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Bias Possibilities

“This story of you telling the story of the object” - Maria, student at the Institute of Archaeology UCL talking about what she believes to be the views of Ian Hodder, Site Director of the Çatalhöyük Research Project, during my interview with her.

Lettsom gardens in Camberwell is on the site of the old estate and botanical garden of physician and philanthropist, Dr. John Coakley Lettsom. To explore the connections of archaeology and storytelling and the idea of bias and preconceptions altering a person’s opinion of an object’s origin, I examined a small area in the gardens, assuming the role of an archaeologist. Out of many found objects and materials, one ceramic fragment was explored in detail. These objects and drawings, with their ceramic fragment missing, play with the ways in which both imagination and preconceptions can be implemented in archaeology. They come from a narrative of the half-true/half-imagined world in which Dr. Lettsom was an eccentric botanist that may have owned unusual ceramic objects with a blue and white floral glaze. The story stems from a few sources, mainly Penelope Hunting’s article Dr John Coakley Lettsom, Plant-Collector of Camberwell . These sources have become my bias and assumptions that determine the possibilities of the ceramic fragment’s history. Multiple stories have been created by the many lives of one piece and through the story of my own attempts to deliberately imagine this object’s context.

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lilaebn@gmail.com

Handcoded by Lila Bernstein-Newman