Using a slideshow, today in sixth class we looked at traces around Greystones that tell us something about this land that we live on, the stones on the beach which by their colour and texture tell us about the earth millions of years ago, the fossilised ice-age forest from 15,000 years ago, and the shells and mermaids purses that give information about current sea-life.

We pictured what it might have been like for the first humans in Ireland. Long before man arrived in Ireland all the continents of the world had human settlers. The earliest people to come here arrived about 9,000 years ago. What resources would they have had? Wood, stone, animal hide, bones, water, fire, flint.

One of the earliest traces we have from these people are woven fish traps made from alder birch and rosewood, found in County Meath.

fish-trap

We can find traces of the beginning of farming. (4,000 – 2,400BC) People made axes from stone to clear trees from the landscape to make room for cattle, sheep and cereals, and querns to grind cereals and pottery to store food. At some stage they discovered the technology to turn clay to pottery using fire.

By (2,500 – 600 BC) the Bronze Age, working with metal was discovered and used.

Copper was the first metal used in Ireland. It can be found naturally in rock and in order to separate it from the rock it had to be smelted at very high temperatures. Over time metal-workers learnt that if they mixed copper with tin it became bronze, which was stronger than copper.

In Charlesland between 2002 and 2004 excavation took place, during which seventeen archaeological sites dating from the Neolithic to the medieval period were discovered. The main archaeological evidence, however, points to extensive settlement in the Middle to Late Bronze Age.

Sixth class is going to explore the Bronze Age by using materials from this period. As fishing would have been part of daily life of Bronze age man in Greystones, each pupil will make a fish in wax to represent the Bronze Age people.

We artists, will use the ‘lost wax’ technique to cast their fish in bronze. We will make a mould of each fish from clay, dung, and sand, and molten bronze will be poured into these moulds. We will do some of this on site for the school community.

Observing Fish

Artists spend a lot time exploring their subject and their materials. Today the pupils spent time observing fish. We brought in mackerel, sea bream, and sea bass.They experimented with charcoal and erasers as drawing materials before commencing on drawings of fish.

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