Thursday, 3 September 2015

Sheepy times at EAA in Glasgow

This week I going to Glasgow for the European Association of Archaeologists' annual jamboree. I am taking part in three sessions:

From isoscapes to farmscapes
This session (run by some people I've been looking forward to meeting for a while now) looks at how we can use isotopes to examine farming and land management strategies in the past. I'm going to be talking about the data from the sheep wool I collected from across Scandinavia and the Baltic region last year, how it relates to what the sheep ate, and how we can use it to understand wool trade in this region. If there's a prize for the punniest title at the conference, I reckon I'm in the running here: Ewe are what ewe eat: modern and medieval geographic patterns in sheep wool light stable isotopic composition :)

Global markets and local manufacturing: wool production and trade
Here I'm going to be talking about what makes a "good quality" wool fibre, and how we measure this quality in archaeology, in comparison to what people were looking for in the medieval period, or what modern Australian wool production is focused on. Not much about isotopes, except tangentially.

Integrating textile studies into the mainstream archaeology/anthropology curriculum 
Finally, Barbara Klessig and I are running a roundtable about teaching textiles in universities. (I've never even been to a roundtable at EAA before, so I'm not quite sure what's going to/supposed to happen here...) We hope this is going to be a space for people to discuss how to change the current situation in which most academic archaeologists know plenty about ceramics, something about metallurgy, and nothing at all about textiles. This hardly reflects the relative importance of these three crafts in the past, in our opinion...