Three winners of the 2021 EXARC Experimental Archaeology Award

When we opened our call for micro funding of archaeological experiments, little did we know we would receive 22 applications from around the world. The themes and approaches were truly diverse, including both creativity and academic rigour. Thanks to our sponsor, EXARC member John Kiernan, the jury has actually been able to select three winners of 500 EUR each, not just two.

Ms Martellotta is a PhD candidate at Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia. Ethnographic literature suggests that wooden items – specifically boomerangs – were frequently utilised as retouchers, but no material evidence has been identified. As a response, a technological parallel could only be found in Palaeolithic European technology. Maybe Australian boomerangs were used as retouchers?

Mr Deter-Wolf is the Prehistoric Archaeologist for the Tennessee Division of Archaeology in Nashville, Tennessee, USA. Deter-Wolf and team’s experimental study seeks to compare the physical characteristics of tattoos created using different pre-modern tools and methods. To achieve this goal, they will manufacture an assortment of historically documented tools spanning the full range of tattooing techniques. Professional tattooist and team member Danny Riday will then use these tools to tattoo himself.

Ms Sandron is a master’s student at the University of Torino, Italy. She will look into the sustainability of dental calculus (mineralised dental plaque) research. Dental calculus is an ‘archaeological deposit on teeth’ which holds immense archaeological potential. Ms Sandron has access to the remains of nuns who prepared and consumed some of the first chocolate produced in Turin (Italy) in the 17th century. She will source the main ingredients of the old chocolate and recreate the “nuns’ chocolates” recipe. Following on this, Sandron will study the dental calculus to identify diagnostic micro-remains and chemical biomarkers.

All candidates will start their work before September 2021, and you will be able to follow their activities via the EXARC channels. There is a fair chance there will be a new call for applications for the EXARC Experimental Archaeology Award again in spring 2022.

More information:

Photo by Eva Martellotta & Burragun Aboriginal Cultural Services