Linda Norris – what3sherds, a Citizen Archaeology Project

Art Commission

Linda Norris

Sherd: Synonyms or Related Terms: shard, potsherd

Category: Artefact

Definition: Any pottery fragment – piece of broken pot or other earthenware item – that has archaeological significance. They are an invaluable part of the archaeological record because they are well-preserved. The analysis of ceramic changes recorded in potsherds has become one of the primary techniques used by archaeologists in assigning components and phases to times and cultures.
(Kipfer 2020)

“I am an artist working across artforms, moving from painting to glass blowing, casting to ceramic in my investigations of the genius loci of the landscape. For the Ancient Connections Commission, I am interested in exploring how I can use archaeology to reveal and examine human connections with other places, primarily Ireland and the Celtic Diaspora. I am constantly seeking out things that connect me with the landscape and the people who lived here before me and I am increasingly drawn to small overlooked ‘finds’ that tell untold stories and connect me to the landscape and the people of the area.” – Linda Norris

Links with the Past

“I have recently been focusing on ceramic sherds that I have found in my garden and on beaches and riverbeds on my daily walks. Far from the glamour of precious metal hordes or celebrated monuments, sherds speak of anonymous domestic stories and link us with the people who lived in our homes in the past.

For the Ancient Connections Commission I plan to initiate a ‘citizen archaeology’ project in North Pembrokeshire and North Wexford in Ireland, and extending into the Celtic Diaspora. I will invite people to send me a sherd they have found in their garden, or on walks in their local area. I will record the finds, research and archive them, and, add them to an online map set up for the project. I will be consulting archaeologists on the submitted finds in case anything submitted is of archaeological interest.”

Diasporas and Descendents

“As part of this project, I also hope to research people who emigrated from Pembrokeshire and Wexford to the Diaspora in the 19th century and reaching out to their descendants. I will seek out ceramic fragments from the places where those families now live and asking them to send photographs, which could possibly inspire new art works.

The form of the final physical artworks will be developed in relation to the material uncovered in the research process, but – in addition to the virtual map – I envisage remaking some of the sherds in glass which will be incorporated into new artwork to be exhibited at the end of the Ancient Connections Project.” – Linda Norris

Date: September 2020 – December 2022

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