I would like to extend particular thanks to Nicki Mulhall (Archaeologist and Environmental Supervisor at Wessex Archaeology. In these drawings I'm responding to (and working with) Monoliths that were in storage and surplus to requirement.
The monoliths* were collected along the A46 Newark to Widmerpool Improvement Scheme, Nottinghamshire. It is a site that has been published, there is a brief overview here: http://www.oxbowbooks.com/oxbow/a46-nottinghamshire.html
The samples I was given were not required by Wessex Archaeology and I have therefore been able to use the materials held within them to make the work.
DRAWING WITH THE MONOLITHS
Location: Saxondale (along route of A46)
The drawings are made using roman buried soil and cremation layers at Saxondale.
Unwrapping the Monolith as if a shroud.
The tape, cling film and plastic casing with notation were all integrated into the drawing.
Nicki has just told me she also pays a lot of attention to the wrappings- noticing if they’ve been well/badly wrapped and also tries to make sure she slits them open very carefully along the edge to form a flap that she can fold back. This also means that she can re-wrap them with the minimum amount of effort.
A relic... soil as a product of a particular time.
The 'human' proportion of the monoliths- almost human. The archaeologists who gathered these samples were using them to build up/record evidence of human habitation.
Getting in touch with the soil established a connection with the late roman inhabitants.
The field of the drawing as if I might be looking on an excavation.
Soils were coaxed out onto the paper at the precise point at which they occurred in the sample.
Aware of the variation in the sample, it was recorded in the drawing.
Animal protein size seemed an appropriate binder.
Traditional gesso (animal protein size and chalk) is the sole added material. This was applied over time (about 10 layers) to encase and seal and then removed to reveal fragments.
The paper is handmade cotton paper and has become distorted by the uneven tensions of layers and materials.
The drawings look like archaeological finds themselves.
*'Monoliths can come from a variety of features, such as ditches and palaeochannels not necessarily just trial trenching and are a way of being able to look closely at the depositional processes going on in that feature. We can also subsample these to look for material such as pollen and organic material for C14 dating as well as foraminifera and ostracods (microscopic organisms that are indicators of water salinity and habitats). The samples from monoliths are generally fairly small, are processed in sieves in the sink and produce little waste material.'
Nicki Mulhall (Archaeologist and Environmental Supervisor at Wessex Archaeology