Monthly Archives: July 2020

Lost British Landscapes

Lost British Landscapes

In September 1931, the trawler, Colinda set sail from Lowestoft on a routine trip  towards the Leman and Ower Banks some 25 miles off the coast of Norfolk, in the Southern North Sea. 

Little was her captain to know, that this trip would spark a train of events that, over the next 70 years,  would lead to the discovery of a lost, submerged country. 

The ship’s captain, the dramatically named Pilgrim E Lockwood, reported that when hauling their fishing nets in from the area, they contained the usual amount of flotsam and debris, lumps of wood, shells, fragments of bone, and chunks of compressed peat, which fishermen referred to as moorlog . To the fishermen, this was little more than a nuisance, as large chunks of debris often caused damage to their nets, bruised fish,  and prolonged their working days. It was normal for crews to return unwanted objects back into the sea, but this time was different. Lockwood reported that a large chunk of moorlog was hit by a shovel, in an attempt to break it down for heaving overboard. However this chunk, when hit, sounded different. Lockwood decided to break open the moorlog, and there inside was concealed an ancient antler ‘harpoon’.  Lockwood had the presence of mind to understand the uniqueness of his find, and after being passed over by the British Museum, the harpoon eventually found its way into the hands of Cambridge biologist, Dr Muir Evans, who after some time, bequeathed it to the Castle Museum of Norwich. 

The harpoon was exhibited at a meeting of the Prehistoric Society of East Anglia in February 1932, and caused some considerable excitement within the archaeological community. The harpoon itself, although extremely elegant, was not an unusual find, there are many of its kind in several other museums;  but what made this piece exceptional, was where it was found.  

Even in the early 1930’s, rudimentary technology dated the harpoon, more precisely described as a ‘bone point’ , to some time in the Mesolithic era, and ascribed it’s origin to the culture of the Magelomose (Danish for ‘big bog’).   The mesolithic, dated between 10,000-4,000 BC was a missing fragment in the chronology of the North Sea.

 Some years before, in 1913, archaeologist, Clement Reid had written a small, relatively un-influential book about Britain’s Submerged Forests. Around that time, Reid had conducted  substantial research in the area around Dogger Bank, (70 miles from the nearest UK coast) and off the coasts of Norfolk, and Cheshire in particular. Reid, (now acknowledged as a significant figure in this area of research), posited a radical theory that there was a significant land mass submerged off the east coast, and at various locations around Britain. Over several years, Reid had studied archaeological artefacts retrieved by oyster dredgers in the area around the Dogger Bank, and lacking available equipment and resources at the time, was only able to speculatively date, and place the finds. This, paired with the fact that trawlermen, by their very nature had not the wherewithal to document , or catalogue the sites of these finds, made the task of dating virtually impossible.

At best, Reid was working with jumbled assemblages of objects all  originating from differing areas and depths of the North Sea, and therefore all from differing periods and scales of climate. Some of his recorded finds included the bones of woolly rhino, which obviously were of considerable antiquity, whereas other finds were relatively recent, such as reindeer and walrus.  Reid however,  was a tenacious character, and he made numerous research trips in the area, even recruiting his wife, Eleanor to help conduct his studies. After some considerable time, he was able to theorise that the discovery of a preserved land mass might be extrapolated across the entire area of the North Sea. This was a radical proposition, and his theory caused quite a stir in archaeological, and even geological circles. Reid’s proposal was met with scorn and condescension by his peers, and his ‘delightful little book’ , “Submerged Forests” disappeared into relative obscurity.     

There are several defining figures in the chronology of research into this area, but fast forwarding to the early 1970’s we come to the work of Dutch archaeologist, Dr Louwe Kooijmans, who documented a collection of bone fragments trawled from the Brown Banks, a series of geological prominences  just south of the Leman and Ower find. Kooijmans believed, on the basis of available geological information, that these artefacts inferred a human settlement was more than likely situated on the edge of an ‘inland sea’ (now referred to as the Outer Silver Pit).

Moreover, he also proposed that tools found in that same location were marginally different to their counterparts found on land. This was an important  threshold moment. It suggested that the peoples of the inundated landscape, were culturally ‘different’, and should be studied in their own right. 

There were few developments with this concept in archaeological terms, until the late 1990’s when Professor Bryony Coles of the University of Exeter published her ‘speculative’ survey of this inundated landscape. Coles’ work was groundbreaking. It was a synthesis of all of the available information on the area, and even took into account Clement Reid’s early work and research. Coles boldly took the step of naming the lost land, which became known as ‘Doggerland’, perhaps in acknowledgement of Reid’s work around the Dogger Bank.  For the first time in over 7,000 years, a lost country found it’s name, and had its own culture. Coles’ paper proved to be hugely influential,  it captured the imagination, and caused a resurgence of interest in Doggerland as a lost landscape. The archaeological community in particular began to ask pertinent questions about the region, and discussed the possibility of further exploration and research. 

The difficulty is, and always will be, that this submerged terrain is physically difficult to access, being at best, some 200 metres and more under the North Sea. Indeed, the progressive action of trawlers, encroaching pipelines, soil disposal, wind farming, and a host of other activity has muddied the waters, and destroyed potentially valuable artefacts. The retrieval of these artefacts is progressively more difficult, and more challenging, and objects relatively close to the sea bed have to some extent been trawled away, some even being sold over the internet. 

In 2001, the University of Birmingham held it’s annual seminar on the Mesolithic. Students of the Landscape Archaeology, GIS, and Virtual Environments Masters course convened, and began their usual discussions on ancient landscapes. The Leman and Ower bone point had for many years been used as evidence for an ancient landscape, but archaeologically, there had been little progression since it’s discovery.

 2001 marked a turning point though, as one of the students, Simon Fitch chose to do a PhD on the subject. Supported by his supervisor, Prof. Vincent Gaffney, and geomorphologist Ken Thompson, the team decided to utilise an unlikely resource to help them investigate the Dogglerland area further. For years, seismic data had been collected, collated, and archived by the oil industry in the North Sea, and might potentially yield useful geological information on the area. After several false starts, and with help from the directorate of Petroleum Geo-Services, the team eventually managed to access some 6000km2 of seismic reflection data from the Dogger Bank as a pilot study. Work began, and just a few weeks later in Birmingham, an image of a vestigial submerged river, now dated at approximately 10,000 years old, flickered across a computer screen. As large as the Rhine, the River, named the Shotton,( after Birmingham based geologist, Fred Shotton) snaked some 40km across the seabed, and the reconstruction of Doggerland, Europe’s lost country was born. 

As a result of this original and groundbreaking work, the Birmingham team founded the North Sea Paleolandscapes Project (NSPP), and tasked themselves with a detailed analysis of Doggerland. Mapping, naming, and exploring new territory, its hills, rivers and contours, is always hugely exciting, and the team continued its work apace.  Much of this research is incredibly detailed, and some is, as yet unpublished, or far too broad in scope to publish in such a short article here.  There is still much to discuss, and many questions to be answered.

How quickly was this landscape inundated, and how swiftly did it’s people make the transition, once their homes and hunter-gatherer lifestyles had been disrupted? It is ironic that even in our time,  extreme weather, and flooded landscape in particular are playing such a prominent role in our lives in many parts of the country, as our climate is gradually transforming once again. Yet this is tame in comparison to the scale of deluge of the North Sea.  For the inhabitants of Doggerland, the scale and rate of inundation would possibly have been radical, traumatic. Conversely,  it has been suggested that inundation may have come about in stages. The land would have gradually succumbed to the encroaching sea over many years, and freshwater slowly turned brackish, destroying trees, flora, fauna. Human survival would have been doubtful, to say the least. The argument for slow inundation was compelling.

Indeed, cursory research into British folklore and mythology suggests a number of mythical landscapes, lost to the waves. For hundreds of years, submerged tracts of forest were known as “Noah’s Woods”, and even Samuel Pepys recorded having seen ancient hazel, preserved in the mud of the Thames. The earliest recorded reference to submerged woodland was in 1191, the publication of Girladus Cambrensis’ “ItinerariumCambriae”.  Here, Giraldus makes reference to a deluge in somewhat biblical terms, whilst simultaneously acknowledging that the forces of nature might also have played a role. When passing near the Niwegal sands (near St Davids, Pembrokeshire after a particularly violent storm he noted:

“… the surface of the earth, which had been covered for many ages re-appeared, and discovered the trunks of trees cut off, standing in the very sea itself, the strokes of the hatchet appearing as if made only yesterday. The soil was very black, and the wood like ebony. By a wonderful revolution, the road for ships became impassable, and looked not like a shore, but like a grove cut down, perhaps at the time of the deluge, or not long after, but certainly in very remote ages. Being by degree consumed and swallowed up by yet violence and encroachments of the sea..”

There are folk tales relating to a lost land named Cantre’r Gwaelod, ( the Lowland Hundred) off the coast of Wales, which might substantiate Girladus Cambrensis’ sightings;  this, amongst numerous deluged, mythic islands; Lyonesse, west of Cornwall, Hy Brasil, west of Ireland, Tir na nog, or St Brendan’s Isle, also off the coast of Ireland, and several others. There is physical evidence in the form of fossilised tree stumps at extreme low tide events, that ancient landscapes have been submerged in some of these areas. Bathymetric records would appear to confirm that ALL of these mythic islands fall within the area of the continental shelf at specific depths, and may actually have once existed as ‘high points’ in local topography many thousands of years back in a lost epoch. It would not be inconceivable that a vestigial folk memory of these inundated landscapes may have survived the centuries in oral and written records, some perhaps contaminated, transformed over time?

 Interestingly, most of these folk memories survive predominantly in the west of the country. Why would this be?  The continuity of Celtic culture in the west of the country, would almost certainly have ensured that folk memory and the myth cycle would be well preserved over time. 

Surely Doggerland –  a huge and indeed significant land-mass, with many hundreds (or even thousands) of inhabitants, would have equally preserved its myths, its folk memory?  Archaeologists and ethnologists have suggested that Doggerlanders were widely dispersed, in a mass diaspora , and assimilated into other European (or further) cultures, and all oral recollections were lost. Others have discussed the possibility that late mediaeval and early Roman invaders wiped out many of the indigenous tribes on the east coast, most of whom would have been descendants of Doggerlanders, keepers of the oral record, thus fragmenting the indigenous myth cycle which subsequently died with them. The other possibility, and to me, the most convincing, is that the deluge came rapidly, swamping the east coast like an aquatic Pompeii. Multiple core samples from around the world indicate a great thaw after the last Ice Age. The polar ice caps, would have been unlocked, and many millions of tonnes of water would have caused a dramatic eustatic shift. Lowlands would have been submerged incredibly quickly. 

Excavations in Howick, have demonstrated evidence for a massive tsunami from a huge, submarine landslip the size of Scotland, emanating from Storegga, Norway circa 6100BC.  Geological evidence suggests that vast swathes of the east coast would have very quickly been deluged, with several immense waves crashing inland at a rate of 20-30 miles per second. Though the area of Doggerland would not have felt the effect of this tsunami quite as dramatically as further north in Northumberland, it would surely have had a devastating effect on its inhabitants, killing many or most almost instantaneously? 

Some time around 5500BC, Britain was all but disconnected from the continent. We had become an island nation. Yet it would be incorrect to assume that this separation was the end of Doggerland in its entirety.  Doubtless, high points of land, such as the Dogger Bank itself, would still have prevailed as remote islands, and these might possibly have been inhabited.  Yet our severance from mainland Europe and Britain would have made social contact, trade, hunting and foraging extremely challenging. Life on these isolated islets would have been tenuous, hazardous,  and over time, as the sea rose further,  those remaining communities would surely have had to make a final migration towards solid land, or died trying?

 This would have been a time of significant, and widespread social and environmental change, and with no physical, or written evidence, we can only speculate on the habits, traditions, beliefs and lifestyles of a lost people.  Attempting to reconstruct this inundated culture is notoriously difficult, and Doggerland is a place of contradictions. On the one hand, situated as it is, hundreds of metres below the sea, it should be an archaeologically pristine site, a relatively unscathed repository of hidden treasures.  It has not been subjected to external degradation by building for instance, or agriculture, or indeed theft, as so many sites on the mainland have. However, its underwater location is also its downfall. As previously mentioned, beam dredging has, over the last century or so, muddled and destroyed artefacts close to the surface of the seabed,  and that, combined with considerable sedimental and alluvial movement and deposition only makes the search for evidence even more difficult. Those material artefacts which have survived for centuries underwater, have done so because they don’t break down, and decompose as rapidly as other organic materials,  for example, textiles, animal hides,  foliage, wood etc, that would have been invaluable in establishing a more substantial, identifiable basis for human settlements in the area.    

Doggerland eventually succumbed to the sea, and its remnants, we have established,  would have been identifiable only as islands. It is entirely plausible that the Mesolithic inhabitants of Doggerland regarded water in a totally unique manner.  This, after all, was the place where the ancestors once dwelt, and the islands may have played a vital role in their ritual or spiritual practice. At times of low tide, these ancestral islands may have been accessible. They might readily or at significant times be revisited and venerated.  During the time of the Mesolithic,  funerary practices, such as those evidenced in mainland Europe and Russia, were commonplace on islands, which may have served to isolate the dead. The Sami reindeer hunters of Finland inter their dead on islands ostensibly as a protective measure to confine the spirit of the ancestors, and prevent them from disturbing the living . Water veneration in the ancient tradition, and even up to the present day is relatively commonplace ( tossing coins into a fountain, baptism, or well dressing are still widespread and prevalent). I have written of Bronze Age cultures, particularly at Flag Fen, Cambridgeshire, and Star Carr in Yorkshire for whom water would appear to have been the locus of some arcane belief system. 

This, we can only surmise, on the basis of a body of archaeological and anthropological documentation from related ancient cultures and traditions. The rest is left for the archaeologists of the future, who with the benefit of more advanced technology, material resources and funding, may reveal even more about Doggerland and its people.  

BG Nichols 2017

An art edition, They Shall Not Rise Until Light Shines Upon Them, including a floral and faunal reconstruction of the landscapes of Doggerland,  and relating to this essay, will be published later this year by Place Editions, in collaboration with visual artist Tracy Hill. 

Enquiries or further questions , please e mail me at whitelineBN@aol.com   or visit: placefieldnotes.wordpress.com for updates. 

The Land Incanted

The Land Incanted by Baz Nichols / Eijls

featured in The Learned Pig, March 2019

 The words “incanted” and “enchanted” share the same etymological root. An incantation is defined as  “the use of spells or verbal charms spoken or sung as a part of a ritual of magic” also a written or recited formula of words designed to produce a particular effect”

To  walk out into any wilderness;  to become untethered, disconnected from the rigours of quotidian life  became something of a regular routine for me. In my formative years as a young ornithologist, I spent many solitary hours in the parks and reservoirs that surrounded me in East London, attempting not only to sensitively observe my beloved avian companions, but also to connect. It is the sense of connection that permeates my written works of the last 10 years or so. Attuning to the subtle voices and moods of any given landscape takes some considerable time, effort, and sensory acuity.   My walks became rites, modes of transcendence and deep connection with the theatre of nature.  

A walk may have a particular rhythm and meter, and very often words manifest in the imagination. Yet a walk only has rhythm if it is regular, unbroken, a direct path.  Walking into bleak, treacherous terrain, the fractured landscape breaks that rhythm and words become abstracted, disarticulated,  mimetised in the very place from which they emerged. And this is where my work begins.

 I confess to being a reluctant poet, and so many of my texts took on the characteristics of incantations, invocations, a numinous summoning of the genius loci. It seems counterintuitive that in order to connect with the natural world, one has to separate, dislocate, isolate, in order to hear the multitude of voices that reside within.  For me, there is an ineffable energy that emanates from places that have themselves become abandoned or  forgotten, and once attuned, one becomes a conduit through which places are given voice, and words come to me almost unbidden.  

I began to leave small oblations sequestered in the remote places I visited – small, tacit way markers that I call “placements” made from natural detritus. Assemblages of grass, shells, worm casts, bird skulls, leaf skeletons, symbolic objects that resonated in some way,  not only as a private way of marking my presence here, but a form of exchange, a transaction with the landscape that I hoped to honour and vivify.  Often I would transport these subtle offerings from one location to another, creating an invisible line of energy, connecting one place to another, like a telluric current.  Once placed,  these sculptural objects would lie in situ, unseen, unheralded, and then a slow decomposition and gradual consumption. 

Nature does not know death – it only knows transformation, the gradual transition from one state to another. Moss, Ivy, Lichen, Fungi  – these are the attire of the abandoned. Once left untended, sites of human habitation in particular are slowly consumed, transformed by the agents of time and weather,  an encroaching natural decay. This is a form of alchemy, a way of knowing that we are part of a continuum, living life in anticipation of the inevitable moment of transition.   And so I attune my senses to the lost voices of this continuum, attempting to reconstruct a half-imagined past for those remote, abandoned places,  borne on the marks and scars of the land, the hidden energies, revenants, apparitions,  the sounds, and spoor of the ancient and archaic – here the land is incanted, enchanted – these words have to be spoken aloud in order to gain energy, brought to life  once more through my transcendent imagination.

Eijls, March 2019   

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Doggerland, a submerged landscape

This is an unedited version of a piece that appeared in Ernest Journal 7. For the purposes of publication due to limitations with space, certain key elements of this piece had to be omitted. This is the revised original draft.

It is early morning. The sun sits low on the horizon, sheathed in cloud like a great occluded eye. I am standing on a beach in Suffolk. Beneath my feet, the shingle swirls and clatters with the relentless lapping of tides. It reminds me that this coastline in particular is viscous, malleable, a series of endlessly shifting co-ordinates. Just a few miles down the coast is Dunwich,  once the great ancient capital of The Kingdom of the Angles. Now just a  village, it has gradually succumbed to the sea, a process of erosion that has been reducing this coastline for centuries. As I gaze outwards across the vast shimmering fact of the North Sea, it strikes me forcibly that beneath these waves, there was once a great tract of land, a field of plains, forests, rivers and lakes the size of a country, a country we now know as Doggerland. 

Doggerland rose to prominence in the modern imagination over a century ago. Tales of a submerged “land bridge”  between Britain and mainland France pervaded until archaeologist Clement Reid published Submerged Forests in 1913, which inferred so much more. Reid’s radical proposition upset the archaeological community of the time. He suggested that an entire inundated land mass existed beneath the North Sea. Surrounding coastlines as far away as Cheshire had also thrown up physical evidence of fossilised tree stumps at low tide events. Reid’s book and theories were rapidly discredited by his peers, and consigned to the archive of forgotten history,  yet today, his life and work have gained new relevance, substantiated by hard physical evidence, and bolstered by the technological advancements made in bathymetry and deep ocean scanning.  

The ancient mesolithic plains of Doggerland were slowly consumed by the sea in a post ice-age thaw over the centuries. As the waters rose, and the sea gradually encroached, its inhabitants would have survived on small islets (of which Dogger Bank was one), and trade, hunting, travel, community would gradually have become untenable. Eventually and inevitably, Doggerlanders would have had to make the precarious journey to higher ground, and what is now the east coast would almost certainly have become safe and familiar territory. 

With no extant oral or written transcripts, we have no way of knowing the lives of these ancients, their routines, their belief systems.  It is entirely conceivable that water would have held a special significance for ancient Doggerlanders. Water veneration might have featured heavily in their lives and spiritual practices, and it is possible that during low tide events, they revisited the remaining islets, which were perhaps reserved as burial grounds for their dead. There are notable references to this practice in ancient Scandinavian and Russian cultures, who similarly inter their dead on islands to separate their spirits from the living.   

For centuries, tales of lost islands and lost lands, deluged by the ocean have persisted in folk memory. Cursory research into British folklore and mythology reveals a number of mythical landscapes, lost to the waves.  There are numerous folk tales telling of a lost land named Cantre’r Gwaelod, ( the Lowland Hundred) off the coast of Wales,  Lyonesse, west of Cornwall, Hy Brasil, west of Ireland, Tir na nog, or St Brendan’s Isle, also off the coast of Ireland, and several others.  On the basis of bathymetric evidence, all of these islands fall within the area of an ancient “shelf” that once existed as a continuum of the European land mass. 

 Interestingly, most of these folk memories survive predominantly in the west of the country. Why would this be?  The continuity of Celtic culture in the west of the country, would almost certainly have ensured that folk memory and the myth cycle would be well preserved over time.  Surely Doggerland –  a huge and indeed significant land-mass, with many hundreds (or even thousands) of inhabitants, would have equally preserved its myths, its folk memory?  Archaeologists and ethnologists have argued that Doggerlanders were widely dispersed  and assimilated into other cultures, and all oral recollections were lost. The other possibility, and to me, the most convincing, is that the deluge came rapidly, swamping the east coast like an aquatic Pompeii. 

How then, do we depict the drowned landscape of Doggerland? How might we understand its inhabitants, their beliefs, rituals, their daily lives?

I recently visited the ancient Bronze Age site at Flag Fen in Cambridgeshire,  a submerged oak causeway there, stretches over a kilometre across an often bleak, water-saturated fenland . Here, offerings were made to the waters by ancient people,  most of these objects having been damaged before offering was made.  These perhaps propitiatory artefacts must have held some spiritual or ritualistic significance to the inhabitants of that place, yet this ancient belief system is unknown to us;  buried in the sediment of time. 

In attempting to dowse its energy, there is something of a mystical,  funerary atmosphere to this place which I can’t put into words.  Many hundreds of bones and bone artefacts have been retrieved from here, and there is also evidence of ancient burial mounds nearby on higher ground.  The landscape around the fens is characteristically flat, and once all 21st century interventions have been removed, my perception of the landscape is transformed.  As I traverse the site, what strikes me is the vastness of open sky.  The fen is currently populated with invasive species of sedges and rushes;  organic spires that puncture the horizon line,  a physical barrier to the modern mind. This might once have been a powerful place, a place where the dividing line between horizon, earth and sky was almost imperceptible. This metaphysical symmetry, the place where earth meets sky as conjoined elements, would have had a potent effect on the ancient imagination. The oak causeway perhaps symbolised a liminal pathway, a processional route, where ancient people could walk the line between life and death, suspended between earth and the heavens..yet the purpose of the oak causeway remains open to speculation. 

In his book, “Flag Fen, Life and Death of a Prehistoric Landscape”, archaeologist and Flag Fen founder, Francis Pryor noted that an equivalent site in Corlea, southern Ireland became swiftly inundated by the sea soon after it was constructed.  He states that far from being incompetent,  perhaps the ancient Corleans had built their causeway to be ritually submerged soon after construction. But for what purpose? 

Here , I make a tenuous connection between both places –  Flag Fen, and Doggerland.  Might it be that the Flag Fen causeway is one of several sites of special spiritual significance to the descendants of  ancient Doggerlanders? Could it be that these artificial islands were constructed to commemorate and celebrate their ancient homeland, preserved in perpetuity in their spiritual beliefs and oral records? Is it possible that the offerings in the Flag Fen waters were made to propitiate some powerful, malevolent water gods,  gods who destroyed the ancient land of their ancestors?

Given that there are several thousand years between the late Mesolithic, and the Bronze Age, you might be forgiven for doubting the fidelity of oral record over such vast period of time. How could a religious belief system survive the centuries, relatively unbroken,  simply through oral transmission? We forget perhaps that time is porous; ideas, memories, memes flow through it, occasionally unhindered and intact.  

As recently as 2015, Scientific American journal ran an article on the oral traditions of the Australian Aborigines. These aboriginal cultures are almost certainly the oldest surviving in human history. Upon analysis of some 16 aboriginal “myths”, a study revealed that their tales spoke of lost islands and post-ice age inundation with verifiable and phenomenal accuracy. The study concluded that far from being origin myths, the aboriginal tales of Dreamtime were factual reminiscences passed down faithfully from generation to generation over some 10,000 years, enmeshed in their ancestral psyche.   

The oral tradition not only provided the ‘scaffolding’ for ancient spiritual belief in the absence of the written word. It maintained social cohesion amongst tribal or clan groups, it provided a communal vision, perhaps armed with its own biases, intents and agendas. It provided social and environmental stability. How else could a leader or spiritual guide galvanise many hundreds or thousands of followers to undertake such herculean feats of engineering  as the Flag Fen causeway, unless they had a singular vision or belief, speculatively based upon the fear of retribution from angry sky or water gods?

It is true that over time, oral records can become lost, destroyed, or contaminated, particularly when indigenous cultures are disrupted in some way, either via conflict, or trade and exchange.  Indeed, the aboriginal oral tradition survived unblemished until the arrival of the European colonists in the late 18th century, and even now, the Dreamtime continues as a faithful record of cultural history. 

With all of the above in mind, would it be unreasonable to assume that the ancient peoples of Doggerland not only survived a traumatic and catastrophic inundation, but also, in a mass diaspora, made it to the seasonally flooded landscape around Flag Fen, a terrain not dissimilar to the ancestral home? 

As I walk across the spidery trails of the remoter parts of the fen, I acutely sense the revenants of ancient Doggerlanders;  hazy apparitions,  still walking a mystical path to commemorate lost ancestors. In walking,  the rhythmic thrum of my footfall is mimetised in the beat of some ancient shaman’s drum, slowly drawing that time to this. 

B G Nichols  /Eijls 2017

this essay first appeared in the printed version of Ernest Journal, edition number 7, May 2017

For more information, e mail:  whitelineBN@aol.com or visit: placefieldnotes.wordpress.com