I won’t lie to you, honesty is the best policy after all… but most of what you are likely to find here will be about my day job as an archaeologist. I currently work at the UCD Centre for Experimental Archaeology and Material Culture in Dublin where I hold a Marie Sklodowska Curie fellowship. The project I am working on, Breaking the Mould, is exploring how and why metalwork came to play such a massive role in the social life of people all around Europe. Much our energy has been placed on tracing the impact of the earliest metal us in society, whereas the tranformative effect of the common availability of metals has been less in focus. I like to use the (admittedly odd) analogy of air travel, where we have made great strides in learning about the earliest crafts to take to the air with their pioneering explorers but are less emphatuated with the Ryanair-isation of society today, where air travel effects the way our social worlds work. Ok, ok, that is a horrendous over simplification but you get the general idea! What effect did the availability of metal for all manner of things, from jewellery to weapons, saws to cooking vessels have on social worlds? Who made these things? Who controlled access to them? How were they used? Why were they taken out of circulation or even intentionally broken? It is also important to think on how metals changed social practices, including farming, carpentry, warfare, cooking and more. Its a lot to think on, isn’t it!
My summers are your typical bus-man’s (bus person’s?) holiday, spent digging at or visiting sites all around Europe. I can’t help it. You can find out about some of this work on my other sites – Borderlands-ARISE (Archaeological Research of Idjos Site and Environment) and Priniatikos Pyrgos.