Short Trunks – Sean Harris at Wells Museum

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I spotted this woolly mammoth (constructed with a pleasing implausible perspective) in the museum store. It seems to be looking anxiously over its shoulder at the on-rushing glacier which is clearly trying to sneak up on it. Perhaps it’s waiting for the wave, hoping to surf it…

Pleistocene pachyderms aside; based on the Musing conveyed in my previous posts, we seem to be contemplating:

  1. A 100% bona fide paradigm shift, whose fulcrum lay in the Victorian era – and for which speleological exploration taking place in the West Country was a principal driver.
  2. A high resolution composite image of climate change spanning a hundred millennia – formed from deposits lying within said caves…
  3. Flooding – in landscapes physical and metaphysical…
  4. The Victorian fascination with (a) geology (and other natural sciences) and (b)  devices enabling new ways of seeing and capturing movement (both of which were highly fashionable preoccupations of mid to late 19th century society).
  5. Time – in a variety of increments.

So, a frothy little assemblage of themes, all of which are conveyed by a bunch of old bones – and an eclectic cast of associated characters ranging from the Rev. ‘Slutch’ Catcott* (who, in his Treatise On The Deluge of 1768, provides an impressively detailed and logistically justified breakdown of the facilities on Noah’s Ark) to twenty first century PhD candidate Angharad Jones (whose research relating to hyaena teeth is shedding light on how species respond to climate change).

There are eight particular ‘cave hunters’ that have grabbed my attention – and each seems to me to have his or her own Pleistocene animal totem.

*That wasn’t his real name (which was Alexander), rather the somewhat infectious term he used for what we now know to be post-glacial deposits…

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Some naïve woolly rhinoceroses…
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