Book Review: Breaking Ground: Art, Archaeology & Mythology (edited by Neville Gabie, Alan Ward & Jason Wood.

Definition: Breaking (new) Ground

 – the first excavation of a site in a project or

 – an initiative that is new and ground breaking

In all honesty this outstanding publication, shortlisted for the 2017 William Hill Sports Book of the Year, couldn’t be more aptly titled, not only in terms of its content, but the way it was funded and its collaborative approach.

At the heart of this beautifully constructed book, both in terms of words and images, is the story of an abandoned football ground, reclaimed by nature and the remarkable work to carry out an archaeological dig on the site of Bradford Park Avenue’s former home. The results of an initial excavation in November 2013 and another two years later are recorded in the book and accompanying DVD.

In the pages of the book and through the video footage the reader is treated to essays and images that tell the story of not only what the dig produced, but of the people who once stood on the now wooded terraces of the Horton Park End and the demise of the once proud Football League club.

It is a publication that wonderfully brings together art, whether that be in the form of football memorabilia or the skillfully drawn sketches of the trees and shrubs that now stand amongst the terraces, the scientific analysis and painstaking work involved in archaeology and the mythology and folklore of the Bradford Park Avenue club and its supporters.

In addition, it has a wonderfully ethereal feel, with the terraces last occupied over 40 years ago, briefly exposed and fleetingly stood upon as the fans of the club today looked out one last time reliving their memories of Park Avenue.

It is in no sense a run-of-the-mill football story; indeed, it is a book that will be picked up and put down as the pages are revisited time and time again. Quite simply it is a unique addition to the William Hill Sports Book competition and really is a contender to take the top prize which is announced on Tuesday 28 November.

The book is available through selected bookshops or directly from AXIS PROJECTS on-line:

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Posted November 15, 2017 by Editor in category "Reviews


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