Pits

The idea for pit(ing) has been developing for some time through discussion and this page (and the category Pit(ing)) of the blog will aim to consolidate those musings into a tangible experiment.  Having participated in the excavation and survey of early Neolithic pit features as team members of the SRAP, Joe and I have been discussing the idea of what it would be like to actually dig a pit and do something with it. We are not attempting to reconstruct Neolithic pits and associated activities; it aims to be more an exercise in getting to grips with, and mediating, the physicality of pit construction, use and abandonment. We do not seek explicitly to explain pit form and/or function, but we do hope to gain and disseminate some experience of engagement with pits using various media including video, sound, photography and this blog. 

We welcome comments about this concept under the Pit(ing) category.

Most often pits are thought about in terms of form, function and/or as serving some symbolic role.  This exercise aims to get at the more experiential, practical, corporeal side of things to do with pits through a kind of experimental archaeology. 

In terms of practicalities we now have some land we can use: a field near the cottage.

We could have a range of experiments going on, for example: digging a pit or series of pits; cooking in a pit; sleeping in a pit; have fires in or around a pit; back-filling a pit; throwing/smashing stuff in a pit (pottery for example); using a pit for storage. 

Following from experience in Romania when excavating pits, it is easy to appreciate how it can be difficult to become enthused about pits and their contents.  Indeed many local Romanians considered us archaeologists more than a little mad to be spending so much time on their excavation.  Perhaps there are other ways of approaching and studying the phenomena of pits that are more engaging to a wider, and potentially non-academic, audience.  Hopefully an experiment such as we propose might be one such way and one which is more open to others at least in terms of its mediation.


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