Aceramic dry distillation of birch bark tar (2009)
The starting point for the experiments were the finds of ancient birch bark tar, from Königsaue in Germany, and tooth marks on several Scandinavian Mesolithic specimens.
A variety of structures were created to try and replicate the production of birch bark tar without pottery. None of the experiments resulted in useable tar, however, two showed evidence of the initial stages of tar production.
The experiments were undertaken in collaboration with public archaeologist Grethe Moéll Pedersen, and Sagnlandet, Lejre, Denmark, provided us with the facilities and necessary funding. The project is registered at Sagnlandet under reference no J.W. 12/09.
The online publication of the experiments can be found in Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences 2015 vol 7 issue 1 (available online).
Aceramic production of birch bark tar using simple raised structures (2013)
Building on the work from 2009, in 2013 we successfully produced birch bark tar without pottery using only sand, birch bark, and fire. These experiments focussed on the use of raised structures, which had showed promise in our previous experiments. Additionally, we were attempting to discover how Neanderthals might have made birch bark tar.
The online publication of the experiments can be found in Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences 2018 vol 10 issue 1 (available online).
Groom, P., Pickard, C., & Bonsall, C. (2018). Early Holocene Sea Fishing in Western Scotland: An Experimental Study. Journal of Island & Coastal Archaeology. [In print]
Schenck, T. & Groom, P. (2018). The aceramic production of Betula pubescens (downy birch) bark tar using simple raised structures. A viable Neanderthal technique? Journal of Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences. Vol 10(1). (available online).
Groom, P. (2016). The Hunter, the Dog Men and the House by the Shore. Amazon books. (order online).
Groom, P., Schenck, T., & Pedersen G. (2015). Experimental explorations into the aceramic dry distillation of Betula pubescens (downy birch) bark tar. Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences. Vol 7(1). (available online).
Groom, P. (2013). Experiments with a finger drill. Bulletin of Primitive Technology 46, 10-16.
Bonsall, C., Pickard, C., & Groom, P. (2013). Boats and Pioneer Settlement: The Scottish Dimension, Norwegian Archaeological Review, 46/1.
Schenck, T. (2011). Experimenting with the unknown. In Experimental archaeology: between enlightenment and experience. Edited by B Petersson, and L E Narmo,
Acta Archaeologica Lundensia, no.62. (available online).
Groom, P. (2010). Yarns in Ancient Times. Yarnmaker. Vol 2:3.
Schenck, T. (2010). Why were they pots? : an experimental perspective on the introduction of ceramics in Early Neolithic South Norway. Lambert Academic Press. (available online).
Groom, P. (2009). Experimental archaeology: How can it help us to understand our links with nature and the past? Nicolay 107:45-50.
Schenck, T. (2009). Can we involve the public in experimental research? EXAR Bilanz.