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Ábhar agus Meon: Materials and Mentalities

Sixth World Archaeological Congress to host first ever WAC Fringe

To complement the academic programme of the Sixth World Archaeological Congress and to celebrate growing research synergies between artists, archaeologists and crafts practitioners, WAC 6 will host the first ever WAC Fringe 30 June – 4 July 2008. Directed by Dr Steve Davis (School of Archaeology, UCD) and Dr Ian Russell (Humanities Institute of Ireland, UCD), assisted by Dr Andrew Cochrane (Cardiff University, Wales), the WAC Fringe will feature a series of demonstrations, events and exhibitions, showcasing cutting edge international archaeological research and artistic practice. These will include demonstrations in experimental archaeology (e.g. flint knapping, hide working, cooking), audiovisual presentations (with the School of Folklore, Irish Traditional Music Archive) and conceptual materials (e.g. photographic exhibitions, artistic materials), and will bring together collaborators from the within Ireland, as well as from Europe, N. America, China, Australia and New Zealand.

Featured events include:

Works in process (First Floor (F Block), Newman Building, UCD)

29 June – 4 July 2008

As part of the first ever WAC Fringe, Works in process celebrates the growing research synergies between archaeology and contemporary art. Directed by Dr Ian Russell (Humanities Institute of Ireland, UCD) with the assistance of Dr Andrew Cochrane (Cardiff University) the exhibitions bring together a diverse array of practitioners from across the disciplines to exhibit in the Newman Building during the week of the Sixth World Archaeological Congress. Exhibitions will be on display on the first floor of the Newman Building and will cover a broad range of media and themes video art and photography to installation art and from the excavation of artist studios to the excavation of a transit van to artistic residencies on archaeological excavations. Participants are encouraged to tour the exhibits at their leisure throughout the week of the Congress.

Exhibitions include:

Kevin O'Dwyer (Ireland/USA)

A public sculptural commission responding to WAC 6

Cordula Hansen (Ireland)

An experimental installation of unfinished process

Site Specifics: From the Stonehenge Riverside Art Project onwards

Featuring works by: Leo Duff (UK), Brian Fay (Ireland), Janet Hodgson (UK), Julia Midgley (UK), Varvara Shavrova (Russia/China) and Debbie Zoutewelle (UK)

Archaeological Visualisations: Video art and photography

Featuring works by: Christine Finn (UK), Fotis Ifantidis (Greece), Michael Jasmin (France), Sharonagh Montrose (New Zealand), Tania Murray (Australia), Isabella Streffen (UK), Aaron Watson (UK) and Ken Williams (Ireland)

In Transit

The excavation of a transit van by John Schofield (UK) with

photographs by Urusula Frederick and Katie Hayne (Australia)

The Excavation of Francis Bacon's Studio

Courtesy The Dublin City Gallery, the Hugh Lane

The Fringe (Belfield Campus, UCD)

The Fringe is a series of demonstrations, events and exhibitions, showcasing cutting edge international archaeological research and artistic practice. These will include demonstrations in experimental archaeology (e.g. flint knapping, hide working, cooking), musical performances, performance art and durational art installations. It brings together collaborators from the within Ireland, as well as from throughout Europe. Events programmed include:

Umha Aois: The Bronze Age 4,000 years on

Monday, 30th June - Friday, 4th July

The experimental bronze forging group, Umha Aois, will be in residence during the week of the 6th World Archaeological Congress at UCD's Belfield Campus. The group will offer demonstrations of experimental practices aimed at understanding the methods and techniques of forging bronze artefacts developed in the Bronze Age. Participants are invited to visit the group at their leisure during the week of the Congress and explore the development of their processes.

There will also be a special night casting display by the group after the Congress dinner on Thursday 3 July. All are welcome to attend.

Simon Pascoe, Red Earth

Thursday 3rd July

Simon Pascoe is co-director and lead artist of the renowned performance art group Red Earth. Simon specialises in creating original site-specific installations and performances in response to the landscape. Red Earth make original site-specific work: temporary structural installations and performances that bring a landscape alive through installation, performance and sound, reinterpreting archaeology, geology and the environment, connecting past, present and future, activating landscape, experience and memory.

For WAC-6, Simon Pascoe joins with the archaeological community to create a ritualised journey across the grounds of UCD's Belfield campus: an ancient response to a contemporary landscape activated by fire, live sound and participation; an atmospheric sensory experience allowing an insight into the liminal world of our ancestors.

Billy Quinn and Declan Moore, Moore Group

Thursday, 3rd July & Friday 4th July

A demonstration of their 'Great Beer Experiment', which attempted to demonstrate the feasibilty of using burnt stone mounds ('fulachta fiadh' in Ireland) as brewing sites. They will demonstrate and discuss their experiments and research into the enigmatic site that is the fulacht fiadh. These ubiquitous monuments, which are visible in the landscape as small, horseshoe-shaped grass-covered mounds, have been conventionally thought of by archaeologists as ancient cooking spots, saunas or industrial sites.

Using a wooden trough filled with water heated stones are added. After achieving an optimum temperature of 60-70°C they add milled barley and after 45 minutes bale the final product into fermentation vessels. They add natural wild flavourings and then added yeast after cooling the vessels in a bath of cold water for several hours. To produce the ale took only a few hours, followed by a three-day wait to allow for fermentation.

Metin Erin, University of Exeter, UK

Monday 30th June & Tuesday 1st July

A demonstration of flint knapping techniques.

Kathrine Verkooijen, University of Exeter, UK

Monday 30th June & Tuesday 1st July

An interactive demonstration a range of technologies associated with Bronze Age clothing manufacture including elements of pelt, skin and wool processing.

Holger Lonze, Lough Neagh Boating Heritage Association

Sunday 29th June, Monday 30th June & Tuesday 1st July

Sculptor and curach-maker Holger Lönze will demonstrate the making of a traditional oval-shaped River Boyne curach from the Oldcastle area of Co. Meath. Until their ban in the 1950s – to preserve fish stocks - these archaic skin boats were used in pairs to catch salmon. Although primarily used to drift downriver, a fisherman can direct the craft with by skulling a single spade-shaped paddle with a figure of 8 motion, while a second fisherman spends out the nets over the bow section of the boat. The woven hazel frame with a single seat plank is made on the ground to a standard size of 6'x4' to fit a cured and tanned cowhide which is bound to the skilfully woven gunwale.

Skeleton-built skin boats with a waterproofed envelope are one of the four major roots of boat building. With its limited requirement of tools and skills, this technique may stretch as far back as the Mesolithic; skin boats were once common all over the circumpolar region but are now limited to Inuit umiaks, Welsh corwgls and Irish curachs. The Atlantic seaboard of Ireland still preserves a range of 12 sea-worthy types of keel-less curachs, ranging from 10-25 ft in length.


Dr. Alan Peatfield and Dr. Barry Molloy, School of Archaeology, UCD

Bronze Age swords are almost always unfavourably compared to iron and steel swords in terms of sharpness, edge-strength, and general martial functionality. Thus, when found in archaeological contexts, bronze swords are mostly interpreted as symbolic items rather than as functional and effective weapons.

Using carefully and accurately made modern replicas, Alan Peatfield and Barry Molloy will demonstrate the effectiveness of bronze swords with a series of cutting tests. They will also show how it is possible to interpret sword combat techniques from the designs of the swords.

Simon O'Dwyer, Prehistoric Music Ireland

Monday 30th June

Simon and Maria O'Dwyer have spent much of the last eighteen years reproducing and musically exploring Irish instruments from prehistory. These instruments range from late Bronze Age horns to the great Celtic trumpas of the middle Iron Age and woodwind instruments from early Christianity. As no written or oral music survives from these times we can never be sure what was played by the musicians or the circumstances in which instruments were used; however, their research has expored possibilities as to how horns and trumpas were designed and how they may have been played.

In the latter half of the 20th Century worldwide interest in pre-historic musical instruments has steadily increased. Surviving instruments are seen as a way to enlarge our knowledge of early peoples who made and played them. Insights can be had into ancient ways of life and living. Ireland's extensive collection of surviving pre-historic trumpets, horns, bells and others make us unique in the world. Until the mid 1980s only strictly archaeological studies had been carried out on the Bronze Age horns and Iron Age trumpets. In 1986 Prehistoric Music Ireland was born and the first accurate reproductions were made of a pair of bronze horns from Co. Antrim. Almost immediately new and exciting discoveries came to light about how to make and play these instruments. Since then Prehistoric Music Ireland has been reproducing and studying Bronze Age horns and Iron Age trumpas including An Trumpa Créda, (Loughnashade original), the Ard Brinn (trumpa fada), crothalls (Bronze Age bells), the Mayophone (Early Medieval free-reed horn) from Co. Mayo, the Wicklow Pipes (4,000 year old wooden pipes), stone and bone flutes and instruments from abroad including English and Scottish horns and the silver pipes of Ur (Mesopotamia).

Simon has been employed as a heritage specialist by the INTO and The Heritage Council for the past 7 years. This work involves visits to National schools around the country presenting the prehistoric instruments of Ireland. Since his membership began he has visited over 360 schools.


Dr. Natalie Uomini, University of Southampton, UK

Interactive demonstration of a range of rock art techniques featuring a cave-painting wall.

Other Notable Exhibitions

The Environment and Heritage Service, Northern Ireland

All Week Long, Newman Building

An exhibition of paintings, illustrating the impact mankind has made on the Irish landscape from, prehistoric times to the present day.

The Irish Traditional Music Archive

All Week Long, Newman Building

An audiovisual exhibition centred around the traditional fiddle styles of countied Donegal and Tyrone. The exhibition "The Northern Fiddler: Irish Traditional Fiddle Playing in Donegal and Tyrone 1977–1979" contains powerful illustrations, musical compositions, field recordings, personal accounts and anecdotes, and more than 50 diverse photographs centered on the master fiddlers of upper Ireland. With the music itself played in the gallery, these telling images herald the people who spent their lives trying to preserve this traditional genre and in the process directed a new generation of fiddlers.

Documented from 1977–79, "The Fiddler Project" recounts these last remaining masters and their whimsical life stories, views on society and reflections on the music that they have preserved and practiced for more than 50 years. This exhibition highlights the incredible life stories of the musicians who helped rescue this music from its near-extinction. Featuring photographs by Eamonn O' Doherty, the exhibition documents the generation of legendary musicians who kept the northern Irish fiddling tradition alive under conditions of great social change.

The Irish Virtual Research Library and Archive (IVRLA)

30th June & 1st July, Newman Building

An interactive demonstration of their digital resource on 30th June and 1st July.

The IVRLA is a major digitisation and digital object management project launched in UCD in January 2005. The project was conceived as a means to preserve elements of UCD's main repositories and increase and facilitate access to this material through the adoption of digitisation technologies.

Additionally the project will undertake dedicated research into the area of interacting with and enhancing the use of digital objects in a research environment through the development of a digital repository. When fully implemented, the IVRLA will be one of the first comprehensive digital primary source repositories in Ireland, and will advance the research agenda into the use and challenges affecting this new method of research, and of digital curation over the coming years.

The Classical Museum, UCD School of Classics

All Week Long, Newman Building

The Classical Museum was founded in 1910 as a teaching resource and today has the largest collection of Creek and Roman antiquities on display in Ireland. Its holdings include a fine collection of Greek vases, Roman tombstones, Cypriot antiquities, Greek and Roman coins, some Greek papyri, and objects of daily life. The Museum is used for small group teaching connected with modules of Greek and Roman Art and Archaeology taught by the UCD School of Classics, and mounts temporary exhibitions in the context of its graduate programme.

As part of the congress programme the Classical Museum are mounting a new exhibition:

Questioning … A new collection: Method, Interpretation, Presentation

What are the questions that arise when a museum takes in its care a new collection to research and exhibit? The Classical Museum, UCD, has recently taken out on long-term loan a previously undocumented multi-period collection of classical antiquities. This presented an opportunity for an an MA class of the UCD School of Classics to identify the issues involved, research the collection's origins and the individual objects' biographies, and by placing the artefacts in thematic contexts highlight their significance for the understanding of some aspects of the pre-industrial cultures of the East Mediterranean.

Personal Histories Retrospect (Pamela Jane Smith, University of Cambridge)

All Week Long, Newman Building

Archaeologists much prefer to learn about the history of archaeology through the lives of the people who made that history.

We therefore invite you to view two oral-historical films.

The first is of the 2006 personal-histories discussion with Graeme Barker, Robin Dennell, Rob Foley, Paul Mellars, Colin Renfrew, Mike Schiffer, Ezra Zubrow and Marek Zvelebil remembering the beginnings of the New Archaeology and processualism in the 1960s.

The second is a recording of Meg Conkey, Henrietta Moore, Ruth Tringham and Alison Wylie remembering the beginnings of post-processual and gendered archaeologies in the late 1970s.

The films will be screened on continuous loop so that you can drop in and come and go whenever you are free.

Reflexive Representations: The partibility of archaeology (Drs. Andrew Cochrane, University of Wales, Cardiff and Ian Russell, Notre Dame) .

All Week Long, O'Reilly Hall Conservatory

This series of art pieces seeks to contest traditional mechanisms for representation and spectatorship by questioning the status that visual images occupy in archaeological discourse. Photomosaics of iconic archaeologists and archaeological objects were constructed through the manufacture of archives and archaeological records of public images available over internet search engines. This digital 'excavation' of what is traditionally an unarchived public space marked the beginnings of our digital archaeological practice.Inspired by Joan Fontcuberta's series of Googlegrams (2005), we call into question the ways in which archaeologists position themselves and their work within broader society. By conflating archaeological figures with a collage of public images, the pieces reveal the manufacture of representations of archaeological identities and of the artefacts and monuments with which they work. In addition, through the use of the world wide web and freeware, they also challenge the role that digital media are playing in the fabrication of collective archaeological visual memory, interpretation, and mediated information.We began by considering whether experience is ever truly documented or represented. Each (in)dividual piece subverts and parodies notions of 'truth' in archaeology and the veracity of dominant images in the construction of the past and present, memory, identity, gender, emotion and agency. Such a reflexive approach generates connections between unfamiliar essences, resulting in ruptured and fragmented yet dynamic archaeologies, histories and representations. Previous exhibitions:Akademia Wychowania Fizycznego, Cracow, Poland, 19-24 September 2006, European Association of Archaeologists, Bristol University, 10 – 12 November 2006, Contemporary and Historical Archaeology in Theory University of Exeter, 15 - 17 December 2006, Theoretical Archaeology Group. Individual works are on permanent display at the School of Classics, Trinity College Dublin, the Ironbridge Gorge Musuem and Sculpture in the Parklands, Co. Offaly.

This series of exhibitions was made possible by a grant from the Trinity College Provost's Fund for the Visual and Performing Arts and by the support of the Archaeological Illustration Department at Cardiff University. We would also like to acknowledge the support of Chris Witmore, Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology and the Ancient World at Brown University.


More information on he exhibitions can be found at:

More information on WAC 6 can be found at:
Posted by Amexhibition
6th June 2008ce

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