Date – 2300
Place – Stornoway, Scotland
This is the only object in the Solway Hoard that does not have a clear cultural or financial value. Samples such as this were becoming increasingly common in this period as the polymer residue of the Plastic Age became embedded in the silt layers at the bottom of most large bodies of water.
Relatively quickly, in geological timescales, this formation of a sedimentary layer also included the formation of fossilised forms of marine life. This plastic stratum provided a perfect material for recording the bones and soft tissues of many now extinct marine species in perfect detail and is still a vital part of the modern Fossil Record and a major study area for academics.
Anthropologists have speculated that the cultural value of the object might relate to ‘The End Days’; a widely held belief in the 24th century that humans had sinned against nature and that this scarring of the pristine Earth would result in their own extinction.
Theories of ‘Natural’ justice were widespread during this period and reflected a powerful sense of unease, described by anthropologist Iri Dembele as ‘species guilt’ in their contemporary paper, ‘The End Days – Where Now for the Human Animal?’.
We speculate that this fragment was understood by its owner to be a marker for that period, and powerfully represented a resonant age in both Earth’s Geological time and our own fragile history.