adders and bogs | hunter-gatherers | shipping forecasts | clean sections | tidy spoil heaps |
microburin is my space for idea sharing. It’s also a space where I want to present the projects I am working on, and get your feedback. It will be evident very quickly that I walk on and in peat bogs, dales, valleys and rivers, wet places, that I love the wild landscapes of north-east England, and that I sometimes get bitten by adders, fall down holes or griffs.
That’s where the White Gill project began.
I hope it’s also evident what I am doing with my time on a career break, using it well. I have a gazillion questions of the past—our ancient ancestors, our cultural heritage, the way we manage, promote or destroy it—as well as questions of myself in the present, of my generation and of the aspirations that many of us share.
sustainability | debate | shipping forecasts
A wet place | Seamer Carr, Vale of Pickering, 1985 (Tim Schadla-Hall). Mesolithic, close to Star Carr. It rained every day, portaloos were full, a force 9 storm wiped out tents, but the food and team spirit were fantastic (food c/o Helen Patterson and gratefully eaten in shed-loads). » Star Carr today
For today, my personal excitement and commensurate trepidation is not knowing entirely what happens next. In this difficult era of attrition, when heritage communities seem to be the forefront of debate, cutbacks, some successes—the National Trust and RSPB are doing very well indeed—the heritage sector is compromised by a lack of our society’s overt willingness to invest in longer term, sustainable initiatives. For me, the Stonehenge landscape debacle is a good example of procrastination and short-termism. It seems to be Heritage Lottery Fund or nought, and yet media coverage has never been so visible, engaging, entertaining. But how much does archaeology bring upon itself? The academic-public-community debate is still a hot, humid weather front—overcast with sunny intervals, windy showers, chance of thunder (or listen to a BBC Radio 4 shipping forecast).
asking | listening | investing | dogma
Replica Iron Age house built by young offenders on community payback | Ryedale Folk Museum
I hope that my questions, my micro-projects and my passion about the past are enjoyable, occasionally taxing, sometimes funny.
I’ve made a primaeval step into video too, and the YouTube! See what you think? Friends on the Facebook want me in tweeds doing a hand-held guide to the Mesolithic. Nice friends!
The more I do fieldwork, the more I find people who are simply fascinated to know what their forebears did, why they did it, how and what they felt about it, and what we can learn from them. Everybody ate, pooped, itched, argued, smiled, smelt and danced in a funny way, like today.
Archaeology, its allied sciences and specializations can only answer so much. However, whomever you are, we can all surely ask questions of our ancestors through what they left behind. We can care about them, their achievements, their legacy to us and its preservation, and therefore about ourselves, our descendants.
Seamer Carr, 1985 | Wickedly clean section.
Through the many thousands, indeed millions of years, of hominid and human creativity we could do a lot worse than pause, listen to, question, learn from them. If we do we might add new energy to—and investment in—an innate curiosity about our collective selves, diversifying communities, the wild outdoors such as it still exists, the human unknowns? We might do worse than question our persistent assumptions too, maybe think outside of a dogmatically “free-market” constrained box.
A tidy spoil heap | somewhere early Iron Age in Poland, 1987.
If everything else fails, do please always present a good clean section, a tidy spoil heap and be attentive when watching the venerated Time Team. There may be a test afterwards.
PS do you subscribe to Francis Pryor’s archaeo-agri-gardening blog? Always a good read—In The Long Run. See some other recommendations →