Winchelsea Medieval Port Project

New project at the ancient port of Winchelsea, East Sussex, to include geotechnical survey and an RTI survey of the Ship Graffiti in St. Thomas Church and the cellar underneath Blackfriars Barn. Find our more at the Medieval Ports, Ships and Sailors conference in Winchelsea on the 26th of April 2015. For more information, and […]

New project at the ancient port of Winchelsea, East Sussex, to include geotechnical survey and an RTI survey of the Ship Graffiti in St. Thomas Church and the cellar underneath Blackfriars Barn.

Find our more at the Medieval Ports, Ships and Sailors conference in Winchelsea on the 26th of April 2015.

For more information, and to register, please email thomas.dhoop@soton.ac.uk

Funded PhD Studentship

Applications are invited for a three-year PhD studentship in the Faculty of Humanities in collaboration with the Faculty of Natural and Environmental Science at the University of Southampton. This studentship is funded through an SMMI Leverhulme Trust Doctoral Scholarship Award, to start October 2015. The successful candidate will work under the supervision of Dr Helen […]

Applications are invited for a three-year PhD studentship in the Faculty of Humanities in collaboration with the Faculty of Natural and Environmental Science at the University of Southampton. This studentship is funded through an SMMI Leverhulme Trust Doctoral Scholarship Award, to start October 2015. The successful candidate will work under the supervision of Dr Helen Farr (Archaeology), Prof Robert Marsh (Ocean and Earth Science) and Dr Ivan Haigh (Ocean and Earth Science).

For more information, and to apply, please follow this link:

http://www.jobs.ac.uk/job/AKS837/phd-studentship-in-prehistoric-archaeology-and-oceanography-exploitation-of-prevailing-winds-and-currents-by-the-earliest-known-seafarers-reaching-and-colonizing-australasia-c50000-years-ago

Adriatic Without Borders

If you happen to be in Italy, why not pop along to the exhibition currently running at Castello di Udine?  The exhibition, Adriatico Senza Confini, showcases cultural contact around the Adriatic Sea between 6000-4000 BC and  includes work by Helen Farr on navigation and seafaring. It will be running until the 22 February 2015, see exhibition page above, or take a look at […]

If you happen to be in Italy, why not pop along to the exhibition currently running at Castello di Udine?  The exhibition, Adriatico Senza Confini, showcases cultural contact around the Adriatic Sea between 6000-4000 BC and  includes work by Helen Farr on navigation and seafaring.

It will be running until the 22 February 2015, see exhibition page above, or take a look at their facebook page.

 

Adriatico senza confini, Udine, Italy

Adriatico senza confini, Udine, Italy

 

 

Human origins & seafaring

Dr Helen Farr will be guest chairing the CAHO discussion group on early hominin finds in the eastern Mediterranean and the implications for early seafaring . This will take place on Tuesday 4th November at 5pm in the John Wymer Lab. All welcome!

Dr Helen Farr will be guest chairing the CAHO discussion group on early hominin finds in the eastern Mediterranean and the implications for early seafaring . This will take place on Tuesday 4th November at 5pm in the John Wymer Lab. All welcome!

Communicating Above Water

This week I have been reflecting on language, not least because I’m writing this on a train travelling through the vowel laden Danish landscape, but also because it has been a recurrent theme within my meetings.

I am on my way back from an interesting conference on ‘Offshore Industry and Archaeology’ held in Esbjerg and sponsored by the Offshore Centre, Denmark and Syddansk University.  It is unusual to get Industry and Archaeology to sit and talk, and the financial figures casually cited by the industry delegates were enough to make an archaeologist feel very small indeed. Our conference sponsors reported a 50+ billion DKK (more than £5 billion) turnover in oil and gas and a similar amount in offshore renewables in 2011. These figures may make us feel small, but as archaeologists we must not forget that these big companies still need us, we are important. The consideration of underwater cultural heritage (UCH) and environmental impact assessments (EIAs) are prerequisites in their work, so we must learn to communicate. UCH is clearly protected in international law for e.g. the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea 1982 (Art. 149 & Art. 303) and the UNESCO Convention 2001, which whilst slow to be adopted, directly addresses activities that ‘incidentally affect’ UCH such as the offshore industry (Articles 5, 9 & 10). Within these conventions are multiple distinctions and a complex web of jurisdiction creating a fine balance between access to resources on the continental shelf and protection of them.  Whether the UNESCO Convention 2001 is adopted or not, will come down to the objections and concerns that can be made, or dispelled, by different readings of the articles – a semantic problem.  But, these questions as to connotation were not the only linguistic barrier in the room last week, it was the communication between the archaeologists and the industry delegates that called for a translator. Not, of course because we emanated from far and wide geographically, but because we do so culturally, and if we are to build our relationships and work as partners in the offshore environment we need to learn to speak the same language.  The offshore industry wants to minimize ‘risk’. For them this signifies unexpected (read expensive) delays to their projects caused by the sudden discovery of archaeology on the seabed. For us, ‘risk’ focuses upon potential damage to the UCH and the ensuing loss of knowledge about our past. As such, for industry, involving archaeologists in the very earliest planning stages of their projects, working closely with us and collecting data at a high enough resolution for archaeological interpretation can mean that they have no ‘nasty’ surprises and expensive delays when they start building. Equally this means that as archaeologists we can protect the UCH and develop a good relationship with industry that enables us to share data for research purposes. It is a symbiotic relationship. Just clarifying meaning and initiating these discussions is a good start towards building good relations, but only the start.  In Esbjerg this week, many of these Industry representatives flew in and out to deliver their company’s public relations presentation. It is a great start that they came, but a shame that they could not stay for the discussion. We can make inroads into speaking the same language, but listening is still key.

And finally, remaining on this theme of language and listening, I am back in the (soon to be ex) heartland of the BBC in White City tomorrow learning how to interview and be interviewed. I will take note from this week’s meetings and make sure that I am not one of those interviewers who are so stuck on their agenda that they do not listen to the answers (not mentioning names, Radio 4). This is to be followed by vocal coaching, so if you hear me speaking differently this week it may be Received Pronunciation or may just be that the vocal coach is preparing us for a move to Salford.

 

Contemplating the necessity for international collaboration in maritime research

This has been a busy week. Instead of writing the dreaded chapter for a gazetteer, this week has been filled with meetings and seminars from visiting scholars undertaking maritime research around the globe. The arrival of our colleagues from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (USA), the University of Western Australia, Thessaloniki University (Greece) and Yokohama National University (Japan) has been coincidental; we were not hosting an international symposium or congress. This is just another week in the hub that is Southampton Archaeology and the SMMI.

Helen Farr

The Centre for Maritime Archaeology has been buzzing with activity.  There have been demonstrations of new methodologies and cutting edge technology, proposals for collaboration and the building of new relationships between faculties, disciplines and universities.  As I head up to the British Museum for the World University Network meeting to discuss Indian Ocean networks, the next couple of days will include more of the same.

This has led me to reflect on the importance of these relationships and whether in the current austerity of the United Kingdom, where chasing funding is becoming increasingly more difficult and student numbers are dropping, whether these international collaborations will provide a lifeline in the future? One example that comes to mind is that of the problem of practicing archaeology offshore, or, at great depths. The expense of such research is now prohibitive to the majority of UK academics working with national research grants.  The per diem of running a remote operated vehicle off shore would make most research bodies wince.

However, with budding International collaborative research projects, not only are we able to maximise our research, pool our resources and expand our research, but we have an avenue to disseminate our knowledge and results further. This is not only true within academia, but also across industry and it is for this reason that building and maintaining these international relationships on both a personal and University level is important for our future.