Tracing Lines Through A Deserted Medieval Village
This practice-based research explores challenges in documenting the physically shifting site of a deserted medieval village, previously an island and now a reclaimed landscape, located on a saltmarsh in East Sussex. Marshlands are areas of transience; geographic and human details are revealed and concealed repeatedly through dynamic water levels. I’m interested in how illustration can explore and capture alternative timeframes and readings of place.
It is scarcely any longer possible to tell a straight story sequentially unfolding in time. And this is because we are too aware of what is continually traversing the story line laterally. That is to say, instead of being aware of a point as an infinitely small part of a straight line, we are aware of it as an infinitely small part of an infinite number of lines, as the centre of a star of lines. Such awareness is the result of our constantly having to take into account the simultaneity and extension of events and possibilities. -John Berger, The Moment of Cubism and other essays, Pantheon Books, 1969
Scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979, Northeye DMV has experienced significant change since documentation of the site began in the 13th Century. Tsunamis, salt mines, Black Death and smuggling have shaped the physical geography and socio economic history of the area, with a series of shallow trenches remaining as the only visual evidence of the village foundations at the site.
Tracing lines through Northeye DMV across 1000 years, from Holloways and smuggling routes to soil profiles to drainage management, I propose to reveal shifting, overlapping and converging stories from above, below and ground level, drawing on fieldwork and archival material uncovered so far.
This submission forms part of my practice-based PhD research exploring lost histories in landscapes, supported by the Arts and Humanities Research Council.