Brazil > Bermuda #worldinterview #14

Brazil > Bermuda

Interviewee: Deborah Anne Atwood

In what ways is Bermudian archaeology global?

Whether as a navigational marker for early colonial European explorers or as a garrisoned island for the British, American, and Canadian forces Bermuda has played an important role in the history and development of the Atlantic World. Consequently Bermudians share cultural and historical links with North America, the Caribbean, England, Africa, and Europe and archaeological material found in Bermuda provides information on local and international history.

What is the biggest problem facing archaeology in Bermuda?

Currently there is little legislation on the island protecting land sites and although there is very strict legislation protecting underwater sites it can be very difficult to monitor and protect these sites. There are only a handful of local archaeologists working in Bermuda, so much of the research projects are carried out by archaeologists from overseas through partnerships with local institutions.

What role do archaeologists play in holding those in power accountable?

Very little. We can advise those in power about best practices, archaeological ethics and the best way to protect and record sites and promote scientific investigation.

In what way do you see archaeology changing as the 21st century progresses?

Technological advances have changed the way in which we record sites, especially underwater sites. With over 300 shipwrecks in Bermuda’s waters and only a handful of archaeologists on the island it would take years to accurately record every wreck. However, the development of affordable recording equipment like GoPro cameras and 3D model technology means that we can enlist the local dive community to assist us with mapping and surveying of sites. The possibility to perhaps use 3D printing technology to take models of wrecks and replica artifacts into local classrooms is also very exciting and could enable us to better teach the importance of preserving and protecting our cultural heritage.

About Deborah:

Assistant Curator, National Museum of Bermuda.

Questions from James Dixon in the UK.

Click the worldinterview tag for more interviews in this series.

Iceland > Brazil #worldinterview #13

Iceland > Brazil

Interviewee: Artur Henrique Franco Barcelos

Do you think academic departments need to demonstrate ‘relevance’ to public audiences – if so what are the challenges?

Yes, certainly. The main challenge is to break with the academic conception of knowledge and to create strategies of dialogues with the external public.. But this will only be possible if academic archaeologists understand the importance of the debates proposed by Public Archaeology.

How do you see digital technology contributing to the interpretation and research agendas for archaeologists and anthropologists in the future?

I believe that digital tools, however advanced, continue to play the same role as drawings and photographs do in the archaeological works of the nineteenth century. Its use can never replace solid theoretical training and a capacity for reflection on the data facilitated by technology.

What role to archaeologists play in holding those in power accountable?

This depends on what power we are talking about. If it is political power, this varies from country to country, according to the local laws on the archaeological heritage, its research and its preservation. In this case, archaeologists must know the law and organize ways to participate directly or indirectly in political bodies. If we are talking about power in a generic way, it is up to archaeologists to recognize the forms and practices of power with which they are dealing, especially when dealing with fragile communities in relation to political and economic power.

In what way do you see archaeology changing as the 21st century progresses?

I believe there are two possible paths to archaeology in the face of significant changes in terms of rights and social struggles in the 21st century. And also in terms of the very issues surrounding science. On the one hand, archaeology can remain closed in its idea that it is the science that studies the past through material culture, preferably ancient. And so she will be exempt from engaging in controversial issues. On the other hand, the archaeology may see material culture as a way of understanding certain aspects of the human being, both past and present. This will lead to an epistemological revolution and will allow archaeology to escape the old concepts. In the same way, it will make archaeologists necessarily involved in the issues of their time, leaving the grid to fight the struggles of the present.

About Artur:

Associate Professor of the Bachelor of Archaeology of the Federal University of Rio Grande FURG, Brazil.

Artur wrote Espaço e Arqueologia nas Missões Jesuíticas: o caso de São João Batista (2000) and O Mergulho no Seculum: exploração, conquista e organização espacial jesuítica na América Espanhola Colonial (2013). He is also the author of many papers and book chapters on these topics. His main research interest is in Latin American History, with an emphasis on the history of the Rio de la Plata region. His other research interests include evangelization in colonial Latin America, Jesuit missions, geohistory, cartography, space, patrimony, historical archaeology, and material culture. Artur is the head of the H.E.C.A.T.E.U’s Lab (American History and Cartography: Space, Territory, and Urbanism), where he leads several projects related to Jesuit cartography.

He is also the manager of the website

Questions from Gísli Pálsson in Iceland.

Click the worldinterview tag for more interviews in this series.

Rathnadrinna Research Excavation, Cashel, Co. Tipperary, Ireland

This year marks the first season of excavation on Rathnadrinna Fort, funded by the Royal Irish Academy of Ireland. Rathnadrinna Fort is a trivallate, circular hilltop enclosure situated in Lalor’s-Lot townland, 3.33km south-southeast of the Rock of Cashel, Co. Tipperary, Ireland.  The hilltop affords the fort extensive views across the adjacent low lying land and is inter-visible with a number of high-status forts surrounding the Rock of Cashel, to the north. Rathnadrinna Fort is the largest and best preserved of Cashel’s forts, and research here presents an ideal opportunity to learn more about the evolution and function of such sites in a royal landscape.

After three weeks digging we have uncovered a stone-lined corn-drying kiln outside the fort, the excavation of the fort ditches is underway and these are proving to be substantial in nature. We have revealed the old ground surface beneath portions of the fort banks and the excavation of the fort interior is revealing many interesting features. Finds to date include worked flints, an unidentified ferrous object from the fill of the kiln, and an interesting assemblage of late post medieval finds from a dumping episode outside the fort bank.

Our international team of volunteers includes diggers from Brazil, USA, Poland, Lithuania, Germany, Austria, England and Ireland. We have facilitated local primary school visits where the children were able be archaeologists for a day, meet the diggers and see our discoveries. For the Day of Archaeology Rowan Lacey gave a display of flint knapping, James Bonsall did a Magnetometer Survey over our kiln, Liudas Juodzbalys showed us a DVD of his experimental iron working, we had a game of hurling, the site director bought everyone a bag of the finest Morelli’s chips and Mickaela from San Paulo made a cheese fondue! Follow us on