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Earthworks: Knowth 1000x1000 Irish and English earths

The prehistoric monuments of the Boyne valley are of UNESCO-designated world heritage importance. A site visit to Knowth along with a study of archaeological plans and an earth-collecting trip resulted in inspiration for an exhibition at the Bru Na Boinne Irish Government Visitor Centre. I tried in this painting to convey the sense that to an archaeologist the soil, regarded as just dirt by most people, is rich with evidence helping us understand our ancestors’ lives and beliefs. However as they are discovered, ancient earthworks like these are crumbling, fragmentary and in need of conservation. The image contains centimetre-thick impasto specially dried in such a way that it cracks right through but remains firm.