TRACamp 2018


This two-day TRAC Workshop aims to promote the use of experimental archaeology for the development of theoretical approaches in the field of Roman archaeology. This event is sponsored by the Council for British Archaeology (Mick Aston Archaeology Fund) and the Vindolanda Trust.

The conference will be held at the Roman fort of Vindolanda on Roman Britain’s northern frontier and will take place from September 22nd to the 23rd (Saturday and Sunday) of 2018. Delegates will include established academics, early career researchers, PhD students, amateur enthusiasts, skilled professionals, and the general public.

Day One will be devoted to the presentation of academic papers (in a single session format), with an emphasis on current uses of archaeological experiments and the evaluation of their impact on theoretical frameworks within Roman studies. Day Two will be devoted to demonstrations and hands-on experiments carried out on the site. Demonstrations will be opened to the public to further promote the significance of experimental archaeology for archaeological research, as well as the role of Vindolanda in this field of investigation.

Examples of on-site experiments include:

  1. Pottery production (demonstration)
  2. Pottery firing (demonstration)
  3. Roof tile production (demonstration)
  4. Metal working (demonstration)
  5. Roman cooking (hands-on)
  6. Net production (hands-on


CFP, Schedule, and Session Abstracts 

Current sessions include themes in experimental archaeology such as computer reconstructions, structural reproductions, and artefact reproductions for both academic and public education.  Alternative themes are also encouraged for the general session as well as for the posters and demonstrations. The first day of papers will be held in the Headley Centre at the site of Vindolanda while the posters will be displayed in the Vindolanda Museum. Demonstrations and hands-on experiments will take place on the second day on the grounds surrounding the museum and will be open to the public.

Please submit abstracts using the template provided to: by June 22nd, 2018.

Abstract Template

Day One (Paper presentations)

9:30 Registration and Coffee

10:00 Welcome Introduction


Session 1: Theorise, Reconstruct, and Test. Processes in Roman experimental archaeology.

Theoretical archaeology has long relied on interdisciplinary research and the integration of diverse methodologies for interpreting archaeological remains. One such discipline is experimental archaeology, itself a diverse and modular subdiscipline. For many, experimental archaeology is therefore one of several approaches to testing hypotheses within a broader project. This session will examine various studies in which experiments play a partial but crucial role.

Aspects to be discussed:

Role of experimental archaeology in academic projects

Accessibility to experimental data

Successful integrated studies

11:35 Tea and Coffee Break


Session 2: The Targeted Audience. Public education and academic publication.

Whether by design or effect, the public can play a crucial role in supporting an academic experimental project, both financially and professionally. Many experiments are reliant on manufacturing techniques or skill-sets that have survived in modern professions. In addition, the human experience is an important factor in testing hypotheses, here a public audience can produce a unprecedent volume of data for the researcher. This session aims to highlight the role of the public in Roman experimental archaeology, how our research may be modelled around their support and to what extent this affects academic publication.

Aspects to be discussed:

Experiments involving or aimed at the public

The role of experiments in museums and schools

Issues with academic integration

13:00 Lunch


Session 3: General Session.

Experimental archaeology is a diverse subdiscipline with countless methodologies, objectives and results. This general session aims to encourage and demonstrate such diversity by attracting a variety of papers.

15:30 Tea and Coffee Break


Session 4: Virtual Projects: Reconstructions or Experimentations?

With the advent of the computer and the development of imagery software, digital reconstructions of ancient structures are becoming a popular and effective addition to Roman studies. Unsurprisingly, this resource has been adopted by both classicists and archaeologists, primarily as a method of depicting our interpretations. It is now necessary to determine whether this process can further be used to test theories and develop hypotheses, in short, whether it is an effective method of experimental archaeology. In this session a few projects will demonstrate the success of this technique and its potential for future studies.

Aspects to be discussed:

Methods of virtual reconstructions

Tested theories

Future goals



As a workshop, the primary goal of TRACamp is to evaluate the status of experimental archaeology in Roman studies. This is a platform in which delegates can voice their concerns and discuss the future of the subdiscipline. Delegates will also have the opportunity to further discuss the papers delivered and provide feedback and support. The final topic for discussion will be the future of Roman experimental archaeology.

17:45 Drinks

18:30 Dinner at Twice Brewed Pub (included in delegate fee)


Day Two (Interactive workshop)

9:30-10:50 Workshop 1: Demonstrations

Delegates are encouraged to demonstrate one or several aspects of their experiment(s). This is the perfect opportunity to encourage discussions and obtain feedback from colleagues. For the second day Vindolanda will also be open to the public, which will allow a wider audience.

10:50-11:15 Poster presentations/small-scale demonstrations

For those delegates whose projects are in the early stages, or those who are unable to produce demonstrations on location, we encourage poster presentations. Whether demonstrating a few physical examples or discussing the objectives/results of your work, this is a good opportunity to get constructive feedback.

11:15-11:45 Tea and Coffee Break

11:45-13:00 Workshop 2: Hands-on experiments

Whether you are keen to share your experiments with others or if your project would benefit from volunteer involvement, this section of the workshop encourages on-site experiments in which delegates and the public can get involved and get their hands dirty.

13:00 Lunch 

13:30-14:30 Workshop 3: Demonstrations and Poster presentations

This section provides another opportunity to share your work with delegates and the public, gain constructive feedback and make valuable contacts.

14:30-15:00 Discussion

A final discussion will allow delegates to voice their concerns, expectations and objectives for the use of experimental archaeology in Roman studies. We hope to highlight future prospects and cement a collaborative effort that will promote and encourage this scientific approach in Roman studies.

15:00 Ending comments



The delegate fee will be 30.00 GBP (plus VAT) for this two-day workshop. Places are limited so register now by clicking this link! 

Logistics and Accommodation 

Each morning (Saturday and Sunday) a hired bus will pick up delegates in Bardon Mill and then make a stop at the newly renovated YHA Sill Hostel  located near the fort of Vindolanda. As such, we would suggest that delegates stay at the YHA Hostel or at one of the hotels in the Bardon Mill area.

For more information about how to get to Vindolanda please follow this link.

As part of the delegate fee, lunch will be provided both days along with tea/coffee. Dinner will also be provided on Saturday night at the Twice Brewed Pub.


Due to the generous contributions of the Council for British Archaeology (Mick Aston Fund) and the Vindolanda Trust multiple bursaries are available to help delegates cover their travel and accommodation for this two-day TRAC Workshop. Please visit our Bursaries page to apply.

Workshop Organisers:

Lee A. Graña (

Matthew J. Mandich (



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