It’s difficult to know precisely who reads this blog and what people learn from it. However, this post identifies a concrete example where Archaeodeath has had a real-world impact.
In previous blog-posts I’ve outlined a small collaboration with Dr Aaron Watson to produce a new (and first-ever) interpretation and re-display of the medieval stones in Holy Trinity church at Bolton le Sands. These comprise two late medieval grave-slabs, and two double-sided stones, fragments of 10th/11th-century monuments reused by carvings on their backs in the 12th/13th centuries. Read about my past blog-posts here:
- Viking Age stones at Bolton le Sands Part 1
- Viking Age Stones at Bolton le Sands Part 2
- Symbols on medieval memorials – Bolton le Sands
- Bolton le Sands – The Stones Re-displayed!
Previously, the stones had been without heritage interpretation, lighting and were loose in the church. About the re-display – which was done on a very small budget indeed and certainly my contribution was gratis, and there was no time for detailed consultation with Aaron or myself – I concluded the final post as follows:
Well done Bolton le Sands! I hope their medieval stones will now be better appreciated by the local community and by visitors.
I haven’t yet been back to Bolton le Sands, so thanks to Brian James for permission to use his photographs of the newly re-displayed stones!
To my shame, it was only last week, en route to the Heysham Viking Festival, when I had the first chance to actually revisit the church and appreciate the re-display first hand. Here they are!
About this 2017 re-display, I can first reiterate my five points previously stated in an earlier blog-post:
- the two early medieval stones have been effectively positioned so that the back-sides can be at least partially apprehended through pre-existing iron railings;
- the fragmented larger later medieval stone has been re-assembled for display, giving it a new and distinctive impression;
- All the stones are now lit from internal powerful halogen lights. In addition, if the west door is opened, natural light will hit the rear-sides of the early medieval stones and will side-light the later medieval stones;
- The stones are no longer loose thus no longer prone to theft, and certainly free from potential damage by being used to prop open and closed the west door;
- The ‘hogback’ fragment is displayed so that the tegulae are on the right, rather than the top. This might make it somewhat challenging for visitors to comprehend this was originally a recumbent grave cover.
Given the chairs and gate in the railings being closed, I couldn’t get around to see the back-sides of the early medieval stones. Still, I can now add one flattering point of first-hand observation. With permission, the church has crafted signs direct from the information in my aforementioned blog-posts! Now this is quick and easy for them to do, but has the limitation that, of course, the text wasn’t composed with this purpose in mind. Still, it is delightful to see Archaeodeath making such a stark real-world impact on the interpretation of the monuments! Indeed, a print-out of my blog-posts was positioned on top of the hogback!
Note: The church has promised to edit out the erroneous reference to Geoff Bailey…