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OGU on tour

22 June 2017

Richard Evershed and Julie Dunne have recently been ‘on tour’ introducing the ‘Organic Residue Analysis and Archaeology: Guidance for Good Practice’ document to archaeological and heritage professionals. Organised by Historic England, a series of four training sessions, designed to introduce the archaeological audience to the scope and potential of organic residue analysis, took place recently in Bristol, London, York and Leicester. Richard provided an overview of twenty-five years of organic residue analysis, emphasising the sound experimental basis for the technique, and discussing some of the most notable British case studies, such as the West Cotton cabbage biomarkers.  At one point, photos of very large fish also took centre stage! Julie then presented the ‘Guidance’ and explained its format, which comprises the printed booklet and an online ‘Supporting Information’ document. Following this, Richard and Julie held a group interactive session/workshop where they involved the audience in designing an organic residues project.

The training events went very well and many of the archaeological professionals’ present, who were unfamiliar with the technique, noted its obvious potential (see examples of feedback below). Hopefully, we will now start to see an increase in uptake of ORA analysis by commercial units and local authority bodies.

"I really enjoyed the morning session of the course and came away with a much better understanding of organic residues and more aware of the benefits of carrying out such analysis. Special thanks to Richard Evershed and Julie Dunne who were engaging and passionate and presented a detailed explanation of organic residue analysis."

"However the organic residue part of the course, which I knew very little about, proved particularly interesting"

"I really enjoyed the talks, especially the organic residue analysis, very informative!"

"I will be aware of the potential of ORA, which may be directly applicable to assemblages I am working on. If there is a strong case I would recommend (as part of an assessment report) that ORA be carried out as part of the work required for publication."

"A very interesting and well-presented course. I certainly left with a more useful understanding of the merits of ORA."

"It was all brilliant - you could tell that it was pitched at the right level by the number of questions that were being asked throughout the day, which would not have happened if people did not understand or were confused by the topics being covered."

"Will bear in mind the potential of organic residue analysis much more than before."

"Still need to work out how/when to secure ORA in the context of planning projects - which projects/assemblages it would be reasonable for etc, but I now know the potential of ORA and thus am armed with more information than I had!"