Edinburgh, Lothians and Borders Archaeology Conference 2017!
Another year, another fabulous conference! If we were to start a recipe book for creating the perfect mix of people, papers and provisions at a regional archaeology conference, perhaps it may have read a little like this year’s programme:
….take one probable barrow in Prestonpans; add in a chunk of medieval buildings, settlement and industry in Edinburgh’s Old Town; lace with place names and long-lost churches in Berwickshire and Coldstream; dot with isolated prehistoric pits; mix well with some prehistoric settlement in Dunbar, serve with a slice of Lamer Island; douse with a good slug of Flodden; and, finally, bake with copious amounts of coffee and delightful nibbles….!
(For those of you lucky enough to have heard Beverley Ballin Smith’s thought-provoking paper, you will note the nod to her baking reference!)
Putting almost all tom-foolery aside (never quite all, we are archaeologists), we were treated to another splendid array of papers, delivered by a wonderful mix of heritage groups, commercial units and academics. Each gave us a fascinating insight into a diverse, and in some cases, wholly unexpected range of topics: the intricacies of the medieval tanning process and its associated material culture; the specific sequential numbering of the roof beams in Panmure House; the very localised design of the stone-carved grave markers in medieval border Kirks…the list goes on!
We’ve also had a conference that has highlighted the benefits of coming together and sharing the results of the heritage work we are all engaged in.
This reinforces our existing relationships, but also helps to forge new links, create new collaborations and pose further avenues for research. All of which is most timely given the work just starting on SESARF, our South East Scotland Archaeological Research Framework!
The conference has shown that there is clearly much to be gained, on several fronts, from such a regional syntheses; for understanding more broadly the heritage that we do have, and for working out what we don’t know; and, importantly for strengthening our amazing heritage community in the south-east!
Thanks very much to all our speakers, sponsors and stalls for making this year’s conference another success…we’re already looking forward to next year’s – if you have any comments, photos or suggestions we’d love to hear from you!