:Rotting in situ.............but takes ages.

Or a combination.........collapse of structure then rots in situ, i.e. post moves but stays mostly in the posthole.

Burning a few down and then letting the below-ground stumps rot in situ would be favourite, particularly if you could mark some of the wood pre-fire (?drawing pins?) to see what charcoal from which parts of the post wound up in the post-pipe/subsidence cone - would have a significant bearing on the validity of C14 samples from a lot of prehistoric sites - I've got a lot of charcoal from a lot of big (up to 0.8m) neolithic posts but will probably end up with no idea what potential samples will have any bearing on the felling-dates for the trees, would be nice to know which bits wind-up preserved within the features....

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