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Friday, September 28, 2012

Memories of LAM 2012 - Rob and Keiran

Memories of LAM 2012
This year's trip out to L'ans aux Meadows was very different from the first time. I knew what to expect this time and, best of all, I had my family with me. While the children didn't have quite the enthusiasm to work on all of the projects we had planned, I enjoyed having Keiran there to help me wind balls of thread and watching him play tafl and nine-man's-morris with the others.
For myself, I reaffirmed that you can never get projects completed when interacting with the public. My bow got to the point where I could draw it, but it still needs more work to be functional. The knotwork band I was tablet weaving involved frequent repair of errors and ever more frustrating repairs to broken warp threads. Yet it is the interaction with the public that I enjoy most. You never know who will be fascinated by the work, what sort of questions they will ask, or what information they can provide.

Other memories include:
- Having a viking girl guide show up on our steps one day to sell us cookies. (My brother actually saved them for the trip home - and ate one in each province.)
- Hiking along many beautiful trails (the best being the roller coaster of an abandoned boardwalk)
- Being chased off by some caribou who became tired of having their picture taken
- Spending time in and out of personae with my friends from near and afar
- taunting Ragnar and Thora with wasabi peanuts and odd flavoured chips
- munchkin chthulu
- holding a Thing in the ocean
- heckling Ragnar soft-hands with lots of assistance from Kadja and many others
- and of course just spending time in a place that just feels right - the spring of the soil beneath your shoes, the smell of the ocean winds, and the serenity of leaning against a cool earthen wall

Rob's son - Keiran's trip to L'ans aux Meadows aka memories of a 6 year old viking
I remember:
• weaving with daddy
• being a viking
• playing games - tafl, 9 man morris,
• cold weather
• playing games with friends - viking friends
• eating the flat bread
• the helmet, sword and shield in the longhouse

favourite parts
• weaving
• helping people out - showing people around and telling them that they were allowed in the buildings
• being with Liam (his cousin)

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Presenting Experiments

Darrell and Neil are headed out to the Reconstructive and Experimental Archaeology Conference in North Carolina the weekend of Oct 18th.

Saturday will see two presentations:

Glass on Fire: A review of 5 years of experiments in the reproduction of Viking Era Glass Bead Furnaces
Glass beads were a widely used form of Viking era Norse personal ornamentation. Seven production sites have been found archaeologically, although only Ribe has well-documented traces of furnaces. Using data from the excavations, and experimental archaeology, various possible charcoal fired clay cob furnace reconstructions were constructed and tested. The as yet unrealized goal is to produce a furnace that matches the archaeological remains and is capable of producing beads that match the artifact samples. This paper reviews the archaeological material and the experimental sequences undertaken over the last five years. 

Early Iron in North America
Since the late 1990's there has been increasing interest in the direct reduction bloomery process in both Europe and North America. The 'Early Iron' movement in North America is driven not by archaeologists, but by working blacksmiths. In this way, practical metalworking experience has been brought to bear on what is largely unknown technical processes. Although the focus is on iron production, there are clear links to the first iron smelting furnaces built historically on this continent. This presentation will focus on some of the discoveries made and lessons learned over hundreds of iron smelts by a core group of experimenters.

 Sunday will hopefully see two practical sessions

The Aristotle Furnace
Working from clues by Aristotle and the descriptions of Ole Evanstad, combined with practical insights from a decade of bloomery iron smelting, a small re-melting furnace has been developed. About the size of a standard water pail, this furnace will produce a 500 - 750 gram 'puck' of carbon steel in roughly 25 minutes. This makes the system ideal for smaller scale demonstrations, or for those wanting to work with a bloomery type metal.
Viking Era Bead Production
Watch as a replica glass bead furnace is heated and glass is worked to produce beads similar to those loved by the Vikings. The furnace used is the result of 5 years of experimental archaeology, and is still a work in progress. Join the conversation on alternate interpretations of the material and furnace designs.

Join us if you have a chance