Sep. 10th, 2011

ossamenta: Tanner from Medieval manuscript (Vitgarvare (Nürnberg 12brüderstiftung))
It's been a good week. As expected, the conference was dominated by eastern europeans and archaeobotanists (sometimes one and the same), which skewed the talks somewhat. Evenso, there were lots of interesting talks, ranging from the Roman period to the post-medieval, from Aberdeen in the north-west to Istanbul in the south-east. I think the most interesting for me were Sabine Karg's A cross-disciplinary approach to understanding the diversity of useful plants during the Middle Ages and the Early Modern period in the Baltic - taste preferences, purchasing power or climatic limitations? and Norbert Benecke and Peggy Morgenstern's Food economy in medieval urban centres of Berlin - the archaeozoological record. The plant study has been collected in the book Medieval food traditions in Northern Europe, but unfortunately there has not been a corresponding study on the animal bones from the Hansa sites. Hopefully I can can find out if/where the archaeological studies from Berlin are published. My talk went well, and I think most people were interested in what I had to say. From a purely palynological point of view, it was probably rather irrelevant. :-)

As the plant, animal bone and human bone specialists in eastern Europe mainly come from the natural sciences, rather than the humanist faculties, as they do in Sweden and the UK (the bone specialists at least - not sure about the plant specialists), discussions were slanted thereafter ("we scientists must talk to the archaeologists") which irritated me and some of the other archaeologists there. Not sure what to to about this, apart of course to talk to the "other side" as it were, so everyone can be aware of where we (and they) are coming from and how this can bias our thinking. I wish that it was easier to do cross-faculty studies. From a Swedish point of view I'm limited in what I can study at university level since I did the economics/social science branch of the gymnasium (the last three years in school, technically optional) and not the natural science/technological branch. For most, if not all, courses in various natural sciences I have to do three years of physics, chemistry, biology and natural science level math, as I otherwise would not meet the qualifications for entrance. Which, needless to say, suck. While multi-disciplinary studies is clearly the way to go, it's not possible to do all disciplines by oneself. Therefore, in my ideal world, we would talk to each other, go to multidiciplinary conferences and learn what the other fields can do to help my field. My next project is a study of university diet, and for that I will not only need archaeozoology, but archaeobotany, history, and probably lots of other fields that can tangentially help me find patterns.

Gdansk itself was lovely. I had planned to post lots of pictures, but as I can't find the camera cord, this will have to wait. :-(


ossamenta: Weasel skull (Default)

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