Had a great creative day with the kids at Great Waltham primary school (with the help of Norah) They remembered my last visit and the art activities we did with flint. They also remembered me talking about the ice age, ancestral Thames and how all the stones in their gardens got there. This time we were outside getting muddy, yes! They made 'ice age' mud hand prints, Andy Goldsworthy inspired pebble circles, stone stacks and best of all, the dig. With little safety gloves and trowels (kindly supplied by Hanson Aggregates) they dug their little patch in the corner of the playing field in search of hidden treasure. Even a pebble became a source of huge delight. They washed all their finds and placed them on the table in groups of genre - stones, fossils, natural objects and manmade objects. The finds created much discussion and enlightened the children on what interesting things lie right under their feet if they just spend a little time looking for it.
The last few visits to the quarry, I have been collecting mud - chalky boulder clay deposited during the last ice age about 450,000 years ago, from the top surface. I then acquired some freshly dug London clay from beneath the gravels and sands.
The London Clay Formation is a marine geological formation of the Ypresian age (56 - 49 million years ago) which crops out in the Southeast of England. It is well know for its fossil content. The fossils from the lower Eocene rocks indicate a moderately warm climate. Though sea levels changes during the deposition of the clay, the habitat was generally a lush forrest. (Wikipedia)
I am now the proud owner of a Thames Foreshore Permit from the Port of London Authority (PLA) this means I can now legally go mud larking along the Thames foreshore. Access to the detritus from years of human occupation along the river Thames has given me a fantastic contrast to the natural untainted deposits of the ancestral Thames. From its colour to its contents, each one reveals its hidden stories from the past which in-turn could inform the future, and of course inform the work I create - so exciting.
Below this simple display of Earth shaped circles shows just how different they are.
PORTAL - To a Land Before Prometheus
Ancestral Thames fluvial deposits - flint, quartzite, quartz,
Thames detritus deposits - brick and tile fragments, coal, manmade metal objects, pottery and glass fragments, animal bones and teeth, plastic,
What treasures await for me now?