God’s Own Country is more than a film | Mesolithic persistence on silver screen

◊ Dear Microburin Friends,

If any of you have seen and enjoyed this remarkable film (with a happy ending for once), it’s worth noting where these two young men were when they look over the cold spring landscape of West Yorkshire, near Keighley, Haworth and west of Bradford. Their moorland stand is at Nab Water. This is one of the most nationally important and under-explored areas of persistent prehistoric activity, from the Early Mesolithic onward. One of Microburin’s friends is researching this in legacy museum archive collections – thank goodness for archives. The Mesolithic period, after the last Ice Age, begins around 10,000 years ago (450 generations of the Saxby family), lasts 6000 years until the coming, or advent of, the first farmers around 4000 BC.

While the film is often perceived as a “gay love story” (it certainly isn’t Brokeback Mountain, the usual tragic ending) it is also about the endurance of relationships, across generations too, in a challenging world – an unforgiving place and industry that hold no hostages. I’m a member of the fan club family, and have had my tweed lapels fondly stroked by Alec, the Romanian farm-worker (Gheorghe) with his inimitable smile. It will be some time before the suit is laundered.

Films are archaeology-inclusive too, with an eagle-eye.

Spence

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