Archaeological experiments

Conducting and facilitating archaeological experiments is a growing part of my work. I am not a specialist in one specific skill, but over the past 20 years I have become proficient in a wide variety of skills. I can advise on practical aspects of scientific experiments, conduct experiments alone or as part of a team or simply provide replicas and materials.

Because of my skill set and my experience with stone age technology in the field, I can provide insight in the various ways a certain result can be obtained and in the interrelationship of technologies.

Over the years I have worked with various scientists:

  • Prof. A.L. van Gijn of the University of Leiden: hundreds of experiments to produce microwear on artifacts of stone, bone, skin, fibres, wood, pottery and antler. Archery experiments. Neolithic house building experiments. Dugout canoe building.
  • Prof. dr. N. Milner and dr. A. Little of University of York (U.K.): experiments on artefacts from Star Carr from stone, bone, antler and wood. In 2016 I was offered a position as Research Associate at the University of York.
  • Prof. Dr. C. Hofman and dr. M. Hoogland of the University of Leiden: Caribbean house building and shell axe making experiments.
  • Dr. C. Van Driel of the University of Leiden: tanning experiments.
  • Dr. F. Braadbaart of the University of Leiden: tar and pitch making experiments.
  • Drs. C. Vermeer and K. Hänninen of Biax: experiments with woodworking and toolmarks on wood.
  • Drs. N.Bottema-Mac Gillavry: basketry experiments with clematis
  • Dr. G. Langejans of the University of Leiden: experiments with adhesives and tanning methods in Mesolithic South Africa. Tar making experiments
  • Dr. K. Wentink of the University of Leiden: experiments with Neolithic battle axes.
  • Drs. G. Nobles of the University of Groningen: skin boat building experiment.

Publications

In some cases the experiments mentioned above have led to some form of publication. I mention only those to which I have contributed as author:

  • Elliott, B., Taylor, B., Knight, B., Milner, N., Robson, H.K., Pomstra, D., Little, A., en Coneller, C., 2019, Understanding the bone and antler assemblages from Star Carr, in Gross, D., Lübke, H., Meadows, J. en Jantzen, D., From bone and antler to mesolithic life in Northern Europe. untersuchungen und Materialien zur Steinzeit in Schleswig-Holstein und im Ostseeraum 10 (Kiel Hamburg 2019), Zentrum von Baltische und Skandinavische Archaeologie (ZBSA), Schleswig.
  • Webb, J. et al., 2018: Stones. In: Milner et al., Star Carr Volume 2: Studies in Technology, Subsistence and Environment, pp. 479-491, White Rose University Press, York.
  • Needham et al., 2018: Beads and Pendant. In: Milner et al., Star Carr Volume 2: Studies in Technology, Subsistence and Environment, pp. 463-477, White Rose University Press, York.
  • Fletcher, L. et al., 2018: The use of birch bark. In: Milner et al., Star Carr Volume 2: Studies in Technology, Subsistence and Environment, pp. 367-418, White Rose University Press, York.
  • Taylor, M. et al., 2018: The Wooden Artefacts. In: Milner et al., Star Carr Volume 2: Studies in Technology, Subsistence and Environment, pp. 419-435, White Rose University Press, York.
  • Bamforth, M. et al., 2018: Woodworking Technology. In: Milner et al., Star Carr Volume 2: Studies in Technology, Subsistence and Environment, pp. 347-366, White Rose University Press, York.
  • Kozowyk, P., Soressi, M., Pomstra, D. and Langejans, G., 2017: Experimental methods for the Palaeolithic dry distillation of birch bark: implications for the origin and development of Neandertal adhesive technology, in Nature, Scientific Reports, published online on 31st of August 2017
  • Bottema—Mac Gillivray, N., Pomstra, D. And Van der Laan, J.,2017: Een mandje van bosrank, of hoe een paar takjes de fantasie kunnen prikkelen, Paleo-palfenier, Rijksuniveristeit Groningen, pp. 133-140.
  • Van Gijn, A.L. and Pomstra, D., 2016, ‘Huize Horsterwold’, the reconstruction of a Neolithic houseplan using Stone Age equipment, in Hurcombe, L. and Cunningham, P, The life Cycle of Structures in Experimental Archaeology. Sidestone Press, Leiden, 2016
  • Little A, Elliott B, Conneller C, Pomstra D, Evans AA, Fitton LC, et al. (2016) Technological Analysis of the World’s Earliest Shamanic Costume: A Multi-Scalar, Experimental Study of a Red Deer Headdress from the Early Holocene Site of Star Carr, North Yorkshire, UK. PLoS ONE 11(4): e0152136. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0152136
  • Robson, H. and others, 2016: Scales of analysis: Evidence of fish and fish processing at Star Carr, Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports 10.1016/j.jasrep.2016.02.009
  • Pomstra, D., Van Gijn, A.L., Wolterbeek, L., Verbaas, A, Stikkelorum, T., 2015: Sticks and Bones will build my Boat: making a dugout canoe with Mesolithic tools, in Bulletin of Primitive Technology, fall 2015 p.
  • Lammers-Keijsers, Y., Verbaas, A, Van Gijn, A.L. and Pomstra., D., 2014: Arrowheads without traces: Not used, perfect hit or excessive hafting material? In Marreiros, J., Bicho, N. and Gibaja, J.F. (eds.), International Conference on Use-Wear Analysis, Use-Wear 2012, Cambridge Scholars Publishing, pp. 457-466
  • Pomstra, D. and Meijer, R., 2013: Bast, vuur en stenen: experimentele productie van berkenpek zonder vuurvaste containers, Archeologie 14 p.117
  • Pomstra, D. and Van Gijn, A.L., 2013: The reconstruction of a Neolithic house: combining primitive technology and science, Bulletin of Primitive Technology, spring 2013. No. 45. P. 45.
  • Van Grunsven, T, and Pomstra, D., 2011, Krabers, slagkringen en kapotte ribben. Een experiment van de werkgroep vuursteen, Bulletin voor Archeologische Experimenten en Educatie, vol. 16, issue 2-3, Leiden, VAEE, pp. 4-12, 10/2011.
  • Meijer, R. and Pomstra, D., 2011: The production of birch pitch with hunter-gatherer technology: a possibility, in Both, F (red.) Experimentelle Archäologie in Europa, Bilanz 2011,Oldenburg: Isensee Verlag
  • Pomstra, D. , 2011: A quick way to make Mesolithic archery tackle, Bulletin of Primitive Technology, fall 2011, nr. 42. P. 67
  • Pomstra, D. and Meijer, R., 2010: The production of birch pitch, Bulletin of Primitive Technology, fall 2010, nr. 40. P.69
  • Pomstra, D., 2007: An axe from a boar’s tooth, Bulletin of Primitive Technology, spring 2007, nr. 33. P. 48.
  • Pomstra,D., 2006: Tame hunter gatherers and wild food, Bulletin of Primitive Technology, spring 2006, nr. 31. P. 50.

Papers

In their turn, publications lead to papers:

  • 2016, Colonial St. Williamsburg U.S.A., Rearc Conference. Experiments on the recreation of the headdress of Star Carr.
  • 2016, Buitendag Biologisch Archeologisch Platform. Een boomstamkano en gereedschap van steen, been en gewei.
  • 2013, Schiele Museum, U.S.A., Rearc Conference. Birch tar, really old glue.
  • 2013, Schiele Museum, U.S.A., Rearc Conference. Another Housebuilding project… with something extra.
  • 2013, Universiteit Leiden, Steentijddag. Huize Horsterwold, een reconstructie van een steentijdhuis in de Flevopolder.
  • 2010, Universiteit Leiden, Steentijddag. De productie van berkenpek zonder containers.