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- PublicationGeo-archaeological and environmental survey. In Durham, B., Briscoe, R. & McKewan, C. 'The Binsey Boat: a post-medieval story of the Thames at Port Meadow, Oxford'This report describes a small scale rescue of part of a boat subject to river erosion, with quite unexpected implications for three areas of enquiry: the evolution of the Oxford Thames from commercial waterway to leisure activities; the challenge of reconstructing a possibly unique river craft from small areas of its inner hull; and reflections on the geomorphology of one of the most closely studies flood plains in England. The story started in 2003 when cabling works on the east bank f the Thames at Medley exposed a boat eroding from the bank, notified to Oxford City Council's archaeologist. The boat was of clench bolt construction and its exposed remains presented a risk to bathers, stock and navigation. In the context of Port Meadow's protected status and the uncertain age of the vessel it was clear that any investigation would have to be carefully designed so as not to compromise the vessel or its surroundings. With the aid of the English Heritage Maritime Team and students of the OUDCE MSc in Landscape Archaeology course, the boat was investigated in early June 2004 along with a topographical, geophysical and environmental survey of the surrounding area. The boat was tentatively established as a punt-like vessel approximately 20.6m. long by 2m. wide. Its hull construction had similarities to a canal narrow boat, but the exposed end, whether bow or stern, was squared. No tree0ring date could be recovered from the fast-grown timbers, but the historical evidence would support a late 18th or 19th-century date for its abandonment. Auger survey of the river bank suggests it was abandoned in riverside reed beds rather than in a separate channel. Its form is such that is may have been used for transporting loose, heavy cargo, such as sand or gravel along the Thames and would have been robust enough to navigate flash locks like the one that functioned at Medley from 1790 to 1926. This report draws on archaeological, historical and ecological research to better understand the remains of the boat in context of the protected meadow, and so promotes a strategy for its conservation and any further investigation.
- PublicationPalawan Island Palaeohistoric Research Project: Report on the 2008 Dewil Valley Field SeasonThis research initiative coming out of the Archaeological Studies Program is called "The Palawan Island Palaeohistoric Research Project". For the season of 2008 work focused on the Dewil valley, Municipality of El Nido. The various research interests of the Archaeological Studies Program (ASP), The Solheim Foundation, and the National Museum of the Philippines were further advanced by this latest season. Similar to previous years, specialist collaborators from the Philippines, Europe and North America were involved in the project. The research concerns of our collaborators dove-tailed mainly through each specialist’s own research interest with that of the ASP project. This season saw the participation of a number of graduate students coming from France, Italy, Greece, Belgium, Ireland, and Azerbaijan.
- PublicationPalawan Island Palaeohistoric Research Project: Report on the 2013 SeasonThe Palawan Island Palaeohistoric Research Project (PIPRP) started operating in the municipality of El Nido in 2004. The project, however, was already active in southern Palawan since 2002. In its first two years the project concentrated work in the Rio Tuba-Bataraza area, and around the Quezon district. The work done in the first years focused on archaeological assessments in search for sites that may contribute to our knowledge of the deep history of the main island of Palawan. The early years also concentrated on palaeoenvironmental sampling in-line with our general objective of gathering proxy evidence towards a better understanding of people-landscape relationships through time.
- PublicationExploring traditions of professional practice in CRM geoarchaeology: home and away(2017-09-28)Geoarchaeology comprises a group of approaches used to interpret and predict the archaeological record. Despite a very high level of best practice during Celtic Tiger CRM, for some reason geoarchaeology – a standard practice in CRM in France, UK, Switzerland etc. – was not carried out by Irish contract archaeology.
- PublicationGeoarchaeology: driving heritage policy or sitting in the backseat? Traditions, politics and 'best practice' variation between states(2017-03-05)Ireland has a culture of internationally-recognised expertise in archaeological science, and very high standards of practice in cultural resources management (CRM) archaeology. The Republic of Ireland is, however, one of several EU states with little research in geoarchaeology, and almost no CRM applications of this beyond geophysical survey. This is despite the state seeing the Celtic Tiger building boom in 1998-2007, with so much CRM work that archaeologists were imported from all over the EU, and despite the fact that neighbouring states have been applying geoarchaeological assessment as part of standard best practice in CRM for almost two decades. One of these states has produced freely-available online guidelines on geoarchaeology for CRM (e.g. English Heritage 2007), but there are still no guidelines for the application of geoarchaeological approaches beyond geophysical survey for Irish archaeology.. This study investigates the issue of variation in so-called ‘best practice’ in CRM archaeology, in particular trying to understand how geoarchaeology - except geophysical survey - was essentially omitted from Irish CRM practice. Through interviews with stakeholders in four US states, and comparing these with four EU ‘states’, I hope to better understand the traditions of practice and the politics of definition of my own field of expertise, and to develop a set of internationally-agreed expert fundamental guidelines to reduce local prejudices in scientific standards of practice.
- PublicationIdentification of archaeological charred wood from Ille site, El Nido, Palawan, PhilippinesSeven charred wood fragments from the archaeological site of Ille in El Nido, Palawan were identified as an undetermined monocot and representatives of the families Caesalpiniaceae, Dipterocarpaceae, and Araucariaceae/Podocarpaceae. Though very few pieces were determined, the results gave a glimpse of the types of woody plants most likely present in the vicinity of Ille, 14,000 to around 4,000 years ago. This report also aims to provide taxonomic identification based on the available literature to serve as baseline information for future use.
- PublicationA Buried Jar Site and its Destruction: Tham An Mah cave, Luang Prabang province, Lao PDRThe Middle Mekong Archaeological Project conducted excavations at Tham An Mah cave, Luang Prabang, Lao PDR, as part of a larger study exploring the prehistoric archaeology of the region. Buried under surface layers were pits containing ceramic jars associated with human remains, in a complex sequence of deposits. Rare for cave sites here, the preservation of the site was excellent. The finds included a worked stone disc, overlying a crushed pot and human remains, and a constellation of types of remains resembling others from iron age sites in the region, including the Plain of Jars. Soon after we completed our field season in 2010, the National Museum learned that the site had been disturbed. In 2013 we returned to assess the impact of this and devise a plan for rescue archaeology at the site. This paper discusses the preliminary findings from Tham An Mah and its potential regional significance.
- PublicationPalawan Island Palaeohistory Research Project Report 2018In this document we share the 2018 results and related data in the annual workings of the Palawan Island Palaeohistory Research Project. At the Ille site we continued to excavate at the East West Connecting and the West Mouth West Extension trenches, as well as the newest trench, called Balete. At Pasimbahan-Magsanib we continued to excavate, with the focus on totally exposing a partially-exposed cremation along the east wall of Trench B, hypothesized to possibly belong to a cluster of cremation burials similar to that exposed at Ille (see previous reports. We also wanted to complete the excavation at Makangit-Maliit-na–Bato, and continue excavating Makangit-Pabintana, and Pacaldero cave sites. The exploration of the landscape for new archaeological sites also continued in 2018. Regarding our heritage initiative, we aimed to improve the contents of the Archaeology and Natural History Exhibit Hall, as well as continue with our community heritage engagement and education initiatives. There was also the matter of how to ethically solve the problem of surrendered human remains to the project that were collected during the 2010-2011 frenzy surrounding the purchase of human remains by unscrupulous individuals, who then passed them as the remains of World War Two Japanese missing-in-action casualties. These bones were surrendered to the project at the tail-end of the 2017 field season at the Dewil Valley. Specific objectives, however, were not all achieved. We did not manage to excavate the West Mouth West Extension Trench beyond the shell layers; the exposure of complex features, such as pits, slowed down the excavation process. The excavation of Trench B East extension at Pasimbahan is still far from achieving its main purpose: to properly expose the cremation context at the bottom of the east wall of Trench B. While Makangit-Maliit-na-Bato excavation was completed as planned, and we have located a new archaeological site (Maulohin Itaas) in Imorigue, the excavation of Makangit-Pabintana did not happen because the archaeologist who was suppose to lead the excavation did not manage to join the field season. We are general satisfied with the results of our latest revision of the exhibit inside the Natural History and Archaeology Exhibit Hall in the Dewil Valley. We still await the full blooming of consciousness within the New Ibajay community that will allow for the full implementation of a ecomuseum approach, a bottom-up, approach to the curation of the space. We are also satisfied with the way the modern human remains surrendered to the project was ethically resolved - through reburial - involving the municipal government, the barangay leadership and members of the New Ibajay community.
- PublicationEditorial introduction to EurASEAA14 Volumes 1 and 2The Fourteenth International Conference of the European Association of Southeast Asian Archaeologists (EurASEAA14) was held in Dublin from September 18-21, 2012, hosted by University College Dublin School of Archaeology. The conference took place at Dublin Castle Conference Centre and the Chester Beatty Library, in the heart of the capital, bringing together archaeologists, art historians, ethnographers and philologists who share a common interest in the past of Southeast Asia. The aim of EurASEAA is to facilitate communication between different disciplines, to present current work in the field, and to stimulate future research. This international initiative aims to foster international scholarly cooperation in the field of Southeast Asian archaeology, art history and philology.