I appreciate this seasonal greeting may be one day late now (or two if like my girlfriend you are Swiss) but I’m sure I was not alone in having better things to do than write a blog post on Christmas Day – even if inevitably ended with watching Downton Abbey. This is not to say that I avoided history for the day. My present to my dad was a presentation on the history of his family on his mother’s side, which to date I have managed to trace back an remarkable (if still thoroughly un-medieval) 300 years. Unfortunately there’s still no evidence of an unclaimed family fortune (nor for that matter is there any sign of my grandmother in the 1901 Census – despite being four years old at the time!)
For everyone else, I also have a present of sorts – yet another update to my “seven ditches” essay. This one tackles the question of the origin and nature of the earthwork which gave its name to the site by adopting a phenomenological approach to assessing the site. The inspiration for this was a couple of books by Christopher Tilley which I have been reading as and when I have been able to find the time for the past few weeks. They stimulated many of the thoughts and observations throughout the update, the writing of which was so enjoyable that I am now toying with the idea of a broader phenomenological-flavoured overview of the archaeology of the Hog’s Back ridge to compare what I have suggested for “seven ditches” with other significant points along it, such as the Guildown and Mount Street Anglo-Saxon cemeteries (for which I already have a review on the slate for next year) and “White Barrow”, the destroyed Bronze Age barrow above Wanborough. But that’s a project for 2013.