Dig stalwart’s passion for flint sees new book published in September

A literal handful of the flint finds from the Ness of Brodgar. (📷 Jo Bourne)
A literal handful of the flint finds from the Ness of Brodgar. (📷 Jo Bourne)
Jo Bourne on site in 2023. (📷 Sigurd Towrie)

Anyone who has excavated with Jo Bourne at the Ness of Brodgar for the past nine years will know of her love of flint.

That passion has been channelled into a new book which is due to be published later this year.

Flint: A Lithic Love Letter is a lyrical history of the material that has been a key part of human development for three-million years.

Describing herself as a “flint addict”, Jo was raised in Kent, England, where, for centuries, flint was the only available building stone. It can be seen everywhere from garden walls and rockeries to castles and the foundations of Roman villas.

Second only in hardness to a diamond, flint was worked into tools and weapons by our most distant ancestors. The raw material and some of those tools remain in the soil for the finding.

Flint book cover

The book is structured around Jo’s regular field walks on and around the North Downs, where flint lies strewn all over the fields.

Jo has combined a career in publishing with archaeological fieldwork. As well as her time at the Ness of Brodgar, she has excavated in Dalmatia and Libya.

Her book Jake’s Bones, written with the young bone collector Jake McGowan-Lowe, was shortlisted for the Royal Society Young People’s Book Prize.

She is also the author of The Maps Book, published by Lonely Planet Kids in 2023, which was shortlisted for the Edward Stanford Children’s Travel Book of the Year.

Published by Eye Books, Flint: A Lithic Love Letter will be available as a hardback and ebook in September 2024.

You may also like...