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  • Treasure Dragon Graffiti in Orkney July 4, 2014

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval, Prehistoric
    Treasure Dragon Graffiti in Orkney

    Maeshowe was a Megalithic tomb on Orkney. At some point our Viking ancestors broke in and desecrated the innards of Maeshowe with their tiresome graffiti. We have visited some of these graffiti before while in search of an axe. However, of special interest today is the treasure graffiti: translation Bruce Dickinson. It is true what […]

    African Ape in Iron Age Ireland? June 19, 2014

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Prehistoric
    African Ape in Iron Age Ireland?

    So here’s a teaser. The Barbary ape is an African primate whose only toehold on the European continent is at Gibraltar, where a tiny population has survived into modern times. How, then, did a Barbary Ape get to Co Armagh in Northern Ireland in the Iron Age? Archaeologists have waxed lyrical over the find of […]

    Historical Barbies: Warning Shallow Post! May 29, 2014

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite, Ancient, Contemporary, Medieval, Modern, Prehistoric
    Historical Barbies: Warning Shallow Post!

    Barbie  is an American doll that has been marketed across the globe since 1959 and that was based on an earlier German ‘sexy’ doll Bild Lilli (another post, another day). Barbie was, of course, an instant success and continues to outsell all rivals – there is a Barbie doll purchased every three seconds somewhere in the world – […]

    In Search of Doggerbank: The Island of the Damned May 11, 2014

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Prehistoric
    In Search of Doggerbank: The Island of the Damned

    Most countries have a lost realm that nationals can get teary eyed about: Italians beating their chest over Istria, the Spanish spitting blood for (and all too often on) Gibraltar, even Islamists weeping about the orange trees of Granada. Britain is no exception: the difference is that the UK’s lost territory was not taken by […]

    8000 Year Old Memories in Oregon? April 15, 2014

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Prehistoric
    8000 Year Old Memories in Oregon?

      ***Dedicated to Wade*** By happy chance I recently came across two different references to Crater Lake (Oregon). The most intriguing, given this blog’s longstanding coverage of oral transmission, is a memory (?) of the lake’s creation. Let’s start with the geology of the region: about 8000 years ago Mount Mazma erupted and created a […]

    Migrating Birds and the Edge of the World April 3, 2014

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Medieval, Prehistoric
    Migrating Birds and the Edge of the World

    Year in year out birds follow migratory routes from north to south and from south to north. These travelling birds have long intrigued humans who have looked amazed as waves upon waves of birds fly to destinations unknown. These birds have entered human legend: the storks going to Africa to fight the pygmies, the wild […]

    A Fourteen Thousand Year Old Legend from Australia? March 20, 2014

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Prehistoric
    A Fourteen Thousand Year Old Legend from Australia?

    This morning ran across one of the most incredible examples of oral transmission or perhaps it would be better to say apparent oral transmission, I’ve ever stubbed my toe upon. First, some generally established facts depending, thank God, on geologists and geographers (not historians). Tasmania is today an island off the southern coast of Australia […]

    Review: Imaginary Animals November 29, 2013

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Contemporary, Medieval, Modern, Prehistoric
    Review: Imaginary Animals

    Any parent will know that animals are important. Children make animal sounds before they make words. They draw and paint animals. They cherish animal toys. The books they read have animal characters. They pretend to be animals. Animals, in fact, become a kind of meta-language for their experience and their emotions: Little Miss Beach has […]

    The Place of Still Born Children November 24, 2013

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern, Prehistoric
    The Place of Still Born Children

    Skeaf is a small townland in County Cork in the wild west of Ireland. Looking for information about this little patch of green on the internet gives almost nothing: there are, for example, no houses for sale in Skeaf and no singles looking for ‘hot encounters’, no farmers’ markets and no entries in Craigs List. […]

    Crypto Fairy Hippo Cow in Scotland and Ireland?! November 6, 2013

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Contemporary, Modern, Prehistoric
    Crypto Fairy Hippo Cow in Scotland and Ireland?!

    Fairy cows are occasional adjuncts to fairy legends and in the Gaelic world, particularly in the Irish west and the Scottish highlands there is the fairy water cow, a creature that comes from out of the water to land to graze. A little legend illustrating this from Limerick in Ireland, more specifically Lough Guir (aka […]

    The Golden Ghost of Mold #5: Against the Golden Ghost! August 20, 2013

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite, Contemporary, Modern, Prehistoric
    The Golden Ghost of Mold #5: Against the Golden Ghost!

    An attempt follows to draw the not-so-golden threads of the Golden Ghost together.  We have definite evidence from Rev. Clough that in 1833 when the grave was dug that there was the story in the locality of a golden ghost associated with the tomb. However, there are a number of problems with this. First, only […]

    The Golden Ghost of Mold #4: Ludlam’s Account August 18, 2013

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern, Prehistoric
    The Golden Ghost of Mold #4: Ludlam's Account

    Another from our series on the Golden Ghost of Mold. This report dates from 1966 and from Harry Ludlam’s fun The Mummy of Birchen Bower. Ludlam was a ‘gifted amateur’ with a better grasp of facts, in this case, than the Oxford published Walter Johnson, who we were a little rude about in a previous […]

    The Golden Ghost of Mold #3: The Golden Woman of Mold August 16, 2013

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern, Prehistoric
    The Golden Ghost of Mold #3: The Golden Woman of Mold

    In two previous posts we have discussed the traditions (ahem) behind the Golden Ghost of Mold. Now we want to look at the person who was buried in the tomb and another problem for the Golden Ghost tradition: the tenant was almost certainly an itty-bitty Welsh woman rather than a mighty warrior. How do we […]

    The Golden Ghost of Mold #2: Walter Johnson Debases Gold August 14, 2013

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern, Prehistoric
    The Golden Ghost of Mold #2: Walter Johnson Debases Gold

    Beach has frequently enjoyed before the power of oral transmission: information skipping across the centuries like a flat stone spun over a pond. Here is a supposed memory of oral transmission concerning the Golden Ghost tomb from Mold in northern Wales. This time the account comes from Walter Johnson’s Folk Memory and Archaeology (1907) A […]

    The Golden Ghost of Mold #1: Introducing the Golden Ghost August 12, 2013

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern, Prehistoric
    The Golden Ghost of Mold #1: Introducing the Golden Ghost

    There follows a ghost story. It is brief and it is archaeological. If M.R.James had heard of this one he would have made bales of ectoplasmic hay. We are in North-West Wales. A certain John Langford had bought some land at Mold near Wrexham and had decided to fill in a hole there by paying […]

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