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Sectioning

August 20, 2015

There has been more baking this week, although yesterday we made strawberry ice cream which isn’t technically baking, but we did then make meringues to use up the egg whites and I discovered how useful children are for the boring bit of whisking eggs whites until they’re fluffy, with an electric whisk I hasten to add, I didn’t stand over them and make them whisk the whites manually, although now I think about it perhaps I should. I also discovered my children will watch an ice cream maker churn away for a good 10 minutes before getting bored, It’s possible they’re suffering excitement deprivation – they gave me a running commentary on the increasing pinkness as the strawberries were incorporated into the custard. It’s also possible we all need to get out more but due to one thing and another that isn’t going to happen so maybe I should just be happy they’re so easy to impress?

Anyway, I am not going to post about food, children, the rain or any of that stuff, no, this post is going to be full of the history of archaeology. And, short. A short post about the history of archaeology. Section drawing to be precise. I’ve been writing my paper for the EAA and I’ve been distacted by researching the changing style of section drawings. I love section drawings. In my other career as an illustrator I save them up, doing the plans and other bits and pieces first. If I can get the section drawing to coincide with test match cricket then I’m as happy as a happy thing, but even without Test Match Special a section drawing is a cause for joy – you can see where my children get their capacity for being easily pleased, can’t you? (See, it’s all linking together, fortuitously!) I love the amount of information a section drawing can contain, the way the layers tell the story of a site. I love their simplicity and beauty, the slumps and troughs. I love devising new ways of representing the soil colours and consistencies – mixing realism (or is it naturalism? I always get those two confused) with symbolism. I can get very enthusiastic about section drawings. Obviously I try not to do this in public because people have been known to back away from me at social gatherings when I get talking about sections. So, the history of archaeological illustration with especial reference to section drawings is obviously going to appeal.

'Early Sections' taken from REM Wheeler Archaeology from the Earth. 1956. Penguin.

‘Early Sections’ taken from REM Wheeler Archaeology from the Earth. 1956. Penguin.

Archaeological sections drawn by General Pitt-Rivers at the Gouch and Cousens Warehouse, London Wall (EC2, City of London) in Autumn 1866. http://excavatingpittrivers.blogspot.co.uk/2013_08_01_archive.html

Archaeological sections drawn by General Pitt-Rivers at the Gouch and Cousens Warehouse, London Wall (EC2, City of London) in Autumn 1866. Excavating Pitt-Rivers.

 

Bersu's sections through the main ditch at Little Woodbury. Excavations at Little Woodbury, Wiltshire. Dr Gerhard Bersu Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society / Volume 6 / July 1940, pp 30 - 111

Sections through the main ditch at Little Woodbury. Excavations at Little Woodbury, Wiltshire. Dr Gerhard Bersu. Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society / Volume 6 / July 1940, pp 30 – 111

 REM and TV Wheeler Verulamium: A Belgic and Two Roman Cities. 1936

REM and TV Wheeler – Verulamium: A Belgic and Two Roman Cities. 1936. Society of Antiquaries (London).

 

Martin Biddle Seacourt Sections from Area 11, 1958/59. Image from Seacourt Revisited - http://homepage.ntlworld.com/lazyguru/seacourt/3.htm

Martin Biddle Seacourt Sections from Area 11, 1958/59. Image from Seacourt Revisited – http://homepage.ntlworld.com/lazyguru/seacourt/3.htm

Rick Peterson - Goldsland section. Image from https://shelteringmemory.wordpress.com/2014/01/17/braised-and-confused/

Rick Peterson – Goldsland section. Image from https://shelteringmemory.wordpress.com/2014/01/17/braised-and-confused/

All different, all more or less informative, all beautiful. But, do they show significant changes over time? And, what do these changes indicate or tell us about the history of archaeology? Also, why is no-one writing about developments in archaeological illustration? Or are they and am I simply showing my ignorance, again? I’ve read Stuart Piggott’s Antiquity Depicted and Lucas’ Critical Approaches to Fieldwork, Chris Evans’ various articles, when I can afford it I’ll read Geoff Carver’s chapter in Unquiet Pasts and his article in Archaeological Dialogues . Am I missing something obvious? Do tell me if this is the case and when I’ve finished my EAA paper I shall go and read everything I can.

Meanwhile, have a great weekend. Don’t forget the HARN Conference is in 12 days,

Julia

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