Lindow Manchester

Cartoon Strip Lindow Man
Aoife's bird's eye view of a native settlement

Aoife’s bird’s eye view of a native settlement

Just got out of a meeting with a student called Aoife, who is taking an MA in archaeological illustration at Swindon College. She is working on a cartoon strip sequence which will tell the story of how Lindow Man was killed.

Today was a fact-finding trip to find out more about the circumstances of Lindow Man’s death. I showed her slides of dramatic reconstructions of Lindow Man’s death from the Manchester Museum’s 1987 or 1991 audio-visual presentation. It was very hard to answer some of her questions either because we don’t know or because the experts disagree. In that case how does she represent visually Lindow Man’s last hours?

The work-in-progress drawings were fascinating and even without text it was very clear to me that this was about Lindow Man. Her depiction of Lindow Man’s death was, well, graphic and shocking: sprays of blood burst out after Lindow Man is hit on the head and the executioner is covered in the stuff.

Lindow Man hit on the head in Aoife's sketch

Lindow Man hit on the head in Aoife’s sketch

It reminded me of the killing of a live pig on Jamie Oliver’s programme about pork last week. Somehow it’s the mechanical and routine nature of what is done that is the most shocking.

The same kind of rawness can be seen in Lone Hvass’s reconstruction of the death of Borremose III woman that appears in Mike Parker Pearson’s article ‘Lindow Man and the Danish connection’ in Anthropology Today (Feb.1986). The naked woman’s arms are held behind her back, whilst someone else is about to strike her with a thick branch. In the background the mob is baying for her blood and someone appears to be bending down, perhaps to pick up a stone.

It is hard enough to read about scapegoating incidents without seeing the moments before death depicted so clearly. Perhaps like poetry, the artistic medium of drawing is the only way to get across what may have happened with the appropriate intensity of feeling. I’m really looking forward to seeing this in finished form.

Thanks to Aoife for allowing the Museum to post examples of her work in progress on the Lindow Man blog for others to see.


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