I’m a ‘phase’ kind of person. I go through phases. Might be with food, or television or music or games, but I tend to slide into a certain something and do it to death, then move on to something totally different for a while before cycling back around again.
I doubt this is that unusual for creative people as a whole, but it’s a habit about myself that works well with or is perhaps the cause of, some of my world views.
I’m not religious. I’ve shown that pretty extensively, I think, especially in the last year so it will come as a surprise to no one that I do not believe anything in my life has happened by divine will.
But that doesn’t mean I don’t have a general feeling that there is some kind of guidance to life down here on planet Earth. Whether its some subconscious memetic imperative from the accumulated experience of my ancestors, the silent push of an unseen force, or just some inner strength to see the positive in anything that happens to me, things always seem to sort themselves out.
I have long believed that so long as you step forward, no matter how the small step, and keep trying, everything will work out if you live long enough to let it. It’s served me well thus far on a small and large scale.
This brings me to my rambling for today, and what the above has to do with anything.
My current ‘phase’ in background noise and television has cycled back around to archaeology, specifically in the form of Time Team, one of my absolute favorite British shows of all time.
I remember the show coming out in the 1990s, when I was just the right age to both understand it, and find it fascinating. I have since watched every episode to ever air, be it on the living room floor in Bracknell England as I grew up, all the way to today when I can watch it online and share it with some of my American chums and family.
For those who don’t know, Time Team was a great premise for a show. In a nation as rich with history as the British Isles (seriously, heave a brick, dig where it lands and you will find something), it made great sense to get the nation invested in caring about the past under our feet, and preserving it for the future as we continue to build on every square inch of land left untouched.
What Time Team did was reduce down the typical huge digs that happen on many sites to the bare bones of archaeology.
Three days, a likely site, a big team of trained experts and the cutting edge of technology, see what you can find and work out. Throw in a tv personality with historical background for good measure.
It was an absolute hit, as I recall it. With over 20 seasons of content not to mention specials, the success speaks for itself in both what was found, what it allowed UK’s heritage agencies to schedule and recover, and especially for the public interest it drummed up. It even saved some lives, for soldiers with PTSD.
I love the show, from it’s the format to having watched the developments over the years, and the snapshots into history it has given me. It’s wholesome, educational watching and I recommend it to anyone who has an interest in history.
It also, like so many things, feeds into my work.
I am currently deep in the process of mapping and describing every single country on Hevna for the Compendium. It’s a heck of a lot of work, as each country needs about four pages, but it’s been very very fulfilling, especially to think about what makes each country unique, why the people of each area identify as separate and different to their neighbors, or if they even do at all.
Some countries have lush jungle and exotic plants. Some have high industry and technology. Some have entirely unique systems of governance and class divide compared to the rest of the world. And some have unique architecture.
When it came to detailing the snowy country of Nofdur, I knew the north west would hark to Iceland in some ways, with its geothermal anomalies and vents, but I wanted something that truly stood out for the cold environment.
And it just so happened I was listening to a Time Team episode in Scotland, where the team was uncovering a unique facet of the Scottish past – a structure called a Broch.
An artists impression of a Broch in use.
Brochs are hollow walled stone towers from the iron age, which are incredible feats of engineering for the time period and technology level. They are sometimes also known as broughs, burgs, or borgs depending on your language and root words. They are also still very little understood.
The purpose of a broch and the status of the people who lived in it are topics archaeologists continue to debate, as well as the genealogy of the people who built them.
Regardless of the who, or why, however, there are some things that piqued my interest in making Hevnan brochs.
The two-walled build is a good insulator. Two or more floors assist with temperature regulation, especially if a fire is lit on the ground floor, or even the roof, to allow a convection current to start up. Such structures are also going to be relatively easy to see on the landscape, make a statement and potentially allow shelter of animals as well as people. They also look entirely unique compared to just about any other building I have ever seen.
All of this would help deal with the difficult climate in some parts of Nofdur, and give it a unique flavor, so I am of course going to dot Nofdur with brochs, still in use to this day. Something I would never have done if I were not rewatching an old tv show, at this specific moment in time. Thank you serendipity, or whatever eldritch force is helping me along!
Besides. I always like it when I can put something in my writing that someone, someday, might look up and learn something from.
The world is fascinating, and I will always take every opportunity to share things I find cool, in whatever way I can.
I strongly recommend googling brochs, as they are a much understated and unrecognized piece of awesome from the past!