Category Archives: Phase 1: The Pallasboy Vessel

Whittled Words

Brian Mac Domhnaill

In 2016, having remarked upon the poetic nature of Mark’s blog posts I set about ‘whittling’ the text down into sections of spoken word. I also added content from blog posts by Cathy and Ben by means of introduction and context. I may also have added a few words of my own.

I did not follow any particular poetic rules but roughly chopped the content into stanzas based on each written passage or paragraph. I inserted an occasional pause in the form of an utterance of Pallasboy, the townland where the original vessel was laid to rest and later excavated. Also, the name Pallasboy inadvertently personifies the original artefact and our crafted object.

The first six ‘stanzas’, set in Prehistory, refer to the imagined story of the original vessel. The remainder is set in 2015 and describes the crafting of our replica.

I whittled the words down over a number of afternoons in my studio, also spent whittling splinters and sticks that had been removed from the vessel during crafting. The resulting whittled objects and pseudo artefacts may come to form part of sculptures or may just exist as themselves. To be confirmed.

I intended to record a few of us reading the full piece of spoken word and then edit  a mix using all our voices. I got Mark to record himself in UK and send it over. I was struck by how differently he interpreted it. If I was to use a recording by each of us and have it flow the way I intended I would have to record myself first to set the pace and tone. This is yet to come but in the meantime you can enjoy the script in print and read it out loud yourself:

Pallasboy

Words whittled by Brian Mac Domhnaill from blog posts by Caitríona Moore, Benjamin Gearey and Mark Griffiths.

Black Alder; Alnus glutinosa
Bright green leaves
Dark brown bark
Fractured into scales
Bad luck to pass it on a journey

Hidden until now
A commoner of the wood’; ‘Aithig Fedo’
A crown of honeysuckle
Tall, straight and proud
In a clearing in the Bog Wood

Tended to, chosen
Sentenced to death
Red droplets on white flesh
The first man sprang from a tree such as this
‘the red man’

A person working
A growing carpet of woodchips, each one the strike of a tool
Spoil
Important and telling waste
The story of daily life

Skill, interaction, instinct, judgment, symmetry

Exhaustion
A tree reborn as a vessel
Admired, used, carried, submerged in a bog pool

Pallasboy

Meitheal Mara
A bright morning
Familiar sounds, vibrancy, people flow
The perfect working space
Shared knowledge
A warm welcome

Apprehension
Knots and defects
Closeness to root
Grain follows its own random path
Dissection
Splitting

Scoring a deep groove along the guide line with an axe
Hardwood wedges driven in with a large mallet
From tree top to root
The split widens
The air is filled with the sound of cracking wood
Larger wedges replace smaller ones
The timber yields

The large unwanted riven away
Axe and adze
A level face hewn
A plan laid out
Fibre-tipped charcoal lines
Satisfying proportions
Inside roughed out
Soft, wet, easy to work

Pallasboy

More than one maker
Working together
Inside and out
Master craftspeople
Master and journeyman
Master and his apprentice

Pallasboy

Becoming familiar
Punishment
The muscles and joints of Pre-History
Sore, cramped hands
Binding blistered fingers
Reinforced wrists
Numbness
Trepidation
Hacking

A striking colour change
A soft creamy white, A brick like orange
Bark removed
It bleeds a rich, thick, blood-like sap
Great spiritual significance

Wear and tear
Keeping a keen edge
Underside and curved ends
Fluid carving
Shifting on a wood chip blanket
Wedges to hold it in place
Working alone

Pallasboy

Wind chills and blusters, the rain comes
A deep grey sky devoid of light
The cymbal crash of torrential downpour on a roof
A drum-like beat
The upturned vessel
Primal sounds

Chip away
The power behind the blow
The angle of the strike
The tool marks left behind
Overwhelmed with fatigue
A feeling of deep melancholy
The damp chill of the dark evening
Too tired to eat
Sleep

Pallasboy

Finishing  shaping
Forming handles
Carving bow shaped ends
Hourglass Oak Mallet
Seamus on a log, smoking, watching
A crisp edge carved at the outer rim

Unseasoned ‘green’ wood
Removing structural timber
Moisture released
Cracking
Splits radiating from the heartwood
Submergence, Stabilisation
A damp hessian shroud

Pallasboy

Waiting
A journey
Now a shade of pale straw
Definition
Internal depth
A gentle carved slope
Dark skies
Biblical rain
A restless night

Pallasboy

Small stone bridges span the Lee
Swollen with rain the river rages below
Water rolls over a weir at a ferocious pace
Foaming white eddies
Intrigued visitors
The form of the vessel
Curvaceous exterior
The precise thickness of its sides and base
Would it carry a cargo?

Different carving
Fibres dry and tight
Furred and splintered
Cuts crisp and positive
A stronger resemblance
Blending  sides into floor
The chill of now familiar back streets

Carving  detail
Leveling  rim
A crisp defined edge, as new
Boring holes in shaped handles
A small gouge and mallet

Chip carving
Intriguing detail
A deceptively simple linear pattern
Fish scales, fur, feathers
The tool marks formed on a worked metal surface
Joy

New cracks
Alarm
Linseed oil, paint brushes, rags, gloves
A preservative finish
Drenching the parched timber
Dull straw turns to a rich honey
The grain magically displays its wild, complex pattern
The chip carving suddenly comes to life as the light plays across the vessel’s surface

Pallasboy

A new home below a wall of glass
Looking out on to parkland, and beyond to the river
Visitors touch the vessel
Fingers explore the shapes and patterns formed by the tools
An object of significance
Reaction and response
Detachment, a sense of loss

Pallasboy

Reflecting on Heritage Day: From Woodwork to Meshworks?

Dr. Benjamin Gearey

irene-martin_age-6_crop
The Pallasboy outdoor hot tub by Irene Martin, Age 6.

The Heritage Week open day was enormously enjoyable and rewarding. In particular, the response of the children and their fantastic drawings and imaginings of the Pallasboy vessel, affirmed for me why archaeology is such a vital and worthwhile pursuit. It also underlines the value of working and thinking across disciplinary boundaries; the interface and interaction between archaeologists, woodworkers, artists and the public has been remarkably fruitful and rewarding. Related to this, the one thing that has struck me time and again during the project has been the response and attitude of almost everyone who has come into contact with our Pallasboy replica: positive, enthusiastic, interested, intrigued; slightly mystified perhaps on occasion, but never dismissive (at least, not to our faces!). This has been the case all the way from our initial approach to Meitheal Mara for a working venue, to the extended odyssey of sourcing the appropriately sized alder timber and its delivery, through the many visitors (both invited and uninvited…) during the various stages of crafting; most people just seem to engage without much explanation as to why we were bothering re-crafting a 2000 year old wooden vessel of uncertain function.

Mark and Seamus discussing tools at Meitheal Mara on the first day of crafting back in July 2015.
Mark and Seamus discussing tools at Meitheal Mara on the first day of crafting back in July 2015.

In other words, people mostly seemed to get it, in one way or another, although this varied, sometimes subtly, from person to person. For those of an archaeological background, this could involve some sort of disciplinary engagement, the aspects of the work that we might describe as ‘experimental archaeology’, the technical outputs, for example: what aspect of the crafting was the most difficult, how long had it taken? Other people with perhaps little or no such background brought and (I hope) took something slightly different away: the wood workers and boat builders at Meitheal Mara were fascinated by the practical aspect of the process, the performance of the replica prehistoric tools. I was struck by the conversations that Mark would have with those people in the yard, exchanges concerning elements of practical woodcraft. Other people just seemed to revel in what appeared to me as the simple observation of the act of woodworking, a practical mastery that seems unambiguously joyous to watch. One of my favourite photos from Phase 1 of the project shows three bikers who had, as I recall, dropped into the yard by way of chance. Their faces show their interest and absorption, whilst I found my own prejudices pricked, as to why their response had surprised me in the first place. The discussions and interactions around Pallasboy have been many and varied: experimental and wetland archaeology, woodworking, folklore, trees and timber, metalwork and tools, acoustics, art and creativity, museums and heritage, peatlands…the list could go on.

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‘The biker visit’ on day 8 of crafting in September 2015 (Image: Muireann Ní Cheallacháin).

Our Pallasboy vessel acted as a starting point for all these different interactions, events and ideas; most of them unanticipated, unplanned and ultimately uncontrollable. The children from the open day for example, drew pictures which might have begun with seeing and touching the vessel but took them wherever their imagination allowed. Everyone interacted in different ways, bringing their own perspectives and experiences, and I think taking away different thoughts and reflections on what they had seen, touched or heard. So ‘starting point’ doesn’t seem the right word to describe how all these people, ideas and things (the vessel and many other…things) have been involved in this interplay. I’m rather drawn to the description of these manifold relationships as a ‘meshwork’. This expression comes from the philosopher Henri Lefebvre (1991), and (very generally speaking) reflects the concept that humans and the material world aren’t bounded or separate, but ‘flow into each other’, hence “…meaning and symbolism are not merely attributed or imposed on objects and the material world, but rather these emerge through assemblages or meshworks of people and things.” (Chadwick, 2016: 3). My involvement with the project and observation of other people’s interactions with the vessel, has given me an appreciation of how things are always much more than the totality of their physical presence. It’s made me think differently about Pallasboy (the artefact); to ask the question ‘what was this object for?’ may be to reflect on practical function (a boat, a cooking pot, a cradle…?) but also requires us to consider the entanglement of materials, people and thoughts that gave the vessel meaning and purpose during the Iron Age.

Chadwick, A. 2016. ‘The stubborn light of things’. Landscape, Relational Agency and Linear Earthworks in Later Prehistory. European Journal of Archaeology. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14619571.2015.1102006

Lefebvre, H. 1991. The Production of Space. Oxford, Blackwell.

Heritage Day

Brian Mac Domhnaill

On Heritage Day, the 20th of August 2016 we were at Cork Public Museum in Fitzgerald Park, Cork. We asked the help of visiting children to untangle the mystery of the Pallasboy Vessel through drawing and colouring. Presented with our replica vessel I asked them what they thought it might have been used for in the Iron Age. There was a prize for the best engagement with the interpretive process; a week at kids club at the Mardyke Arena.

Some of the children, like Sufy May Elkabets (Age 8) and Luke Kenneally (Age 4), believe the vessel was a trough for cattle to drink out of. Our competition winner Ben Keneally (Age 7) and Irene Martin (Age 6) were certain it was a bath, indoors and al fresco respectively. Dermot O’Flynn (Age 3) produced a colourful abstract composition. However one of the most popular theories was that the vessel was a boat. Reina (Age 5) saw it as a boat for a little girl. Tadhg O’Flynn (Age 5.5) depicted the vessel big wave surfing and Anna Amk Keogh (Age 5) was perhaps suggesting some sort of cargo. Shane Pahern (Age 5) may have been trying to help us figure out the withy system used to both carry and pin down the vessel.

At 3pm, with the help of archaeology post graduate students Kevin Kearney and Thomas Talbot, Ben and I carried the vessel over to the northwest corner of the park using some blue ropes, which wasn’t very comfortable and further highlighted the need to figure out the configuration of withies and/or poles used with the original. The launch site for our ‘floating’ had been well prepared by Clare Hayden and our colleagues from Meitheal Mara, and volunteer Martin O’Donaghue had his wetsuit on, fearing the worst.

The vessel floated fine upon contact with the water but we immediately noticed some water seeping in where the heartwood had developed radial splits. However it wasn’t so bad that we couldn’t carry on with the experiment. We added a bag of tiles and applied downward pressure at various points along the rim. The vessel rocked side to side with little encouragement due to its rounded base.

Martin started to get the measure of the vessel by attempting to kneel in it. The downward pressure of his weight put the vessel very low in the water and any favoured distribution of weight at one end or the other brought water very close to the rim. For this reason, sitting himself comfortably and effectively in the middle of the vessel was practically impossible without the use of a winch. There were also humorous attempts at surf paddling and riding the vessel upside down.

We then decided to take advantage of our support currach and tow the vessel around in both directions on the river to see how it behaved. We did not add our bag of tiles or any other cargo as it could have easily ended up at the bottom of the Lee given the instability of the vessel. Without cargo the vessel still sat relatively low in the water and put up considerable resistance at any speed because of its flat ‘bow’. This was naturally exaggerated when travelling against the current.

So what does this experiment tell us about the vessel? The original vessel was 51 inches long, 17 inches high and 20 inches wide compared to our replica which is 53 inches long, 14 inches high and 17 inches wide. So although ours is slightly longer it is narrower and not as deep. Despite these slightly different proportions our replica was still a suitable test subject. It seems the vessel is not designed to accommodate a passenger unless comedic effect is the intention. Yes, it is possible that the vessel could have bee used to carry a light cargo whilst being towed by another craft or a wading individual but I think it is unlikely. The vessel is relatively heavy even when empty. It doesn’t take weight well and because of its very round profile it is very unsteady in the water. Irish prehistoric craftsmen knew how to build boats. They used a different type of timber, a longer length of trunk and the design was very different. In short Irish dugout canoes were designed to function effectively as boats, the Pallasboy Vessel was not. We know how significant, precious and rare a large specimen of alder is and was. We also know how much hard work and skill were invested in the making of the vessel. Its design is very distinctive and decorative. I find it hard to believe that our Iron Age craftspeople would go to this much trouble to produce an object not ideal, or even fit, for purpose.

The symmetry of the vessel’s ends and handles suggest (to me anyway) that it was a land-based object that was carried when necessary, by two or four people (to be explored further). One could argue that a vessel that was meant to contain something should sit flat on the ground and therefore have a flat base. I would suggest because of the liquid holding properties of the tree species and a preference to maximise the interior volume, an almost rounded base was the inevitable result. How would such a thing sit on various surfaces? Strangely enough we haven’t gotten around to testing that properly yet, but we will. I have no doubt it would be quite stable especially if there was bedding, a depression in an earth floor or supporting wedges or stands. The weight of liquid within would also stabilise it further. Alternatively it may have been strung up with withies. How it was positioned and supported may have depended on the exact usage.

Ben and I had the pleasure of visiting the site of discovery at Pallasboy, Westmeath on the 16th of August under clear blue skies. After tracking down the right people to give us the necessary permissions we accessed the edge of the bog via a farm to the south. Either side of a nearby field boundary we encountered a familiar site in Ireland, bathtubs repurposed as water troughs for cattle. One of the baths had ornate clawed feet, whilst the other was propped up on a truncated earth base. I also took note of the disturbed and worn ground around both troughs. Would it be advantageous to easily move the trough to a new spot? Without plumbing to fill these troughs it might be necessary to carry the vessel and/or water to a site away from a natural water source? One thing is for sure, a vessel with a rounded base would probably be very easy to tip and empty. It is generally agreed that the Pallasboy Vessel was a high status object, so would an initial or secondary use as a drinking trough contradict this? There is no doubt livestock were extremely important to our Iron Age ancestors. Ben’s proposition that the design of the vessel might be zoomorphic, more specifically ovine, continues to grow on me. If there is even a tenuous direct connection to cooking or feeding sheep, then this should be tested. Given the height of the original vessel it might be a physical and theoretical stretch for it to have been a drinking trough for sheep at the outset or in subsequent usage. It would however suit cattle just fine.

If the vessel was a bath or cooking/brewing vessel then it would make sense to test one or more of these uses. Our replica isn’t quite deep or wide enough to function effectively as a bath for an adult, but one or two small children might fit? Our replica has now been in the River Lee so if we are to use it to make any consumables we will have to sanitise it effectively. Without experimentation we know that once our leaks are sealed the vessel will be perfectly suited to holding and heating water using the hot rock procedure. Testing one of the hot water uses would suffice but there might be more fun to be had in testing a few uses.

My thoughts now turn to making withies, prehistoric outdoor home brewing in a cave-like alcove at my house, bathing a small person in an Iron Age roundhouse and giving some cattle and sheep a drink…of water, not beer.

The Pallasboy electric carving

Mark Griffiths

One year has passed and I am back at Meitheal Mara. It had taken two weeks of hand blistering work getting our Pallasboy replica to this stage, however, if we intended to test the boat theory the vessel would need at least another week of hollowing out in order to achieve the correct specifications of the original. The team agreed that the work achieved to this point had already given a unique insight into the crafting of this remarkable artefact. We had already experienced first-hand the skills needed to first produce the tools and the vessel. The trials of working with large sections of green timber, the limitations of basic woodworking tools and the shear physical effort involved in creating an object such as this had all been well documented. The week needed to hollow out the remainder of the interior using hand tools was valuable time we would rather spend on the next phase of the project, so for this reason, we somewhat reluctantly agreed to follow in the footsteps of Bob Dylan at Newport and go electric.

Electric carving cutters have become hugely popular in recent years. Far more precise than the small chainsaws used before, these disk cutters, with their tungsten carbide cutting tips, are capable of removing vast amounts of stock quickly and cleanly. Simply fit the carving disk to a standard angle grinder, adjust the tools guarding to give maximum finger protection and then cover your body in as much dust protection as you can.

Doing my best to ignore the fine airborne dust, the work proved extremely satisfying with its repetitive flow and effortless results. I couldn’t help wonder how simple the crafting of the Pallasboy would have been if we had used this tool from the outset. If asked which involves a greater degree of skill, the cutting disk or hatchet and chisel, I would have to say the disk. It is un-refined and coarse, yet it takes control and concentration to remove timber at this speed while keep the form and line true.

After just a day and a half the vessel was as close to the original as we could hope to get. The sides had the sensuous internal curves we had seen on the original, and each end had a vertical sweep to the base. From the start there were concerns as to the consequences of removing such a large amount of structure from the inside, and the effects this could have on the shape of the vessel, and the splits that had appeared. One positive outcome of the year our replica had spent in the controlled environment of Cork museum was that its moisture content had stabilised somewhat. We would have to wait and see how our Pallasboy would react to its new refined shape.

One last task was to fill the large splits that had opened at either end of the vessel. After some research we had decided to use a marine product from West Systems. Its Number Ten filler/adhesive was now available in a mastic style tube, with an initiative nozzle that mixes equal parts harder/adhesive as it flows through. This proved extremely effective, overnight it set to an opaque light green, and was so hard I had to use the cutting disk to trim it flush.

With the Pallasboy now ship-shape and ready for its river adventure the group took a well-earned break and headed off to one of Corks most atmospheric bars. Huddled around a small table, with the sounds of half a dozen traditional musicians drifting up the stairs, we enthusiastically discussed and planned the next stages of this fascinating project with newest team member Orla-Peach Power.

[Video below. In order to get a high resolution picture make sure to click on HD in bottom right of window in full screen and select one of the options to suit your viewing device].

The Pallasboy Hollowing from Brian Mac Domhnaill on Vimeo.

Recording the Remaking

Brian Mac Domhnaill

When I was originally invited to join The Pallasboy Project it was agreed that I would document the project with photography, video and sound. I was comfortable with the prospect of taking representative photographs of different crafting techniques and charting the progress of our object throughout, but I was very new to film and sound recording so this part of the work would be experimental and self-thought. Within the first few days I had learned valuable lessons about recording corresponding film and sound clips, not least the value of a clapperboard and windshield. On Day 2 I added an inside-out thermal sock to the sound recorder. It looked silly but it did the job.

The atmosphere at Meitheal Mara played a significant part in creating the right experiential backdrop for the maker and viewer. There was a particular energy created by the shared active workplace that was further enhanced by a sense of being amongst colleagues who were interested in what we were doing. There was also a shared appreciation of the material and skills being used across the site. This was all well and good but the location did present many problems for filming. Our friends in the workshop often used power tools that created a lot of background noise. I later tried to work with this in editing as the sounds provided contrast with those made by the hand tools. There were quiet times in the day but crafting couldn’t wait. The boat builders even offered to be quiet on request but that proved awkward and impractical. During editing I also became aware of other incidental sounds like a magpie, the rain and a baby crying. These were too good to leave out.

Our vessel and woodworker were under shelter but this resulted in relatively low light particularly on dull days. There was also a conflict between our desire to record conversations and exchanges in relation to the vessel and our interest in recording the crafting process itself. If we were making a documentary and time was not so much of an issue we could have employed a full film crew and adopted a filming strategy that allowed for cut away shots and a variety of carefully placed microphones so nothing was missed. In reality it was only me and some modest kit so my attention was primarily focused on the crafting process. I had to ignore much of the interesting banter, which covered such topics as the workload, tools, original use and crafting methods. I also found that the less I focused on people the more relaxed and talkative they were. I inadvertently caught snippets of conversations in the audio but the action was not being recorded or filmed with the intent of producing quality dialogue.

Another issue that I faced was my own absenteeism on site for the end of crafting. Unfortunately I had to be elsewhere but thankfully Muireann Ní Cheallacháin and Eoin O’Conaill were able to fill in for me. It was an interesting exercise as each photographer brought their own style to the record.

It was a pleasure to watch Mark crafting our replica vessel. In fact everyone said so, even if they could only stay for a few minutes. Visitors often remarked that they could watch him all day. It certainly got me thinking about the practical and evolutionary benefits of finding it enjoyable to watch a process of making. Are we hardwired to enjoy watching such activities so that we can learn and survive? During filming it was difficult at times to fully engage with what Mark was doing because of the simple fact that I was looking through a device and not directly at the action. This became very apparent during editing as I realised what I had missed while I was present and ‘looking’. Even though I am now sharing the experience of being on site by uploading an edited video to the internet, the viewer will be situated in a context of their own choosing and must look at the footage through a device, therefore maintaining physical separation.

It was interesting to observe the different techniques and strategies adopted by people when they had a go at hollowing out the interior of our vessel. I was especially fascinated by Ben’s tendency to bend his wrists, a habit he paid dearly for despite improvised duct tape supports. I was feeling his pain watching the footage. I have included a couple of clips of his wrist martyrdom.

Although I was a little overwhelmed and intimidated by the amount of editing required I set about my work with the help of video tutorials and subsequently learned the benefits of automated film and sound syncing software. Despite my limitations as a filmmaker I feel I have succeeded in capturing some great moments in the crafting process and glimpses of some of the people who came and went. The first edit ‘Remaking the Pallasboy Vessel’ is intended as a representative record of the various stages of crafting so that more people can get a sense of what it was like to watch Mark work. The video is also a record of an important technical learning process for me, one I will undoubtedly reminisce about in a future Oscar acceptance speech. In the meantime I have plans to produce an edit more in line with video art (coming soon) and there is scope to revisit the footage at a later date to attempt a more documentary style edit with added voiceovers and context material. I am eager to return to the site where the tree was felled and I also intend to visit Toar Bog, where the original vessel was discovered.

Watch the embedded version below or follow this link to Vimeo.

Remaking the Pallasboy Vessel from Brian Mac Domhnaill on Vimeo.

The Pallasboy Sounding

Brian Mac Domhnaill

On the 25th of November 2015 at 2.15pm experimental percussionists Mirco Gargioni and Katie O’Looney and artist Angelika Höger interacted, through sound, with our replica of the Pallasboy Vessel in Cork Public Museum, Fitzgeralds Park.

The archaeological evidence suggests the original vessel had a life of use. It would have been used in events or actions of some sort. There are a number of plausible theories circulating amongst archaeological specialists but there will always be a certain amount of mystery regarding its original purpose.

Our replica vessel has already experienced death as a tree and a rebirth as a crafted object. It has received the concentrated attention of a skilled craftsperson and numerous spectators, but following an intense period of crafting it sits in the museum waiting to be used in some way. It is not an artefact nor is it an art object. It has already served us well in terms of our research goals but it deserves a life before it is laid to rest (on long term display or in a watery grave). We owe it to the tree and our woodworker Mark to have the vessel take part in or be the focal point for a number of events before it is removed from public view.

Due to the mystery surrounding the original’s use we are not tied to period-specific reenactments. With the possibility of ritual use it would be tempting to engage with modern day druidic groups but our replica was not created with ritual purposes in mind, nor can we be sure of such a history for the original. My involvement in the project as archaeologist and artist allows me to be creative in terms of what ideas I bring to the table.

Based on my own experiences as a spectator I feel that sound art events provide a suitable format and tone for a spontaneous and creative interaction with our object. The atmosphere created by these events can be meditative, the approach often improvised and the execution playful and inventive. The instruments used can also be a spectacle. To my mind the unusual nature of such an event, when witnessed by the uninitiated, can be a perfect suggestion of how little we know of what took place in prehistoric rituals and ceremonies and to what purpose. In this case the only purpose of the  ‘sounding’ is to bring focus to an object and to atone for our destructive actions. For the artists it is another exploration of sound, with added resonance. On the day they described the event as a christening of sorts.

Although I was busy recording proceedings I couldn’t help but notice the varied reactions of onlookers. Invited sound artists were pensive and attentive. One chose to look at the museum exhibits and she later remarked that the unusual soundscape enhanced the experience. Another chose to cover his eyes to focus on the sounds rather than be distracted by the sight of our artists at work. Archaeologists were baffled but engaged. One audience member sketched the vessel. Two more took notes.

Museum visitors didn’t know what they had stumbled upon and I even saw some retreat to reception to make urgent enquiries rather than approach the strange folk involved. It was perfectly surreal and wonderful to host this event in the museum instead of a gallery or other art venue. At one point I moved our information leaflets and the little plinth near the point of contact with the audience but there was no added information about the sound event. Anyone who came upon the event would have to figure it out for themselves.

I could attempt to describe the actions of our performers, their equipment and the resulting sounds but I lack the phraseology of a music writer. Instead I present a limited number of photographs and a video featuring 13 minutes of the 50 minute performance. Follow this link to watch in high resolution or watch low resolution version imbedded below.

The Pallasboy Sounding from Brian Mac Domhnaill on Vimeo.