While half our classes were away surfing, we decided to do a project on “Stig of the Dump”. Prep V have read the book this year and Prep VI read it last year with Miss Cary.
We decided to answer the question: “How “real” is Stig?” Is he an accurate portrayal of a stone-age man or just a made-up comic-book caveman. We devised a series of questions to find an answer.
Question 1 – Where is the story set?
The book was written by Clive King in 1963
Clive King lived in Ash, a village on the North Downs in Kent. We also found out that he always set his books in places that he knew well. The North Downs is a very chalky area which is also rich in flint.
Question 2 – What were real “Cavemen” like?
The term “caveman” is generic and tends to be a mish-mash of misconceptions and facts jumbled together. Is this what Stig is?
The more accurate term is Stone-age people. These people were mainly nomadic hunter-gatherers who made tools and weapons from stone, wood and bone and did paintings on the walls of their caves. Some of them lived in caves but most made shelters that they carried with them. They were very clever and inventive.
Question 3 – When was the “stone-age”?
We found out that the stone age is split into three periods:
- Paleolithic: early stone age
- Mesolithic: middle stone age
- Neolithic: late or “new” stone age
We studied “The ascent of Man” drawings and found a figure that looked just like Stig.
Question 4 – How “old” is Stig?
What we actually wanted to know was how long ago Stig would have lived.
By looking at evidence in the book and a timeline of evolution, we decided that Stig is from the late Neolithic age which means he must be between 2,500 and 4000 years old.
Question 5 – How do we know there were Neolithic people living in Kent?
Evidence from the research we did on Google Earth, shows a Neolithic burial chambers that looks exactly like the one described in chapter 9 of the book. It is called Kits Coty House and is part of the Medway Megaliths on the North Downs.
So…. “How real” is Stig?
Look at the evidence and decide for yourselves.
We know what we think!