I’m fascinated by Archaeology, especially prehistoric stuff, but when I watch the likes of ‘Time team‘, I often roll my eyes as some boffin or other gives the mandatory ‘ritual’ explanation for why this and that are in this particular hole! A few years ago I came across a sight so extraordinary and puzzling that it made me think; How would the the trowel wielding types of the future interpret such a discovery?
I was sampling a lake for aquatic insects in Surrey, where, amongst the trees on the shore I came across baseball caps, teddies, and other soft toys. Hundreds of them! As I followed the shoreline more and more came into view. The newest flotsam was dominated by the logos of the latest boy bands, Disney movie, and England cricket and football team sponsors.
Up the beach the offerings got tattier, so that amongst the tree roots all that remainded were the plastic reinforcing brims and a few strands of coloured cloth. Clearly this had been going on for some time, but what on earth was going on? I took off my own hat and scratched my head, and imagined the 35th Century Time team gang, digging up this bizarre collection,
‘I think they are some kind of votal offerings to the sport and pop gods, to bring good fortune to their favourites’, says Francis Pryor of the 35th C.
Then I heard a lot of wild screaming!! Peering through the trees I saw the mad contorted trackways of the rides at Thorpe Park! PING! The lightbulb moment!! All this bizarre flotsam had been dropped or ripped from the terrified punters on the rides in the park, landed into the lake and been carried by the prevailing wind and deposited on the shore.
In isolation I doubt anyone uncovering the scene could have realised this was the explanation, votal offerings it would have been!! Maybe some of those Roman finds were just next to Alton Turres maximum terrorum ascenditis!!