Having just returned for the 3rd International Archaeoacoustics Conference some initial thoughts and report. The location for the conference; Tomar in the middle of Portugal, our academic host Fernando Coimbra, Professor of archaeology, Insituto Terra e Memoria, Geosciences Centre in conjunction with Linda Eneix and team of the Old Temples Study Foundation.
This conference seemed to be at a point at which 'archaeoacoustics' realised itself. There was much discussion for and against forming an international professional society, the need to explore further standards in practice and perhaps most pertinently allying the hard and soft sciences in a harmonious union. There are ney sayers on bath sides, however I believe the way forward is to address, accept and respect both perspectives. The experiential and the empirical should support each other.
I have decided as a field IR recordist that a study of field recording methodologies and techniques in archaeoacoustic research need explored further. There are enough researchers in the field across the globe engaged in audio field recording in heritage sites to justify a study to discover a mean approach which may lead to a standardised methodology. However with exponential advances in digital technology this needs approached with caution, risks and experimentation need to be made room for and encouraged. However digital technologies can help bring our archaeology and our imaginations alive, to paraphrase Dragos Gheorhiu; 'digital and VR technologies are the new shamanism - it can transport us'.
As well as completing my paper for the conference proceedings publication, this proposed field work study will be unveiled as it progresses here on Archaeoacoustics Scotland.
The conference was a truly amazing experience, Linda and her team have refined the conference package experience since the first conference in Malta, Feb. 2014. The programme featured long established researchers in the field and many new and younger researchers. The youngest presenter, Keith Harvey, 22 a first class Hons graduate of Perth College UHI. I was delighted to see how encouraging the established voices in archaeoacoustics were and nurturing in their advice and help towards Keith and others. It bodes well for the future.
The programmes keynote speakers are internationally re-knowned from Iegor Reznikoff, Ezra Zubro, David Lubman and joined by conference opener celebrated writer and broadcaster Paul Devereux. It was both an honour to be amongst this wealth of knowledge and humbling to be accepted as a peer. Amongst highlights including field work methodologies and arcahaeocoustics case studies and site observations was a presentation from PHd student of Goldsmiths College, Annie Goh. Annie has turned anthropology in on itself to study the subject and the researchers of archaeoacoustics itself. I look forward to reading her published output. The Scots were well represented at this years conference with myself, Keith Harvey and PHD archaeologist Michelle Walker all representing the University of the Highlands and Islands.
There was also within this rarefied bubble of intellectual stimulation a realisation that this data and findings be made meaningful to the public. Several of the presentations touched on this idea and brought to mind the Re-Imagining Space project.
The conference included field trips and further presentations by in the field archaeologists and museum curators and academics. We were also treated to a surprise visit by Professor Chris Scarre co-editor of the first archaeoacoustics conference proceedings at Cambridge University in 2003, Chris also coined the term 'archaeoacoustics'. There was art inspired by culture, heritage and sound design, performances both impromptu and organised and all was a marvel. Portugal is beautiful and we will be back. Thank you again Linda Eneix and Josette Linda's unsung hero in the background.
I will continue to follow up these musings as they inspire me.