Black pitch, carved histories research project

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old photo of people digging along a high, steep bank of the lake An early postcard showing the depths attained in digging pitch, and the manual labour involved. Even at these depths, the lake would refill to its original level within a day or two.

In 2015 I blogged from Trinidad and Tobago, where I was working on the AHRC-funded Pitch Lake project.

We are now entering the final phase of the project, and while work continues on various elements – from the last strontium analyses to the documentation of the replica commission – we’re taking this opportunity to launch the project web pages: Black pitch, carved histories: Prehistoric wood sculpture from Trinidad's Pitch Lake.

The web pages document the aims, techniques and methodologies of the project, the artefacts studied and the wider context,

including a brief introduction to Trinidad’s Pitch Lake and its mining (the mode of ‘excavating’ the artefacts).

researchers at Pitch Lake Cyril Billy and Fiona Brock investigating a massive tree trunk dredged from the lake.

These pages will be updated with the artefact results (radiocarbon dates, wood identifications, strontium isotope results, etc), further content and videos in due course - so do watch this space!