Caerleon Time Travel…… For Nan Shepherd’s Birthday….Steve Drury Writes of ….Thought for The Day….

by Bernie Bell - 07:45 on 13 February 2023

Caerleon Time Travel……

Will and Merriman visit a 20th Century  archaeology dig at Caerleon, but Susan Cooper plays with Time, bringing Mortimer Wheeler’s excavation forward a few decades.

We have a 1958 edition of ‘Still Digging’ by Mortimer Wheeler – with a very raffish picture of him on the cover - and I looked for his Caerleon dig – sure enough there it is, page 63.

“But to return to Wales and 1926.  In such moments as could be snatched from the busy routine of the museum, I was preparing the way for an attack on the legionary fortress at Caerleon”

Note his choice of phraseology.

My dilemma was – do I continue reading about Will and Merriman meeting a young  American archaeology student who says …..

“Always the mound was known as King Arthur’s Round Table, with absolutely no justification of course……..And now that we finally get inside it, what do we find inside King Arthur’s so-called Round Table but a Roman amphitheatre”

Or – do I read more by Mortimer Wheeler?

“Immediately outside the fortress lay the great oval hollow which the village folk knew as ‘King Arthur’s Round Table’ but was less romantically the site of the Roman amphitheatre.”

Mortimer Wheeler also writes…

“My mind had been turning increasingly to the need for a systematic training in a discipline which was now emerging from the chrysalis stage and was incidentally now in the public eye.  Students were increasing in  numbers; archaeological posts were slowly beginning to multiply.  Something had to be done about it.”

And I’m thinking of all the archaeology students and volunteers who come to the Orkney digs each season and the wonderful training they get.  Often folk from warmer climes who find the climate hard to deal with - as the Caerleon legionary did - and who miss home - as the young American does.

Archaeology is people.  Past, present, people weaving together with a shared humanity.


At the Stanton’s home…..Mr Moore’s colour prejudice.  The Dark was Rising then, as it is now. 

I wrote the following in a previous blog entry….


We watched a recorded episode of ‘Quantum Leap’ – the one in which Sam leaps into a Klansman ( Ku Klux that is).  A very hard thing for Sam to deal with – being a good man. https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0681132/

As the story progressed I was thinking – it’s fear and power on one side – fear and powerlessness on the other side. But both sides are prepared to do wrong things because of their fear, and the hatred that produces. 

As usual, I started to putter about how far back did the ancestors of the Klansmen go – they weren’t Native American people, they were mostly from Northern Europe.  ‘Red necks’ were called red necks because they were fair skinned and the sun burnt the back of their necks when working in the fields.

I doubt that there were many people of Southern European origin in the Klan.

A big  difference is – those folk chose to go to America – some because they had to leave their homeland due to war or intolerance, but many  emigrated through choice. The people from Africa were taken to America entirely against their will when it served the economics of America to do so.

To quote Reginald D. Hunter…”Give me your tired, your poor – as long as we can send some brown ones back when we don’t need them no more.”

I know, I know – this has all been said before – but watching that episode of Quantum Leap brought it to the fore again - just how much intolerance is based on colour.  Come from Northern  Europe – with fair skin - lose your native accent – and you’re ‘one of us’.  Keep your colour and the white folk talk about ‘coloureds taking over’. That phrase was used a number of times in the programme – ‘We can’t let them take over’.  Take over what?

This episode was set in the 1960’s – but it’s still there, it’s still happening.  There are laws in place to stop it – America has had a brown President – but it’s still happening – intolerance, prejudice, un-equal treatment based on colour.

This is just me, ranting – there’s nothing I can do about it except ask folk, in all situations, to be aware – watch out for intolerance and prejudice in themselves, and ask themselves why it’s there.”

Then Barbara is kind to her little brother, and…

“The Old One within him thought:  The other side.  Don’t forget.  There’s always the other side of people too.”


And – there are people like this in the world….   https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-highlands-islands-64511741


For Nan Shepherd’s Birthday….

From Mr. Mac….


From me - a bit late, but birthday wishes often are….



Steve Drury Writes of ….

…erosion and Milankovich cycles…..



Thought for The Day….

Would you want to be an animal on Jeremy Clarkson’s farm – with his tendency to lash out?


Here’s one I made earlier…. https://theorkneynews.scot/2020/07/14/one-persons-rubbish-2/


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