Wednesday 21 September 2016

It's all research.

Writers will often tell you how much they enjoy research - the chance to feel that you are working, while not having to do any of that - you know - pesky writing stuff. So talking, or blogging, about research is probably well up there, even higher on the procrastination chart.  Writers are also magpies - at least, this one is - collectors of odd facts and experiences. Who knows, they might come in useful some day - maybe they'll even meld themselves into a book, somewhere in the back of the subconscious and re-emerge as something different entirely.

I couldn't find anything that said archaeology,
so used this instead. Pretty, isn't it?

Being an academic at heart, I favour books, lectures and exhibitions for gathering my research material. Sometimes because I know that I want to use the subject matter, sometimes just - because. And even better if they are free. Which is why the series of monthly lectures put on by Cardiff University in collaboration with the Historical Association called Exploring the Past has strong attractions. Okay, so some of them can be a bit specialist - topics probably only an historian could love - but the 2016/17 series kicked off last week with a talk from Doctors Oliver Davis and Dave Wyatt about the Caerau Iron Age Hill  Fort, which is in the Ely area of Cardiff and which is being excavated as funds are available. Apparently in the past it has featured on Time Team, so you may know about it already.   

I wasn't looking for anything in particular this time. Just interesting things about my corner of Wales. I learned about the way that the community is being involved in the work on the site, and how local people have really got behind the project and become part of it, especially the local schools. And also about some of the finds that have been made during different digs, all the way from Neolithic to Roman. As regulars will know, I have all sorts of plans bubbling for books that involve my part of Wales, so archaeological information is very useful indeed. I'm pretty sure it will find it's way into a book at some stage, although it will probably be a site of my own invention. So that I can mess with it at my leisure. As you do, when you're a writer. But always good to know that what you are messing with has a basis in facts.

Who knows, maybe I'll have a hero who is an archaeologist. (Indiana Jones, anyone?) More probably a dead body found in an excavation trench, knowing me. It all depends what the sub conscious has a fancy for at the time.

It was an excellent lecture to start the series and I'm looking forward to attending a few more, during the winter. Who can tell where they might lead?

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