A Life In Fragments

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Tag Archives: Metalwork

Fragments of the PAS: Dorset

Dorset is a particularly interesting place within my study region. It straddles a geological boundary of the sandstone that dominates Devon, Cornwall and much of Somerset, and the chalklands that characteristic Wiltshire and Hampshire. At least half of the county (the eastern half) falls under the traditional ‘Wessex’ landscape. What this means is that the character of the metalwork, and indeed other materials, is quite broad and often unique within the south western region. (more…)

Fragments of the PAS

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been ambitiously tackling the online database of the Portable Antiquities Scheme database (aka the PAS). This has involved me extracting information from the database and compiling a catalogue of material relevant to my thesis. (more…)

The South Cadbury Shield: What, Where, When and Why?

I’d like to introduce you all (again!) to my favourite Bronze Age object in South West England (and possibly Bronze Age Europe): the South Cadbury shield. I first encountered this shield a few years ago and all of the studies I’ve done since have somehow led me back to it. The dynamics of this object and its context are so interesting that I simply can’t get enough of it! (more…)

A Week in Fragments: Research, Experiments and Interesting Conversations

This week has been a bit all over the place – every day has offered me interesting meetings, museums visits, plans for teaching archaeology summer classes, and many objects to look at! So this post, like my week, is going to be fragmented, and give a brief update of everything! (more…)

Starting My Experiments – Swording Things Out

This week I had the absolute pleasure of working with the excellent bronzesmith, Neil Burridge, down in Cornwall and finally embarking on some of my experimental work. I know I’ve been alluding to it for quite some time, though I’ve never actually explained what it is I’m trying to achieve and how. (more…)

Archaeology Grand Challenges Pt.2: How to destroy things best

When Doug got me thinking about “Grand Challenges” for Archaeology, large topics came instantly. In Part 1 I indulged in one that I actually feel we might be able to tackle. With this second part I wanted to think on a more microscale, focusing on a “grand challenge” that affects me and my research. There are of course many of these that spring to mind ranging from simply absorbing the vast amount of literature on Bronze Age metalwork to clambering for answers as to why we find so much metalwork buried in the ground. In the end I settled for an achievable challenge I’m facing currently:

How to destroy things best (more…)

Week At The Museum

Music echoed through the empty gallery.

Christina Aguilera, Sean Paul, UB40…

There was no rhyme or reason – the iPod’s owner clearly had an eclectic taste!

Underneath is all, faint atmospheric noises from the exhibits eerily accompanied silent projections on the walls, ongoing despite the absence of visitors.

I, meanwhile, sat on the walkway above, tapping my feet, looking out over a prehistoric canoe suspended c.10 foot in the air above a plesiosaur skeleton set within the floor below. (more…)

My First Step on the Path to Destruction

The title of my PhD changes pretty much every time I think about it. But as no one really wants to hear me recite a twenty-something word title out loud, I usually simplify it to:

“Why did people break stuff?” (more…)

What is the Bronze Age anyway?

When I was applying for my PhD, Alex (my brother) very kindly offered to read over and comment on my proposal – those of you who know Alex will appreciate the value of this gesture as he tends to avoid engaging in things for which he has no interest! He returned the proposal to me a couple of days later and as I flicked through it I saw no marks, no comments, no alterations, nothing to suggest he had even opened the document. Until, that is, I got to the bottom of the final page and there was a single six word sentence: (more…)

My PhD is Turning Me into a Zombie

It was dark. Having abandoned my glasses I could just make out a faint orange glow from a lantern in the path ahead of me. My face itched from dried blood and my skin prickled as the wind occasionally whipped through my muddy, slashed t-shirt. I heard screams from the unseen longhouse. Trailing a limp leg behind me, I started to utter groans of an undead man and dragged myself towards the noise. I’d been warned that my PhD would zombify me, but I never expected it to actually happen… (more…)