from ‘Buddo’ to Brodgar: experiencing neolithic Orkney

thinking/making: catching thought in process

1 May 2017: From ‘Buddo’ to Brodgar: experiencing neolithic Orkney

……….in its own terms – in the transition from linguistic-mythic to material-symbolic culture

“Taking my cue from the ‘Buddo’ assignment, I approached Orkney from a position of un-knowing, purposefully holding back from research.  I read just enough to satisfy the logistics of travel.  It was no surprise to find that I was at the centre of  my Brodgar experience, but I was surprised by the bodily nature of my experience.  In the ‘Buddo’ assignment my connections had been linguistically based – in books, held within stories told.  At Brodgar, the physical experience of the site seemed to draw all its resonances directly from my body-mind, the memory of my hands forming a basket, my hands reconstructing a pot”

1. the centre: the point of origin, of making, holding the stones together


“I connect opposites: two stones to the north, three to the south, two to the east, one to the west.  With this basic structure (like starting a basket) I can complete the circle and hold it in my minds eye.”

2. fragments: piecing together the remains of the circle, to take away, relationships intact


Photo 24-04-2017

“I photograph two or three stones at a time, from the centre, in rotation, making sure to include the last stone from each group in the next shot so that they can later be pieced together (like fragments of a pot)”

3. embodied: in circular procession, the stones materialising one by one, through bodily proximity, comparing scale and weight


“I follow the stones around, starting at the first upright and stopping at each one, seeing how far I, my eye, my camera lens, might travel around its circumference (weave between each upright).  We are all doing this, in procession.”


(refs. The transition from linguistic-mythic to material-symbolic culture is an adaption of Merlin Donal’s system of Cognitive phases by Colin Renfrew in Renfrew, Colin (2003) Figuring it out p113 London, Thames and Hudson)

extract from ART AND ARCHAEOLOGY: ASSIGNMENT 2   a presentation comprehending the role that visual culture plays in heritage understanding and interpretation


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s