A passionate and imaginative exploration of wood – the material that shaped human history.
As a material, wood has no equal in strength, resilience, adaptability and availability. It has been our partner in the cultural evolution from woodland foragers to engineers of our own destiny. Tracing that partnership through tools, devices, construction and artistic expression, Max Adams explores the role that wood has played in our own history as an imaginative, curious and resourceful species.
Beginning with an investigation of the material properties of various species of wood, The Museum of the Wood Age investigates the influence of six basic devices – wedge, inclined plane, screw, lever, wheel, axle and pulley – and in so doing reveals the myriad ways in which wood has been worked throughout human history. From the simple bivouacs of hunter-gatherers to sophisticated wooden buildings such as stave churches; from the decorative arts to the humble woodworking of rustic furniture; Max Adams fashions a lattice of interconnected stories and objects that trace a path of human ingenuity across half a million years of history.