Susie Fowler-Watt: Finds for the future
PUBLISHED: 11:08 21 June 2016 | UPDATED: 11:08 21 June 2016
Copyright Archant Norfolk 2016
What treasures are we leaving for the archaeologists of tomorrow asks the BBC Look East presenter
I am no expert in archaeology, but I always find it fascinating when the remains of a settlement is found, and you can get a glimpse into what people’s life was like in this part of the world thousands of years ago. Earlier this year we were told about an extraordinary discovery in the Fens - the well-preserved remains of Bronze Age houses that appeared to have been abandoned in a fire.
There were spears, jewellery, crockery and even food left in the bowls the inhabitants had been eating from. So vivid was the picture painted by the scene, that one of the archaeologists said: “It feels almost rude to be intruding ... like somebody’s house has burned down and we’re going in and picking over their goods.”
We are so lucky to live in a place that has such history. Every churchyard tells a story of lives lived over hundreds of years. On the beach at Happisburgh human footprints were found that were more than 800,000 years old. And then, of course, there’s the prehistoric elephant discovered on the beach at West Runton. So what will we leave for future generations and communities to find, other than bits of fossilised chewing gum stuck to the bottom of park benches?
I think our family’s biggest contribution to the learning of Norfolk residents thousands of years hence could be a pair of Lola’s wellies that got stuck in the mud near our house. I heard a plaintive “Help!” when I went out to call Lola for lunch one day, and found her knee deep and sinking. I had to pull her out of her boots, which were no longer visible, and carry her home in her socks. One day said wellies will reappear, having been perfectly preserved in silt for centuries.
Our Norfolk descendants will doubtless also find my father’s signet ring, which fell off his finger during a visit to our house a few years ago. We combed the driveway and turned the house upside down, to no avail. Then there will be the cat’s grave. “Why did they put a man’s shirt in with the dead animal?” the advanced species will wonder. Will they be able to deduce it was because she was such a Daddy’s girl?
Finally, the revelations will include Playmobil figures lost and mourned over the years, rogue pieces of puzzle that are there one minute and gone the next, a stash of butterfly clasps from the back of my earrings, and the many keys/cufflinks/phone accessories that Alex has mislaid. It may not sound that illuminating a haul, but I still like to think we are doing our bit for future historians. That Bronze Age family lost so much, but have enriched our understanding 3000 years on. Our losses have luckily been far less disastrous, but who knows what significance Lola’s wellies (circa 2015) might have in the year 5015?