This is the powerpoint from my talk at the Craft and People conference in the British Museum on Friday last. It was an excellent conference in an amazing venue. Thanks to the organisers and other presenters and attendees!
A friend linked to this video on Facebook. It's by the guys from Prehistoric Music Ireland and it reminded me of some old footage I recorded at WAC 6 a couple of years ago which you can see above. It's a very short taster video showing a little bit of a demonstration of reconstructed early Irish musical Instruments including trumpets and horns. I was very impressed by the talk and by the noises that came out of the instruments. Particularly the giant, 'Celtic', Loughnashade trumpet.
I would highly recommend having a look at the full video that inspired this post. Its embedded after the break or you can go straight to YouTube.
The final report for the Iron and Change in Europe Conference, which I blogged about previously has just been published on the ESF website. It presents a preliminary picture of the state of knowledge of the iron industry in Europe from its first appearance to the end of the first millenium AD. this is based on summary reports for individual countries presented by the various delegates to the conference, including my one which I posted to the blog in May.
You can read the report below or download it here.
The Royal Irish Academy is holding a one day seminar on Friday 8th October called Revealing the Past: Archaeological Excavations in Ireland. It will showcase some of the excavations they have funded in recent years through their archaeology grants scheme, for a long time the only scheme available in Ireland to fund research excavations.
I thought I'd plug it seeing as how I worked as both a student and a supervisor on two of the digs that will be featured: Templeteenaun, Co. Wicklow and Belderrig, Co. Mayo. Holding the event on a Friday makes it a little difficult for most people to get to but if you're lucky (or unlucky) enough to have nothing else on, it is free. You can book tickets here and view the full programme here.
The Mícheál Ó'Cléirigh Institute in UCD has announced its line up of seminars and conference for the coming semester. Some of the archaeology talks sound particularly interesting including one on the Staffordshire Hoard and an update on recent work at the Irish royal sites of Cruachain and Uisneach. I should also highlight a talk by a colleague of mine in UCD School of Archaeology Madeline Parker-Shannon who's research takes a very interesting perspective on early modern cooking.
These sorts of lectures are generally attended by a small clique of students and academics but they are open to all and I'd recommend anyone with an interest (and time off work) in any of the topics to go see a (hopefully) fascinating talk for free! You don't have to ask questions unless you want to.
All of the talks have been added to the events calendar which you can view online or add to your own electronic calendar.
Bless me readers for I have sinned. It has been almost a month since my last post. However, things are set to change and I plan on posting much more frequently, starting with this report on a conference I spoke at recently in the Louth County Museum. The conference was called 'Reach the Future through the Past" (you can see a previous post about it here) and aimed to look at some of the ways in which heritage can engage with new technologies.
I was invited to speak about my experiences with Seandalaiocht.com and share my thoughts on archaeology and the internet in Ireland. You can see my presentation above, created using an online powerpoint alternative called Prezi. The presentation is fairly self-explanatory and incorporated many of the ideas I talked about in a previous blog post called "Web 2.0 and Archaeology" so I won't re-hash them here.
Instead I'll give a quick run through of some of the other speakers on the day. The second presentation of the day (after my good self) was given by Paul Young of Cartoon Saloon, the company behind the Oscar nominated animated film The Secret of Kells. I must say I was blown away by how they had used Irish heritage, mainly from the early medieval period but also from the Iron Age and earlier as inspiration for a style of animation that is truely unique and owes nothing to Disney or Dreamworks. I've since bought the DVD and been even more impressed by their use of Irish history in an original, unpatronising way that doesn't resort to cliché.
Next up was Ciaran McGuinness (from Archer Heritage) and Graham O'Rourke (from Mor Solutions; follow him on Twitter @morsolutions). They talked about a new mobile app they are developing with Louth County Museum which will provide audio, video and textual information on heritage sites in the county as well as detailed information about how to get to each site. The app looks very impressive and, as a way for a heritage company to diversify its business, it makes a huge amount of sense. I've written about the potential for mobile apps and archaeology before and I think they will become much more common in coming years.
The afternoon session had a talk from Susan Cahill from Newstalk who talked about Talking History, the popular history/archaeology focussed radio talk show. Susan had some very interesting comments to make about identifying the audience demographic for heritage and tips on how to make content interesting for a popular audience while drawing in those with more specialist passions. Some of what she said certainly gave me food for thought in terms of the content that I'll be putting on Seandalaiocht in the future.
The next presenter Mark Hawkes-Green talked about the setting up and running of an Art College in the Burren while Yanky Faschler talked about the potential for using heritage in the future, drawing parallels with the development of Jewish cultural identity in Israel.
Finally, Niall Roycroft talked about the Archaeological Scene Investigation exhibition developed by the NRA and the Louth County Museum. The exhibition, which dealt with the archaeology of the M1 motorway has now been published as a website www.asi-louth.ie that incorporates the innovative and entertaining approach taken by the original exhibition. This kind of web publication points to a way of disseminating archaeological findings without resorting to expensive monographs that few buy and less read.
It was a fascinating and unique conference and congratulations are due to Brian Walsh of the Louth County Museum for coming up with the idea and carrying it through so successfully.
Incidentally, you can have a look at Graham O'Rourke's far more punctual blog post about the conference here.
I'm presenting at a very interesting and unique conference next month in Dundalk. Its not your average archaeology conference, in fact I'm probably the only archaeologist speaking at it but it will be exploring some interesting ideas about approaching the future through the lens of the past.
See below for the official blurb.
The County Museum, Dundalk, is hosting a one-day conference, Reach the Future through the Past, on Wednesday 25 August 2010. The conference will explore the use of innovation in a heritage setting, and will examine new ways of promoting concepts of heritage and identity through the use of new technologies. The conference title is inspired by a line in Paul Brady’s The Island, and the purpose of the conference is to apply new ways of cultural and commercial thinking to Irish identity and to the historic Irish experience.
Conference organiser, Brian Walsh:
“Last year, the Global Irish Conference held at Farmleigh attracted representatives of the Irish diaspora and the CEOs of several multinational companies. One of the remarkable features of the conference was that the large number of CEOs who chose to attend the cultural – rather than the business - workshops. This is what gave me the idea that we should explore this theme further. The purpose of our conference here in Dundalk is to find ways of seeking inspiration from the past, and to find new ways of applying and presenting this.”
One of the main themes of the day will be how to innovatively promote and popularize history, identity, archaeology and culture to wider audiences.
The international panel of speakers is drawn from a diverse range of backgrounds: academia, archaeology, animation, broadcasting and business. Speakers include Mary Hawkes-Green (founder, Burren College Art and Design); Brian Dolan (founder, seandalaiocht.com); Ciaran McGuinness (Archer Heritage Planning); Paul Young (co-founder Cartoon Saloon and producer of The Secret of Kells); and Yanky Fachler (historian, business trainer, and author of 6 Officers, 2 Lions, and 750 Mules).
Admission to the conference is free, but prior booking is essential.
For all enquiries, please contact Brian Walsh at the County Museum, Dundalk,+353 42-9327056, Brian.Walsh@dundalktown.ie.
Experimental Iron Smelt in Co. Wexford, Ireland
I posted about a month ago about a workshop I attended in London that attempted to bring together iron-researchers across Europe. Each country was asked to answer a number of specific research questions in a short two thousand word document and in a presentation.
These summaries are extremely useful snapshots of research in each country and really served to show areas where research was lacking in various countries (including Ireland).
Anyway, we had to resubmit them recently with any tweaks we wanted to make so I thought I'd put mine up here for those interested. It represents an extremely preliminary review of some of the evidence collected for my dissertation and I will almost certainly completely disagree with aspects of it in the next few months.
I'd welcome comments or thoughts, bearing in mind this is research in progress! You can have a look at the slideshow that went with the talk here.
Map of Europe showing the countries involved in the workshop
I returned yesterday evening from a workshop entitled Iron and Change in Europe. It was my first experience of a European funded, European-level project. The topic discussed: iron technology from the Iron Age to about 1000AD is a crucial one for archaeologists which is generally not given a lot of thought, even (ironically) by Iron Age specialists. We still don't in many cases know the answers to basic questions like who made iron and iron artefacts? Where, how, and why? The workshop may have been the start of a serious effort to answer these questions right across Europe.
One brilliant element was a series of ten minute presentations, one for each country involved (I gave the Irish one, all of the presentations answered the same research questions, you can see them in my powerpoint below), which gave a quick overview of iron technology and its place in society all over Europe and in lots of different time periods. These were also fleshed out in corresponding 2000 word summaries collated in the workshop handbook. Getting my hands on that alone was worth the trip to London! Luckily for everyone else it will be made available online soon too.
The rest of the workshop was mainly about discussing ways to answer these questions through new methodologies, sharing of expertise, more workshops, summer schools, studentships, exchanges etc. One other important theme discussed was the dissemination of information about iron to other archaeologists. This is very important at a basic level of collecting the right information which can then be used to answer all our outstanding questions (slag is all too often discarded as rubbish, much as flint debitage was until more recent and enlightened times).
Hopefully the buzz from the workshop doesn't wear off now and the EU gives the convenors Peter Halkon and Vincent Serneels more money to kick-start iron research in Europe.
The deadline for proposals for both papers and posters to be presented at the AYIA annual conference 2010 has been extended until the 25th of January. Anyone attending should also have a look at the new constitution being proposed for the conference which can be downloaded from the association's website.