SHERDS: Five Verses on Six Sacks of Earth

Nastassja Simensky

SHERDS: Five Verses on Six Sacks of Earth, 2018-20

SHERDS is an experimental work, or series of works that inhabit a six-week archaeological dig, which took place on a hillside at Malkin Tower Farm in Pendle, during the hot summer of 2018. Through ongoing collaborative research new iterations or remaking’s of SHERDS are produced including live performance, radio broadcast, publication and video.

Most recently SHERDS was broadcast in the form of a 90-minute experimental radio programme produced for Radiophrenia. An ensemble of musicians and vocalists perform five perspectives on changing land use and the process of excavation – articulating the out of sight and out of time. The performance and audio work are structured around five verses. These five perspectives unearth and reassemble field recordings, passing conversations, local news and the rhythms of the dig – incorporating energy production, moorland nesting sites, land enclosure, ceramic sherds and geological vibrations to make audible the collaborative relationships that produced both the archaeology and previous live performances in Pendle and Nottingham.

Written and Produced by Nastassja Simensky and Rebecca Lee. Performed by Alison Cooper, Bobby Cotterill, Caroline Trutz, Kelly Jayne Jones, Nastassja Simensky, Rebecca Lee, Sophie Cooper, Rebecca Atherton and Bernie Velvick. With the voices of archaeologists Danielle Knights, Katy Soar, Catherine Reardon, Richard Peterson and Aidan Parker and local historian John Claydon.


IMAGES (from top)

Ceramic colour chart – Malkin Tower Farm, Pendle

Topsoil removal – Malkin Tower Farm, Pendle

Archaeologists excavating first context – Malkin Tower Farm, Pendle


SHERDS: Five Verses on Six Sacks of Earth
January 2020
[photo credit Reece Straw]

Nastassja Simensky