How do some archaeologists gain a better understanding of material culture and people across time?
They use experimental archaeology to reconstruct ancient buildings, technologies and things, based on archaeological evidence and their use as analogies for the past.
Understanding those specific techniques is the focus of the next UNBC Anthropology in our Backyard Series talk on Friday, Jan. 15 from 1 – 2:15 p.m. PT.
Titled Experimental Archaeology: Making, Understanding, Storytelling, the virtual lecture features Dr. Aidan O’Sullivan, the Director of the University College Dublin’s School of Archaeology and the Centre for Experimental Archaeology and Material Culture in Ireland.
“At our university research facility, we make reconstructions of prehistoric and medieval buildings, objects and technologies,” O’Sullivan explains. “We investigate the many different ways that ‘making’ helps with ‘understanding’, and how ‘storytelling’ about the past can engage with both archaeological and historical evidence, but also with our own experiences.”
O’Sullivan adds that for many scholars, experimental archaeology has tended to be linked closely to the scientific process of proposing questions, gathering data, testing ideas, and repeating the experiment. In recent years, some have wondered if it is possible to have an experimental archaeology that can give more weight to experience, or the sensory and emotional aspects of how people engage with buildings and material culture?
The online lecture is free and open to the public. It can be accessed at https://bit.ly/anthropology-in-our-backyards