A new Chapter – Art Car Bootique

Packing our Shamanic selves we trotted off to most eccentric and coolest car-boot sale you have ever been to with over 50 pitches of art, fashion, performance, street food, vintage booters and curated projects. From travelling cafes to rock ‘n’ roll caravans from moustached gentlemen to bright red lobsters the Art Car Bootique was an interactive event with all the fun of the unfair.

Pitching up in a prime spot (opposite the dining divas,  Camp Cooks), we spent the day bringing the archaeology of shamanism to the people of Cardiff. Encouraging folk to get down and dirty with past, by dressing up, creating handprints, tracking their own movement and migration and exploring the dark art of archaeology (some people think we make it all up).

We are particularly fond of shamanism as it forms part of our research into how people lived and thought in the past.  It provides a great example of the archaeological method of drawing on historical and ethnographical information to interpret ancient burials, objects and art.

One of our new activities was the creation of peg doll shaman. Shamans often wear  fringed outfits which blur the body’s outline, emphasise movement,  and incorporate ritual objects such as quartz, animal materials, metals, mirrors in their robes, head dresses, masks.


Shaman: Master of Ecstasy (National Geographic)

For our mini-shaman we provided a group of materials for their tiny outfits and various ‘shamanic’ objects – cloth, shell buttons, beads, sequins, feather, fur and wool. Then using images of past and present shamans we encouraged everyone to create a shaman.
The challenge for archaeologists is to interpret archaeological remains (graves, bones, artefacts, art etc) to understand human lives.  Over time many materials degrade and we are often left with only rare traces of organic materials (no plastics in the past!).
2013-04-14 14.00.03
So if we performed a ritual shaman peg doll burial, how much would be left after 10 years?  It depends on where they were buried and what the objects are made of……in a nice dry stable cave (e.g. Paviland) or a frozen places (Utzi Ice Man or Ukok Princess) organic materials (even cloth and flesh) could survive.  In normal burial environments bone and/or metal may survive (Upton Lowell), but often all we have left are stones (e.g. quartz) and it is very difficult to understand who or what someone was with such a tiny amount of evidence.
And 0ur thanks from Chapter……

Dear Art Car Booters
I hope you have all recovered from Sunday’s event.
Now that I can just about open my eyes I just wanted to say a massive thank you to you all for the amazing contributions that you made to the event. From Disco Bingo to Guilty Pleasure exhibitions, and Guerrilla Archaeology to Art tombolas – you were amazing, despite the rain!
Thanks again and very best wishes
Chapter Head of Visual and LIve Arts

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