Cardiff University has several projects which include experimental archaeology, notably the Guerrilla Archaeology approach.
Cardiff University – Experimental & Experiential Archaeology Team
Professor Jacqui Mulville is an archaeologist with over 35 years’ experience in professional, field and academic archaeology. She specialises in bioarchaeology and the archaeology of islands. Her experimental, experiential and analytical work ranges from osseous artefacts (including whalebone tools), to sourcing materials (e.g. red deer and cetacean bone), to examining processes associated with animal and plant products (such as residues and use wear from cooking, hide working (with Victoria Alexander), wool production or making cheese). Our Consuming Prehistory project saw Dr Jacqui Mulville, with Dr Julia Best run a number of experimental food events, and ‘Stonehengeburys’ a Prehistoric ‘supermarket’, cumulating in FEAST a weekend exploration of food production at Stonehenge. Professor Mulville created Guerilla Archaeology in order to share her passion for the past with the public and combines her specialist knowledge of archaeological science with her love of arts and festival outreach.
Ian Dennis is an archaeological illustrator and lecturer in archaeology, with a long held interest in both field and experimental archaeology. His close examination of antler finds for illustration from a range of archaeological excavations has formed the basis of a long running project investigating antler working. His experimental work combined observation of the construction methods of antler combs at the Norse site of Bornais (directed by Prof Niall Sharples) with analysis of production waste and the tools recovered. Through experimentation he produced a number of exact replicas of the combs, and further developed the project to experimentally reproduce the tools required (with a Cardiff post-graduate student: Peter Forward). This work will be published in Medieval Archaeology (forthcoming). In addition to this work, observation of the Mesolithic antler frontlet ‘Headresses’ from Star Carr led to him experimenting in thereproduction of these items using flint tools, and refining some of the common assumptions about antler working with flint (e.g. the need to soak).
Experiential archaeology and archaeological communication and engagement at Cardiff is further supported by digital illustrator and archaeologist Kirsty Harding. Along with Ian Dennis and Dryad Bushcraft, Kirsty helps run experiential archaeology weekends, giving students the opportunity to explore what the rhythm of day to day life may have been in pre-history. Kirsty also supports a number of Guerilla Archaeology activities, helping to create workshops and activities designed to engage the public with archaeology in new and interesting ways. In addition to this, Kirsty designs and produces the visual communication material for Guerilla Archaeology events and workshops, as well as booklets and infographics disseminating results and ideas.
Dr Martin Weinel, a social scientist at Cardiff University specialising in concepts of expertise, experience and the generation and validation of scientific knowledge, works closely with Cardiff archaeology. Martin explores how craft expertise is learned and passed on, especially with regard to antler working. He also examines how we, as archaeologists, engage and communicate ideas with members of the public and how members of the public respond to different methods of engagement.
The Cardiff Team combine their expertise in a popular Ancient Antler Working workshop that has run at Glastonbury since 2011 and was one of the 'top 20 things to do at Glastonbury 2017'. They have delivered training in antler working to the Cardiff ‘Men in Sheds’ group (with Michael Legge) and to artists in the Caer Studio Project. In association with Dryad Bushcraft, Cardiff Archaeology has run experiential archaeology weekends biannually since 2010 on the Gower Peninsular. As part of Guerilla Archaeology our interactive workshops, exploring everything from Shamans to Bog Bodies to Cosmology, have bought experimental and experiential archaeology to thousands of people each year.