A different sense of history

I had a nice chat with a medieval historian last eve, such is the joy of travellng, John Langdon Professor Emeritus at the University of Alberta was on his way to London to research at the Kew archives. It made me think about what my life could have been had I stuck with Archaeology.

Earlier in the day I went on a fantastic tour of Reykjavík guided by Eiríkur, a history graduate studying for his masters. (City Walk Reykjavík – highly recommended). He told us all about the settlement period, expansion, beneficial impact of ww2, independence, boom and bust of the banking sector and the new relationship forming with the now largest economic sector – tourism. 

Our personal histories and those of our society inform our sense of self and the choices we make.   It would be a good thing if more folks learned archaeology though, philosophy and something critical thinking too. The different histories personal or otherwise should always be set against the context of our commonality as a species. It was terrible to hear of the attrocities in Kuwait, Tunisia and France yesterday and you wonder how in the world can someone do such a thing? How should we respond? How do we balance the news with the reality of our day to day?

Here in Iceland of course they have a different history, as do we all but a keener sense of it, both familial and natural, most Icelanders being able to trace their heritage to the 300 years of settlement and most Icelanders being in some way related. This being the case there is an app/website you can check to see as an Icelander how related you are to another, apparently it’s visited most on sunday mornings!

On the bus now, heading to Skaftafell exciting times ahead… Am not far from Hekla, which is overdue an eruption apparently. By the way Volcanoes have feminine names and glaciers masculine.


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