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Cambridge Festival of Ideas - Prehistoric-stylee

Unsurprisingly perhaps, mud (or 'cob') architecture as it's usually known as in England, appears very little in the archaeological record hereabouts. Ashes to ashes, mud to mud etc. Especially wet, cold, British mud. I have read of advances in Africa and the USA in identifying excavations of mud wall architecture, but there is something profound to me about the absence of these most primitive shelters from the tangible past celebrated in this country - I guess it leaves more work for the imagination to do.

Fortunately visitors to our cob building zone at Cambridge Archaeology Unit's Prehistory Day were in general under 8 years of age and hence spared us clueless artists a grilling on the evidence of earth-building in prehistoric building techniques. Their parents were just glad to have them occupied I think and therefore neither did they ask any tricky history questions - though if they had, there were plenty of real-life archaeologists around to point them to - all doing exciting things like butchering a deer, archery and -er-face painting. I even heard two chatting each other up,
'What's your specialism?"
"Oh, the Mesolithic transition in South East England"
"Cool. That's mine too"
One very keen small boy had done a thorough excavation of his back garden, that had - he proudly said - yielded 'Half of a wig curler'. I think his Dad was an archaeologist, or maybe this is normal stuff for kids in Cambridge to be into? If it is, we are definately not in Kansas anymore.

Anyhow, the local kids seemed happier just to get stuck in and muddy, assisting us in building a small cob 'tower block' that we were trialling for a sculpture proposal for the NW Cambridge site. I brought to the workshop some wooden beehive 'supers' (boxes in which the combs hang) to try as time-saving moulds, as Nina shows in the picture, these seemed to work well packed with mud, and the resulting one-metre high cob tower stacked up rather well, though I'm not sure it would win any RIBA awards.

You can see more pictures of the workshop on Flickr here

Thanks to Sara Harrop, CAU and to Maeve Polkinhorn of CAS for their help on the day

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Photo: Dave Webb

Scottish Mental Health Arts & Film Awards

I'd a lovely time last week, heading back to Edinburgh to pick up an award for our film Jaywick Escapes, selected from over 100 entries (docs and fiction).

The Scottish Mental Health Arts & Film Awards commend films from all over the world, so it was also great to see extracts from these on the big screen. We'd like to thank the panel and the organisers for both the award and the evening's event.

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Karen picks up the award at the Filmhouse in Edinburgh

Come Cob with us!

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FANFARE - Jaywick Escapes wins award!

We're thrilled to hear that we have won an award for Jaywick Escapes, our third film, from the Scottish Mental Health Arts & Film Festival.

Karen returns to our old stomping ground Edinburgh for the canapes and red carpet.....

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any chance of obtaining a coy of Jaywick Escapes on dvd please?

The DVD will be released very soon - please join our mailing list (link above) or check back here for updates!

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Cambridge Festival of Ideas - Sat 26th Oct

We are leading a mud-build workshop from 10.30am - 4pm at this event, as part of our University of Cambridge archaeology residency - do come along but be prepared to get dirty :-)

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Say hello in Cambridge this autumn...

Here's the official art website for our University of Cambridge Archaeology residency we are doing presently - it's just gone live!

As part of the wondrous Cambridge Festival of Ideas we are doing a few free events:

Friday 25th Oct, 6.30-8.00pm

Artists-in-res talk with Hannah Rickards and Tania Kovats Institute of Astronomy. Madingley Road, Cambridge, CB3 0HA
Details and booking here

Saturday 26th Oct, 10.30am-4pm

Recycling archaeological soil samples into mud architecture as part of Prehistory Day
Cambridge Archaeological Unit, 34A & B Storey's Way, Cambridge, CB3 0DT
Details here (no booking needed)

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Us with Hannah Rickards and Tania Kovats, on the North West Cambridge site

Somewhere there's a Cob wall!

The reasoning behind Karen attending a cob building course all to hopefully be revealed soon!

1 Comment:

It was very muddy and very inspiring, taught by the wonderful Kate, who makes you feel like even you can build a mud palace! - see www.cobcourses.com

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What Will This Year's Harvest Be?

Celebrate the flavours of the harvest at Abbey Gardens Food Glorious Food Harvest Festival on Saturday 28 September, 1pm-4pm
A free event for all ages

  • Food-focused garden tour with garden club leader Hamish Liddle
  • Cake and chutney competitions
  • Food by Vegan Peasant made from Abbey Gardens’ produce
  • Test your food knowledge in our quiz
  • The Abbey Gardens Tea Ceremony (a London Metropolitan University project)
  • Bring a recipe for our recipe wall
  • ‘Get rid of your glut’ table
  • Folk music from Robin Grey
  • Cupcake decorating for kids
  • Innovation in outdoor cooking with Charlie Seber
  • …and our ever popular tea and cake stall

All activities are free. Tea, cake, lunch and honesty stall produce for donations to the garden.

Cake and chutney competition entries are to be prepared in advance and brought to the garden on the day.

And if you can’t wait that long, come and see us on Saturday 7 September when we’ll be taking part in NGS Gardens Open for Charity, from 10am – 5pm. Entry £2 (free for children) in aid of this year’s NGS charities; tea and cake for donations.

Harvest Festival poster design kindly donated by Catherine French

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Aboard the Floating Cinema today

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Top Tickets

Get booking today for the last few Floating Cinema Troubled Waters tickets tomorrow ... who can resist a tour of London's watery crimes with added rare archive footage!?

This year's Floating Cinema micro-comedy season also begins this week - we're delighted to welcome back onboard bonkers (in a good way) Holly Burn ... the first of three celebrity comics we've invited to interview an extra-ordinary local celebrity of their choice. Holly is kicking off with Doreen Golding - Bow Bell's very own Pearly Queen - Thursday night at our Mile End Mooring - you'd be mad to miss it ... as the Pearlies would say "One Never Knows" what might happen on a night out with Holly.

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