Jump to content

Walsingham Stud


Recommended Posts

Calm down Gracie...not that kind.

The BBC is carrying a report of a silver stud found at Walsingham. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-norfolk-37221815 Although the find is interesting in itself the report has more interest for highlighting the sort of codswallop dished up to the general public as historical or archaeological 'fact'. Particularly over the last year I've started to become more than a little jaded with the misrepresentation of European history, particularly British history, by jingoistic halfwits.

Take the Walsingham stud for example. A 'researcher'...usually implies an 'amateur'. If we were talking about a professional archaeologist or historian the report would give their qualification and their 'residence' such as the British Museum or their University. The image depicted on the stud is a very common image seen all over the Roman world, particularly on coinage. It does not depict 'Victory' which is a British Victorian ideal, but Minerva the goddess of wisdom, arts and trade.

The Boudican revolt did take place in Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex but to claim that an object is related to it because it was discovered in an area where an event happened is more than a bit far fetched. It would be like future generations finding a piece of glass in Norfolk and claiming it possibly came from the pint pot of Maurice Mynah (Norfolk God of Libation, Joviality and chickens. Often depicted by an Old Speckled Hen. Mortal enemy of Nanny State, friend to those looking for a decent pint at a reasonable price) as he was in Norfolk at some point.

I suppose the correct report report should read...Silver stud depicting Minerva found in Walsingham. Dated to Roman period, will go on show in the Castle Museum.

  • Like 5
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 year later...

I’ve only just come across this posting having joined recently so apologies that I'm a bit late coming to the party!

I agree absolutely about how the interpretation of archaeological remains is often embellished (particularly by the “media”) to make things more interesting or more significant than they are in reality. Never let facts get in the way of a good story.

Of course, being a philosopher of sorts, I am duty bound to mention the huge philosophical problem regarding the interpretation of historic, archaeological and fossil material, particularly in the absence of good (or even any) contextual information.

In the days before I had to earn a living wage, I did research into how to reconstruct ancient environments based on fossil mammals:  Our interpretations tend to be influenced as much by our thought processes and the underlying assumptions that we make, as they are by the material evidence we are interpreting – it’s just that we don’t usually recognise this.  If you change the assumptions you get a different answer and yet we rarely identify and question these underlying assumptions to understand how they influence our conclusions.

As professionals we still make assumptions, it’s just that we think they are more reasonable than those of amateurs and the media, but my heart always sinks when I hear an archaeologist use the word “ritual” as an explanation for things for which we, as 21st century “civilized” beings, cannot find a pragmatic explanation.  This is the point where we should be questioning our beliefs and not making assumptions about those of our ancestors!

Sorry, rant over, I’ll get my coat and go and varnish something :default_coat: :459_art:!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

totally agree, as an ex re-enactor we found many ways of using items we were told were just ritual items, but which when you got down to it were just common everyday items, yet when you try and explain to archaeologists, most wont listen- after all what do re-enactors know.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, Aristotle said:

 This is the point where we should be questioning our beliefs and not making assumptions about those of our ancestors!

Which should also mean that we should learn from what we know of what brought about the decease of ancient civilisations, so that we might be able to prevent it happening to us. After all, we are far more capable of destroying our whole world, than they ever were!

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Sponsors

    Norfolk Broads Network is run by volunteers - You can help us run it by making a donation

  • Create New...

Important Information

For details of our Guidelines, please take a look at the Terms of Use here.