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18 September 2014
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Getting Involved: Archaeology Now

By Barrie Andrian
Getting hands-on experience

Image of a boy using the wood friction method to make fire
Getting to grips with Iron Age fire making ©
Training opportunities in experimental archaeology generally are limited to short courses, workshops, 'hands-on' conferences, and projects seeking volunteers. Universities in Britain are beginning to include aspects of experimental archaeology in their degree programmes, and Edinburgh University now has an entire module devoted to the subject. One is inspired by two long-term experimental research projects within the Archaeology Department - the reconstruction of an Iron Age crannog in Loch Tay - and the other is the reconstruction of Chalcolithic buildings in Lemba, Cyprus.

'It was established to study the role of buildings in archaeological interpretation.'

The crannog reconstruction was based on underwater excavations and aimed to rediscover how the ancient farmers had managed to build their homes on stilts in the water. The project involved students during the building, and continues to involve them in experimental aspects of Iron Age technologies at the Scottish Crannog Centre.

Edinburgh students also participated in the Lemba Archaeological Project, from which the Lemba experimental village was created near Paphos in Cyprus. The village comprises reconstructions of early farming and village communities dating to the Chalcolithic period in Cypriot prehistory, about 3800-2500 BC. It has been running for nearly 15 years and was established to study the role of buildings in archaeological interpretation and their impact on the formation of archaeological sites.

Published: 2005-06-21

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