Making a Mark: Image and Process in Neolithic Britain and Ireland [Paperback]

Andrew Meirion Jones (Author); Marta Díaz-Guardamino (Author)

ISBN: 9781789251883 | Published by: Oxbow Books | Year of Publication: 2019 | Language: English 320p, H246 x W185 (mm) over 100 colour and black and white photographs

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Making a Mark


The visual imagery of Neolithic Britain and Ireland is spectacular. 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, discusses 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. A contribution from Antonia Thomas also discusses the settlement art and mortuary art of Orkney, while Ian Dawson and Louisa Minkin contribute with a discussion of the collaborative fine art practices established during the project.

Table of Contents

List of figures
1 The arts of Neolithic Britain and Ireland?
Andrew Meirion Jones
2 Imagery and process
Andrew Meirion Jones and Marta Díaz-Guardamino
The Archaeology
3 Chalk and the chalklands of southern England
Andrew Meirion Jones and Marta Díaz-Guardamino
4 Chalk drums: Folkton and Lavant
Andrew Meirion Jones and Marta Díaz-Guardamino
5 The Irish Sea region: Ireland, Wales and the Isle of Man
Andrew Meirion Jones and Marta Díaz-Guardamino
6 Artefacts in process: making carved stone balls
Andrew Meirion Jones and Marta Díaz-Guardamino
7 Flint and fabrication: the mace heads of Maesmore type
Andrew Meirion Jones and Marta Díaz-Guardamino
8 Orkney: figurines and sculptured stones
Andrew Meirion Jones and Marta Díaz-Guardamino
9 Image and process in an architectural context: decorated stonework from the Ness of Brodgar, Orkney
Antonia Thomas
10 Mark making in the Neolithic: passage tomb art, rock art, pottery and enclosures
Andrew Meirion Jones
11 Remarkable objects, Multiple objects: the ontology of decorated artefacts in Neolithic Britain and Ireland
Andrew Meirion Jones
12 Chequered histories: a minor narrative of Neolithic mark making
Andrew Meirion Jones
13 Digital collaborations
Andrew Meirion Jones and Marta Díaz-Guardamino
14 Terminal Hut
Ian Dawson and Louisa Minkin
15 Making matters
Andrew Meirion Jones

Reviews & Quotes

"Supported by a comprehensive bibliography, excellent and detailed photography, and that all-important index, Meirion Jones and Diaz-Guardamino provide the reader with a refreshing approach to deconstructing art and how it played a fundamental part in Neolithic society. This book will be an important contribution to the study of this enigmatic subject."
George Nash
Current Archaeology (24/06/2019)

"By digging below the surface of the designs used, the tools employed and the processes surrounding the creation and deployment of decorated objects, Meirion Jones and Díaz-Guardamino have re-focused the subject with a much higher resolution, akin to that of their RTI images. The details are clearer and new subtleties are emerging. This is an important book which will surely make its own mark in the literature. "
Kate Sharpe
Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society (29/08/2019)

"The volume is lavishly illustrated… the study is rich in ideas and explores the practices of erasure, revision and reworking. The significance of process is brought into sharp focus in an excellent chapter by Antonia Thomas that deviates from artefacts to discuss the decoration of buildings and tombs in Orkney."
Hugo Anderson-Whymark
British Archaeology (03/05/2019)

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