Posted by: travelrat | May 25, 2012

Archie

You may remember from the news that they were digging the foundations for a new housing estate near Amesbury, when they unearthed a Bronze Age grave. With the body within were buried several items of archery tackle, causing the Press to christen him the ‘Amesbury Archer’, although the experts postulate that he was actually a coppersmith, or something similar. The irreverent called him ‘Archie’.

So, what else could they call the estate but ‘Archer’s Gate’ and the community centre in it ‘The Bowman Centre’? They opened a pub on the estate, too … but they called that ‘The Orchard’, because the name ‘Amesbury Archer’ had already been taken by the Harvester, down on Solstice Park.

Archie and most of his grave goods became exhibits in the Salisbury Museum. Many of us think that some, at least, of the artefacts should have remained in Amesbury, and Archie himself respectfully re-interred. But, at the time, there was really nowhere in Amesbury they could be kept … maybe, when the new museum is up and running …?

Recently, though, Archie returned to Amesbury in the form of a sculpture … we’re amassing quite a collection, aren’t we. However I don’t think there was (I didn’t hear about it anyway) an Official Unveiling or Declaration Of It Hereby Open. He just appeared mushroom-like, near the Bowman Centre.

Here’s a thing, though. Look at his left leg; does it look like a peg-leg, or is it just me? The ‘original’ was missing his left kneecap, suggesting a bone infection resulting from an injury … but I didn’t think he was shy a leg.

If you check out the ‘Comments’, there’s a lot of interesting input from Lucy Quinnell, who created ‘Archie’.  Visit her website at www.fireandiron.co.uk


Responses

  1. Hi Keith,
    I had not heard about the archer at all, how very interesting, I wonder what he would of thought about all of this. 🙂

    I think it is great that they named an estate after him, even if he wasn’t an archer, it was because of the find that all this happened.

    I see what you mean about the leg, maybe they had to put that in more for stabilizing the statue do you think?

    • There’s a really good article about him at http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/ancient/archaeology/king_stonehenge_01.shtml

      • That is a very good article, I don’t know how I missed this, I have read articles from Dr. Andrew Fitzpatrick before.

        That is unreal the amount of artifacts found with the bodies, and both had gold earrings as well, just amazing.
        Thank You for putting in the link, I really did enjoy reading all about the archer.

  2. He does have a peg leg. Poor guy. Still, he is a magnificent piece of art!

  3. Hi – I made the sculpture, and the real man’s left leg would have been wasted and frail (researched with an osteoarchaeologist, and with a real lame longbowman, and also I am arthritic and have had left leg surgery, so have one leg thinner than the other!). I wanted to exaggerate this, and contrast it with the other leg. Also, the stance is altered because all weight needs to be on the right leg. If stability wasn’t an issue, I would have loved this leg to vanish into thin air towards the bottom, to stress its uselessness to him, but magsx2 is right about it having to meet the base. He deliberately has gaps and empty spaces, because of the jigsaw-puzzle-like idea of piecing him together from clues. His body is all built from the ancient symbol of the sun – a dot within a circle.

    • Hi, Lucy!

      I really appreciate your stopping by, and your valuable input. Thank you very much! I’ll alter the script to attribute your work; do you have a website I can link to?

      Best,

      Keith

  4. Thanks, Keith (I think I just left a facebook message praising your photo – didn’t realise you are the same person! Great photo). Yes, please, if you want to add our facebook page, it’s “Fire and Iron Gallery”. That’s very kind of you. We have found the folk of Amesbury to be a very warm and generous bunch of people!

  5. PS You are right that there was no unveiling or Declaration Of It Hereby Open – we crept in one morning with a crane, and slunk away again! We are, however, putting a plaque on it soon, explaining that is was researched and designed with the Archers Gate Primary School kids, and telling the story (thus far) of the man himself, and perhaps then we will buy everyone a pint, if you care to join us?


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