‘Ticket of Leave’
A document granting certain concessions, especially leave, to a prisoner or convict who had served part of their time
Artist/tourist/stoneworker: Michael Goldberg
Medium: Cultural exchange
This project represents a reverse voyage, from the quarries and historical sites of Sydney to those of Portland; evoking the memories of those sent from England in penal servitude to work the stone, eventually to gain their freedom in Australia.
Location: Culverwell Mesolithic Centre
The fields between the Portland Bill and the village of Southwell, Portland, are made up of an ancient strip field system, once found all over the island before quarrying started to destroy them. The fields around the Culverwell site have remained untouched from housing or quarrying. The site is said to be circa 7500-8500 years old. The site’s main feature is the large floor of limestone slabs on top of a shell midden (rubbish dump). The floor is unique for this period and is also the earliest known structural evidence in England for the extensive use of Portland Jurassic limestone on a living site. The midden, on which the floor lies, is contained within a natural gully that was used for dumping refuse. Vast quantities of stone tools and the debris created during their production have been found on the site. The most common tools are microliths, scrapers, knives, chopping tools, pounders and picks. Pierced shell beads have also been found.
Culverwell Mesolithic site artist action #1:
Between 10:00hrs and 18:00hrs displays 270mm x 170mm x 30mm Sydney Basin sandstone ‘postcard’ inscribed with geographic coordinates and QR code of Berry Island Reserve, Sydney 33°50’16.8″S 151°11’20.4″E (origin and fabrication of stone: 12 July 2014, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. One of twelve brought to Portland as artist’s hand luggage)
Viewer action: Locates postcard in the site precinct and decodes using Smartphone scanner/Google Maps
Culverwell Mesolithic site artist action #2:
Between 10:00hrs and 18:00hrs inscribes 300mm x 210mm x 30mm Whitbed limestone ‘postcard’ with wordplay in response to the site
Viewer action: Locates postcard in the site precinct and deciphers wordplay
I had a go at cutting the last letter in my slab of Portland stone with a hammer stone and a piece of chert. I was probably the first human to use that piece for thousands of years. What an honour.
Sunday, 14 September:
The Verne Citadel, South Entrance, Portland