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Post by Stanley » 17 Oct 2017, 14:01


One of the most difficult parts of any full understanding of our history is the ability to reach back and put ourselves in the same frame of reference as our chosen subjects. It's no good trying to assess the quality of life of a Stone Age man or woman eking out a bare existence from hunter gathering if the standards we use are our own, cosseted as we are by housing, clothing and the Cooperative! We have to try to imagine how it was for them. Were they frightened, cold, wet or hungry? If they knew nothing better did this affect them as much as it would us? On most of these questions we can do no more than make educated guesses backed up, if we are lucky, by hard archaeological evidence. I spend a lot of my life puzzling about questions like this....
However, jump forwards 3,000 years to me going out into the front garden on a mild night a few days ago. I should explain that with a back like mine you need a garden that involves minimum cultivation and my answer to this is Mint, Lads-love and Chives! I noticed as soon as I opened the door an almost overpowering scent of mint and as I stood there enjoying it I remembered that I had read a record of fossil seeds of Mint being found in Northern Europe. This means that it was common in the Stone Age and knowing how smart our ancestors were, they would certainly know about it and use it. I had a direct connection with our forbears, the scent and taste of Mint.
As I thought about this I added some other things I already knew. We know from evidence of burials that they loved and revered their dead. Physiologically they are identical to us and so would be familiar with pain. They would also experience hunger, the warm sensation of being full and the pleasure of sitting next to the heat of a fire. Thinking more about scent, they would recognise the smell of decay, fire and even water if they were in a dry environment. I remember once reading a report about a possible use for the flat platforms archaeologists found on some sites. After much discussion it was agreed that these were malting floors for processing Barley to make beer, we were already aware of fermented wild honey and water producing Mead so we can add some more scents like alcohol to their repertoire. This also means they knew the experience of intoxication. The more you think about it, the more you realise what we have in common with our ancestors and it isn't as difficult as you might first think to make some connections outside our modern frame of reference.
I know! I should get out more but if I've flagged up a connection and helped you to understand these ancient people a bit better perhaps I wasn't wasting my time day-dreaming in the garden.


As fine a crop of mint as you'll find anywhere!
Stanley Challenger Graham
Stanley's View
scg1936 at

"Beware of certitude" (Jimmy Reid)
The floggings will continue until morale improves!

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