Let’s be honest, folks – there are a lot of bad things happening in the world right now … pretty much wherever you are, politics is a roaring dumpster fire of awfulness … we’ve got universities that protect plagiarists on their staff (I see you UCL!) … Keepers of Antiquities that believe private citizens can be ordered about like medieval serfs and claim that you’re an embezzler for expecting something so outlandish as being paid for undertaking work (waves at Maeve Sikora!) … and then there’s the pandemic … it’s all just so depressingly awful.
But do you know what’s brilliant?
Piggy Back Rides!
Sure, they don’t solve any of the above problems, but they are great. That feeling of being carried about is reassuring and throws us back to memories or fantasies of happy, carefree childhoods. How could you improve on all the great things that are encapsulated in the simple joys of the piggy back ride? How about this: a piggy back ride through a great archaeological site!
And that is exactly what we’re going to provide today! (For a given value of both ‘exactly’ and ‘provide’). Yes, from the comfort of your own home and internet connection you too can have a virtual piggy back ride through the ruins of the Cistercian foundation at Grey Abbey, Co. Down. For an account of a Chapple visit to the site in 2014 and a brief account of the site’s history, please see [here].
This spectacular feat of cinematography was achieved through the simple expedient of bolting my trusty 360 degree camera to the top of a bicycle helmet using some fittings for an old GoPro camera. Just stick my Oscar for Innovations in the field of Cinematography in the post, care of Castle Chapple! Unfortunately, the rain came down before I could complete a similar walk-through of the remarkable graveyard beside the Abbey, but we hope to be back again soon.
You can view it on an ordinary browser, but for best results we recommend the immersive experience that comes with an Oculus/Google Cardboard headset. Please feel free to Like and Share the video and Subscribe to the Archaeology 360 channel. If you’re feeling peculiarly generous and wish to help purchase snacks to sustain the Chapples Minor in the field, please drop something in the Tip Jar on the top right of this page.