Culture

Our Trip to the Isle of Lewis 4:Not Just Neolithic

By Bernie Bell

Lewis is renowned for its Neolithic sites, but there is more – a lot more.  At Great Bernera, there is a  reconstruction of an Iron Age house, which wasn’t open when we were there, but, in the visitor season, it’s possible to go inside, with a guide. And, the walk there and back, and along the bay where the house is situated, is a good outing, in itself.

 And, there’s Dun Carloway Broch

Broch Cab Calloway B Bell

‘The broch I call Cab Calloway’

 My photo  doesn’t do it justice.  This gives a better idea of just how impressive it is.

Dun Carloway

And, very recently indeed, a farmer on Lewis,  starting to dig the foundations for his new house, discovered an Iron Age souterrain on his land.

In the report that I saw on the television, the man himself said, that, as his family had been there for a very long time indeed, his ancestors might have built this souterrain.

This discovery timed beautifully with the discoveries connected with the sampling of DNA from Cheddar Man  The report I saw about this,  included a man who’s family have lived in that area for generations. A sample of his DNA was taken, and compared with a sample of the DNA of Cheddar Man, and…yes, he is descended from Cheddar man! Their DNA is similar enough that they are related – however distantly. This started me off puttering about how much this shows that we are all related, all one family – all human beings. If folk look back at some of my ‘Orkney Walks with Stories’ in TON, they’ll see that I describe the ancient people of Orkney as dark – they were, or, some of them were, they won’t have all been exactly the same – humans never are. We’re a mixter-maxter species, but we are all one species – these days.

Never mind my theories, which are just my theories – Cheddar man shows that some of the ancient peoples of these islands looked quite different to what had previously been thought, and  quite different to what can be perceived as being essentially………..British, by some.

Cheddar man has descendants living today. Wouldn’t it be great, if the man who found the souterrain on Lewis, could find that he is a descendent of those people! I’m rambling a bit, but this has got me excited in so many ways – archaeologically, the human touch, that idea of direct descendants, living near the ancient sites – what about the sites on Orkney? I’ve often thought that there must be folk living on Orkney, who are descended from the stone raisers and cairn builders – or maybe even from those who came before them?

 Never mind the colour – we are all human – some bigger differences, way back, when the various initial groups were connecting up, but – that’s what we are, humans. Never mind the colour, but it does show the colour prejudiced people, that it really is, such non-sense to see things that way.

“Black-skinned-blue-eyed-boys ain’t gonna fight no wars.” – by ‘The Equals’ Very fitting!

The television programme ‘Who do you think you are’? has been wonderful in revealing the ancestral past of some bigoted people. I always crow when that happens!

And now, back to our trip to Lewis!

There are also many bays, beaches and places to walk – best to get a map, read your map,  and go where your fancy takes you!

We only had an extended weekend, and the evenings, but, even in such a short time, what a place to visit.


Our Trip to the Isle of Lewis: 3 – Calanais

Our Trip to the Isle of Lewis: 2

Our Trip to the  Isle of Lewis: 1


 

Categories: Culture

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