I was an invited expert attending the EU Joint Research Centre (JRC) stand "Soil - the hidden treasure" at the recent Euro Science Open Forum ESOF - Science in the City ‘building bridges’ festival which took place in Copenhagen from 21-24 June, 2014, and which was opened by EU President Manuel Barosso and HM Queen of Denmark. Some tens of thousands of delegates came onto the site over the four days, from scientists and researchers, to general public and school parties. The JRC stand was designed to provide delegates with an overview of the importance of soils. Sections were provided including information on soil and archaeology, soils and biodiversity, soil classification and soil types, threats to soil, soil education and awareness, and examples of Danish soils research. Educational materials were on show prepared by the British Society of Soil science. There was considerable shared interest amongst attendees about the way soils can preserve remnants of previous civilizations, and the role that soils play in archaeology - helping to reveal how the peoples of Denmark lived thousands of years ago. One show highlight was the description of the famous Egtved Pigen, the Egtved lady, a supposed former queen who was found preserved in her solid oak coffin in the soil, together with the remnants of a votive offering to the gods, being the ingredients to brew a special beer. Danish scientists have teamed with a local brewery to especially recreate this beer from the recipe - producing a modern version of a drink first enjoyed 3.5 thousand years ago, the Egtved Pigens Bryg!
Dr Stephen Hallett of Cranfield University