Key Note Address
Colonial Williamsburg and its Relation with Archaeology
Peter Inker, the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation (US)
For 90 years, Colonial Williamsburg has been a museum of “We the People”, both in the sense that it is dedicated to telling the story of America’s birth, but also as a place, that encourages public engagement. This paper reviews Colonial Williamsburg’s place as a US leader in the practice and presentation of archaeological heritage to the public. American Historical Archaeology began at Colonial Williamsburg, and now as the world’s largest open-air museum, it is presented to the public in a multitude of ways. Fundamentally, archaeology is contextualized through the preservation of eighty-eight original buildings in-situ. The guest encounters archaeology through daily demonstrations of hands-on experimental and historically accurate manufacturing in our nineteen trade shops, located on their original sites. Archaeology is practically experienced via on-going excavation and research programs, annual undergraduate field schools, and a daily interactive ‘Kids dig’ excavation for children. More theoretical archaeology is developed through digital reconstruction, and in our archaeology and conservation lab, which holds one of the world’s largest 18th-century research collections. This paper deals with each of these elements in turn to demonstrate how archaeology at Colonial Williamsburg began, has developed, and will continue to advance into the future.
What is the past you feel comfortable with? Archaeological Open-Air Museums and their role in modern society
Roeland Paardekooper, EXARC
The 300 or more archaeological open-air museums in Europe present a story about the past for roughly 10 million people annually. These museums use interpretation techniques like guided tours, ancient technology and living history. Guidebooks, text signs and information on the museum website or in an app complete the picture.
But what is the quality of these stories? Is it good enough to know just a little bit more than the average visitor? What if the museum outsources the interpretation to living history volunteers? No, we should not all be professors, but how do we ensure the stories told are more based on the latest scientific insights than on twenty year old school books and what popular media bring us?
An archaeological open-air museum has to balance between many roles and need to renew their offer continuously. Who ensures quality of the interpretation?
Experience and Discovery: engaging the Public in Research
Lara Comis, University College Dublin (IE)
The traditional way of engaging the public with the past has changed. Archaeological and historical heritage is not placed anymore into an inaccessible showcase, it is possible now to have a direct contact with the “past”. But, as researchers are aware of, the means used to engage the public are the fruit of an active process of investigation, especially in experimental archaeology. Could it be possible to engage the public in an active way during the actual investigation of the past? Some Archaeological Open-Air Museums have a long-term tradition regarding this aspect. In other realities, the research process is behind the scenes. In this paper, which illustrates the work-in-progress of my PhD (Exploring the uses of Experimental Archaeology European AOAMs, UCD, Dublin IE), the preliminary results of an inquiry of this topic will be presented.
Interpreting the Archaeological Site of Kernavė: Presenting the Heritage through Experimental and Living Archaeology
Andrius Janionis, the State Cultural Reserve of Kernavė (LT)
The paper seeks to present the experience in interpreting of Archaeological Site of Kernavė through experimental and living archaeology. The Archaeological Site of Kernavė is administered by State Cultural Reserve of Kernavė, which has been promoting the activities of experimental and living archaeology in order to convey values of archaeological heritage to the public. One of the main events in the calendar for most experimental archaeologists, re-enactors and enthusiasts in Lithuania became the Experimental archaeology festival „Days of Living Archaeology in Kernavė “, held since 1999. Besides, exhibition in an indoor museum was opened in 2012, where experimental archaeology plays a vital role in revealing the archaeological discoveries in Kernavė. In 2016, the open-air museum –a reconstruction of fragment of a 13th-14th century town of Kernavė, consisting of three craftsmen yards – was opened, which also facilitated the promotion of the experimental and living archaeology activities. So it will be discussed, how the festival, the exhibition in an indoor and open-air museum and the activities run in both of them help to facilitate the interpretation of Archaeological Site of Kernavė.
Unconventional Education – Archaeology for little people
Daiva Luchtanienė & Austėja Luchtanaitė, Association of Experimental Archaeology “Pajauta” (LT)
The Club of experimental archaeology “Pajauta”, established in 2002, has significant scientific and educational experience in various activities. Members of the club participate in science conferences, are published in various archaeological and museum publications. The club is publishing first continuous publication in Lithuania devoted to experimental archaeology. While participating in Lithuanian as well as foreign events, the club professionally represents Baltic and Lithuanian crafts and ancient technologies, promotes Lithuanian archaeology and culture.
One of the most unique and meaningful experiences of the club was the cultural-educational camp for school pupils “Unconventional lessons in Sudeikiai”. This project was implemented from 2003 to 2005, in 2009 and 2011 in collaboration with the city of Utena educational and local government institutions. The camp took place in the municipality of Utena, eldership of Sudeikiai, near the lake Alaušas. Every year, during the first week of June, pupils from around the vicinity of Utena, came to Sudeikiai, where “Pajauta” set up a camp of ancient crafts. Upon arrival, every group of pupils had an introductory lecture about archaeology, experimental archaeology and divided in smaller groups where interacting with their temporary teachers – members of the club. In this way, they have learned about various ancient crafts of our ancestors in different time periods, had hands-on experience in crafting themselves. Such unconventional lessons left bigger impact on students than dry textbooks in classrooms. The project got positive recognition; there is immense demand for renewal. However, there are few issues preventing the continuity of such movement.
In the presentation, we will inform about the continuous project for pupils, the issues of its implementation and continuity, benefits, insights and possibilities for the future, we will invite for a discussion on the topic.
Is Pedagogy of Archaeology in Some Way a Kind of Political Education?
Jean-Loup Ringot (DE)
The beginning of my interest for prehistoric archaeology began as my parents took my brothers and me to the museum of Grand Pressigny. I was 6 years old... As I found some flint flakes on the fields, I began to collect them... That is the reason why I am not a successful lawyer or director of a great enterprise. So never take your children to museums!
Getting rid of “Fred Flintstone”
The first step in my work with children is to present the well-known clichés about prehistory; that the people in the prehistory were dressed with a mere piece of fur around their hips, made fire with two pieces of flint, were not able to speak and were a little stupid... This was and is still the common idea of the way of life of our prehistoric ancestor. Then I destroy them! Halas we find these wrong facts in many books even in some schoolbooks! Then I give my public a better description of their life. If they survived during the Ice Ages, they had to be very intelligent and adapted to their environment.
What does have pedagogy of archaeology to do with political education?
Archaeology was and is nowadays still misused for politic objectives. One of the most evident example is the confiscation of the archaeology in Germany during the so-called „III Reich“. Therefore, my aim is to work exactly in the opposite way. My intention is that my public -children and adults- become respect of other people either far away in the past as far away in the world. I frequently teach my public that they are African, because all humans on the earth originally came out of Africa. The well-known French anthropologist Yves Coppens formulated this very clear: „The African are not “coloured people“, we European and not African we are just “decoloured people!”
“I never did that” - “I cannot do that!” - “Is this difficult?” I often hear these reflections of children during my work on archaeotechnique. We have in our work the possibility to make children self-confident by confronting them to new situations and problems and to allow them to have new experiences.
My answers to these reflections are:
• “If you never do what you never did, you will never have children!”
• “Try it, and then you can know if you can do it or no! Masters never felt from heaven.”
• “It is like bicycle riding, on the beginning you felt on your nose and now you do that without problem.”
By my actions, the children learn to do some things, they would never had imagined they could do, like making fire with two pieces of wood in less than one minute or cutting a piece of raw meat with a piece of flint stone!
Where am I in human history?
The earth is around 5 billion years old; mankind is only about 3 million years old, since a few hundred years, a big amount of the world flora and fauna disappeared because of the human action... Do we have the right to do so? The earth does not need us, but we need the earth, teaching our history and prehistory is in this point of view is indeed politic education!
“Vacation in the Past” - Effective Heritage Interpretation through Education
Réka Vasszi, Csiki Pihenőkert (HU)
Heritage sites are breathing memories from the past; however, visitors can hardly imagine or experience the ancient life on the spot. In fact, these visits are supposed conjure up journeys back into the past and park managers should facilitate such experiences by the most effective means in order to help visitors gain an immersive ‘past experience’. Therefore, designing quality and memorable visitor experiences is required in order to be profitable, and at the same time create awareness of heritage preservation. Accordingly, the paper presents the memorable visitor experience design and the corresponding teaching and learning theories for planning interpretative activities in museums and heritage sites. The results of the research demonstrate which interpretation tool is the most effective among 9-12-year-old students in terms of a memorable experience and long-lasting learning. Three different interpretation methods have been developed (paper-based workbook, ICT-based museum app, “Living History” class – live interpretation) and after the museum pedagogical class, knowledge based questionnaires filled out by the student. With regard to measure the long-lasting learning effect, the same tests have been given to them one week and one year after the experiment took place. The paper both summarizes the underlying theory, the outcome of the experiment and propose recommendations on effective heritage education.
Making a medieval town come alive – the use of volunteers in living history.
Thit Birk Petersen & Pia Bach, Middelaldercentret (DK)
In 2016, the Medieval Centre (Middelaldercentret) in Denmark celebrated its 25th anniversary. Since the beginning, volunteers has been an important and vital part of our live interpretation. How do you make sure that 170+ volunteers are capable of working professionally and transform the town into a living show? We have a lot of experience in working with volunteers and have been the subject of many research programs. We have also helped many other places get started in working with volunteers. We have strict rules but also room for fun. In many cultural institutions, the use of volunteers is becoming more and more used. This is often due to lack of funds and cut down on staff but also because volunteers are very skilled interpreters and no one can share their passion like a skilled volunteer. We are often visited by some of the best re-enactment groups in Europe as they love our place. We are very happy that they come visit and we enjoy their work and enthusiasm. At the same time, it is a challenge to incorporate them into our living history scheme. How do we work together with the groups to secure the best interpretation possible? This paper will work around how we educate our volunteers and how we work with them in getting the best result possible in our living history environment.
(Re)constructing Lithuanian archaeological textiles with tablet woven borders (8th - 17th cent. AD)
Virginija Rimkutė, Vilnius University / Club for craft reconstruction "The Court Artisans" (LT)
15 selected fabrics will be presented with tablet woven borders from various burial grounds located in Lithuania and dated back to 8th - 17th cent. AD. The selected pieces reflect all main types of tablet woven borders: a starting/finish border, a border woven during the weaving process, a border woven or sewn on to after the weaving. Late dates of some pieces (16th - 17th cent. AD) are very challenging, for textiles with tablet woven borders are usually attributed as woven on vertical loom, while such late textiles are usually thought to be woven with horizontal loom, and transition of loom types, usually, is noticed much earlier. Therefore, experiments on (re)constructing several items with tablet woven borders will be presented in detail with an aim to review some technological questions. Finished (re)constructions will be exhibited in the National Museum of Lithuania and used for further research and public education. The project is funded by the Lithuanian Council for Culture.
Engaging diverse audiences at the archaeological open-air museum Düppel in Berlin – practical examples and new strategies
Julia Heeb, Museumsdorf Düppel (DE)
Archaeological open-air museums are ingenious laboratories for all kinds of themes and questions; the obvious one being the live interpretation of the past through living history. In combination with the setting, reenactors enable a much more emotional and therefore memorable experience than traditional “cabinet” museums. With the right infrastructure, archaeological open-air museums can also function as a hub for projects in experimental archaeology. Academics can combine their thorough knowledge of the archaeological data with the practical knowledge of craft specialists - a fruitful cooperation. A very important third theme is the relevancy of content for us today. Open-air museums have automatically a “green” character, as most places reconstruct not only houses, but also gardens, fields and woods. This potential is often not properly used. Ecology, sustainability and other socially relevant topics can be mediated by demonstrating the links between the past and the present or even the future. Using all three approaches, a variety of audiences and interest groups can be reached, enlarging the pool of potential visitors as well as making a relevant contribution to current cultural and social debates.
Popularization of experimental archaeology in the activity of “Harjis”- project under the patronage of the Institute of Archaeology of the University of Łódz (PL)
Katarzyna Badowska & Wojciech Rutkowski, Instytut Archeologii Uniwersytetu Łódzkiego (PL)
We would like to tell about our experiences gained during the implementation of activities of the Society of Experimental Archaeology "Harjis". It aims to recreate as faithfully as possible dress, weaponry and realities of the Przeworsk culture, that is, people living in the first centuries of Common Era in the territory of present-day Poland. In scientific activity, we are mainly dealing with experimental archaeology by performing experiments in the field of handicrafts such as blacksmithing, carpentry, leathercraft, weaving and pottery. The interpretation of historical and archaeological sources preceded our practical experiments. We have also conducted statistical surveys in the field of ethnoarchaeology. The objects of our interest are the tests of various types of weapons used in prehistory. The project is complemented by an attempt to reconstruct the nutritional management of Przeworsk culture and, as a result, reproduce the Barbarian cuisine.
Despite its great potential, experimental archaeology in Poland is still one of the less understood and accepted branches of science. It is struggling with the need to find new methods of popularization. In our lecture, we would like to present our methods of disseminating history and archaeology that we practice.
Designing a museum permanent archaeological exhibition for the public
Andreja Breznik, National museum of Slovenia
Making a permanent exhibition in a state museum is a great challenge from many points of view. To name just a few: wide topic that has to be of a national importance, reaching research and conservational standards, spatial and financial limitations, security, design, and so on. But what happens when adding another perspective which is public, meaning access, interpretation, taking into account public segmentation, making kid's and family corners, have in mind elderly people and so on? For many decades the exhibitions were seen as ‘non-touchable sanctuaries’, interpreted or 'translated' by various forms of dynamic interpretation and by a person (guided tours, workshops, lectures, living history programmes). The main feature of a dynamic interpretation is that they are organised as events and therefore determined by hour and time. But if the exhibition is a form of communication and if museum is for the public (as well), we have to reach higher standards, for which exhibitions has to be or become accessible and understandable for everyone at any time with no need for a professional interpreter. For achieving this goal the answer is in different techniques of a static interpretation. Of course, all of the concepts and methods are known for a while, but implementation in a specific situation can be a challenge as well, having in mind, that this point of view is just one of the aspects of making exhibition.
In the paper, we are going to present the process of preparing a new permanent archaeological exhibition and some of the interpretational solutions regarding modern standards and trends and their practical implementation. Beside that we would like to present some of the most successful public programmes that were designed by a method 'learning by doing', with a special focus on a brand new one which interpret the Vače Situla, an Iron age bronze vessel with figurative ornament, made for teenagers with the use of mobile phones.
A Sketch of the Historical Park in Bulgaria
Roman Georgiev, Treasure (BG)
Historical Park in Bulgaria is а project for representing of historical & cultural values unique in their essence. It presents all the glory and magnificence of the past civilisations and societies on the Balkan Peninsula from 8000 years BCE up to the Middle Ages gathered in one place in an affordable manner for everyone.
The theme park has been conceived as a combination of knowledge, culture, study and entertainment. Number of expositions and related interactive attractions, combined with opportunities for a meal, rest and recreational activities as well as possibilities to see, to taste, to feel the spirit of the past centuries epoch by epoch. The concept has been developed in close cooperation with scientists from the Bulgarian Academy of Science.
Lombards in the New Millennium: the living history project Presenze Longobarde
Yuri Godino, Luca Bartoni, Mattia Sbrancia & Valeria Cobianchi, Presenze Longobarde (IT)
In the last fifteen years, archaeological investigations have unearthed numerous Lombard sites in Italy, contributing to the knowledge of a very little known part of Italian History. The material finds come from necropolis; settlements and craft areas are exhibited in museums, and tell us stories of people who lived fourteen centuries ago.
Often, however, these materials do not have an immediate effect on the visitor, and they turn out to be obscure for the public. In this regard, living history is an amazing way to create a link between archaeological data and community, using a language made of images, gestures, sounds and smells.
Presenze Longobarde is a research and study project about the material culture of the Lombards, and in particular about the northwestern part of Italy during 7th century. Through experimental and reconstructive approaches, we would like to investigate particular issues related to the Germanic culture, using living history as scientific and educational tool. This paper aims to present some experiences carried out in the project, in the field of male and female dress, early medieval nutrition, ceramic production and ancient metallurgy. In particular, we would like to present the reconstruction of some Lombard figures from Piedmont, based on the grave goods from the Dama del Lingottoʼs tomb, graves 47 and 53 of Collegno, grave 479 of SantʼAlbano Stura and grave 79 of Nocera Umbra.
Finally, a significant part of the paper will be devoted to display some particular reconstructions, like the aristocratic feast of 7th century and a Lombard funeral ritual.
Low threshold = low quality? Getting very young and / or educationally alienated people in touch with medieval life at Geschichtserlebnisraum Roter Hahn (Lübeck, DE)
Frank Kock, Geschichtserlebnisraum Roter Hahn, Lübeck (DE)
The Geschichtserlebnisraum offers activity-oriented educational programs for school classes from 3rd year or any other group of interested people. A low threshold is essential when trying to teach anything to anybody without much educational background. The lack of educational background may be owing to the age (and school year) of the audience or to any other reason. Does low-threshold have to mean low quality? We do not think so. During more than 10 years of these educational programs, we learned what to and what to do not.
Among the Do’s are:
• do use the proper materials
• do be honest about your own limited knowledge
• do be honest about anything modern showing up
• do be prepared to improvise
• do involve the teachers in planning and implementation
Among the Don’ts are:
• don´t try to teach to much in one program
• don´t regard any question as “silly”
• don´t “bomb” them with names and dates
• don´t let schoolteachers regard you as a subcontractor
These are OUR do´s and don´ts. They may but do not have to apply to anyone else.
35 years of preHistorisch Dorp: the development of an open-air museum
Yvonne Lammers PhD & Dr Ward Rennen, preHistorisch Dorp (NL)
PreHistorisch Dorp is an open-air museum depicting six periods, from the Middle Stone Age to the early farmers, the Roman Age, the early Medieval, late Medieval and the 16th century. It was founded 35 years ago as an archaeological experiment, by the reconstruction of an Iron Age house. In the beginning the focus was to replicate the past, concentrating on building houses, recreating clothes and ‘living as iron age people’. Soon it was decided that this was a wonderful opportunity for education, and programmes were developed to entertain children for two hours up till three days. Although the scientific relevance of ‘the experiment’ was somewhat modest – the effect on the visiting children was impressive. Memories were made to last a lifetime. Since then, thousands of children have undergone this experience. Now, we see parents returning with their children to share those memories and to make new ones. More and more, the museum realizes that this is its biggest strength – to take people back in time and to share the knowledge as well as the magic of living of the grid, just as it happened thousands of years ago. Especially in a day and age where everything can be acquired with a simple mouse click, baking bread from kernel to mouthful and from flint and steel to hot oven is one of the basic values in life that, in our view, should be treasured and cherished. In this lecture we will describe the past of our museum as well as its future plans, and demonstrate, how, after many changes of course, we decided to return to the beginning and heart of it all: to make memories while experiencing the past.
An Introduction to IMTAL Europe and Live Interpretation as a Method
Angela Pfenninger, IMTAL Europe Chair (DE) with Éva Birkas (HU)
What is (costumed) live interpretation, and how can it serve to successfully tell the story of your site? This talk will set the scene for the following, more practical activities of the afternoon by introducing basic terminology, an overview of different methods and different case studies.
An example of Nautical Heritage Education to the Wide Public – Half Moon 1609 Replica
Annemarie Pothaar, De Halve Maen, EXARC Board, IMTAL-Europe Board (NL)
Presenting the Half Moon project in Hoorn, a replica ship of 1609. Some information about the trials of sailing and insights in the management and issues of such a project in which a sailing vessel is your exhibition. Comparing the archaeological insights of Dutch and European shipwreck archaeology and their practical translation to a sail worthy 17th century yacht. A special focus on elements of rigging our ship by hand in the 17th century fashion, reinvented by using sources form archaeology and extant manuals and comparison to other replica ships. Insights in working with volunteers to interpret a working ship and to tell the historical context, addressing issues of authenticity and reach of audience with a focus on education and tourism. A short benchmark of other replica ships and their reconstruction and managerial issues during the build, use and lifespan.
Ancient pottery kiln – construction – building – firing
Katarzyna Badowska, & Wojciech Rutkowski, Instytut Archeologii Uniwersytetu Łódzkiego (PL)
In 2017-2018, Society of Experimental Archaeology “Harjis” carried out an experiment which goal was to reconstruct a pottery kiln from the territory of ancient European Barbaricum. The first task was to analyze the traces of preserved pottery kilns and to choose the right type of furnace and material for its construction.
We carried out our work in the following stages:
• preparing ground,
• construction of firing chamber,
• modelling perforated shelf
• building a dome
• making the mound.
Each stage of work brought new answers to our research problems. We let the kiln to dry in the open air and afterwards we (intentionally) fired wooden frame of the kiln. The last stage of our work was firing the previously prepared hand-built clay pots. Due to this experience, we learned the technical details of pottery firing in practice.
Enjoy Spellbinding Them: Choosing, Arranging, and Sharing Medieval Comic Tales at Historic Sites
Ingo Glückler, IMTAL-Europe Board (AT)
There is a simple and effective way in which historical and archaeological evidence can be brought to life in the imagination, and that is through the telling of stories. This workshop aims to show why stories and storytelling at historic sites are so important to suggest the lives of the people and place, which stories are appropriate to tell at which kind of historic site and what preparation to do as a costumed interpreter to capture the attention, touch the heart and stimulate the imagination of visitors. The practical and creative workshop will also look at different ways of telling medieval comic tales and sharing it with each other in an informal, supportive and fun environment on the Kernavė Archaeological Site.
How to tell a story!
Jerker Fahlström, IMTAL-Europe Board (SE)
A storytelling class, in English, for those who want to learn how to build a story to tell, from a traditional story, ore a story of your own. You should bring a story, maximum 3-4 minutes. We will work on the story together. Place for 6 – 12 people, depends on the time available. Participants should be aware that others could listen in. This is fun, no competition among storytellers!