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Driving round the coast for the papers on Tuesday morning I screech to a stop and reverse back to read the hand-painted sign: "Iron age souterrain".

Oh, happy archaeologist to encounter such a thing.
And such a thing: discovered this decade, excavated by the community, maintained by the community: leave a donation in the box by the road, follow the faint path, and there is even a torch for you to borrow.

Cheerful archaeologist has the gear in the boot, but is staying clean. On round for the papers, leisurely coffee, back round bursting with anticipation, park neatly, change footwear, add outerwear, and skip along the little path as merrily as the tackety boots allow.

And then intrepid archaeologist turns chicken. Touch of the John Buchans, looking down into the darkness under the earth, uneasy on the Scarts o' the Muneraw.




Well, would you? Away on your own, would you put on a hard hat, lift the torch and crawl 17 metres along that underground passage?

And it was not a sensible fear. In this place my car would be seen and someone would look for me soon. No, it was a terror of being grabbed by Something in there, in some "dark abyss of savagery" yawning there.

And optimistic archaeologist became a silly tourist, trudged back to the car, and drove off.
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eilidhsd

July 2011

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