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  • Previous Posts - Seandálaíocht - Irish for Archaeology
    one of the trees with a replica bronze axe to see how long it would take to fell compared with the modern iron axes we had we took 11 minutes with the bronze axe and only 4 minutes on a similarly sized oak with the modern iron axe Presumably the difference wouldn t have been quite as acute in the past considering variations in metal alloys and of course in the skill of the axe wielders Why you ask In these days of climate change flooding and general mayhem as if there has ever been a time when those things haven t been happening Well its all part of Niall s research into early Irish charcoal production which nicely compliments my own work into early Irish ironworking Hopefully we will be able to use the traditionally produced oak charcoal to fuel the furnace for SMELT 2010 which will take place in March UCD Increasing PhD Fees Sign the Petition 07 12 2009 UCD has somewhat scandalously revised its tuition fees for PhD students Whereas previously fees reduced in the 4th and subsequent years they will now continue to be set at the astronomically high rate charged for the first three years something over 5 grand for me I think This might sound reasonable at first glance but when it comes to PhD students in Arts at least this must largely be profit for the University UCD provides only a supervisor and access to a library not even inter library loans which is often poorly stocked Many students work from home not even costing the college for heating or electricity This is slightly different in the Sciences where the first few years would often involve laboratory facilities but even in the practical disciplines people in the latter years of their research are writing up and using minimal college resources presumably the rationale for the previous payment structure What the changes represent are essentially a tax on PhD students the supposed vanguard of the knowledge economy Most students in the arts would have funding but only for three years despite UCD now regarding PhDs as four year courses as per the American model Students like me who are attempting to finish up within those three years and run over by even a month now face paying over thousands of euros with no income and only the prospect of signing on when they finally succeed in submitting Why the hell would anyone do a PhD in UCD Please please please sign this petition online if you think anything I just said made some semblance of sense Graphic Arguments 01 12 2009 An article I read yesterday on the BBC website about the conveying of complex or non intuitive information through colours pictures and graphics got me thinking about how we archaeologists use such things A word cloud generated from my Masters Thesis I actually think that on balance we are instinctively pretty good at attempting to visualise our work compared with our sister

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  • Previous Posts - Seandálaíocht - Irish for Archaeology
    and I was one of the organisers of the 2007 conference as well as an editor of the proceedings Its highly recomended for anybody starting out on their research careers who wants to present in a professional but relaxed atmosphere And its usually good craic as well A celebration of Dr Blaze O Connor s life 17 11 2009 Those of you who knew Blaze may like to attend Please do download the notice and forward to anyone who might be interested Trowel XII Call for Papers 17 11 2009 I recently received the excellent news that the call for papers for Trowel Volume XII has been re issued The volume had stalled recently but with new editors a new website and a new online format it looks like this unique student publication celebrating its 21st birthday will continue despite the current hard times As a past editor I will be very interested to see how the transition to online publication will work and whether the relatively recent book reviews and reflections sections will continue The inclusion of the thesis lists on the websites re instates a valuable function served by Trowel previous to financial and logistical problems that led to us dropping them for Volume X Trowel volume X can be downloaded or read here on Seandálaíocht com and Volume XI can be purchased using this order form PhD studentship Cave Archaeology in North West England 17 11 2009 PhD studentship Cave Archaeology in North West England School of Natural Sciences and Psychology Liverpool John Moores University 13 290 per year plus EU tuition fees Applications are invited for a PhD studentship in the School of Natural Sciences and Psychology at Liverpool John Moores University Candidates are expected to hold a good Honours first class or upper second class or Masters degree in archaeology Quaternary science or a related subject The caves in North West England contain material from the Late Glacial to Early Medieval periods These remains include bones artefacts and sediments and their associated archives This project will focus on the faunal and archival material but there is the scope to develop other areas e g stable isotope analysis pollen Zooarchaeological experience is essential Experience of landscape surveying or working with cave assemblages is desirable but not essential The student will be joining the Research Centre in Evolutionary Anthropology and Palaeoecology which has long standing research interests in the archaeology and palaeoenvironments of Cumbria http www ljmu ac uk RCEAP 81113 htm and cave archaeology e g the AHRC funded Upland Caves Network www uplandcavesnetwork org The PhD studentship is offered for 3 years commencing February 2010 Funding will be provided by Liverpool JMU and includes a tax free stipend of 13 290 EU tuition fees and some fieldwork expenses Applications should be submitted to Dr Hannah O Regan School of Natural Sciences and Psychology Liverpool John Moores University Liverpool L3 3AF UK Informal enquiries are welcome contact Dr Hannah O Regan h j o regan ljmu

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  • Previous Posts - Seandálaíocht - Irish for Archaeology
    includes a little plug for www seandalaiocht com in the News from the Net section Links discussed in this regular Archaeology Ireland feature are available online here Loughcrew Equinox 20 09 2009 Cairn T at Loughcrew passage tomb cemetery is aligned on the Autumn and Spring equinoxes one of which falls on Tuesday 20th On that day and those around it the sun shines down the passage and illuminates the back recess and the stunning megalithic art that decorates it O P W staff are in attendance at the cairn today from 7 15 8 30 am tomorrow and Tuesday so this morning I dragged myself out of bed at 5 30 a m and made the trip We arrived about 7 30 fifteen minutes after sunrise but didn t get into the chamber for another half hour I can t say it wasn t worth the wait though and with the absoloutely perfectly clear sky we got a spectacular experience Check out some pics above and a time lapse video of a previous equinox below Art and Archaeology 14 09 2009 1 Comment I came across this on the Irish Art blog just now I had been aware that there was an artist in residence at WAC 6 last year and wondered what would come out of it And this tripartite piece of angular sculpture is it Photo via Irish Art Blog I m not too sure what the relationship really is between Art and Archaeology although there must of course be some Archaeology has a relationship with pretty much everything done by people but considering its strong art historical roots art theory would seem obviously linked to archaeological theory I am by no means qualified or interested enough to comment on such things but the UCD Scholarcast Series does have some interesting discussions including a great piece by Blaze O Connor on the archaeological excavation of Francis Bacon s studio As to the aesthetics of the sculpture as with most of the art on the UCD campus I am ambivalent at best Its not offensive in the slightest though it might be if I knew how much it cost but I m not sure it inspires me or even gets a reaction which is how I personally judge a piece of art There is an interesting video below of the installation of the sculpture with a commentary by the artist that may or may not leave the meaning of the piece clearer in your mind 1 Comment The Soul in the Sword 09 09 2009 Just came across this video on the National Geographic site A Taiwanese smith talks about the use of human bone in the manufacture of swords to give them a soul Perhaps an interesing way of thinking about the iron slag that is occasionally found in the ditches of Irish ring barrows Technorati 01 09 2009 ismj2hpk8n OSI Open House 25 08 2009 Photo Leo Reynolds via flickr The Ordnance survey of Ireland an

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  • Previous Posts - Seandálaíocht - Irish for Archaeology
    iron furnace requires a lot of work First of all I need to find a space where I can burn a fire at over 1000 degrees It needs to be in an open space and somewhere where the noise of forging won t bother the neighbours so not my back garden in the heart of Dublin I also need to get hold of a significant amount of clay for the superstructre as well as charcoal and ore for the smelt Ideally the charcoal should be made from oak and it would be an interesting experiment in itself to try and produce it from scratch The ore should probably come from a bog so if anyone out there knows of a bog with a good supply please do let me know Of course some practical experience would be good to have to but that s something I can t really borrow Photo Wikimedia Surfing the internet I have found some useful information incluging weirdly how to smelt iron in a microwave Extensive information about a series of smelting experiments including video based on viking technology can be found here as well as a related blog here A series of Danish experiments are documented online here with excellent photos but unfortunately all in Danish Some related posts in english can be found here and here Finally this site has a serie of links relating to the smelting of iron and other metals and my video section includes a smelt based on prehistoric British furnaces If anyone is interested in collaborating or contributing it would be great to hear from you I m sure I m not the only person in Ireland interested in this sort of thing Boyne Valley Research Assistant and HLC Tender 29 06 2009 Knowth Satellite Tomb UCD School of Archaeology and UCD School of Geography Planning and Environmental Policy have just announced a call for tenders for the development of Historic Landscape Characterisation and GIS modelling of landscape change in the Boyne Valley Also announced is a 4 month fixed term research assistant position focusing on geomorphological research in the Boyne Valley Pdfs with more information can be downloaded here and here or simply click below to read more Read More Axes Warriors and Windmills 29 06 2009 The Fingal Heritage Network and the Mayor of Fingal are launching a book and an exhibition on the evening of Tuesday 7th July 2009 at 7 30pm The book is entitled Axes Warriors and Windmills Recent Archaeological Discoveries in North Fingal It was recently reviewed in Archaeology Ireland and includes papers on Lambay Island Flemington Bearnageeragh Lusk Mount Gamble and Bremore Castle I haven t got a hold of a copy yet myself but it promises to be a useful volume The same evening sees the launch of a photographic exhibition called Fingal A Photographic Memoir RSVP 890 5771 or by email New Archaeological Guidelines 27 06 2009 New archaeological guidelines have just been launched by the Minister for the

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  • Previous Posts - Seandálaíocht - Irish for Archaeology
    here Fancy a Date 22 05 2009 Scienticians at the University of Manchester and Edinburgh university have announced a new technique for dating fired clay pots bricks furnace lining etc The method is based on a chemical reaction ceramics have with water over long periods of time Basically they absorb it I m not sure if this holds true for buried ceramics at a particular rate that can be used to estimate the time since the ceramic was fired The examples given on the BBC website suggest that this could be incredibly precise To the year They know it works going back 2000 years and suspect it works as far back as 10 000 If the technique passes through its age of innocence and comes out the other side as a reliable dating method it could literally revolutionise our understanding of most archaeological periods in Ireland and many other regions Apparently the paper will be published online soon in the Proceedings of the Royal Society A and I personally will be waiting with baited breath Secrets of the Stones 22 04 2009 The first episode of Secrets of the Stones Decoding Ireland s Lost Past was broadcast on Easter Monday and seems to be another in a line of very welcome heritage archaeological oriented mini series being produced by RTE another recent one being Blood of the Irish The programme was impressively produced with none of the usual celtic mysticism new age spiritualism or shoddy camerawork associated with archaeology related programmes on RTE The graphics camerawork and general quality of the show s production was on a par with what you might expect from a BBC show and probably better than most Discovery Channel History Channel fare In terms of the archaeological quality of the content it was patchy to say the least An uninformed viewer might easily believe that Ireland s first inhabitants built passage tombs and went to parish church every Sunday and the lack of a Mesolithic reminds us of an archaeological perspective that should have dissappeared in the seventies The rolling out of Mike Baillies comet hypothesis is understandable in the light of its obvious entertainment value but perhaps a little more of a balanced view could have been given There are plenty of other quibbles any archaeologist could have with the programmes content but I for one salute it as a key element in getting archaeology to the public Despite its flaws it was interesting enough to keep a number of non archaeological friends of mine watching for longer than five minutes and anything that gets the general public interested is in my view a very very good thing Episode 2 of Secrets of the Stones which will look at the arrival of Christianity will air on Monday 4th May at 6 30pm on RTE One Click here to download a pdf leaflet about the programme Tatty T Shirts 21 04 2009 We have recently launched the TAT t shirt shop here Having been to

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  • Previous Posts - Seandálaíocht - Irish for Archaeology
    from scanned images UPDATE I ve now scanned and uploaded the article as a searchable pdf Enjoy Iron Flint and Drink 13 03 2009 Have a look at the new video page for a selection of technology related clips At the moment there s a few on iron a flint knapping tutorial and the great Bronze Age beer experiment I ll keep adding to the page as I find interesting stuff and I ll add anything vaguely archaeological that I find as long as its interesting There s a surprising amount out there Please let me know if you see any good ones I can add to the list Sea Stallion from Glendalough Viking Voyage 11 03 2009 Fast forwarding to today the reconstruction of the ship was sailed to Dublin in the summer of 2006 finding a huge crowd to welcome it when it sailed up the liffey to where its predecessor was likely built The ship was over wintered in the National Museum of Ireland Collins Barracks until it was craned out in the summer of 2007 following lots of labour intensive maintenance of the hull I was there when they lifted it into the water just beside th eastlink toll bridge and spent a fun morning filling the ship with a couple of tons of ballast The ship spent some time in Dublin being prepared for the voyage before sailing off on its return journey Its route out along the Liffey went straight past my front door which I was unfortunately standing at as I was only on the reserve list for the voyage Luckily about two weeks later I got a call to say I would be joining the ship in England halfway through the voyage I had one week to buy all the equipment I needed and get to London where I met the other replacements who joined the ship half way In the summer of 2008 I was lucky enough to be part of the crew of a reconstructed viking longship built by the Viking Ship Museum in Roskilde Denmark The Sea Stallion is a reconstruction of a ship deliberately sunk in the Roskilde fjord sometime after it was built in 1042AD The accurate date for the ship comes from dendrochronological analysis of timbers from the ship that also allowed identification of where the timbers for the ship were sourced This turned out to be somewhere in the vicinity of Hiberno Norse Dublin We met the ship in Lowestoft in eastern England but frustratingly the weather gods prevented our sailing for a full week Eventually we got going and sailed across the North Sea to Holland before making our way northwards to Denmark and the Limfjord Sailing at night in the north sea is an experience that will always stay with me and I was lucky enough not to feel sea sick and to actually enjoy sleeping on deck under the stars with the ship rocking me to sleep Our arrival in Roskilde was

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