The international journal Tools & Tillage is a great resource about historic farming techniques and traditional agricultural practices, combined with an (experimental) archaeological approach. Published over the years 1968-1995 it pulled together a great number of research projects from around the world, a remarkable effort in the days without internet.
As the number of people studying rural history increases, and museums continue to interpret meaning and method, several of us who work with agricultural museums, experimental archaeology, living history farms, and open-air museums decided to join forces to try and make Tools & Tillage more widely available.
As debates about environmental change gain intensity, and as agricultural practices factor significantly in these debates, the research published in Tools & Tillage seems more and more essential to our collective understanding. Three international organisations collaborated to increase access with the aim of engaging younger historians of rural and farm life with the essential knowledge and skills of agricultural techniques published over 27 years in Tools & Tillage.
We found an avid supporter in Dr. Grith Lerche, the only remaining editor of Tools & Tillage, and owner of the copyrights. She co-edited Tools & Tillage with Axel Steensberg and Alexander Fenton. Thanks to UNESCO-Welterbestätte Kloster Lorsch – Experimentalarchäologisches Freilichtlabor Lauresham (DE), the University Library Heidelberg (DE) scanned the material and made the material available, including a full text search of the 137 articles in 1,776 pages.
This project of making Tools & Tillage available was possible thanks to the persistence and good cooperative spirit of many. The partners in this project are:
• EXARC, the International Network on Archaeological Open-Air Museums and Experimental Archaeology
• AIMA, the International Association of Agricultural Museums
• ALHFAM, the Association of Living History, Farm and Agricultural Museums
• tDAR, the Digital Archaeological Record
• The University Library Heidelberg
• UNESCO-Welterbestätte Kloster Lorsch – Experimentalarchäologisches Freilichtlabor Lauresham