ancient history

A last gasp – the death of a British Celt

Sometimes, the dinner discussions in our home veer towards the macabre, which is how we ended up talking about bog bodies – you know, those ancient remains that now and then crop up when someone cuts too deep into a peat moss. Most of these remains are very old, but we were discussing Bockstensmannen, Sweden’s …

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A Toast to St Sylvester

Today is New Year’s Eve. Most of us perceive this as a very secular holiday, best celebrated by drinking champagne, going a tad maudlin while singing Auld Lang Syne, and cheering madly as the sky lights up with fireworks just as the clock strikes midnight. Celebrating New Year’s Eve on December 31st is a relatively …

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In the name of love – not always a happy tale

God, it is said, created Adam before Eve, and to keep Adam adequately occupied he was given the task of naming all the fantastic forms of life God paraded before him. “Centipede,” Adam said, having regarded this multifooted creature for a while. “Zebra,” he nodded (with an extended eeee sound) but was struck mute by …

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Falling forward – a reflection on evolution

The other day, I was listening to a radio programme about the deficiency of our basic design. “Our” in this case being us humans. It seems that the biped descendant of those very ancient primates that is modern human has as yet to fully master the challenge of walking without falling over. Research has been …

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Of mummies in tartan

Say “tartan”, and most people think of Scotland – and of kilts. The word conjures up images of stalwart warriors, dressed in skirts as they charge the English soldiers of centuries long gone by. Not necessarily historically correct, and no matter just how dashing Mel Gibson looks in a kilt, I can assure you William …

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