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Friday, February 17, 2017

An Archaeological Fashion Show (Holtorf)

AN ARCHAEOLOGICAL FASHION SHOW: How Archaeologists Dress and How they are Portrayed in the Media. Cornelius Holtorf  in Archaeology and the Media, Left Coast Press, 2007

I have always been aware of the difference between dirty boots archaeologists and suit and tie archaeologists.  It amused me to no end to find an academic writing on the topic and better yet it refers to other papers on the same topic.

The article is well written with a great sense of humour. The photographs offered so that you can see the three main dress styles used by archaeologists alone are worth a smile.  The article contains quotes from online discussions between different archaeologists, references to Time Team, survey results, and a discussion of why the topic matters at all.  Quick hint - even the vikings knew people judge you by what you wear.

It doesn't add a great deal to the deep discussion of archaeologists fashion sensibility but on the plus side the descriptions of the different styles of Indiana Jones Fedora are invaluable in helping to understand when a particular style is de-rigeur. link

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Hotel Valhalla Guide to Norse Worlds

This was a midwinter's gift from my lovely wife and I finally got around to reading it.  Designed to accompany Rick Riordan's "Magnus Chase" books this volume provides additional background information on the Norse afterlife.

It is clearly aimed at a young adult level and its 150 pages don't exactly take a long time to read.  It does review many of the Gods, mystical and fantastical beasts.  These reviews are both light hearted and informative.  Clearly my own research is now out of date as I hadn't known for example that the dwarfs of Nidavellir now accept most major credit cards when purchasing many of the wonderful things they make.

The interviews provided by Snorri Sturlusson of several Gods and beings are certainly up to his normal writing standards.

All in all if you have an hour free this book makes a nice light read that adds a smile and several bits of amusingly fictitious data to your life.

Monday, October 24, 2016

MIA - Snorri : 2000 - 2016

It is with a very heavy heart I have to announce that Snorri, DARC's travelling gnome, is Missing in Action.

Snorri was last seen on Sunday September 11, at the ARTifact's - Pruszkow Archaeological Festival in Poland.

Snorri was easily the most traveled member of DARC. His first voyage with us was to take part in the Norstead demostration at L'Anse aux Meadows Newfoundland in 2000. On that trip he substituted for Thorgrimmir (who could make that trip). Since then he has accompanied many of us in DARC on various adventures. In my company alone he has made several trips back to Vinland, any number of trips throughout Canada, to the USA, Ireland, Scotland, Belgium and finally Poland as his last seen destination. This is hardly the full list of his travels, as he accompanied so many members of DARC on individual voyages.

Snorri supervised my two iron smelting demonstrations at the Pruszkow event:
Snorri examining the remains of the first iron smelt at Pruszkow (The last image of him)
Snorri again supervised the second smelt there that happened on the Sunday. The last time he was clearly seen was at the end of the extraction process that day, about 4 - 5 pm. He had been comfortably sitting on our side work table at that point.
Everyone then gathered away from our work area to assist in the massive effort of dismantling the huge 'Roman' style furnace (1.5 m ID x 2.3 m tall). The team then returned to our station and started to pack up equipment and clean up our equipment.
Honestly, both Kelly and I had thought the other had collected Snorri at the end of that exhausting working day. The next morning, as we packed to leave for our plane out of Poland, Snorri was not to be found...

Some images from Snorri's last trip in our company:
Superivising the Ypres 2016 work.
Hamming it up with the locals in Ypres
Always the Viking - checking 'valuables' in Ypres Cathedral
That's one BIG dog - outside Passendale.
Sharing one last beer (with Dan Nickles) at Ypres 2016
Instructing 'Loki' - Smelt 1 at Pruszkow
You can see that Snorri certainly enjoyed his travels around Ypres as part of the Ypres 2016 project. He continued providing his long experience with many iron smelting experiments at the Pruszkow ARTifacts event.

Snorri has been well known for this roving eye with the ladies. (On more than one occasion in the past he has been known to 'miss the boat' because he has dallied too long with some fair maid!) It is our hope that his absence in Poland is just due to another time he wandered off in the company of some pretty girl.

He most certainly will be missed, and I offer my best wishes to him - where ever he may now voyage...

Extreme apologies to all of DARC, especially to Steve!
I had waited to announce this, because I wanted to double check with the Museum staff hosting the event, and also the other team members working in our area. As it turned out, none of them remember seeing Snorri past late afternoon Sunday either. He certainly was not present when the museum staff returned later the following day to clean the working areas.
Most likely what happened is a member of the public 'jumped the rope line' while the rest of us were occupied with dismantling the large furnace.


Monday, July 25, 2016

Glass beads page updated

Over the years many people have been frustrated by the concept of 'intensity' on the glass beads page.  The page, and all of the bead charts have now been updated to reflect the actual numbers of the beads.  A few new thoughts and ways of looking at the beads have also been added.

Have a look and let us know what you think!

Sunday, July 24, 2016

DARC at ICMS 2017 (Kalamazoo)

EXARC will be hosting a session at ICMS 2017 in Kalamazoo in May 2017.  If you have been doing exarc and want to talk about it, we'd love to hear from you.  Note that a written paper is *NOT* required.

Archaeology & Experiment: Moving beyond the artifacts (papers)
Experimental archaeology moves beyond the artifacts, allowing researchers to examine the underlying question of "how" related to artifact finds.  Ideally, experiments can provide a preliminary answer to the question "Does this theory of how it was done actually work". A keystone of experimental archaeology (and a differentiator from reenactment/recreation) is that it follows the scientific method of question, setup, and result - whether that result is positive or negative.  Presentations in this session will be expected to review all three key elements in the discussion of their paper.  Papers submitted for these sessions would be good candidates for publication in the EXARC Journal.

Proposals are due by 15 Sep, 2016 and should be sent to me ( Proposal forms are available at

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Snorri at SCA 50th

Snorri taking in the replica of the Sutton Hoo burial chamber assembled by Talymar.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Call for Papers for EXARC 2017

The Call for papers for the 10th International Experimental Archaeology Conference has been published. The conference itself is April 20,21 2017 at the University of Leiden, Netherlands.