Last Sunday was the final field trip for year one. I can’t believe it has gone by quite so quickly, and it feels odd not to be frantically reading something every minute of the day and panicking about essays. I feel that I’ve learned so much over the course of this year, and even though it felt like hard work at the time, actually, all the research and writing was enjoyable (once it was handed in!).
At the start of the year my avowed interest was the Neolithic period and I had wondered if I would change my mind once I learned more about other periods. To my surprise, I’ve developed an interest in earlier prehistory as well. I’m still fascinated by monuments and the change of society and belief that required them to be constructed. I still love the sense of theatre: the placing of the monument in the landscape and the control of the experience of the space, perhaps because that’s the tiny fragment of the place that I can pretend to share across the millennia. But to understand anything, I think you need to look at what came before, you can’t just drop into a window in time in isolation.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned so far, in all my studies (both at evening classes and now at Bristol) is that observation is the most important skill to learn. As a side-effect of this realisation, I notice so much more of the world around me, and participate in it more fully. I hadn’t noticed the Goldfinches in the area of London I work in, but now I’m constantly aware of hearing them. I never used to see the subtle earthworks in a wood, I literally just saw the trees. Everything has more layers, more depth and more presence to me now. That can only be a good thing.