Treasures from the Rhoman Rodeo

26 June to 6 July 2018


“In December 2016, as a result of the explosion of one Thames Water’s principal trunk pipes, Islington and Upper Street were severely flooded. James Freeman Gallery was on the frontline of the burst, and was submerged by the water. But in the remedial works that followed, construction workers excavating the basement of James Freeman Gallery found a beautifully preserved carved mammoth tusk. Initial tests showed that this tusk had been carved 7,000yrs ago during the mythic Aurora-Rhoman Period of London. An exploratory archaeological excavation conducted by Joshua Goode uncovered ruins of a great Aurora-Rhoman Amphitheater hidden underneath the building. Evidence shows that a fantastical rodeo was held there with beasts from the Pleistocene Era such as woolly mammoths, wooly rhinos, caballoid horses, three-headed dogs and sabre tooth cats. Islington is the first site in Great Britain where evidence of the Texas centered Aurora-Rhome Civilization has been found. Findings there break the ice in archaeological studies on the Aurora-Rhoman Age in London and for the first time confirm the presence of the fabled empire in Great Britain…”


In a nod to Islington’s both real and mythical past, American artist Goode will create a lost world at James Freeman Gallery of archaelogical artifacts and items “discovered” in the London borough. Goode discovered that in Medieval times Islington and North London were considered to be an unknown wilderness where mythical beasts roamed freely, the notion romanticised through the telling of fairytales and folklore. There have also been various claims of findings dating back to Roman times around Islington, two tombstones thought to be from the Roman period were later debunked. Visitors will be encouraged to help Goode sift through artefacts excavated from the depths of the gallery dating back to the imagined ancient Aurora-Rhoman civilisation. Guests of all ages are encouraged to join in the research by handling not so ancient artifacts in the gallery, “identifying” them and then adding their newly discovered treasures to the exhibition. Goode imagines that prehistoric evidence may be found within the gallery, including the remains of paleolithic animals known to have lived there, and recreational events, like a rodeo, occurring as a result of so many strange beasts gathered together, such as mammoths, woolly rhinos, and huge hippos. The artist will be leading the on-going excavation and is displaying many of the artifacts found at the Islington Site to the public for the first time alongside the dig at James Freeman Gallery. These include the carved mammoth
tusk, suits of armour, golden chimerical sculptures, and paintings that possess attributes of objects found in the Medieval Period of London and late 20th century American pop culture…