Ice Age Art, CAA UK 2013 and even more hecticness

Ice Age Art, CAA UK 2013 and even more hecticness

#project52 #week8

So, I’m still behind but I should get caught up by the end of the week. This picture I took today, but it is my #project52 picture for last week (week eight)… that may or may not be cheating, but I did a lot last week, and the thing I really wanted a picture from I wasn’t allowed to take a camera into…

 

So, last week… On Monday Matt and I ventured off to the New Forest Wildlife Park– we go at least once a year as there is always something new to see, and who could get tired of otters and owls?! This year they have added European Bison, and my goodness those things are HUGE! I knew on a logical level how big they are, but seeing one not 5m away was an eye-opener! On Tuesday I pootled over to see my folks in Ventnor on the Isle of Wight and me and my Dad went on a photography mission. I think I got some nice shots; certainly I am getting more of a feel for composition and so forth. The (unedited) highlights are on my flickr account.

Wednesday was a much needed catch up with my friend Cat- we did all the girly stuff I don’t normally do (and neither does she!) such as shopping and hair dye behaviour, then Matt cooked us dinner and we chatted about books and such. Thursday was another day to catch up with important friends- Scott came over and then we headed out for dinner with Stu and Tree. Again, lots of good talking about hobbies, books, plans. Friday I headed up to CAA UK, and live tweeted the conference, as well as curating a storify of the tweets floating about. It was another chance to see old friends and catch up on the cutting edges of my discipline. There was also epic conference swag, and QR-code cupcakes that led to open access archaeology papers! After things finished for the day I met Matt at Waterloo and we had dinner and drinks with our friend Den (who has just had his trilogy bought, so we had reason to celebrate!) and then trekked over to Greenwich to stay with a very dear friend who used babysit me, his partner and their 8 dogs (plus guinea pigs and birds)… As you can imagine, that was a bit mad but really really good.

Saturday was the second day of CAA and more tweeting, and cheering on Panda, a friend giving her first ever conference presentation (and doing a damned fine job)… I skipped the ArchCamp in the end because I was shattered, and met Matt in the West End for dinner, which was really not very good and made us grumpy. Then we headed to Pimlico to stay with Nix, who is practically my little brother, except he acts like my big brother, and his lovely other half Emma, and their very bouncy Labrador Loki, who has a thing about feet…

1 huge portion of jam roly-poly and rather a lot of wine later, we crashed out. Sunday saw us heading off to the British Museum, one of my favourite places to visit. We lurked around some old favourites and enjoyed some new things- like the gallery just installed about the enlightenment. This was a wonderful exploration of the 17th & 18th century flourishing of science and natural history, displayed like one enormous cabinet of curiosities. The current exhibition in the drawings and prints about travellers drawings from Greece was a good companion to this. I could have spent most of the day in there! We dived out to meet my friend Ish for coffee in the afternoon, before dashing back for our 4pm slot to see the Ice Age Art exhibition.

 

I was somewhat overwhelmed. It might have been the hecticness of the preceding week, and the amount of coffee, but I really had a bit of a ‘moment’ looking at the face of the woman from Dolini Vestonice, thought to be the first ever portrait of human being (as in, of a recognisable individual rather than an abstract ‘person’). The objects in the room included some of those that inspired me to study archaeology and helped me fall in love with prehistory. The Swimming Reindeer, inches from my nose. It was a moving, incredible experience. I think Matt thought I had gone a bit mad, but it was a wonderful hour and a bit communing with my ancestors. The cave installation was enthralling. I really liked how the exhibition was displayed and the information available. Part of me wanted more archaeological context- something about the environment, what we know about social groupings at the time, but that wasn’t the point: the objects were the point, and what they teach us about the arrival of the ‘modern mind’. If you get the chance, go. But book online- we were almost disappointed- by the time we bought our timed-entry tickets (at 11.30) we could only go in at either 14:40 or 16:00. I agree with the timed entry though- the figurines are tiny and numbers need to be controlled to give everyone a chance to see them very close. Even with the timed-entry some patience was needed to properly see all of the objects. Also, if you want postcards specific to the exhibit, you’ll only find them in the gift shop bit directly after the exhibit- you can’t get them elsewhere in the museum.

After that we headed home, and then I was horribly ill for two days….

 

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