I suppose I should count myself lucky as a house down the road from us discovered a burial site when they had their basement excavated. The police were called and we all got a thrill seeing the blue and white incident tape (and it wasn't even due to filming for Morse). The bones turned out to be Anglo-Saxon so the police stood down and the archeologists moved in.
|Anglo-saxon burials in oxfordshire|
c. Ashmolean Museum
Television producers have clocked to the fascination we have to the past we can touch with a spade and digger. I nod here to the above mentioned Time Team who made dirty fingernails, home knitted jumpers and weathered faces archaeologically cool.
My teenage heartthrob, Michael Wood, took his crew of diggers to the little green outside my parents' house in Long Melford, Suffolk, a year or so ago. They dug up a Roman road that they had not known was there and revealed a whole layer of history in the village just by making a couple of trenches. To me that is akin to magic.
I can think of a number of writers who are good at doing the same thing with pen rather than shovel. One of my favourite children's books was Tom's Midnight Garden. Philippa Pearce caught that sense so many of us have of the different eras layering in the same place - think filo pastry rather than shortcrust. The John Gordon book, The Giant under the Snow, was another favourite. As a child, I lived near the earthworks that made up Boadicea's camp in Epping Forest and took idea of Gordon's earthen giant with me whenever I walked there.
|The edition I read as a child.|
Love this cover!
Scratch the surface anywhere in the UK and history jumps out at you jack-in-a-box fashion. I find that immensely exciting and use it to fuel my writing. You don't have to travel to see the past; you can just close your eyes and send your imagination down into the earth.