Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Salt Session at TAG-on-Sea : TAG 2013

Confirmation of our salt session at the Theoretical Archaeology Group 2013 conference - TAG-on-Sea at Bournemouth University 16-18 December 2013.
The half day session on salt will include six presentations and a workshop.
For details of the whole conference, booking details and local accommodation go to the TAG-on-Sea site.


Exploring ancient and traditional salt-production sites in their environs and moving towards better ways of investigation and interpretation: New Research

Session Abstract:
This session provides an overview of current and new approaches to the investigation and interpretation of ancient and traditional salt-production sites.   Earlier studies of salt-production have often been limited by a lack of well-preserved sites and a bias in the evidence preserved, resulting in a heavy reliance on briquetage form studies.  Fortunately, the investigation and revealing of new sites in the last two decades, as well as new projects exploring and preservation of traditional salt-production, which can greatly inform on ancient techniques and organisation, have significantly accelerated and expanded our understanding of this important industry.  This session firstly explores the creation of Ecosal; a project bringing together traditional salt-production sites and salt makers from different countries.  Then there is an emphasis on research which aims to contextualise earlier salt-production in their greater environs, including organisation of production, the impact of production on surrounding landscape, and the use of modern techniques (LIDAR) to enrich the number of known sites as well as their position in the landscape.   New approaches to briquetage studies will also presented, which aims to explore new ways in which this material can be used to reconstruct technique, as well as use of space (in the workshop).   New ways of sampling sites will also be discussed.  At the end of the session there will also be the opportunity for the speakers and the audience to contribute to a workshop focused on pragmatic and much needed strategies to investigate and make sense of salt-production sites in the archaeological record.  This will include discussion and debate about the best way that this can be achieved, and the issues arising when working with these often challenging sites.

Workshop Abstract:
Realising potential and getting the most out of the site:  Exploring the Identification, processing and interpretation of a prehistoric/Roman salt-production site.  This workshop will provide an arena for the sharing of experience gained from the archaeological investigation and subsequent interpretation of these sites.  Identifying and making sense of these often fragmented sites can be challenging, as well as the processing of potentially vast quantities of briquetage.  However, with a prior understanding of the way space can be used in these sites, as well as the types of features that can be expected, and their relationship to each part of the process, it is possible to reconstruct much about these sites, even with limited evidence.  The method of processing these sites is also important, and sampling of briquetage as well as the removal of systematic environmental samples, can greatly enrich understanding of these sites.  Finally, the significance and position of these sites in the wider landscape and environs, which has been traditionally less focused upon in the past, can provide much context as to the modes of organisation, as well as areas of more intense production, and the potential environmental impact of these sites on their surroundings.  This workshop provides an opportunity to share key information and new methods, as well as an opportunity for questions and aims to ‘demystify’ these sites and look toward the creation of a framework for future work.

Chair: TBC


1.    Andrew Fielding :
Introducing ECOSAL-UK : What can a new body do?

2.    Sarah-Jane Hathaway :
The creation of new modes as a tool for exploring the organisation of Iron Age and Romano-British salt-production in southern Britain

3.    Tom Lane:
Lidar, Landscape and the pursuit of coastal salterns

4.    Nicholas Branch, Naomi Riddiford, Larent Oliver, Christopher Green, Simon Armitage, Kevin Williams, Rob Batchelor and Mathew Smith:
Evaluating the environmental impact of prehistoric industrial scale salt production in the Seille Valley, NE France

5.    Mark Brisbane, John Beavis, Brian Astin, Iain Green :
Bitter briquetage: Some preliminary thoughts on the role of fired clay in the removal of bitterns in salt

6.    Frank Green:
Chlorites, sulphites, silica and carbon; sampling Lymington’s salt works

7.    WORKSHOP and discussion: 90 minutes

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