In Spring 2008 Surrey County Council's Community Archaeologist worked with a local artist and A Level Art students to look at archaeology from a different angle.
Archaeology IS a load of old rubbish!
Local artist Alistair Grant took this concept to heart with his recent show, 'King Shoddy'. He created pieces of art from collections he had made at landfill sites across the country, and displayed them as if they were museum exhibits, with a pseudo-archaeological narrative as his interpretation.
Following the success of the show, several workshops were organised as part of the LandSkip project - making art out of rubbish in the landscape. One of the workshops involved the Community Archaeologist assisting Alistair Grant and a group of art students from Esher College, in the excavation of a disused landfill site at West End Common, near Esher.
After an introduction about the work of an archaeologist and artist, the students were designated a trench to excavate, removing the soils layer by layer, and recovering any finds they came across. At the end of the session, all the finds were bagged and boxed, and taken back to Esher College to be processed. This involved the students cleaning the finds, and then choosing suitable ones to interpret by creating works of art from them. The artwork is put on display at Elmbridge Museum as part of the 'Muck-raking' exhibition.
If you are interested in taking part in the project or would like further information on other Community Archaeology projects in Surrey please contact: Abby Guinness, Community Archaeologist, Tel: 01483 518772, email: firstname.lastname@example.org∞
Find out more: visit the Surrey County Council Community Archaeology∞ pages
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