Category: Archeology

This is How Stupid People Die (by )

Reclaim the City

That moment when you've gone off to take one photograph and realise it is dusk, you are in a tumble down industrial area amongst broken glass and iron rods half exposed from crumbling concrete. You have £100 odd worth of camera around your neck, you've left your phone in the car along with you husband and kids, and worse you have no idea anymore which direction said car is in. Then just to add the icing to the cake a group of three 'youths' wonders into sight and you realise it was their shouting and the ring of a beer can football that pulled you out of the contemplative glaze of photo snapping bliss you had been in moments before.


You do not run as that is provocation, beside satistically you know that the middle aged man on his own that passed you at the beginning of this adventure is more likely to be a danger than three young men. Apart from some cat calls they are fine - you take another photo of graffiti and as you know they've seen the camera anyway and just keep walking, with confidence hoping it will come out to somewhere more populated by people. Maybe even somewhere you know.

The road to the white house

And the monologue that is spinning in you brain is one of half remembered self defense techniques though you do not dwell on them as being afraid in the half light of urban decay is a sure way to draw attention to yourself in unwanted ways. Same goes for the crowded city streets and the apparently safe board room. You keep walking aware of your surroundings and potential escape routes, you do not avert your gaze nor do you linger.


You think, 'This is how stupid people die,' and then you snort with the realisation that you have nicked the quote from a TED talk you watched the night before. And that shunts your brain into thinking that it is thinking and what it is thinking about and the words Third Thoughts sneaks in and you're like damn! Now I am quoting Terry Pratchette in the almost fear - that fear you are not feeling, that fear you are keeping at bay.


The kids are gone, they went into a side alley and now you are in territory you recognise and daydreams of pirate days with real tall ships and Christmas Fayres with real snow filter in your brain and you think - I'm actually quiet a away from the car and the quickest way is back through those buildings that now seem to loom out of the dusk.

come to me

So you again consider how stupid people die, but now you have your bearings and know the way and this way is much shorter and there is an old couple out for a walk and they might be lost but they are walking into the corroded corridor of split wood and ripped metal.


You follow and storm your way home, reasoning that you are wearing big boots and a flappy coat and yes it's all purple and your over weight but it is probably dramatic or something.


And you still stop to take photos because things look different from this angle and hey wow that was a fantastic one of the birds flying away and it shall be called The Escape.


There is a world within worlds in this place you walk unwittingly, there are jungles and homes and hope.

The next generation

And really it is only a few derilict buildings with seagulls roosting, slowly the industrial endevours of a previous centre are being consumed by the small of nature and you feel previlaged to see it all before it is ripped asunder and the new of this centery is put in it's place. Clicking the button on the camera you try and capture just a little bit of the awe.

Look out point

Dating of Old Monuments (by )

I've been working my way through documentaries on various subjects as research for my Punk series and one of the things that keeps coming up is that you can't date monuments. You can date the last organic stuff inside them like food left overs and you can date when the stone was formed but you can't date when it was quarried and used to build the monument.

But I am wondering if this is true. When I was doing my MRes there was a technique that dealt with exposure dates - in this case sand dunes but I know it has been used for other things. If I recall correctly when a cosmic ray hits the surface it can cause little explosions which leave scars called tracts which can be counted. The number off them combined with the rate of cosmic rays hitting the surface gives you how long they have been sitting on the surface.

Now there is a similar thing that happens due to probability and atomic decay within rocks but you can tell the difference.

I can't remember all the specifics but it does seem to me that this could be used.

Obviously there would be issues such as open cast mining or quarrying could leave rocks on the surface for 1000s of years before building occurs but I think most builders would have removed weathered sides of blocks to make them look nice. Then there are issues over rock type - are different types more susceptable to the tracts forming? What if it is a composite material made of fossils and rock fragments?

Some monuments no longer have their outer layers such as the giant pyramid in Egypt so you would get a mixed date of = quarried date - time spent under cladding + time since cladding was nicked or disappeared.

But I can't see these as being worse than the issues surrounding migrating dunes. the dating of these structures would be very important for sorting out our own history and how civilisations have come to be etc...

There maybe more issues with dating like if it can only give dates accurate to 1000s when you need 100s or 10s of years or them only being relative to other techniques but I think it would add an extra layer to what we know.

Now obviously I have been out of the science world for years now and can't even remember what the names for all this sort of stuff is and I am not an archeology expert so maybe these are already being use or rejected or what ever and it just hasn't filtered through to the books and documentaries I am getting my hands on.

However I thought I would share my idea just incase - plus people may suggest other sources of info for me 🙂

p.s. having a quick little looky at stuff it would appear there are interesting optical dating methods for minerals that have been exposed to sunlight - surely some of that would be interesting to archeologists. Also another problem with the dating would be how long the monument had spent buried in the ground too!

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