Skip to main content
×
×
Home

Archaeology and fiction

  • Margaret Elphinstone (a1) and Caroline Wickham-Jones (a2)
Abstract

In the summer of 2006 author Margaret Elphinstone, embarking on a novel set in the prehistoric period (Elphinstone 2009), sought out archaeologist Caroline Wickham-Jones to discover more about Mesolithic Scotland. The resulting process proved to be more than a simple question and answer session: over three years, the two of us, novelist and archaeologist, each renegotiated the boundaries of our perceptual frameworks. This paper is intended to examine the learning process that most students of archaeology unconsciously experience, and it goes on to champion a respected role for fiction. As the status of history is reduced in the school syllabus, the number of people learning about their past from fiction will increase. Very few people learn much about the Mesolithic through formal education; indeed we are both astonished at how many well-educated people have no idea when or what the Mesolithic was. As representatives of our professions, we here demonstrate the special and timely benefits of what we term the informed novel.

Copyright
References
Hide All
Albrethsen, S. E. & Petersen, E. Brinch. 1977. Excavation of a Mesolithic cemetery at Vedbaek, Denmark. Acta Archaeologica 47: 128.
Clark, J.G.D. 1954. Excavations at Star Carr: an early Mesolithic site at Seamer near Scarborough, Yorkshire. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Elphinstone, M. 2004. Voyageurs. Edinburgh: Canongate.
Elphinstone, M. 2009. The Gathering Night. Edinburgh: Canongate.
Hummler, M. 2009. New Book Chronicle. Antiquity 83: 562–63.
Mellars, P. A. 1987. Excavations on Oronsay: prehistoric human ecology on a small island. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.
Mithen, S. (ed.) 2001. Hunter-gatherer landscape archaeology, the Southern Hebrides Mesolithic Project 1988-1995. Cambridge: McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research
Richards, C. (ed.) 2005. Dwelling among the monuments. Cambridge: McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research.
Wickham-Jones, C.R. & Downes, J.. 2007. Long Howe, Orkney: excavation. Discovery and Excavation in Scotland 8: 147.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Antiquity
  • ISSN: 0003-598X
  • EISSN: 1745-1744
  • URL: /core/journals/antiquity
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Related content

Powered by UNSILO

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed