On 7th July, as part of the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad, Flag Fen hosted Turner Prize-winning artist Jeremy Deller’s Sacrilege: a life-sized, 40m- across bouncy castle version of Stonehenge. What archaeologist could resist that? Team DV decided to make a day of it as we headed to site to wrap up some final details, and have some fun as well.
Of course, being the serious and professional archaeologists that we are, our first approach to the inflatable Neolithic monument was to search for historical accuracy. We were immediately provided with the opportunity to be bitterly disappointed, upon discovering that the bluestones had been removed in order to create more bouncing room. Excuse us? Who is Jeremy Deller to dare to revise history and take light of such a sacred place in this manner? Is this yet one more small step in dumbing down (but a giant leap towards engaging more people with archaeology)?! We were shocked and appalled.
Until we started bouncing, of course.
And then sliding, after it rained and the whole thing turned into a giant slip-n-slide.
As we looked around at the smiling faces and witnessed the joy that this very silly and very wonderful piece art inspired in our fellow bouncers, we all decided that there’s really no harm in taking the mick out of archaeology, if it makes people happy. After all, as Oscar Wilde said:
“For archaeology, being a science, is neither good nor bad, but a fact simply. Its value depends entirely on how it is used, and only an artist can use it. We look to the archaeologist for the materials, to the artist for the method.
Indeed archaeology is only really delightful when transfused into some form of art.”
And that, dear readers, is our thought for the day. That, and…bouncing is really hard work!
Check out our gallery of images for the full glory of our day bouncing.
And here we have some amazing ‘bouncer’s eye view’ footage:
And finally, the instant classic: Stonehenge, Wilts!
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