SERF: The Strathearn Environs and Royal Forteviot Project -Àrainneachdan Srath Èireann & Pròiseact Rìoghail Fhothair Tabhaicht‌

The Strathearn Environs and Royal Forteviot project, or SERF, began in 2006 when three archaeologists decided to pursue their overlapping research interests in this landscape in Perthshire. Professor Steve Driscoll, Dr Kenny Brophy and Gordon Noble, who was a post-doctoral fellow at the time, were fascinated by the landscape of Strathearn and its archaeological significance […]

Unearthing Iona: Developing an Archaeological Research Framework for Iona

‌A’ Cladhach an Eilean Ì: A’ Leasachadh Frèam-obrach Rannsachadh Arc-eòla The tranquil Isle of Iona, nestled amongst the Inner Hebrides, has drawn visitors in search of its natural beauty and on pilgrimage for generations. At one point, the island was perhaps the most significant place in all of medieval Scotland. Founded by Saint Columba in […]

Set in Stone: Future Thinking on Carved Stones in Scotland

Set In Stone: Future Thinking on Carved Stones in Scotland Stèidhte sa Chloich: Beachdan air Clachan Snaidhte ann an Alba In Scotland, carved stone monuments are all around us. They shape our sense of place and identity, and tell us much about past peoples, their identities, beliefs, tastes, technologies and lives. But how would you […]

Origins of Art: The Provenance Project

Reach 09 – Origins of Art: The Provenance Project ‌Tùs Ealain : Pròiseact Tùsachd Have you ever found yourself standing before a beautiful work of Chinese art, admiring its colours, tones and textures, with your feet are firmly planted in the UK? If you’ve visited the Burrell Collection, the National Museum of Scotland, or the […]

Reach 08: Build n Burn

Build n Burn | Tog is Loisg Dr Kenny Brophy’s perspective on his own place within the field of archaeology admittedly perplexes some of his colleagues. Brophy’s research is largely concerned with prehistoric monuments from the British Neolithic period, and yet rather than referring to himself as a ‘prehistorian,’ he considers himself a ‘contemporary archaeologist’ […]

Reach 08: Situating barkcloth production in time and place

A’ Suidheachadh Dèanamh Clò-Rùisg a’ Chuain Shèimh ann an Tìm is Àite

Barkcloth
Misa Tamura (centre) Research Conservator, displaying barkcloth at a Centre for Textile Conservation and Technical Arts History open dat, 18th March 2016. Photo by Sarah Foskett.

Barkcloth has been used to make clothing, furnishings, garments and ritual masks in the tropical islands of the Pacific, such as Samoa, the Cook Islands and Hawaii for around 5000 years. It was made by beating the raw tree bark until it became a soft, tactile, non-woven textile. Although Western styles and fashions are now more common in the Pacific, the material is still used across the region as an expression of cultural identity. Yet very little is known about the material itself, and about how best to display, store and preserve barkcloth collections.

Frances Lennard, a Senior Lecturer in Textile Conservation, is leading a new AHRC funded project to study bark cloth as an art form. Lennard’s team includes Misa Tamura, a specialist in the conservation of ethnographic collections, material scientist Dr Margaret Smith who is studying the material properties of the cloth, and art historian Dr Andrew Mills who will be placing the artefacts in their historical context. The broader aim of the project is to ‘find out whether materials, techniques and designs originated from particular islands, how they were transmitted around the region and the effect of globalisation on this tradition.’ Cutting edge techniques will also be used to try and identify which plants were used to make the barkcloth, including protein and DNA analysis and isotope analysis. Read more about Reach 08: Situating barkcloth production in time and place

Reach 08 – Runaway Slaves: Exploring Britain’s Multiracial Past

Tràillean a Theich: Rannsachadh Eachdraidh Ioma-Chinneach Bhreatainn In 1752 an enslaved teenager named Jamie was brought from Virginia to Beith in Ayrshire, where he was trained as a joiner. Then in 1756 Jamie’s master decided to send him back to Virginia and sell him, at which point the young man escaped to Edinburgh where he […]

Colouring the Past

We often think of history in black and white – even the textiles that survive have lost their original shades. But how would our understanding of the past change if we could see it in colour? The research of PhD student Jing Han aims to do just this. By analysing tiny samples of historic textiles, […]

Landscape Management and the Ecomuseum

Ecomuseums are museums without walls; they are a landscape. They can exist in rural or urban areas, but they have to tell a remarkable story about the community in that area. As part of her work with the Mediterranean Institute of Nature and Anthropos and her Marie Curie funded research project, Aphrodite Sorotou has helped […]