Updated: Sep 15, 2022
This will be a short post because I’ve been on an archeological dig today. As you do.
I happened to see a tweet last week asking for volunteers to help on an archeological dig at the old Govan Parish Church -- it's somewhere that has fascinated me for a long time, but when it's right where Frej and Ulf would have invaded, how could I resist? Also -- minor Days Gone Next spoiler, but I have the beginnings of an idea that Solveig's husband might have left messages for her on the hogbacks...
Anyway, I’d planned to just spend a couple of hours there in the morning but it was so fascinating I couldn’t leave, and now I’ve got less than an hour before I have to leave for movie club!
It was just thoroughly enjoyable spending a day digging a trench in the sunshine alongside lovely, interesting people. Aside from anything else, there is something so pleasantly mindful about going at the ground with a trowel. My dig partner and I found several likely Victorian nails, and may have uncovered the top of a wall! We were searching (in part) for a "ghost grave" which shows up on some old maps, but may have been built over by the current church (built in 1889). We weren't allowed to get deep enough to have a high chance of finding it, but the archeologist leading the dig said that the top of the wall *could* suggest something promising... so naturally I have decided that I found a ghost grave!
There has been some kind of religious centre and burial ground in this area since around the 5th century. I'd never thought a lot before about how ground levels have changed over the centuries, so it was kind of mind blowing learning just how many layers of bodies there could be below the gravestones we can see. I was aware that the Necropolis is at least a "double decker" -- but that's because of canny Glaswegians reburying Granny a few feet lower to re-sell the plot above 🤣 Frej's contemporaries though, could have as many as four layers of people above them... which is an interesting notion...
Often these ground shifts because of levelling off for construction, but sometimes it's just a stone that was either flat top begin with or fell over at some point, and then nature grew over it. There's a project going on right now to recover some of these graves just a few inches below the surface (which I and DEFINITELY going back for!)
One of the archeologists told me that a stone they’ve recently discovered has had its inscription chiselled off at some point, and I am just fascinated. The bleakness of anonymising a grave is brilliant -- what HAPPENED to make someone hate the deceased so much that they ensured that they were forgotten? They're already dead and it's not enough for you? You're still mad? What is the matter with you!
That is OBVIOUSLY going into Before Again.
Also, I discovered that the yard where Kirsty first finds Frej and the Vikings would have been underwater in their time. The Clyde used to be almost double as wide and shallow -- in the 16th century, you could walk across to Partick at low tide. In the 1800s it was dredged and built over to expand the shipyards. Now my wee brain is buzzing with how to rethink the scene where she sees the Vikings sailing up the Clyde -- they would have been sailing up Govan Road!
So lots and lots to think about...