Reading stone tools


This post is not quite learning through making. The above composite comprises a series of images of the same artefact. It is a blade-point recovered from Kent’s Cavern, Torquay, Devon by William Pengelly between 1865-68. The photograph was taken in the Torquay Museum in July 2013 and as can be seen, the artefact is heavily patinated and therefore difficult to read. The first illustration is from Sir John Evans (1872 :450) book “The Ancient Stone Implements, Weapons and Ornaments of Britain“. The second is from John Campbell’s (1977: 237) “The Upper Palaeolithic of Britain“. The final drawing is by the illustrator Joanna Richards produced for a Roger Jacobi (1990: 273) paper “Leaf-points and the British Early Upper Palaeolithic“. The main point of interest (to me) is how each illustrator has read the mid-section differently. The first illustration has the ripples running from left to right, the second from bottom to top, and the third top to bottom. Whilst the finished drawings present confident and definite explanations of the tool, when brought together, they highlight the interpretive aspects of the recording process. In the same way that the map is not the territory, the illustration is not the artefact. However, I have found that the actual process of drawing an artefact is a really valuable way of getting to know, and understand it. Following the general theme of this blog, it is the process rather than the end product that can be seen as valuable. In this respect this post is approximately relevant, being about the process of learning, through the process of drawing.


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