What Pegman Saw : Always so cold …

Image : Google Street View 

‘They can’t be grave markers.’ Dr Stephanie Grayling crouched by the nearest stone.

‘Nonsense,’ said Professor Hill. ‘How many burial sites have you excavated in Ethiopia with the same style of carving, the same themes of weaponry and plant life?’ 

Grayling ran a finger over the grainy stone, felt the grooves mesh with the whorls in her skin. Always so cold, even on the hottest days … 

Hill must have heard the rumours circulating the dig team, but she’d worked with him often enough to know he never listened to chatter, only ever focusing on the facts as they presented themselves.

She stood beside him. ‘There are just too many, Craig.’ Thousands of markers sticking from the scrubby grass, accusing fingers of stone in every direction. She tried to fight off the panic, the feeling some had subtly shifted position since the day before.

‘We should never have come here.’


Written for What Pegman Saw, the writing prompt that uses Google Street View as a jumping off point. This week we visit a fascinating archaeological site in Ethiopia. See here to join in, share, read and comment.


36 thoughts on “What Pegman Saw : Always so cold …

    1. I missed the typo but did also think this was a powerful image: practical archaeology can be sensual as well as physical, and I’ve felt the draw of tracing engraved lines in prehistoric monuments from Wales to Brittany to Malta.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Ooh, I’m glad I hit a right note there – thanks for that Chris. I’d find it hard not to touch things if I was an archaeologist! I have a sixpence from 1596 and just love handling that – all the purses it’s been in, all the palms. Hard not to feel a connection with the people who came before. Perhaps I should have been an archaeologist, but working in a cold flower shop is chilly enough for me, let alone Wales, probably in the rain! Thanks for your great comment

        Liked by 1 person

      2. You’re welcome, Lynn! I have a very strong memory of tracing the maze-like grooves in the orthostats of a neolithic chamber tomb in Brittany (La Table des Marchands I think it was) and feeling that connection over the millennia. You captured that feeling absolutely. (And that Tudor sixpence, what a thrill to have it to hand!)


      3. I just googled the site you mentioned. I don’t blame you for wanting to touch those stones – I wouldn’t be able to help it either! My sixpence is very special to me. When handling it the first time, I felt that connection, imagined whose hands it had passed through, where it had been, whether it had been in the purse of a wealthy man or paid entrance to the groundlings at the theatre. From that I imagined it could take me back to Tudor or Stuart times and from there came the idea for my YA time travel novel and my return to writing after thirty years. Ah, the pleasure history has brought me 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      4. I always think of the hands that fashioned them all that time ago, imagining the DNA from their sweat still faint upon the stone. To touch feels like a connection to ancient civilisation, however tenuous.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. I can’t understand people who care nothing for old or ancient artefacts or structures and destroy or demolish them, thus negating the existence of all those individuals who came before. It’s as though they and their thoughts are the only things that matter. Ever. 😦

        Liked by 1 person

      6. And so many tragic examples of that in recent times across the world. Erasing your own past does seem an odd thing to do, a sacrilege really. There are many residents in Bristol who want to take down the statue of Edward Colston in the city centre – business man, slave owner. It’s seen as celebrating that foul trade and his part in it. But the city was built on the slave trade, no denying it, no burying it. I think the statue should stay, perhaps with a new plaque nearby explaining the context.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Another clever detail I missed! 🙂 I’m amused by the fact that many male forenames come from natural features in Welsh—Craig, Darren, Bryn—I suppose that, as with Rock Hudson, it was meant to suggest weight, dependability, strength and durability. Whereas so many female names in English are namby-pamby, from flowers or some abstract virtue.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’d have thought a pool, as in Dublin, black-pool.
        Mine doesn’t do it, None of my surnames (I’ve been married thrice) and not maiden name nor preferred name.


      2. I suspect the abstract virtues girls were given were a kind of wishful thinking – Chastity, Faith, Grace, all speak of those Christian virtues respectable parents would have been desperate to see in their daughters, a hopeful nominative determinism. Perhaps the same went for the manly boy’s names. Though all of these choices can backfire if your child grows up Graceless, Faithless and Promiscuous!

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Ha! Thanks Crispina. Love the idea of nominative determinism, don’t you? Butchers called Cleaver, carpenters called Wood etc. There used to be a funeral director in Bakewell in Derbyshire called D’eath. Ah, bliss 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Haha! Love it. Though, of course, having the name Love, I’m slightly more cautious about nominative determinism. Should I write romantic fiction, become a sex therapist? Or go into a different line of work entirely. Google ‘the real Lynn Love’ and you’ll see what I mean :).

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Oh, I hadn’t done that. Intrigued, I shall have to do it.
        Hmm, I see what you mean. Yes, indeed. What a wonderful name to get into twits with.


  1. This is crackling with tension. Feels like the opening scene in next week’s bestselling thriller. Love especially the deft way the dialogue is interwoven with how she feels about what she thinks she sees. Beautifully done as always. I want the whole book!


    1. Wow! That’s a coincidence. The country has such an extraodinarily rich history, one I know shamefully little about. I do hope she’s enjoying the work


      1. She seems to love living in a tent at the bottom of a muddy trench/bare mountainside/desert. She’s been to Ethiopia before but recently it’s been mainly China and the Himalayas. Rather her than me…


    1. I can’t blame them, though. I’d love to go digging about in the earth too! While digging flowerbeds in our back garden I’ve found lots of pieces of china, metal working slag and sections of clay tobacco pipes. Makes me feel like an archaeologist 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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