The visual imagery of Neolithic Britain and Ireland is spectacular and while the imagery of passage tombs, such as Knowth and Newgrange, are well known, the rich imagery on decorated portable artefacts is less well understood. How does the visual imagery found on decorated portable artefacts compare with other Neolithic imagery, such as passage tomb art and rock art? How do decorated portable artefacts relate chronologically to other examples of Neolithic imagery? Using cutting edge digital imaging techniques, the Making a Mark project examined Neolithic decorated portable artefacts of chalk, stone, bone, antler, and wood from three key regions: southern England and East Anglia; the Irish Sea region (Wales, the Isle of Man and eastern Ireland); and Northeast Scotland and Orkney. Digital analysis revealed, for the first time, the prevalence of practices of erasure and reworking amongst a host of decorated portable artefacts, changing our understanding of these enigmatic artefacts. Rather than mark making being a peripheral activity, we can now appreciate the central importance of mark making to the formation of Neolithic communities across Britain and Ireland. The volume visually documents and discusses the contexts of the decorated portable artefacts from each region, discussing the significance and chronology of practices of erasure and reworking, and compares these practices with those found in other Neolithic contexts, such as passage tomb art, rock art and pottery decoration.
Ian Dawson and Louisa Minkin contribute with a discussion about the collaborative fine art practices established during the project. Both artists travelled with Jones and Guardamino during the five year project observing the cutting edge archaeological processes employed and the discoveries made by the team. Dawson and Minkin's chapter is organised across a sequence of discursive texts; these act as postcards sometimes sent from the physical places that they visited such as Orkney and at other times they explore the objects, events and exhibitions that were created in response to the project. The chapter is able to expand and extend on the rich relationship between archaeology and art.
>Terminal Hut, by Louisa Minkin and Ian Dawson.
A book chapter in Making a Mark: Image and Process in Neolithic Britain and Ireland by Andrew Merion Jones and Marta Diaz Guardamino.
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Oxbow Books (31 Jan. 2019)