Something I've learnt is to say, maybe...could be...might have been. Actually, it was Christina the Swedish archaeologist who drummed that into me...you don't pick up an artefact and state, without a shadow of a doubt, that it is an Iron Age sword carried by a chieftain who lived just down the road...
You must never be afraid to say...I don't know...either. I'm referring to researching history but it applies to virtually everything when you think.
Thoughts and ideas change constantly...they shift as new knowledge comes to the fore and people look at something in a new light or while using the latest technology...we know the world isn't flat now...but there was a time when stating otherwise could have landed you in prison for doubting...Stonehenge changes its purpose every decade or so...it was an astronomical building for tracking the stars...then it was a Druids temple...then it became an elaborate burial ground...
Now it's totally wrecked with tasteless tea rooms and a proper car park and heaven help us...an interactive centre.
But when it boils down to it...no-one actually knows why people heaved feckin great stones into a circle.
We can be almost certain about more recent history...the ring forts for instance, because of the extensive digs which have taken place in some of them...so we can be confident enough to say they were farms, and in Ireland, were in use from around a thousand years ago up until the 16th century.
But when we go much further back to the dawn of time...then we really are in a muddle. Because we don't know. It's as simple and as plain as that. We haven't any idea about how our world began...with the Big Bang? Some say so...others say not. With a type of nuclear fusion then...some say yes and others, just as learned, say no way...others say it was purely the work of a god...
Stephen Hawkins has recently said he doesn't think Black Holes even exist...we grew up with the concept of Black Holes...now someone everyone reveres says it 'ain't so...
Not a month goes by without a 'new' dinosaur being dug up somewhere in the world...and every time the boundaries shift and change because it alters our perception of what dinosaur lived when...
The recent winter storms laid bare some human footprints in Norfolk, England...pre-historic man sloping along grunting at his wife and child? Truth is...no-one knows for certain. They might know after tests and such like...or be more certain than they are now.
Stars twinkle...planets don't. I remember being told that at school...it isn't true. The twinkles are gases and can surround a planet just as much as a star...
Bog bodies are often found in the Irish bogs as well as elsewhere in Europe...they were sacrifices to the gods...murderers buried on the outer limits of their tribes lands...deliberately buried to mark the boundaries of lands held by a tribe...killed to appease a god of harvest...we don't know. We pick over the differing viewpoints and decide on the one we like the most.
Dinosaurs rushed about eating other dinosaurs...did they? Most dinosaurs were herbivores as shown by their teeth...so again, you pick and sort through the information and if you happen to be around small people then ok...all dinosaurs were bloodthirsty and ate everything they came across.
We give the different phases...as they are perceived in our time...the different phases of the earth's development names...that'd be the Cumbrian phase for instance. Names give a certain sense of reality...so we label everything in an anxious sort of way...if it has a label then it must be true.
So we look at our little world spinning about in a vast unimaginable space and hastily slap labels here there and everywhere...done...now it'll make some sort of sense.
There are countless theories as to how our earth was created...a few might well verge on the truth...many will be totally off kilter...because the simple fact is...we don't know yet. We don't know any more than we know why people garrotted somebody and buried him or her in a bog...we don't actually have the faintest idea why Stonehenge was built...
Acknowledging that we don't know because we have insufficient knowledge to be certain is a brave move...declaring an age old mystery as certain fact is a fools game.