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In August 2013 we set sail from Stromness on our second Sea Change expedition, aboard Lerwick community boat The Swan, with a crew of 27 artists, scientists and informers. More ›

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Farewell to the Swan as she sails past my window

Swan leaving orkney

Farewell to the Swan as she sails past my window

 

Well, I am all unpacked and the washing machine is on…  I’ve looked at my photos on the computer.  But inside my head I still have plenty of thoughts, ideas and images to process.   Who would have thought that four days in the company of a group of artists and scientists could be so stimulating for an archaeologist?  On the face of it we have nothing in common – we all work in different fields.  But at the heart of things, of course, we have one over-riding mutual concern: we are all human and as part of the world of the twenty-first century we are thinking to the future.  I enjoy life, but I am very aware that my generation is living through a golden age of resources; what sort of life will future generations enjoy?  What do others think about this?  How do those who live in the geographical margins of the UK (of whom I am one) respond?  So I boarded the Swan for a weekend of talking, listening, watching and walking.

 

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At the Neolithic tomb of Taversoe Tuick in Rousay

 

As an archaeologist I believe passionately that by understanding past lifeways we can look for some of the keys to the future.  In Westray we visited the house of an ordinary family and were able to look at some of their household goods.  They lived by the shore at Links of Noltland and life got more and more difficult with the impact of sand and salt blow on their fields.  Sadly they left long ago so we were not able to ask them for their opinions: the house was last occupied around 2800BC.  Elsewhere we entered the tombs of the dead from that time, redolent with the echoes of those who venerated the bones of the ancestors.  Finally: a trip to the supermarket: shelves stacked high with goods flown in from all corners of the world, what did we really need?

 

Now the Swan has sailed on, as I write she is moored up on the tiny island of Fair Isle.  I’ve moved on too, I have been enriched and that will influence my future path.

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Author: Caroline Wickham-Jones

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Joins the expedition for week 2 Caroline Wickham-Jones is a lecturer in the Department of Archaeology at the University of Aberdeen. She lives in the islands of Orkney.
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James Brady’s expedition blog for ecoartscotland

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See James Brady’s blog here:   http://ecoartscotland.net/    

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