thinking about archaeology

More on those footprints

Sarah Duffy/York University

Sarah Duffy/York University

These extraordinary images of one of the best preserved Happisburgh footprints were sent to me by Simon Parfitt. They are snapshots from a rotatable 3D image created by Sarah Duffy at York University with MeshLab software. They were only recently finished, too late for the journal and press images.

James Miles and Hembo Pagi used MeshLab for analysing the 3D photogrammetric imagery of Hoa Hakananai’a; we’ve now had three peer-reviewed articles on this study accepted, and they should all be published later this year. When made with high resolution photos, photogrammetric models seem to have significant advantages over the more traditional 3D laser models, not least because they contain real colours.

Nick Ashton’s blog at the British Museum has an interesting discussion, with some good responses to evolution-denial.

And below [added later in the day] is another image, of people leaving footprints at Happisburgh in 1931 (so one wonders what might have been beneath the cliff behind them, now long gone). It was taken by Douglas Jenkins, whose wife Mary Jenkins sits on the right. The shot is really about the two shirtless men (Henry Moore standing, Ben Nicholson sitting) and the two standing women (Irina Moore left, Barbara Hepworth right). The man on the left, looking like a luggage porter who would feel more at home indoors, is one of the great underrated British artists of the last century, the painter Ivon Hitchens.

There’s an interesting story behind this photo, described on the occasion of an exhibition about Moore, Hepworth and Nicholson – poor old Hitchens hardly gets a mention – at Norwich Castle in 2009. Hepworth wrote to the Nicholsons: “Do come and stay with us at Happisburgh… I enclose a photo of the farm – the colour is lovely. The country is quite flat but for a little hill with a tall flint church and a lighthouse… The beach is a ribbon of pale sand as far as the eye can see.”

“Henry, Barbara and I”, remembered John Skeaping, “used to pick up large iron-stone pebbles from the beach which were ideal for carving and polished up like bronze.”

Photo Douglas Jenkins

Photo Douglas Jenkins

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