Pottery was found deliberately broken at Tinkinswood and other Neolithic sites, seemingly as part of a ritual. The children made their own pottery inspired by Neolithic designs to be smashed as part of their own ceremony. After discussion and designs they each made at least one pot each. The pottery was created using coils of clay and entoptic style shapes were carefully engraved on to the walls surfaces. The results were beautiful. They painstakingly carved their designs on the pots, often using the hidden inside walls, whilst knowing that they would eventually be broken. this opened up lots of questions. First of all why did they do it? How did they feel? We had some wonderful discussions this week and last week at both schools. Topics covered included; the after life, the spirit world, the temporary nature of the material world, the parallels with the last communion and the breaking of the bread, the permanence of the soul, the need to create a shadow spirit pot by breaking the physical one, the releasing of magic, the remembrance and celebration of love. Big questions and even bigger answers!
Here Dr Steve Burrow is discussing the gruesome theories some of the boys came up with regarding sacrificial offerings at Tinkinswood. Horrible Histories eat your heart out!……..(perhaps an unfortunate expression to use given the subject matter!).
Steve had all the children enthralled with his stories of what was found at Tinkinswood and how it was analysed. Looking at the 6000 year old bones was really special and listening to Steve talk is always a privilege. His book, The Tomb Builders in Wales 4000–3000 BC, is also a must read for anyone interested in Wales’ Neolithic burial sites.
Pupils from Peterston-Super-Ely made their own Neolithic style markings and interpreted them using vocal sounds or/and drum sounds. They were told before they started drawing that their patterns would be used as a graphic score, and that they were to think about ancient magical ceremony music that might be heard inside a stone chamber. A delay pedal was used with a microphone to create the echo effect. This is not supposed to be Neolithic music, but it is at least organised sound from the twenty first century that has been influenced by markings made 6000 years ago. The children were shown the stone from Bryn Celli Ddu that resides in the National Museum in Cardiff. This and other photos of Neolithic markings influenced the children’s ideas.
Dr Ffion Reynolds is an absolute marvel! It is a journey of adventure working with her, and her knowledge of the Neolithic and Neolithic shamanic practice in particular is startling! Combine this with boundless enthusiasm, energy, imagination, determination and a wonderful sense of fun, and you have a really potent cocktail that is as magical as any shamanic brew! Here she is excavating at Tinkinswood, 2011