Current Archaeology Live! conference

CA-Live-and-institute-logo

I will be at the Current Archaeology Live! conference this Friday and Saturday, the 1st and 2nd March, at Senate House in London. Look for me at the Bamburgh Research Project table, where I will be sitting alongside Graeme Young (archaeologist and director of the BRP) on Friday and Paul Gething (co-writer, archaeologist and BRP director) on Saturday, talking about the work of the BRP, Northumbria and our book, the fruit of the BRP’s researches.

Northumbria: the Lost Kingdom will be on sale at a Conference special price of £12.99, which is 25 per cent off the normal RRP. It would be great to see you there. Tickets for the Conference are on sale here.

It’s Here!!!!

Now, pdfs and all the other technological and digital whizz bangs that allow files and pictures to be shared between computers and tablets and pills and potions and what not are all very well, but, believe me, there is nothing, absolutely nothing, to compare with holding the first paper copy of the book you’ve spent the last three years working on in your hands.

There it is, pictures, words, the whole blessed shebang: a real, actual, frankly all-but-breathing thing! You can take your Kindles and your iPads and all the other devices that depend on moving electrons around and shove them. Give me paper, give me vellum, give me inky fingers and pages you can flick through marvelling at the pictures, the design, the way the words sit upon the page.

So, here it is, Northumbria: The Lost Kingdom, held in my slightly shaky hands!

In my hands.

 

 

 

Free Books!

The good people at This Is Northumberland (www.thisisnorthumberland.com) are running a competition in which the prize is no less than a free copy of my very own Northumbria: The Lost Kingdom. So, if you want to diddle your dedicated author out of his hard-earned and frankly rather low royalties, get along to the site, enter your details and cross your fingers, that this time it’s you!

Northumbria is Middle-earth

Now, as you may know (and if you don’t, I’ll need to make my self-advertisement even more blatant), my ebook on Tolkien, Professor Tolkien of Oxford, has just come out, and my old-fashioned paper book on the history and archaeology of Northumbria: The Lost Kingdom is out 1 October. What I had not known before is that other eyes than mine have seen the connection between the two. When places are touted as the inspiration for Middle-earth, the areas around Birmingham where Tolkien grew up (which were then bucolic expanses of greenery rather than suburbs) usually win out. But, it turns out, and this will not be a surprise to visitors, Northumberland fits better today. For the poster for The Hobbit features Gandalf striding across the Shire, but the backdrop is Northumberland. The ruined castle to the right of centre is Edlingham Castle. The hills are the Simonside Hills, according to folklore the home of dwarves, the duergar, who lead travellers astray.

So, Northumbria is Middle-earth. I knew it!

Deep Time

Writing the chapter on the geology of Northumbria, it’s apparent that the reaction of 19th-century geologists against ideas of catastrophism went far too far. Yes, many processes occur constantly and gradually, but the history of the earth in general and Northumbria in particular is punctuated by catastrophic events: most recently the tsunami unleashed by the Storegga Slides, when huge sections of the continental shelf off Norway slid into the abyssal depths and set off giant waves down the east coast of Britain in 6100BC.