Saturday, 8 February 2014

Pictures: Looking at Ethnographic Examples of Cordage at the Pitt Rivers

On Wednesday we had a follow up session to the previous week's activity in Port Meadow, and we discovered that the Pitt Rivers is just full of cordage technology.

Some impressive pieces included cordage so fine and long that it looked machine made. The basketry was also interesting to look at, and some were woven so tightly as to be waterproof.

And as soon as it was highlighted to us, we discovered that cordage was everywhere to be found, from baskets, hafted tools, bow strings, fish nets, rope... even some sandals, brought in by Klint as a demonstration (well worn!):

We had brought some materials so that people that missed our rainy day in the meadow could learn the skill. A good way to learn is actually trying it out first on plastic bags (which actually make a really strong cordage):

Wandering through the Pitt Rivers, we continued to find other examples of cordage use from lots of different areas of the world through many different ages. The skill of cordage making will be able to help us in future activities with OxPalTechSoc, where we will be trying to make a number of the items we saw in the museum on that day - it was great for inspiration!

But all that discussion made us thirsty, so we eventually relocated to the Eagle and Child for some cordage making with some actual organic material instead of the plastic bags:

We had a great time at the Pitt Rivers, and will surely return again. The best thing about this museum, because of its seemingly jumbled layout and stuffed cabinets, is that no matter how many times you visit, there is always more fascinating things you never saw before.

Join us next week at the Ashmolean where we will be handling Lower Palaeolithic tools and discussing their manufacture and materials used (check out the below post!)

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