I realise that I’ve said this twice already but you should all make a point of keeping up with David Beard’s Archaeology in Europe. Because it culls from newspaper sites the coverage can often be a bit variable in depth, but it gives you pointers to genuinely new stuff long before you’d find it out from any other source. So this week, or at least the week when I actually wrote this, what’s been emerging from the ground, or at least the landscape, appears to be very early medieval fortresses, a subject which has interested me here before. And of course with the pointers the reports give you, if you want to find out more it’s not hard thanks to the wonderful power of the Hypermation Intersoupway.1
Here for example is a view of the top of Gaer Fawr hillfort in Wales, where we now learn that laser scanning and other such terrain-mapping tech has been at work trying to plot the whole of the hillfort, and finding that underneath what you can see there it had five Iron Age ramparts and a later sub-Roman reoccupation. If you happen to need an example of that rush to the hills as the Romans left and the Saxons came, here’s your newest one. So reports Mr Beard on the basis of a report with graphics at National Geographic News.
And here is the early medieval ring-fort at Cruachan Aí, Tulsk, Ireland, which is, we are told by a report in The Irish Times to which Mr Beard points us, only one feature in a landscape with a history of thousands of years’ connection with focusing power. If you follow the link through the image, you can get to the page of one Hazel who went and visited the site while they were digging it, and it’s generally quite easy to get to these places on the web.
On that very subject! I discover that since I made my mostly-fruitless trip out there someone has now put directions to the Castell de Gurb in Osona, Catalunya (què no es Espanya! com sabem) on the web, as well as some rather fine pictures of the site, which means that when I go out there in January as I currently plan to, I shall be able, wetness permitting, to go up the hill from the other side this time and see what the vicars saw at last. Might just have photos in time for the book… Though really, to match these two Insular examples I’d have to make it to l’Esquerda too. Maybe I just gosh-darn will.
1. I think I helped with this particular formation, but the final credit belongs with one Ben Harris, who had the rather ambiguous privilege of sharing a house with me for a long time a long time ago. I don’t believe he’s claiming any kind of copyright on absurdity…