This next Time Team will be a challenging one. It’s in Northern Ireland, an area not very familiar to me (my mother’s family come from and still live in the south) and it dates to that rather problematical period in early medieval times, when people were moving around and new identities were being forged. This was particularly true in the lands around the Irish Sea and it’s not a sign that these were far-flung remote places where warlords prevailed. Far from it: it was (and still is) a very fertile region, with vast marine resources, and a relatively large human population. So what we are going to be looking at is essentially a story of how people, land and identities formed, merged and re-appeared, often transformed. Essentially it’s going to be about a sense of place. And there’s going to be some very complicated history, too. Being an archaeologist, I’d like to cut through some of the complexity and get back to the beginnings: how did this place come into existence and why did people decide to settle down there? More to the point (and this will be a tricky one to answer): why did they choose this particular a rocky outcrop on Northern Ireland’s vast shoreline? And make no mistake: it is vast when compared to the land it encloses – just take a look at a good map.
So that’s to whet the appetite. I’ll say more about the site itself tomorrow when we’ve started work. Right now I’m at Stansted, waiting for a flight and hoping it won’t be cancelled.
Bing Bong. There’s been an announcement. That’s us. Time to board. I’d better stop.