Redheaded Neanderlady

Redheaded Neanderlady
This is a photoshopped version of something I found in National Geographic about the time I started researching

Thursday, June 5, 2008

The abbey in the swamp

Abbeys feature somewhat in my Great Medieval Science Fiction Masterpiece(s), although they are not a major component. And this particular abbey wasn't even close, geographically, or in the time period I'm writing about. Nevertheless, the story about this North Yorkshire abbey is fascinating; it was built in a swampy area which the monks made into relatively solid ground. This was quite a feat of engineering in its day and with the tools they had available to them. It was also a surprisingly rich area, seeing as it was built in the middle of what we would now call a wetland. A lot of people nowadays tend to think that the folk living in medieval Europe were sunk in ignorance and "superstition", but whateer one may think of monks and "organized religion", I would hardly call them superstitious or sunk in ignorance. And apparently the abbey itself was quite famous in its day. Too bad it took all this time and some archaeological work to rediscover this.
Anne G

4 comments:

Bee said...

Found your blog through one of your comments at Afarensis, and am now looking forward to reading it. You're hitting on some of my interests - anthropology, Neandertals, Mediaeval life, and science fiction.

No novels in my future though - visual artist. Good luck with yours, and I hope to read it some day.

Bee

Anne Gilbert said...

Bee, you sound like a kindred soul! I have often wondered if there were people that were itnerested in anthropology, Neandertals, medieval life, and science fiction! I guess there's at least one more out there!

BTW, I've been reading science fiction ever since I was about 9 years old and found my brother's science fiction magazines. There was some really good stuff in them.

Then when I was about 15 I discovered Anya Seton's book Katherine, and I wanted to write something set in medieval England.

I discovered Neandertals about the same time I discovered my brother's science fiction, but I only felt sorry for them. They lived in a cold Ice Age and they didn't seem to have any proper clothes to wear. Or so I thought until I was much older. The three "spheres" gradually came together, and one of these days, I'll explain how, and the result, among other things, is this blog. Plus my Great Medieval Science Fiction Masterpiece With Neandertals!
Anne G

Bee said...

I read A Wrinkle in Time when I was around ten. Couple years later, a friemd's dad turned out to have an enormous library of sci-fi mags and Ace Doubles, lent them to me twenty at a time. I was hooked. Illuminated books lured me into Mediaeval life.

I was fascinated by Neandertals from first reading about them: these almost like us but not quite people who almost made it to the present. How could one not be stunned by the what-ifs? And so, lured into anthropology!

So yes, there's at least two of us!

Bee

Anne Gilbert said...

Bee, what I'm doing is not so much a "what-if"(I don't much like "alternate history" type fiction to begin with), but more of a subtle suggestion that the way we tend to think about Neandertals needs to be revised in the light of a lot of relatively recent paleoanthropological and archaeological evidence. Some of what I've suggested is pure fantasy, but it's basically set firmly in a very real medieval time, place, and set of events. Much of this kind of addresses, in a subtle, but I hope entertaining, way, that whatever Neandertals looked like, behaviorally, they were identical or nearly identical to "us" there is considerable evidence that points in that direction, and some of it gets suggested throughout the story.
Anne G