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Dead Burying the Dead

First and foremost, I wonder if I'll ever stop being amused by being invited to sit down for 'tea and biscuts' instead of 'coffee and a cookie' at work. There's this wonderful combination of accents and this thing that sounds so... so... old world classy to me. It's odd.

Also, tea and biscuts are yummy. And can fix anything.

VictorianBut mostly I wanted to write about the Victorians, and sarcophaguses. Sarcophagi. Sarcophagus plural. I've been seeing them in all sorts of places, and always wondered what they were, these big stone coffins that seemed so out of place in various abbeys that I went to. I usually just assumed... well, I assumed they were big stone coffins of some sort, really. And I suppose they are, but they aren't from the era I thought they were.

These things (and they keep getting stuffed in odd places... this photo is from the ruins of a leper hospital in York) are actually Roman Sarcophagus..es... From what I understand, the Victorians found them at various times, dug them up, looted through them, then dropped the empty things wherever they could be bothered to. There's quite a few of them in places throughout England and I've seen one or two in Scotland as well (Kelso comes to mind immediately... I don't recall any anywhere else right now). They're always just there, as part of the landscape, just accepted.

I am intellectually aware that the Romans were here, and I know all about Hadrian's Wall and Constantine being declared Emperor of Rome here, but I keep forgetting how far back it all goes. And whereas I know that there were civilisations in Canada just as long ago, and that there is a great deal there that I have to learn about... I don't know, it just somehow seems more overwhelming to me that the Romans were here.

(This is a huge blind spot in my education. I must do something about it.)

But here's the thing that gets me worked up:

For all that we have some knowledge because of foolish Victorians rushing in and digging things up where angels fear to tread... they wrecked things! For crying out loud, the people in York don't have a clue where these things were dug up from. They know there was a Roman graveyard someplace, that it would have been outside the Roman city walls, but other than that... not a thing.

It makes me want to scream.


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I'm not sure why I feel the need to point this out, but I'm pretty sure there weren't any civilisations in Canada at that time - nothing even close to it. At least, not in the academic sense of the term. (Sorry, it's the academic in me.)

Anyways, I'm really jealous of you - I'd love to be able to see some of that stuff. Especially after reading some of Jack Whyte's books.

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