Tag Archives: prehistory

Ridgeway

Tombs, forts and settlements
String the Ridgeway
As beads on a necklace
Testifying to ancient use
Above the spring line and refreshment
On a hot Summers day
The white chalk is hard walking
Reflecting sunlight back onto the traveller
When wet, millennia of churning feet and wheels
Have crafted a deep sucking cloying mudclay
Is it true that you continue on and under the sea?
A road so old that it predates the English Channel
Is humbling

Walking from the great stones of Avebury
Up through fields to the ridgeline
Following in the steps of so many
Stumbling in snow through ramparts
Thrown up three thousand years ago
Passing where the Smith of the Norse gods
Will shoe tethered horses
Looking down on the rolling plain
Or trudging deep within the occasional copse
Fires my imagination
Brings to mind stories, legends
Archaeological finds and study

Copyright © 2017 Kim Whysall-Hammond

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Topiary

A map in a foreign language is a misheard story.
The path broken by translation. The betrayal of truth
That slips in, knife-quick, between the fireside and the forgetting,
Stripping the stones of all but cautions to take care
As you step between the constructed cracks, the topiary-shaded grass,
Of gardens grown from the bones of unremembered past.

The paper creases with the the grim grip of disappointment,
Lines bend and meld together, new tracklines between
The dead-living things. And so, new stories begin.

Time has slid away from you here,
Paths well trodden and unseen through the depth of years,
Local tales sing little of your legacy,
The trail an ephemeral, skin-thin thing;
Your mounds made a mockery, mirrored in suburban topiary.

Penelope Foreman

 

From her blog ‘Suspicious Mounds’

Source: Archaeopoetry #3 – Topiary 

 

Seal

Liquid eyes looking through time,  staring out from the wood
Lost possession,  unregarded litter, draft for a larger work?
It is treasure now
Seal eloquently sealed into timber
Sparse lines, rich artistry

Copyright © 2017 Kim Whysall-Hammond

seal carving

I’ve just discovered an interibfng wordpress arceological site amd was moved to write the above poem after looking long at a seal carving they have found.

https://nunalleq.wordpress.com/

https://nunalleq.wordpress.com/2017/07/26/artefact-of-the-day-july-25th/

Nunalleq is the name of an archaeological site in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta region of Southwestern Alaska. The University of Aberdeen Department of Archaeology, in partnership with the village corporation Qanirtuuq, Inc. and the Yup’ik Eskimo village of Quinhagak, Alaska, is working to record archaeological sites threatened by rising sea levels along the Bering Sea.

Nunalleq means ‘the OldVillage’ in Yup’ik. Previous years excavations (2009 & 2010) reveal that this ‘old village’ dates back at least 700 years. It is a multi-period prehistoric (or precontact) Yup’ik winter village site.

 

We have captured the stones

We have captured the stones in their circles
First with maps and sketches
Now with our many photographs
They would otherwise move
Dance in the moonlight
Shuffle away to the devils lair
Creep up on a King or a witch

We have opened the barrows to sunlight
Pinned them to history by interpretive notices
Collected the bones within
Lurking on ridges, smothered with grass
Besieged by fields and fences
Children explore and play in the chambers
Where once ancestors dreamed

Do the stones protest at their confinement?
Do barrow wights still lurk after dark?
Have we chased away the Gods-smith?
Do we care?

Copyright © 2017 Kim Whysall-Hammond

Tombs

Great men die, and so they lie
In their tombs and graves
Glorified, magnified
By their followers and slaves

Quiet mounds on the Downs
Lasting through the many ages
May cover cruel tyrants
Rather than wise sages

All men must die, all tombs will lie

Copyright © 2017 Kim Whysall-Hammond

https://howardwilliamsblog.wordpress.com/2016/11/10/archaeologists-agree-that-most-ancient-tombs-were-built-for-complete-aholes/

Fosbury Fort

Skylarks sing and soar
We walk encircling ramparts
Gazing at the still deep ditch
Imploring the grassy interior
Unyielding of its secrets
Bluebell woods encompass almost two quadrants
Storms have tipped mossy trees into the line of defence
Making us clamber and slip
Amid the fragrant blue

Copyright © 2017 Kim Whysall-Hammond

 

….we went walking in Jane Austen country this lunchtime (on Doctors orders), and explored the hill fort on Haydown Hill……….

The little folk

Folk tales of little people abound
Retreating to the deep Earth
Now and then to emerge and engage
Ensnare or enslave
With trickery or with passion

Peripatetic you may have been
Leaving small trace of your lives
But deep in an African cave
We have found you
Naledi, little stars

We term the women who reclaimed you to the light
Underground astronauts
Yet you carried your beloved dead here
Through narrow clefts, over parlous depths
To lay them tenderly down to rest

As we stare into our deep past
And find you, Homo naledi
Those of us who wonder
Those of us who marvel
Are ensnared and enamoured

Copyright © 2017 Kim Whysall-Hammond

The discovery of fossils of a new human species  (Homo Naledi) is, in itself, a fascinating story. But why they are so ‘cool’ is very well explained by our fellow blogger on Fossil History at https://fossilhistory.wordpress.com/2015/09/10/homo-naledi-why-these-fossils-are-so-friggen-cool/

 National Geographic describes them as “A fully modern hand sported wackily curved fingers, fit for a creature climbing trees. The shoulders were apish too, and the widely flaring blades of the pelvis were as primitive as Lucy’s—but the bottom of the same pelvis looked like a modern human’s. The leg bones started out shaped like an australopithecine’s but gathered modernity as they descended toward the ground. The feet were virtually indistinguishable from our own.”

14_homo_naledi_cr_john hawks

The “underground astronauts” (left to right): Becca Peixotto, Alia Gurtov, Elen Feuerriegel, Marina Elliott, K. Lindsay (Eaves) Hunter and Hannah Morris.

Chalklands

Chalklands

Chalk undulates across Southern England
Hills, gentle yet steep
Can be overtopped by clay peppered with flints
So treasured by the old folk

As old as the hills is true here
The chalk is a two hundred million year ocean
Stiffened and folded over time
By our living planet

Several human species
Have hunted  in these valleys
Have dug into and sculpted these hills
Have left their ghosts for us to trace

The ancient monuments we treasure
Hill forts, stone circles, long barrows
Are but modern remnants
Compared to the first folk

My hills have deep roots

Copyright © 2017 Kim Whysall-Hammond