Monday, 25 April 2016

Weeks 14-16

I've been in Barcelona, being unexpectedly unimpressed by Gaudi. However sitting in Parc Guell on the final morning watching the parrots pick the blossom off the cherry trees I managed to crack a problem that had been bugging me all week. How could I fit the story of Worsley Man into a narrative about journeys?

I'd originally wanted to include Lindow man in the series - partly due to a plea by Dominic for the inclusion of more human beings. I remember LIndow man being unearthed when I was a teenager. At the time we'd believed he was a traveller that had been mugged. Someone even wrote a letter to the paper complaining about his being sent to the Natural History museum in London rather than staying in Manchester. It was signed Pete Marsh. "I don't want to go to London. Last time I tried to go there I got robbed and garrotted." I paraphrase.

But over time it seems to have become more or less certain that Pete Marsh like many other 'bog bodies' was some sort of ritual killing, probably a sacrifice, right under the noses of the Romans who had banned such sacrifices. There's even evidence from finger nails and beard and bones and teeth that suggest that these human sacrifices were well-born and healthy and possibly either volunteered or were raised for sacrifice.

This is all so other, so incomprehensible that I realised the incredible jouney that Worsley Man and Lindow man have made. They have come to us from another time, from a civilisation with very little recorded history. Worsley Man is a time traveller. As are we all. We wait and time moves around us, like watching a moving train as we sit in a stationary train. Only Worsley Man has waited nearly two thousand years as time moves around him.

Now he, or his replica, sits in a case in the archaelogy section while people walk past on the way to see the mummies. I like him better than the mummies. I look at his face and wonder if that's the face of a man waiting patiently and trustingly to be killed.

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