Experimental Archaeology – the Exhibition

Long time EXARC member MAMUZ Schloss Asparn/Zaya has done something special: with help of EXARC, they put together an international touring exhibition on experimental archaeology.

The exhibition presents exciting and unusual experiments conducted by respected archaeologists from across the globe that have provided revealing insights into the living environments of the ancient world. But can a modern experiment reflect the reality of the past? How is an experiment set up and why is meticulous documentation so important? The exhibition first introduces experimental archaeology as a research method and then presents a broad spectrum of experiments and areas of application.

Archaeology is largely concerned with periods from which neither written nor pictorial sources have survived. Traditional archaeological methods are often inadequate for understanding the way in which archaeological finds, such as tools and structures, were made and used. Only scientific experiments can answer specific questions about the technical possibilities, work processes and craftsmanship of our ancestors. But in order to carry out an experiment it is vital to have a mastery of the tools and materials. Experimental archaeologists therefore require not just historical knowledge, but also practical know-how and excellent manual skills.

The exhibition shows experiments in areas such as ceramic production, wood technology, bronze casting, glass bead making, textile handicrafts, bone working and metallurgy. Experiments also help understand the processes involved with various activities, such as preparing roast pork 8,000 years ago and are used to show how people lived using a reconstructed Viking house.

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MAMUZ Schloss Asparn/Zaya is Lower Austria’s competence centre for Prehistory, Historical Archaeology and Experimental Archaeology. The permanent exhibition offers an overview of the cultural history of Eastern Austria from the Palaeolithic to the beginning of the modern era using original exhibits and, in addition, fully functional models of prehistoric residential buildings and workshops from the Stone Age to the Iron Age at the adjacent open-air site.

More information about MAMUZ: https://exarc.net/members/venues/mamuz-at

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The exhibition is on display at MAMUZ Schloss Asparn/Zaya until 28 November 2021 following upon which it will be travelling, first stop: the UK. If you are interested in hosting this exhibition, please contact renate.heger@mamuz.at.

The bilingual (EN/DE) exhibition catalogue counts 176 pages and can be bought ordered directly from MAMUZ Schloss Asparn/Zaya for 24,95 EUR (excl. P&P) via buchung@mamuz.at. It is also for sale at the museums which host the exhibition.

More information: https://www.mamuz.at/en/exhibitions/schloss-asparn-zaya/6-experimentelle-archaeologie