A Review of 2012
Events & Flintknapping:
- During the year, I was worked with two TV film companies, whose programmes have been (or will be) shown on prime-time terrestrial British TV. In January I was teaching Julia Bradbury how to flintknap in West Sussex for the South Downs episode of the BBC show "The Great British Countryside". We had a great day in the Kingley Vale Nature Reserve and the episode was shown on BBC1 on 1st March. Then in October, I was asked to model prehistoric clothing for Channel 4's "The People of Stonehenge" to be shown early 2013. This was to provide additional 3D CGI material for the programme that also features Professor Mike Parker Pearson, who I worked with during at the Stonehenge Riverside Project (Clatford, Wiltshire) in August.
- I was flintknapping (demonstrations or workshops) at three different shows, including a new client as I joined the team on the opening day at Southampton's Seacity Museum. West Stow and Ashwell were more familiar locations for me to show the general public the wonders of lithics. I was invited to a number of private events for children, such as working with the Fenhurst Scout Group and North Down YAC - these are always great fun, if not a little hectic when a dozen or more are bashing rocks together !!
- Sadly all this activity left little time for Britannia reenactments with only one attended, but perhaps I can fit more in next year.
- The main archaeology of 2012 was a three week excavation at the at Signet Hill causeway enclosure (Burford, Oxfordshire) followed by Stonehenge Riverside Project (Clatford, Wiltshire) in August as part of my BSc Archaeology degree at Southampton University. This was a great experience and introduced me to Professor Mike Parker Pearson. During this time, I was able to further develop a number of different archaeological techniques I have used in the past and was also put in charge of a dig over a weekend when the general public were invited to join us. I had to show them around, explaining what we were doing and answer all their questions.
- Other archaeology during 2012 was when Sylvia Beamon and I revisited Fowlmere RSPB Nature Reserve to dig a test pit in an area was toward the end of the reserve at a ridge known as “Black Peak” (possibly part of the original ancient Icknield Way track). In January I did a small site survey on the north shore of the River Thames at Vauxhall and Bermondsey and even meet up with the FROGs.
- I visited a number of important archaeology UK sites, including Swanscombe, Stanton Drew Stone Circles, Harrow Hill flint mine, Worlebury Camp Iron Age Fort and attended the 6th Experimental Archaeology Conference in York.
Courses & Certificates:
- Apart from starting the second year of my BSc Archaeology degree at Southampton University, I also gained a two other qualifications, including the Primitive Technology course (NCFE Level 3) that was held at the Woodcraft School in West Sussex. This required me to attend two sessions (over two weekends) to learn how to butcher a deer then tan the hide and also to create an object that utilised all the knowledge I had gained on this course over the three years - I decided to make arrows. The other was gaining a NAS Part II Intermediate Certificate in Foreshore and Underwater Archaeology for completion of the River Thames survey at Vauxhall and Bermondsey.
- In December I was kindly nominated by Sylvia Beamon to enter the annual Heritage Craft Association Marsh awards. This included references from long established clients: Royston & District Museum and West Stow Anglo-Saxon Village. The winners will be selected in Spring 2013, so fingers-crossed.
Over the last 12 months, I have been adding to my kit list with an ultimate aim to perform more Stone Age Living History
, rather than exclusively flintknapping. The biggest addition has been the creation of a mobile mesolithic hut that is made from hazel wood rods and covered with over 30 deer skins. The mobile element was the construction of a wooden floor frame, which means that it can erected indoors or outdoors on a hard surface, or erected outdoors with the hazel rods pushed directly into soil.
Other new kit includes the large and impressive anthropomorphic Lepenski Vir "Fish-Head" Ancestress
, a Red deer skull that will become a Star Carr style headdress and I have just started to make baskets from holly branches.
What will 2013 bring for Ancientcraft
Nine flintknapping/living history events confirmed so far, with several more being discussed. The exciting aspect for these events in 2013 will be working with many new clients and different locations, for example the
neolithic Bryn Celli Ddu Burial Chamber (Anglesey) and the Ancient Technology Centre (Dorset) for the Stone Age Weekend. I am also hoping to attend the 6th Flintknapping Symposium to be held at the Museum of Haderslev (Denmark) as it will be a great chance to work with many experience knappers and exchange ideas and learn new techniques.
I am also hoping to visit some of the famous prehistoric sites on the Channel Islands during early summer and may also get a chance to flintknap. I have a NAS Part III - Conservation of Waterlogged Wood course booked in 6th April at the Mary Rose Trust, Portsmouth to learn about treatments of waterlogged archaeological wood.
Watch this space for more news from Ancientcraft.