A Year on the Field
A Year on the Field
A wide variety of growers participate in our project - from museums
to (organic) farmers to living history farms.
Meet our growers:
Archäotechnisches Zentrum Welzow (GER)
The Archäotechnisches Zentrum Welzow (ATZ) is a museum and an educational centre based in Welzow (Brandenburg, Germany). Besides the organization of cultural activities for adults and school groups, the ATZ carries out archaeotechnological and experimental research projects.
During the year 2021/2022 we joined the pilot project “A Year On The Field” as contributors. For the flax year we will upgrade and join the project as Growers as well. In our small museum garden we will grow flax and document the development of this crop that is been historical relevant in our region and is experiencing a little come back. We would like to integrate the topic “Flax” into our educational programs, too, both from the historical point of view but also as a great raw material and food source in present times.
Colonial Williamsburg (VA, USA)
Colonial Williamsburg is the world’s largest Living History museum. The institution interprets the 18th century capital of Virginia by living history means including over 200 tradespeople practicing trades as they were done in this period. Over 400 Historic homes and buildings (88 original and the remaining reconstructed) make up this historical environment. Character interpretation, house tours, carriage rides, and museums create an engaging learning environment that is focused on our mission: That the future may learn from the past.
Estonian Agricultural Museum (EST)
The Estonian Agricultural Museum is located in the historic Ülenurme Manor estate near Tartu. The museum, founded in 1968, uses exhibition spaces in old stables as well as livestock building to introduce visitors to the history and development of Estonian agriculture and rural life as well as changes in agricultural machinery from early 20th century through the Soviet era, including some astonishing self-built tractors and tools. Farm animals from Estonian Quail to Kihnu Sheep await your company!
Part of our museum complex is a field where each year different cereal grain, potatoes and root vegetables are grown to show our visitors how to grow them and for museum educators to use them in our programmes focusing on local food.
You can spend an entire day exploring, learning and relaxing in the park or on the picnic area.
Gut Ogrosen (GER)
The Gut Ogrosen is a biodynamical farm located in southern Brandenburg (Germany). To the farm belong 450 ha crop fields and pasture for our 120 milking cows, 100 ha woods and a laboratory for the production of cheese and other dairy products.
With about 15 different species cultivated on our fields we have a wide crop rotation. Over the years we built a solid regional network for the marketing of our products. Mostly we sell directly over the all-organic farm shop but we also sell to regional processors such as restaurants, millers or bakeries.
In the early 2000s we restored an old building into apartments for guests.
The Gut Ogrosen contributes to “A Year On The Field” by cultivating brown and gold flax. We process the seeds direct on the farm and produce original Spreewald flax oil.
DIE HOCHWALDKELTEN, an archaeological friends' and cultural club at the Otzenhausen ring wall site and Celtic village in Saarland, were immediately hooked when the Lauresham open-air laboratory called for the Project: A Year On The Field.
Our aims are to promote scientific research on Celtic culture and to demonstrate it through experiments or ancient handicraft techniques.
As we are currently in the process of building the garden, this opportunity came at just the right time.
In good spirits, we started sowing flax in mid-April.
At the beginning of May, the first tiny seedlings appeared. Already one month later, knotweed and Atriplex had conquered the field. The Celts are not afraid of fighting and so we declared war on the weeds.
At the end of July we were rewarded with delicate, sky-blue flowers. At the end of August the seed pods ripened and we plan to harvest them at our upcoming village revival in the Celtic Park on 3 September 2022.
The Experimental Archaeology Open-Air Laboratory Lauresham is situated in the heart of the extensively remodeled and expanded UNESCO World Heritage Site Lorsch Abbey.
In the 1:1 model of a Carolingian manor, visitors have the opportunity to learn about manorialism in a vivid and accessible way.
Lauresham is also a forum for ongoing experimental archaeological research. A range of primitive technologies, crafts and agricultural methods from the Early Middle Ages are researched and tested here as part of day-to-day operations.
Some of our most prominent experiments include work on animal traction (e.g. ploug-hing), the micro-climate of the houses and exploration of the formation of ridge
and furrow field systems.
The various types of agricultural land (fields, pastures and gardens) and livestock at site, which are all similar to what you might have seen in medieval times, convey a lively picture of the day-to-day and working lives of people in the Early Middle Ages.
Organic and regenerative farming meet Environmental and Experimental Archaeology in Ryedale- investigating the potential of local fibres and dyes production for a more sustainable economy: With the help of our local community, we are learning how to re-gain the knowledge necessary to create a more sustainable use of fibres and colours in crafts and fashion. We believe that our relation with plant and animal life needs substantial changes. Our ‘textile living laboratories’ are trials of organic fields of flax for fibres and plant dyes in the North Yorkshire Moors National Park.
The Project ‘Tells’ is our practical and local contribution to a national effort to bring back the cultivation of plants for fibres and dye in Britain. Our ‘Textile Living Laboratories’ are generating knowledge by regenerating land!
We grow plant for fibres and colours, in small organic farms, within an established crops rotation system.
We re-learn old skills and old ways and we adapt them to our modern needs. We learn how to go from seeds to textile.
We share and exchange ideas and experience with other farmers and researchers in Yorkshire and beyond.
Das Halbe Team (AUT)
Under the name "DasHalbeTeam" are the team members: Carol, Samuel (16y.) and Jaymen (13y.).
Our farming method is based on sustainable and natural management. We rely on pony power as an environmentally friendly means of cultivation and use goat manure to fertilise the soil naturally.
Our aim is not only to grow high quality linseed, but also to contribute to the preservation of our environment.
The Israeli Forum for Experimental Archaeology
The Israeli Forum for Experimental Archaeology was created in 2020 as a confluence for archaeologists, academics, educators, Living History recreators and practitioners of ancient crafts. Conceived during an excavation on the outskirts of Jerusalem, the founders of the Forum, who come from varying backgrounds, realized that there are many people who practice experimental archaeology for their own purposes in Israel, but they are disconnected. This is true on multiple levels, i.e. a disconnect between Living History groups and academic institutions, but also researchers in different archaeological departments were not aware of the experiments done by their peers.
The Forum is our solution to this disconnect. We aim to create more and better experimental archaeology through collaboration, knowledge sharing and public engagement. The Forum does not focus on a particular field or period, we support whatever interests drive our members.
We are growing the Flax on a local farm 'havat bar' located on kibbutz tzora, the farm is used for learning and education for school children. The drying and processing will take place at our living laboratory that is located at the historical site 'Yellin House in Motza' (not far from Jerusalem).
Kwantlen Polytechnic University and EartHand Gleaners (Can)
Kwantlen Polytechnic University and EartHand Gleaners is a partnership between the academic researcher (Dr. Kathy Dunster @ KPU) and a local non-governmental organisation (NGO) of artists, producers and educators, and aims to promote a sustainable local flax industry by growing and processing flax into fibre.
The project researches the history of flax and seeks to preserve old varieties for seed trials. It focuses on answering research questions related to climate-adapted fibre flax varieties, and better varieties for British Columbia's climate and soils.
The project also wants to link cultivation and production to the physical end product by identifying the essential skills, techniques and tools required to grow, harvest and process flax for sustainable organic production. The progress of the project is measured weekly and each step from soil preparation to spinning and weaving is documented with photos.
To be continued...
Our project also includes numerous individuals with interest and expertise in aspects of our topic.
Our contributors include scientists, museum collection staff, weavers, spinners and others.
Texture, Museum of Flax and Textiles
Flemish textile history comes to life at Texture Kortrijk, a museum and meeting place inspired by the rich history of the flax industry on the banks of the river Lys. Visitors discover the age-old production of world famous linen, lace and damast, and experience stories of contemporary entrepreneurship, craft and textiles. Being an open house, we look for connections between past and present, between disciplines and sectors, between professionals and volunteers.
The Henry Ford (US)
The Benson Ford Research Center
The Henry Ford (THF) began in 1929, founded by industrialist Henry Ford in Dearborn, Michigan, as a showplace for his expansive collection of Americana.
Today, the Benson Ford Research Center at THF contains 5 miles (8 km) in linear feet of archival material and 3-D artifacts number in the millions. Many document the influences of agriculture and industry on American life.
Flax-related artifacts include spinning wheels, a flax break, and hackles. THF staff is cataloging flax-processing during 2023 thanks to a two-year collections management grant funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services.
Artifacts soon to be in THF’s Digital Collections include hackles, flax breaks and additional linen processing equipment. Living history interpretation at Daggett Farmhouse in THF’s Greenfield Village includes fiber processing and wool and flax spinning (as flax supplies are available).
Canada Agriculture and Food Museum (OTT, CA)
The Canada Agriculture and Food Museum (CAFM) is one of three national museums of science and innovation. Located on a national heritage site, the Canada Agriculture and Food Museum is the world's only working farm in the heart of a capital city.
With a mandate to foster scientific literacy and a mission to be a catalyst for curiosity, the museum offers visitors a unique opportunity to see diverse breeds of farm animals
— important to past and present Canadian agriculture — and to learn about the food they eat.
Cozette Griffin-Kremer (FR)
I took my doctorate in Celtic Studies at the Centre de recherche bretonne et celtique in Brest and an Advanced Research Degree (DEA) in the history of technology in a joint program of the EHESS (Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales) and the CNAM (Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers) in Paris, so I attempt to marry the two fields, especially concentrating on the calendar system and flower festivals, the relations between ritual and work, food history, human-bovine relations and museum work for intangible heritage with an emphasis on using working animals.
I am an Associate Researcher at the Centre de recherche bretonne et celtique, UBO, Brest FR, past Secretary General of the AIMA (2014-2017), and now Newsletter editor and Executive Committee member.
Claus Kropp (GER)
Project Coordinator / Lauresham
After graduating from Heidelberg University (GER), I worked at the Department for History for three years, most recently as an assistant at the chair for medieval history. In 2013 my professional path led me to the Lauresham Laboratory for Experimental Archaeology, which I am still managing today. It is both an archaeological open-air museum focusing on the Early Middle Ages as well as a research facility.
One of my main research interests is the study of medieval agriculture and its relation to the present. Both professionally and personally I am a passionate ox driver and run a very small scale farm with my family as a sideline.
I have the great pleasure to be in charge of the "A Year on the Field" project.
Lauren Muney (US)
"Silhouettes by Hand"
I am a professional artist working both in live demonstration and online. I earned a
Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the Maryland Institute, College of Art in Baltimore, Maryland USA; yet for over 20 years, I have been working in special events, production, and interactive presentation to the public. My specialty is the traditional trade of silhouette portraits. I created the logo for Year on the Field and assist in media.
I am a member of the the International Agricultural Museums (AIMA) and in the Association for Living History, Farms and Agricultural Museums (ALHFAM), the latter where I served a 3-year term on the Board of Directors, including chairing the Skills Training and Preservation committee. I helped create means and methods to pass skills of the past --and of presenting the past-- to new generations. I am especially interested in traditional trades and farming.
(Photo at left: I'm dressed in 1770s clothing at George Washington's Mount Vernon Estate and Museum, one of the Year On the Field Growers
Orit Shamir (ISR)
Orit Shamir holds a PhD from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem since 2007: in Archaeology, titled "Textiles in the Land of Israel from the Roman Period till the Early Islamic Period in the Light of the Archaeological Finds", supervised by: Prof. G. Foerster and Dr. J. Peter Wild.
She is Head Department of Museums and Exhibits at the Israel Antiquities authority;
2001-2019 Curator responsible of Organic Materials. She specializes in ancient textiles, loom weights and spindle-whorls from the Neolithic to the Medieval period in Israel. She has published over 150 articles and chapters; see antiquities.academia.edu/OritShamir
Abbo S, Zezak I, Lev-Yadun S, Shamir O, T. Fridmand and Gopher A. 2014. Harvesting wild flax in the Galilee, Israel and extracting fibers – bearing on Near Eastern plant domestication. Israel Journal of Plant Sciences 62:52-64.
Shamir O. 2020. Continuity and Discontinuity from the Neolithic Period to the Chalcolithic Period Linen Textiles Production in the Southern Levant.
Roeland Paardekooper PhD (DK)
I am a manager and archaeologist, working with archaeological open-air museums and experimental archaeology. I lived, worked and studied in the Netherlands, the UK, Germany and Denmark. I see myself as bridging between people, somebody who enables people to do their work better. I am interested in the Sustainable Development Goals and digitization of our stories.
I know what it takes to create a framework for others, to enable, to get the things done which are requested. I have also wide experience in writing and running EU Projects and have been long time community manager on different social media platforms, managing several groups and pages, connecting thousands of people.
Back in 2001, I founded EXARC with Martin Schmidt and Tomas Johansson and am the EXARC director. This is a network of over 400 people and organisations in 40 countries, working with archaeological open-air museums, experimental archaeology, ancient technology and museum interpretation. We have an online open access journal, organize online and in person conferences, podcasts and much more.
I am member of among others ICOM, ICOMOS, EXARC, and ALHFAM.
Lena Zoll (GER)
I'm an Archaeologist (M.A.) and focused on Experimental Archaeology and Pre- and Protohistory of Europe. I'm interested in sustainability, environmentalism, degrowth
and how past knowledge helps us improving the present and adapting to current crises or even averting them.
I designed and realised the A Year On The Field homepage and I am managing the project's Social Media.