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Ye olde swirley

Here’s an interesting article from the BBC: local groups searching churches to catalogue Medieval graffiti. (I would also direct you to the Suffolk group and the Norfolk group for many more pictures).

Basically, it’s a bunch of amateurs (with professional guidance) fanning out across England to document and record ancient church graffiti. The project started in Norfolk in 2010.

2010. Seriously. That fascinating stuff has been hanging around for, like, a thousand years and nobody has formally cataloged and examined it. It blows my mind.

I can’t tell you how strange and common that is here — this weird lack of curiosity about local history — but I can kind of tell you why.

For hundreds of years, serious historians concentrated on Roman Britain. Those generations of academics who believed Greek and Roman culture were the high point of civilization — and that was, let’s face it, most of the modern era — were inclined to be embarrassed by what they saw as the primitive customs of the locals before the edifying arrival of Caesar’s boys.

To these people, the Medieval era was just a sinking back into provincial ignorance — do they still call it the Dark Ages? — the long snooze of Western Civ, waiting to be rescued by Italian culture again (i.e. the Renaissance).

Modern academics are much more inclined to revere primitive cultures. But the peoples who love pagan-y things tend to be Lefties. And Lefties believe showing the slightest interest in English things is raaaaacisssssst.

So there you have it. There are all these amazing places and objects and boxes of bones squirrelled away all over the country, unexamined. Every once in a while an academic turns something over with his toe and goes, “huh.”

Makes me crazy.

July 23, 2014 — 10:40 pm
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