Connections…. More Matters Archaeological…. The Attitude Of Gratitude…. Bone…

by Bernie Bell - 09:40 on 05 April 2023


We were standing talking with a couple by the Ness end of the Brig O’ Brodgar – I’ll be tactful and refer to them as ‘C’ and ‘D’ – not forgetting Baxter-The-Dog…..B, C & D!

We were talking of how the dig at the Ness of Brodgar has only two seasons to go, as a break is needed to assess the progress made so far….


‘C’ was comparing the situation with Sutton Hoo - where she is a tour guide - how so much was discovered there, and how much is still being discovered in the surrounding area. She recommended that we have a look on-line at ‘Rendlesham Revealed’, which we did…


I must admit that, apart from their striking inlaid metal-work, I don’t have a strong interest in the Anglo-Saxons - but I have an interest in Sutton Hoo.  We moved to Orkney from Suffolk, where our (elderly) neighbour told us of how her parents were friends of the Pretty family – owners of Sutton Hoo – and how as young children she and her brother used to play roly-poly down the mounds there – until excavations stopped play.

We were then talking of how there were reports of Spirit people being seen around the mounds, and of places where there is a shift between worlds.

Later, I remembered writing about George Mackay Brown’s story ‘The Brig O’ Dread’ in which the Brig O’ Brodgar can be seen as a ‘bridge’ between the worlds of the living and the dead….


‘C’ -  if you’re reading this – I forgot to mention ‘The Brig O’ Dread’  - which might be of interest to you.

Connections – life is full of connections.  Suffolk – Orkney – Living – Dead – Pre-historic – Anglo-Saxon.

Surveys have revealed human occupation and activity at Rendlesham from late prehistory up to the modern day, with a particularly large and important settlement there during the early to middle Anglo-Saxon period. This means it would have been inhabited during the early 7th century, at the same time that the burial mounds were raised at Sutton Hoo.

We were then talking of how, if a place is a good place to live humans will find it, and stay there.  Layers of life, building up, to be revealed by future generations. 

In the case of the Ness of Brodgar – there may be even more to be discovered when excavations resume in the future – when they’ve had time to make more sense of what has already been found – which is a work of excavation in itself – sifting through the layers and categories of finds.

I have a feeling of building up to this year’s dig – which needs funding –


Exit - rattling begging bowl….


More Matters Archaeological….

Oh! to be an archaeology student with UHI…



The Attitude Of Gratitude….

We’re both having health difficulties but, with the help of good doctors, we’re working with them and through them.

I do tend to fret about our situation – I let Fear start to get a grip on my mind.

Mike reminded me of the Reiki Creed…..

Just for today:
Do not anger.
Do not worry.
Show gratitude to every living thing.

We’re aiming to live in the moment – take each day as it comes.  Enjoy what we can enjoy.  Not expecting to regain terrific good health - just enough to enable us to go for walks, do a bit of gardening - we’d be content with that.

I woke up Tuesday morning and started fretting.  So, in my mind, I re-traced our visit to the Stenness Stones last Sunday. 

Very clearly - I pictured myself standing at the entrance, then approaching the first stone, resting my hands against it, walking round it. 

I then repeated those actions at each stone, walking round the circle.  Clockwise – of course!

At the zig-zag stone, I leant back again the stone, closed my eyes, and just ...lived in that moment.

When I got up Tuesday morning I stood in the window and saw a beautiful day developing – a sky of soft oranges and pinks – not the strident, dramatic reds of some sunrises – a more gentle way to ease into the day.

And then, we got on with our day.

I don’t know if reading this will help anyone.  I hope it does.

Doing it, helped me.  Mike said that my telling him about it, helped him.




Bartholomew Barker’s poetry prompt was to ‘write a connection poem’.  Here it is….


Our connection
is thicker than blood
stronger than muscle

Our bond is like bone
flexible and resilient
made of the earth

A honeycomb of winks
and slow caresses
and if it breaks

it hurts worse
than any gut-punch
or cigarette burn

and takes months
to heal

Bartholomew Barker



I’d got this blog post ready…..then I saw Bartholomew’s  ‘connection’ poem…….then I saw this…..



It’s never too late…



Here’s one I made earlier….. https://theorkneynews.scot/2020/08/29/i-want-to-age-like-sea-glass/


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