Community archaeology is done by teams which include archaeologists – archaeologists are not the leads – they collaborate and contribute. Caimin O’Brien of the National Monuments Service and Bernie Goldbach of LIT have encouraged Eachtra to develop the use of off-the-shelf technology in community surveys of historic graveyards. Farmers, school children from 10-16, and a wide range of community members have all had a hand in generating hyperlocal heritage videos using digital cameras in general and the iPod Touch in particular. Add iMovie to the Touch and videos can be recorded, edited and published all without the intervention of a laptop or desktop computer. Heritage media production is now in the hands of the community.
Taking advantage of the soft morning light the Aghada/Whitegate Graveyard research group conducted a geotagged photographic survey of Garrankinnefeake this morning. We will publish the photographs later on but for now we can publish a file which records some of the sounds of an historic graveyard in Ireland. Nothing much happens, birdsong and the distant chatof community volunteers is all you hear but the sounds, voices and accents are distinctive to the east side of Cork harbour. They form the aural backdrop of a day of archaeology.
A colleague of ours spent years recording the archaeology of an island off the west coast of Ireland. In the last few weeks of the project the team commenced the survey of the islands’ historic graveyard.
‘Finally,’ his neighbours said jokingly ‘ you are doing something useful around here’.
We know, as archaeologists, the value of our surveys, excavations and publications (http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/) but that value is not always apparent to the general public. We have found that community-based historic graveyard surveys (http://www.historicgraves.ie/blog) are a great way to introduce members of the public to our methods and to our ways of thinking and looking at the world.
In the course of this Day of Archaeology we hope to touch on the application of archaeological methods to historic graveyard surveys and to also present the sights and sounds of the Irish landscape.