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Making carved stone balls: art, experimental practice and archaeological research

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Archaeopress Archaeology www.archaeopress.com
Archaeopress
Archaeology
with Art
Edited by
Helen Chittock
Joana Valdez-Tullett
Chiock & Valdez-Tulle (Eds) Archaeology with Art
Archaeology with Art is the result of a 2013 Theorecal Archaeology Group
(TAG) conference session that aimed to merge the perspecves of arsts
and archaeologists on making art. It explores the relaonship between
archaeology and art pracce, the interacons between materials and
praconers, and the processes that result in the objects and images we
call ‘art’. The book oers new approaches to the study of creave pracces
in archaeology, ranging from experimental invesgaons to philosophical
exploraons and contains a diverse set of papers that use insights from
contemporary art pracce to examine the making of past artworks.
About the editors:
Joana Valdez-Tulle is an archaeologist currently nishing a PhD thesis
at the University of Southampton, funded by the Portuguese Foundaon
for Science and Technology (FCT). She has been studying prehistoric art
since 2003 in several countries and is currently interested in the social and
cultural connecons of late prehistoric Atlanc façade, which led to the
widespread phenomenon of Atlanc Rock Art.
Helen Chiock is an archaeologist, who has recently nished wring a
PhD thesis on decorave pracces in Iron Age Britain as the holder of an
AHRC-funded Collaborave Doctoral award with the Brish Museum and
University of Southampton. Her wider research interests encompass the
study of Celc Art across northwest Europe.
Chittock and Valdez cover USE.indd 1 02/12/2016 12:33:30
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Contents
Archaeology with Art: A short introduction to this book �������������������������������������������� v
Helen Chittock and Joana Valdez-Tullett
Art practice and Archaeology: a mutually beneficial relationship ............................. vi
The content of this book ............................................................................................ vi
Acknowledgements .................................................................................................. vii
References ................................................................................................................ vii
Preface: The paragone has gone ��������������������������������������������������������������������������������ix
Andrew Cochrane
Making a moment....................................................................................................... x
The reformation of the image .................................................................................... xi
We are all .... now .................................................................................................... xii
Élan vital .................................................................................................................. xiii
References .............................................................................................................. xiii
Chapter 1: Making carved stone balls: art, experimental practice and
archaeological research �������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 1
Andrew Meirion Jones
Introduction ................................................................................................................ 1
Carved stone balls: curiosities and curious interpretations ........................................ 1
The Winchester School of Art workshop ....................................................................5
Outcomes of the workshop ........................................................................................8
‘Their use is wholly unknown’ .................................................................................. 10
References ................................................................................................................11
Chapter 2: The fate of a thinking animal: the role of Upper Palaeolithic rock-art in
mediating the relationship between humans and their surroundings ���������������������� 13
António Batarda Fernandes
Introduction .............................................................................................................. 13
Conscious/Unconscious (and everything in between) .............................................. 15
Rock-art and landscape .............................................................................................16
Rock-art as a by-product ........................................................................................... 18
Rock-art and religion ................................................................................................20
The role of rock-art in mediating the relationship between humans and their
surroundings ............................................................................................................ 23
Conclusion ................................................................................................................ 27
Acknowledgements ..................................................................................................28
References ................................................................................................................28
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ii
Chapter 3: The rock ‘artist’: exploring processes of interaction in the rock art
landscapes of the north of Ireland ��������������������������������������������������������������������������� 33
Rebecca Enlander
Introduction .............................................................................................................. 33
Geological Landscapes .............................................................................................. 34
Doagh Island, Inishowen - Dalradian Argyll and Appin Groups.................................34
Mevagh ..................................................................................................................... 38
Cuilcagh - Marine shelf facies ................................................................................... 40
Regional Expressions ........................................................................................... 42
Archaeologies of Art ................................................................................................. 43
Objects with History ............................................................................................ 45
Stone Places .............................................................................................................. 45
Processes of Interaction ...........................................................................................46
Reference, Repetition and Re-use ............................................................................48
Conclusions ............................................................................................................... 49
References ................................................................................................................50
Chapter 4: Art, Materiality and Creativity: understanding Atlantic Rock Art ������������ 53
Joana Valdez-Tullett
Introducing the Case-Study: Atlantic Rock Art .......................................................... 53
The nature of Rock Art: Initial remarks .....................................................................56
A Work of Art: the metaphor ....................................................................................57
The making of Rock Art: a process ...........................................................................58
The Material Medium ............................................................................................... 60
The Setting ................................................................................................................ 62
Creating Rock Art: the gesture and the performance ............................................... 65
The Audience and the Audience’s Experience ..........................................................68
Interpreting rock art: the reflection of thought ........................................................ 72
Summing Up ............................................................................................................. 73
References ................................................................................................................75
Chapter 5: Images and materials: The making of narrative imagery in rock art and on
metalwork ��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 79
Peter Skoglund
Introduction .............................................................................................................. 79
Rock art in south-east Scania – a short introduction ................................................80
Figurative art and narratives ..................................................................................... 83
Narratives in rock art ................................................................................................83
Narratives on the razors ............................................................................................88
The making of images in rock art and on metalwork ...............................................89
Discussion and conclusions .......................................................................................90
Acknowledgement .................................................................................................... 93
References ................................................................................................................93
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iii
Chapter 6: Categorising the Iron Age: Similarity and Difference in an East Yorkshire
Assemblage �������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 97
Helen Chittock
Art Practice and Archaeology ...................................................................................97
Categorising Archaeology .........................................................................................98
Dealing with ‘Mess’ in Archaeology ........................................................................ 101
Remaking: Copying and Reconstruction in Art and Archaeology ............................103
Shapeless Jars as a Category ................................................................................... 108
Concluding Points ...................................................................................................109
References ..............................................................................................................110
Chapter 7: Imagining and Illustrating the Archaeological Record: The Power of
Evocation and Augmentation of Linear Drawing �����������������������������������������������������113
Dragoş Gheorghiu
Introduction: The Imagination and Visual Representation of the Past ...................113
Art and Archaeology .............................................................................................. 114
Linear Drawing as a Technique for Representation and Evocation ......................... 115
Our Artworks with Lines ......................................................................................... 115
Time Maps Project .................................................................................................. 116
Land Art as Linear Drawing [Dragoş Gheorghiu’s Art Work] .................................117
Experience and Linear Drawings [Georgina Jones’ Artwork] ..................................117
Conclusions ............................................................................................................. 120
Acknowledgements ................................................................................................122
References ..............................................................................................................122
Chapter 8: Moving, changing, becoming: applying Aristotle´s kinesis paradigm to
rock art ������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������127
Andy Valdez-Tullett
Kinesis ..................................................................................................................... 127
The four causes of kinesis ....................................................................................... 129
Movers and the moved ........................................................................................... 131
Rest ..................................................................................................... ....................131
Pre-sightedness and rock art ..................................................................................133
José Alcino Tomé - last of the rock artists ............................................................... 135
Conclusions ............................................................................................................. 137
Acknowledgements ................................................................................................138
References .............................................................................................................138
Chapter 9: Experiential Art and Archaeology: Vital Material Engagements ��������������141
Eloise Govier
Introduction ............................................................................................................ 141
Lively Matter ........................................................................................................... 141
Experimental Art ..................................................................................................... 142
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iv
Çatalhöyük: a Neolithic town .................................................................................. 143
Experimantal Art and Archaeology ......................................................................... 143
Vital Material Engagements ....................................................................................146
Seeing in the Dark ................................................................................................... 149
Sensory Engagement ..............................................................................................150
Conclusion .............................................................................................................. 152
References ..............................................................................................................153
Chapter 10: Living Symbols of Kilmartin Glen ����������������������������������������������������������157
John Was & Aaron Watson
Introduction ............................................................................................................ 157
Background ............................................................................................................. 157
The Project ..............................................................................................................161
The Dark Room ....................................................................................................... 169
Discussion ............................................................................................................... 170
Acknowledgements ................................................................................................174
References ..............................................................................................................175
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1
Making carved stone balls: art, experimental practice
and archaeological research
Andrew Meirion Jones, University of Southampton (UK)1
Introduction
The decorated Neolithic artefacts known as carved stone balls are a particular
source of pride to the people of Northeast Scotland, and Scotland more generally.
Just as the balls are a source of pride, they are also a source of curiosity for
archaeologists and other academics. The Leverhulme funded ‘Making a Mark’
project, running from 2014-2016, aims to provide a context for the understanding
these Neolithic curiosities, along with other decorated Neolithic artefacts from
three key regions of Britain and Ireland: i. southern England (from Cornwall in
the west to East Anglia in the east, and as far north as the Thames Valley); ii.
Wales, Isle of Man and eastern Ireland; iii. north-east Scotland and Orkney: the
home of the carved stone balls. The project applies digital imaging techniques
to the documentation of a suite of decorated Neolithic artefacts in a variety of
media: stone, chalk, antler and wood. The aim of digital documentation is to
enhance our understanding of the working and production of these decorated
artefacts. In addition the project also draws on the insights and practices of
contemporary artists to understand processes of making. To this end the project
has involved collaboration with artists Ian Dawson, Winchester School of Art,
and Louisa Minkin, Central St. Martins School of Art, looking at the making of
carved stone balls. It is the outcomes of this artistic experimental practice I want
to consider in this paper.
Carved stone balls: curiosities and curious interpretations
Carved stone balls are fascinating and intriguing artefacts, but they are
archaeologically frustrating, with few contextual associations to aid us in
their interpretation. Partly because of this they have been subject to a variety
of interpretations, graphically depicted here in Figure 1. I will discuss these
interpretations in order of plausibility: from the most implausible to the more
plausible. A cursory examination of web forums (e.g. the power of the ancients
amongst us; www.ancient-origins.net) reveals several peculiar interpretations,
such as the notion that carved stone balls are representations of pollen grains
(specifically Pinus sp.) or representations of atomic structures. More recent
proposals suggest that carved stone balls might have been used as a form of stone
1 amj@soton.ac.uk
Jones
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Archaeology with Art
2
Figure 1. The variety of interpretations of carved stone balls.
Image by Hannah Sackett
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Jones - Making carved stone balls 3
ball bearings used for shifting megaliths. Experimental practice to this end by
Andrew Young and Bruce Bradley of Exeter University is documented in a short
on-line article in National Geographic (Ravilious 2010). While this experiment
showed that spherical stone balls combined with runners of industrially planned
wood could shift megalithic blocks of up to 45 tons it far from proves that this
was how carved stone balls were deployed in the past. The theory has a number of
archaeological shortcomings. First amongst these is the lack of evidence in Britain
for a single carved stone ball south of a line running roughly between Newcastle
and Carlisle (though there are a number recorded in eastern and northern Ireland;
Marshall 1977). There are simply no carved stone balls in Wessex. It could
potentially be argued that the balls were used to shift megaliths in Northeast
Scotland, though the celebrated recumbent stone circles of this region are
demonstrably later than the likely dates for carved stone balls. Richard Bradley
has decisively dated recumbent stone circles to the Early to Middle Bronze Age
(Bradley 2005; Welfare 2011). Notably no carved stone balls have been found
contextually associated with this class of monument, which makes their use
in this context unlikely. Second, a cursory examination of the range of extant
examples of carved stone balls indicates that very few are perfectly spherical. A
number have carved knobs or other protuberances (see Marshall 1977), which
make them singularly unsuitable for rolling. While Young and Bradley’s theory
works experimentally using contemporary materials (industrially planed wood
and spherical stone balls) it fails to agree with any of the available archaeological
evidence. For this reason it must be rejected.
A perennial interpretation is the idea that carved stone balls are aerodynamic
hunting tools, or bolas. The interpretation was first discussed by Sir John Evans
in his Ancient Stone Implements, Weapons and Ornaments of Great Britain of
1897. Evans (1897: 422-423) quite clearly draws parallels between carved stone
balls and the Bolas of Patagonia. Similarly, after a mathematical modeling of
the aerodynamics of carved stone balls, T. N. Todd (2006) likewise concludes
that carved stone balls were thrown at birds disturbing crops or to frighten large
animals – like wolves and other predators - troubling prehistoric flocks (Todd
2006: 71-72). What is not clear is why elaborate carving is required for this
purpose. Surely uncarved stones would serve precisely the same purpose?
Dorothy Marshall (1977) was the first person to provide a systematic catalogue
and typology for carved stone balls. One of the interpretations she favoured was
the notion that carved stone balls were prestige objects passed around meetings
of significant individuals. She muses: ‘Could a ball have been used at a clan
conference, the chief handling it as he considered a judgement, or perhaps being
handed round, the one holding it having the right to speak?’ (Marshall 1977: 64).
There are no intrinsic problems with this idea, though it is difficult to substantiate
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Archaeology with Art
4
archaeologically. One of the advantages of this interpretation is that it accords
with the known archaeological evidence: most carved stone balls are found in
settlement contexts.
Other possible interpretations focus on the mathematical properties of carved
stone balls. For example Ludovic Mann (1914) describes carved stone balls as
weights. Marshall (1977) notes their broad consistency in size (c. 70mm), while
authors such as Keith Critchlow (1979: 161-181) and Robert Lawlor (1982)
have argued that the balls represent the shapes of platonic solids discovered
some millennia before Plato, and that they may have operated as megalithic
measurement devices associated with the laying out of stone circles. Their
chronological and stratigraphic association with stone circles is unproven,
and their role as measurement devices seems unlikely. Though their precise
relationship to platonic solids may be stretching the point, their symmetry and
geometry appears to be undeniable (Reimann 2014).
Finally, one of the most persuasive recent discussions of carved stone balls by
Gavin Macgregor (1999) simply points out the sensual significance of carved
stone balls as they are turned in the hand. Again this is undeniable to anyone who
has handled one of these remarkable objects.
We are faced then with a plethora of different interpretations. Our preliminary
starting point when examining these objects had to be the objects themselves. In
particular I was interested in their dimensions, the materials used, and traces of
working evident on the balls. As part of the ‘Making a Mark project we are also
interested in relating this evidence to other Neolithic artefacts, particularly those
of chalk from other Neolithic contexts in southern England. It became clear quite
early on that there was considerable evidence for working visible in Neolithic
artefacts. In some of the chalk artefacts from southern England we have observed
evidence of working and reworking, as with the examples of the Folkton Drums
(Jones et al. 2015). This led us to consider the working of carved stone balls. While
we have found no evidence of reworking amongst the collections we examined
(Ashmolean, Pitt Rivers, British Museum, Cambridge Museum of Archaeology
and Anthropology), we began to observe some evidence for incomplete working,
and very clear evidence – in the form of pecking - for the shaping of the balls.
In fact Dorothy Marshall (1977: 61) had already noted evidence for percussion
marks amongst some of the balls she catalogued.
Marshall very clearly defines the carved stone balls as belonging to distinct
typologies; her ‘type 1’ consisting of those with three knobs, while ‘type 2’ is of
balls with 4 knobs etc. The more we began to examine the balls, and look again at
evidence for working on the balls, the clearer it became that we were not looking
Copyrighted material - No unauthorised reproduction in any medium
Jones - Making carved stone balls 5
at discrete and distinct
types, but at points in a
chaîne opératoire, or a
sequence of working.
One of the first thing
we had noted were the
numbers of unworked
or plain balls in museum
collections, remarked
upon by Marshall,
but not part of her
typological scheme. We
surmised that the chaîne
opératoire must begin
with the shaping of a
sphere of stone (Figure
2), followed by shallow
incisions carving out
circular shapes on the
surface of the balls –
these would be classified
as type 4a or 9c in
Marshall’s typology (Figure 3), and that further working would result in more
prominent knobs on the ball’s surface, Marshall’s type 4b. Further embellishment
could occur by working in the interspaces between knobs, Marshall’s types 4c or
4d, and by decoration of the knobs themselves (Figure 4), Marshalls type 9a. The
notion that we were not looking at a distinct series of ‘types’, but at a sequence of
working seemed to work as an idea, but did it work in practice?
The Winchester School of Art workshop
Inspired by Gilles Deleuze’s (2002) discussion of movement and force in his
analysis of the art of Francis Bacon, and by Tim Ingold’s (2013) recent suggestion
that archaeologists and anthropologists should learn by doing, I wanted to
experiment with an archaeology with art, an archaeology that corresponds with
arts ‘own movement of growth or becoming’ (Ingold 2013: 8), to follow the paths
along which it leads. An investigation of the sequence of making of carved stone
balls seemed especially suited to this, and so we set out to make carved balls for
ourselves. To this end Ian Dawson, Louisa Minkin, and the author collaborated
in working with a group of Winchester fine art students and archaeologists
(including one of the editors of this volume) in the sculpture studio at Winchester
School of Art on 8th November 2013 (see also Minkin and Dawson 2014).
Figure 2. The first stage in the carved stone ball
chaîne opératoire: shaping a sphere.
Photograph by Andrew Cochrane
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Archaeology with Art
6
The aim was to
investigate whether the
hypothetical sequence
for six knobbed carved
stone balls worked in
practice. The workshop
began by discussing the
archaeological context
of carved stone balls
to around 15-20 of the
fine art students, and
the three archaeologists
involved on the day.
At the outset one fine
art student asked the
very pertinent question:
‘would Neolithic people
have had tables to work
at?’ We acknowledged
the slightly artificial
nature of working in a
contemporary sculpture
studio, and began
carving using bell-
shaped pre-prepared
moulds of dried plaster
(Figure 5). One of
the first obstacles to
arise was securing the
moulds for working.
This was quickly
solved using blocks of
wood secured to the
tables. Initially most
people began carving
out shapes using metal
chisels. Quite quickly
we realized how
inefficient this was, and
began the basic shaping
of the blocks of plaster
using hammers.
Figure 3. The second stage in the carved stone ball
chaîne opératoire: marking out the sphere.
Photograph by Andrew Cochrane
Figure 4. The third stage in the carved stone ball
chaîne opératoire: carving out the knobs.
Photograph by Andrew Cochrane
Copyrighted material - No unauthorised reproduction in any medium
Jones - Making carved stone balls 7
Once most people had
worked their plaster
into a roughly spherical
shape we took a short
break from working
with plaster to work with
hand-sized lumps of
unfired clay (Figure 6).
This was done to allow
people to understand the
next stage of carving, to
map out circular shapes
on their clay balls,
and understand their
disposition in relation to
each other, before carving
out the interspaces
between these shapes. A
number of attempts were
made with this, and we
experimented with string
as a means of dividing
up the sphere, which
proved unworkable.
Finally the best method
seemed to be to mark out
the sphere simply using
fingernail impressions.
The interspaces were then carved out using wooden spatulas. Imagine my delight
when the first clay ‘carved stone ball’ appeared before me (Figure 6), looking
exactly like a bona fide ‘type 4a or 4b’ carved stone ball.
We then transferred back to our plaster spheres, and attempted to apply what we
had learnt in clay in this different medium. We began by mapping out our circular
shapes on the plaster using the sharp points of chisels. Once this was achieved people
then began carving out the interspaces between these circular shapes, again using
chisels. Immediately we encountered difficulty working these restricted spaces on
our plaster sculptures, and people used a variety of methods for slowly scratching
out these interspaces, fingers, thumbs, chisels. The faster and more skilled people
quickly began to carve out more and more of these interspaces producing forms with
6 prominent knobs that looked very like Marshalls type 4b. Finally, people began
decorating the knobs with a variety of carved designs inspired by the Neolithic
Figure 5. Working with pre-prepared plaster moulds
at the Winchester school of Art.
Photograph by Andrew Meirion Jones
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Archaeology with Art
8
repertoire. We finished the
day with a discussion with
the students around a table
full of ‘carved balls’ made
of plaster (Figure 7).
What was learnt from
this experience? Firstly I
should say that we cheated
quite considerably: we
were not carving the
kinds of metamorphic
rocks that most carved
stone balls are made
from (this would have
significantly extended the
length of time taken), nor
were we using authentic
prehistoric tools for the
task. Again, we were
carving on tables in a
modern sculpture studio,
not around the hearth, on
the floor in a stone-built
house, like those typical
of Neolithic Orkney.
This would not pass the
rigorous requirements of ‘experimental archaeology’. The experiment was more
concerned with learning about process and geometry, than attempting to reproduce
forms with authenticity and fidelity. I should say that I left the day feeling elated
– I felt that the initial hypothesis had been substantiated: the sequence of working
I had envisaged actually worked in practice! However my elation was also tinged
with regret. Had things gone too well? What had we really learnt? What fresh paths
had art practices led me down as an archaeologist? In the spirit of experimentation
I had perhaps expected more flashes of inspiration and some unexpected outcomes.
Outcomes of the workshop
Over the subsequent weeks I allowed the experience to sink in, and this is when
the unexpected outcomes began to make themselves known:
One of the simplest points to emerge from the exercise was the social nature
of carving – people chatted whilst carving, discussed what they were making,
Figure 6. A clay ‘carved stone ball’ of Marshall type
4a Photograph by Andrew Meirion Jones
Copyrighted material - No unauthorised reproduction in any medium
Jones - Making carved stone balls 9
and shared any logistical
problems while making
these curious objects.
One of these logistical
problems was the
difficulty of envisaging
shapes – the tactile
nature of carving was
very evident, as Gavin
MacGregor (1999) had
already noted. A number
of people remarked
that in fact vision was
not really required in
making the balls, and
that making could have
occurred in poor light or
semi-darkness, in fact this
accords well with the kinds
of conditions prevailing in
Late Neolithic houses in
Orkney.
Shapes emerged from
the practice of dividing
up a sphere using
basic geometric forms,
such as circles. It would seem that the so-called ‘platonic forms’ are not really
representations, but are the outcomes of subdividing a sphere, as has been argued
by Reimann (2014).
People remarked on the various stages involved in making our carved stone balls
– each stage seemed to involve a series of different working techniques. In the
final discussion we talked about carved stone balls as ‘masterpieces’, as objects
that embodied all the skills learnt by a craftsperson in stone working. Carved stone
balls embody a series of skills familiar to the Neolithic stone worker, including
pecking and shaping, grinding, working with a burin or point; the last also being
a skill that transfers to other materials like wood and antler working.
The idea that carved stone balls might embody a process of working resonates
with one of the key conclusions of the workshop. If we were able to demonstrate
that several of the standard typological categories in fact relate to stages in a
Figure 7. ‘Carved stone balls’ in plaster at the end of the
WSA workshop. Photograph by Andrew Meirion Jones
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Archaeology with Art
10
sequence of working, this begs further questions. Why do we find so many
unfinished/incomplete artefacts in the archaeological record?
‘Their use is wholly unknown’
In their catalogue of prehistoric art from the British Isles, Stuart Piggott and Glyn
Daniel (1951: 14) state of carved stone balls that ‘their use is wholly unknown’.
At first sight this remark seems defeatist. But looking at this statement in
the light of the workshop, one wonders if it was not prescient. Almost all the
previous interpretations of carved stone balls are based on the twin premises
of representation and functionality- balls are either assumed to be finished
representations of pollen grains, mathematical shapes, or objects devised for a
specific and final function, be it missiles, ball bearings or tokens of authority. The
Winchester workshop instead enabled us to appreciate that carved stone balls are
performances – performances that involve a series of gestures and traces; this
is surely why each ball is subtly different, as it encapsulates each individual’s
gestures in its making. Carved stone balls are the outcomes of the gestures involved
in shaping stones, in working with stone using a series of different skills and
techniques. Moreover many of the carved stone balls we recover archaeologically
are the result of incomplete performances; they are discarded moments in the
sequence of making. Is it possible that their use is wholly unknown, precisely
because they were never intended to be used? Rather their creation may have
served an end in itself. The workshop therefore leads us down further avenues
of enquiry. Are carved stone balls finished and complete artefacts? What kind of
contexts do we find carved stone balls in; are those found in the wider landscape
the result of deliberate deposition or were they discarded on settlements once
people had worked them, and learnt from them? How do the skills involved in
making carved stone balls translate to those of other stone artefacts? Why are
some Neolithic stone artefacts polished, while most carved stone balls remain
mainly unpolished? Is there a significant difference between carving out of stone
and incising or making marks on stone during the Neolithic, and how does this
relate to carving, incising and impressing in other Neolithic contexts, such as
rock art, passage tomb art and pottery decoration?
At this stage, the ‘Making a Mark’ project has only examined a fraction of the
known carved stone balls and decorated Neolithic artefacts and at this juncture
it would be wrong to come to any definite conclusions. Nevertheless what has
developed from the Winchester workshop is a robust predictive method for
understanding the sequence of carved stone ball manufacture. With this method it
is then possible to ask fresh questions of the archaeological material: how many
carved stone balls are ‘complete’? How many were exchanged in a complete state,
how many half-finished? Carved stone balls are found in a number of locations,
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Jones - Making carved stone balls 11
including Orkney, Northeast Scotland, north-east and north-west England and
eastern and northern Ireland. Based on the predictive method established by
the Winchester workshop we should now be able to identify centres of working
defined by groups of balls of each stage in the chaîne opératoire of working. We
should also be able to determine whether carved stone balls were exchanged out
of a single regional ‘centre’ of manufacture or whether they were being worked
in multiple locations? If carved stone balls are prestige objects for exchange then
all of the balls outside the known regional grouping in NE Scotland ought to be
complete balls in the final stages of working.
The chaîne opératoire method developed in the Winchester workshop, will help
us answer broader questions regarding trade, exchange and prestige in prehistory
(see Clarke et al. 1985). The engagement with open-ended experimental art
practice has lead the project along fresh paths and returned us to the archaeological
record invigorated with a fresh series of questions.
References
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Copyrighted material - No unauthorised reproduction in any medium
Archaeology with Art
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Marshall, D. 1977. Carved stone balls. Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries
of Scotland 108: 40-72.
Minkin, L.; Dawson, I. 2014. Object lessons: copying and reconstruction as a
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Copyrighted material - No unauthorised reproduction in any medium
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