Sunday, April 26, 2020

Archaeology and Me, Part 2

918 A.D.
Her wærð Ecgbriht abbud unscyldig ofslegen foran to middan sumera on .xvi. Kalendas Iulii, þy ilcan dæge wæs Sancte Ciricius tid þæs þroweres, mid his geferum, þæs ymb .iii. niht sende Æþelflæd fyrde on Wealas abræc Brecenanmere þær genam þæs cinges wif feower ðritiga sume.

In modern English:
Here before midsummer, on 16 June, Abbot Ecgberht, guiltless, was killed with his companions. The same day it was the festival of St Ciricus the martyr. And three days later, Aethelflaed [Lady of Mercia, daughter of Alfred the Great] sent an army into Wales and broke down Brecon Mere, and took the wife of the king as one of thirty four [captives]. (from Swanton via Lane & Redknap).

This time we can be thankful that the victors wrote the history because this entry in the the Mercian version of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (B) records the destruction of a royal residence that appears to have been confirmed by recent archaeological investigation. The thing is, some of my DNA was very possibly, maybe likely involved, if not at least present at least in some of the eyes looking over the nearby hills to the smoke from the burning.

Sunday, April 12, 2020

Easter Poetry by Henry Vaughan (1653)

Therefore to weep because thy course is run,
Or droop like flow'rs, which lately lost the sun,I cannot yield, since Faith will not permitA tenure got by conquest to the pit.For the great Victor fought for us, and HeCounts ev'ry dust that is laid up of thee.Besides, Death now grows decrepit, and hathSpent the most part both of its time and wrath.That thick, black night, which mankind fear'd, is tornBy troops of stars, and the bright day's forlorn.The next glad news—most glad unto the just!—Will be the trumpet's summons from the dust.

Saturday, April 4, 2020

Archaeology and Me

The images of body casts from Pompeii haunted me in grade school. I didn't help that we were in the shadow of sleeping Mount Rainier. It hasn't blown for a few hundred years, but St. Helens did.

Everything Egypt fascinated me and a few of us in about third grade had our own "Egypt Game" that we were going to be archaeologists. Not sure how I even came up with the word that I still have to spell check. Tutankhamun fascinated me and I saw his golden face in 1978.

Seventh Grade Science did me in when I met my first archaeologist, Dr. James Daugherty of Washington State University. We were on a Scout 50-miler hike on the Olympic Coast, Washington. We provided some service hours repairing and mucking out the settling ponds from the hydro-pressure water used in the excavation of a Makah Longhouse at Cape Alava that had been anaerobically preserved in a mudslide for almost 300 years. When pushed forward by my Dad to talk with Dr. Daugherty because I was interested in being an archaeologist, my 13-year-old little mind balked at his advice to study Science.

"Study Science, young man!"