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Experiment and Experience – Practice in a Collaborative Environment

TitleExperiment and Experience – Practice in a Collaborative Environment
Publication TypeBook Chapter
Year of Publication2008
AuthorsHANSEN, C.
Book TitleExperiencing Archaeology By Experiment
PublisherOxbow Books
Publication LanguageEnglish
ISBN Number978-1-84217-342-8

The Umha Aois (Irish for “Bronze Age”) experimental bronze casting project was founded in 1995 by a group of artists in Ireland. The project was led mainly by art practitioners until 2004, when interest from archaeologists and PhD researchers began to increase dramatically. The project is now characterised by an interdisciplinary approach. Practitioners from diverse fi elds as art, archaeology, ethnography and media studies meet regularly to conduct artistic and archaeological
experiments, as well as public demonstrations.
Now in its 12th year, the project is beginning to make a signifi cant contribution to experimental archaeology. Participants have gained a high level of competence in Bronze Age casting technologies and are generating publishable data. Due to its
interdisciplinary nature, Umha Aois provides a forum for experiential activities and scientific experiment, practical skills and theoretical thought in fi elds as diverse as art, archaeology, ethnography and philosophy.
This paper will concentrate on the potential relationships between academic and practical knowledge within Umha Aois as an interdisciplinary research group. The presentation concludes by placing the project into the wider context of current
models of research and knowledge generation, which encourage practical experience in combination with traditional academic research.