Archaeology conference on Saturday last. Amazing stuff as the speakers were interdisciplinary. There were sociologists, geophysists (with results from Stonehenge), archaeologists, anthropologists and a football supporter. They came from Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland, England, the US and Norway (and perhaps other places as well. The conference was about gatherings with an obvious archaeological slant. These people watch people so well it was amazing, from football to protests, from current patriotism to past rituals, from rock concerts to railways. I missed the medieval music and the Sunday talks due to a funeral (Michael Parker Pearson from timeteam was talking on the Sunday), but enjoyed what I did see and hear. Wordwell was also there and I got a few books from him – one was a book introducing the architectural inventory of the area, which I found very interesting indeed.
Monday I went to the northerly shore of the Island. Giants Causeway and the Carrick a Rede rope bridge. The weather was “dramatic” with the storm towards the south – so several seasons in one day. The bridge was open and worth a visit. There was a lady who couldn’t make it across but the guide there was amazing and helped her across with her partner. It was only a problem for me in that there were a few ladies behind me and one of them thought it would be funny to jump up and down. No issue with heights and the visual drama was appreciated, but I was slightly seasick upon arrival at the other end. The Giants causeway was great to see (go at low tide and wear appropriate gear, especially shoes) and I had a good chat with one of the guides out on the rocks. As I said to him – he has a tougher job than a shepherd, as sheep have more sense than some people. The site is wild and in no way softened for visitors who in any way wish to behave recklessly. Wet basalt rocks are no place for high heels, climbing with children who can not walk, or wearing a papoose with a baby in it and brogue shoes. People watching again I suppose, it may be catching. The northern shore is also home to the main supply of flint for the island (and was used very effectively in the Mesolithic and Neolithic ages. Where it couldn’t be found Chert was used. Good week so far.