Mark Hall: Speculum Fantasia – Middle-Earth and Discworld as Mirrors of Medieval Europe

This blog entry is a slightly amended version of the paper given at the EAA Annual Meeting in Zadar, Croatia, September 2007. It was read at the session on Invented Civilisations organised by Cornelius Holtorf and Michael Jasmin. It is presented here to give a flavour of part of the session and to invite responses in the interest of debate.

Introduction: Audiences, authors and True Lies
All civilisations are invented by people, some go on to be re-created as acts of archaeological and historical interpretation, some do not achieve material reality but remain fictive imaginings. This blog has two foci, the boundary between real and fantastic, between archaeology and narrative and the exploration of play culture, often fuelled by invention, mythopoesis and narrative. I will not look in any detail at the dynamics of the audiences’ role but implicit through out is the recognition that the role of audiences is as crucial as that of authors/experts. This is as true in the past as it is now, as has been demonstrated, for example, by Abou-el-Haj (1991) in her study of the audience for the cult of saints and their relics, an audience she makes evident could be non-consensual and volatile to the point of violence in its reaction to the staging of some cults.1 As Eagleton (1996, 62) has observed: ‘the meaning of a literary work’ (and by extension films, see Winkler 2001, 3-23) ‘is never exhausted by the intentions of the author; as the work moves from one cultural or historical context to another new meanings may be culled from it which were perhaps never anticipated by its author or contemporary audience…All understanding is productive: it is always …realising new potential in the text, making a difference to it. … The reader makes implicit connections, fills in gaps, draws inferences and tests out hunches and to do this means drawing on tacit knowledge of the world in general and of literary conventions in particular. The text itself is really no more than a series of ‘cues’ to the reader; invitations to construct a piece of language into meaning.’ At one level of course this paper, just like Peter Jackson’s film adaptations of Lord Of The Rings, is an audience response. Indeed I contend that Tolkien’s writing of Middle-Earth can be understood as the response of an audience member, a very individual response – Tolkien if you will stepped out of an audience to make meaning as an author.2

Archaeology can sometimes seem to face an insurmountable barrier when it weighs itself against the welter of popular, invented realities and pseudo-archaeologies.3 Back in May 2007 my ears picked up at a radio news item reporting that Ashdown Forest was both the best surviving heathland forest in Britain and the setting for A A Milne’s Winnie the Pooh stories. As a result several million pounds of grant-aid had been allocated for conservation work to maintain the heathland and clear some of the trees – trees, it was noted, that Winnie the Pooh and friends would not have recognised and so they had to go. I was also struck by an item in the Society of Antiquaries of London Newsletter (quoting the Guardian newspaper) stating that 10% of the UK population ‘believe they can teleport their neighbours as well as read minds, crystal balls and tarot cards’. It should really be no surprise then that a significant proportion of the 15% of UK citizens stating they had no religion in the most recent UK census returns (2001) identified their belief system as Jedi-knight. Some people will believe in almost anything, including pyramids in Bosnia. Others persist in disregarding evolution in favour of a creationist view that believes that the Earth was created 6-10,000 years ago. These of course are reckless and foolhardy extremes and should not necessarily determine how we judge a range of popular response to archaeological knowledge. Nevertheless it raises an important question about the balance between truth and fiction.

Currently in the UK there is an on-going, heated truth vs. fiction debate provoked by fixed TV phone-in competitions (and consequent financial fraud) and the false editing of a TV documentary about the Queen and the deceitful naming of a pet cat on the children’s TV programme Blue Peter. All were fuelled by a perception that drama needed to be heightened for narrative and audience appeal. But this is not new. The Italians have a proverb Se non e vero e ban traveto, ‘If it isn’t true, it is a damn good story’. We can find this echoed in a phrase from John Ford’s 1962 Western The Man Who Shot Liberty Vallance: ‘When the legend becomes fact, print the legend’ and in Hungarian director, Miklos Jancso’s comment on his 1965 war-drama My Way Home: ‘It is autobiographical in feeling if not in fact’. Cinema started out as a fundamentally documentary medium but was rapidly overtaken by commercial, narrative, fictive imperatives. As early as 1878 the founders of the Vitagraph Company went to Cuba to film the Spanish-American war, having missed the battle of Santiago Bay they promptly reconstructed it. In 1916 the British Government staged several of the scenes for its moral boosting documentary on the Battle of the Somme. Is this what John Grierson meant when he described documentary filmmaking as ‘the creative treatment of reality’? Joe Wright, the director of the 2007 film version of Ian McEwan’s novel Atonement (itself a powerful study of the conflicting and overlapping natures and consequences of truth and fiction4) has observed: “I have a fear of reality and need to create order out of the stories I tell.”5 For many film directors reality is brought into service in their work in the guise of authenticity. In discussing the evocation of authenticity in his film Gosford Park (2005) Robert Altman contrasted his approach with that of the film’s advisor on butling: “He wanted to show how it should have been, I wanted to show how it might have been”.6 Many other examples could be sited of this gap-filling invention that favours narrative satisfaction and empathy over the strict limit of the facts. Certainly this should be contested in debate but just bemoaning it misses the point that it is very much a part of human behaviour. People have always sought to define their own reality either in contestation with or in support of realities defined by hierarchies of power. To quote Elsner, in the 3rd and 4th centuries AD ‘philosophers, grammarians and bishops vied to reinterpret the substance of Homer and Virgil’, to give it new, Christian, meanings, a ‘kind of typological exegesis that underlies the great flowering of visual typology in the church arts of the third and fourth centuries’. This flowering had an overtly political dimension that was imperial-heroic rather than exegetical, in Constantine’s construction of his Triumphal Arch in Rome. CONSTANTINE’S ARCHA substantial element of the arch comprises Roman Spolia, re-defined for the purposes of Constantinian propaganda. Both – the Arch and the texts of Homer and Virgil – ‘conflated past and present and displayed the past only in so far as the past is validated by, fulfilled-in and made meaningful through the present.’7

Middle-earth and Discworld
Having laid out some of the philosophical issues around the question of invented civilisations I want to now turn to two case studies with particular relevance to the mirroring of and popular understanding of the medieval past.

J R R Tolkien’s matter of Middle-Earth (principally The Lord of the Rings, the Hobbit, the Silmarillion and the History of Middle-Earth series) and Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series (currently 36 novels) are active relics rather than icons of popular culture, with millions of individual readers and a mystified band of critics. The popularity of both has been endorsed and extended by adaptations into other media. Both have received similar levels of film exposure. Middle-Earth has been transferred to the cinema screen in both animated and live-action versions of Lord Of The Rings. Discworld has been confined to TV, with adaptations of 4 of the novels. Both have had equal exposure on UK Radio – BBC Radio 4 has adapted the Hobbit and LOTR and, from the DW series: Maurice and his Educated Rodents, Mort and Small Gods. Through its film-adaptation LOTR has also generated a block-buster exhibition.

Science Museum So far Discworld has escaped this treatment but I noticed in last year’s Constantine exhibition in York that a Roman sausage seller clearly influenced by Discworld’s character and purveyor of badly-cooked meats, ‘Cut-me-own-throat-Dibbler’, put in an appearance.

Middle-Earth distils Tolkien’s fascination with language, which for him defined reality. He was driven by a need to know what the ancestral myths to Beowulf looked like. In many respects Tolkien was concerned with successive falls from successive golden ages, with diminishment and passing. He created a landscape scattered with ruins and ancient material culture, especially swords, jewels and rings of power. These do serve to reinforce a time-depth but the chronology is kept mythically fluid.
His concern is less with past cultures per se than with ancestral remains indicating moral decay in the battle between good and evil. Swords are centuries old and some follow a trajectory of heirlooms (thus the shards of Narzil descend to Aragorn and are reforged to become Anduril), others being lost and found. They are found in hoards of treasure secreted in barrows and when recognised as old friends (or feared enemies, depending on which end of it one is at) their names are immediately recalled. This is not unlike what we know of the trajectory of many early medieval swords (Oakeshott 2003). Swords were given personality through their being named by their owners and evolved these personalities through their subsequent social trajectories, often over several generations when passed on as heirlooms, gifts or removed from burial chambers. Their trajectories certainly demonstrate how the same objects can be both gifts and commodities. They may start life as commissioned or acquired commodities but they can be de-commoditised into gifts. This is only to be expected in a medieval Europe where various polities, various international institutions and various communities subject to both were at multiple interacting levels of object-based relationships on the spectrum from economic commoditisation to gift exchange.

Middle-earth is certainly a male centred world – there are no dwarf women, the entwives (the female counter-parts to the male ents or tree-creatures) are said to be lost and there is barely a whiff of sex. There are though High Romance pairings of male and female, as in the Lay of Beren and Luthien and there are one or two pivotally strong females: Galadriel, elf-queen of Lothlorien and Eowyn, lady of Rohan, who slays the Lord of the Nazgul and fulfils her ambition of becoming a warrior. In his recent analysis of early medieval Britain, Hinton (2005) has suggested that the value of aristocratic women in the 6th century was reflected in Beowulf. They created alliances and settled feuds through marriage – even if they did not wield formal power young women especially were important as political negotiators or ‘peace-weavers’. Tolkien was of course a recognised Beowulf scholar and this is an understanding implicit in Tolkien’s constructions. In Eowyn he even gives voice to a railing against it (something the film is keen to develop and extend). It is an oft-repeated criticism of Tolkien that he created insignificant female characters and whilst this is not an empty criticism it has ignored some of the subtleties. Certainly the Jackson films (with Fran Walsh and Phillipa Boyens co-scripting) sought to foreground female characters in recognition that contemporary politics needed to be reflected in their story-telling. The film even acknowledged one of Discworld’s criticisms of Lord Of The Rings by giving the dwarf Gimli dialogue in which he talks to Eowyn, with sexual longing, of female dwarfs and their beards (there-by explicitly referencing Discworld, where the female dwarfs are all bearded). Another long-held criticism and uncomfortable truth of Lord Of The Rings is its implicit racism, though perhaps Euro-centrism is a fairer criticism: we should remember that cross-ethnic pairings are crucial to Middle-earth, including Beren and Luthien and Aragorn and Arwen and that the movement of the ‘dark forces’ of the enemy from the east and south reflects a 6th and 7th century reality of the conquering spread of Islam into the fringes of Europe.

Many of the words encountered in Middle-Earth are not Tolkien’s unique creations but stem from his exploration of medieval word origins during his time as a lexicographer for the Oxford English Dictionary. They include Arkenstone, Shelob, carrock, confusticate, dwimmerlaik, ent, halfling, hobbit, Quickbeam, Smaug and Withywindle. The one I will single out here is Mathom, a word Tolkien used to mean ‘anything that hobbits had no immediate use for, but were unwilling to throw away’, and is so defined in the prologue of the Lord Of The Rings. As Gilliver, Marshall and Weiner (2007, 161-2) have pointed out Tolkien deliberately revived this word, common in Old English and meaning ‘something valuable, an item of treasure’. Its earliest form is 4th century Germanic, where it referred to ‘gifts’ or ‘something exchanged’, be it horses, swords, spears, metal discs, etc. A variant of it is deployed in Beowulf to describe a dead king’s funeral treasure. In Tolkien’s Middle-Earth the word is used by hobbits and the men of Rohan, the latter most closely resembling elite Anglo-Saxon society8, and is redolent with gift-giving and buried treasure. It is a sign of Tolkien’s inventiveness and his willingness not to be confined by the known past that he changed the meaning of the word within its Hobbit context to be something of no real worth but which you cannot quite part with – a humorous pointer to the anachronistic, unheroic, middle-class culture of the shire.

The structure or architecture of the Middle-Earth narrative is reflected in its textual structure and the book is one of its key elements of material culture (just as it was in the medieval period). Lord Of The Rings in particular adopts the notion of its story being history – surviving as it does in the written accounts of The Red Book of Westernesse and including within its structure oral tales and songs. It deliberately reflects the ethno-genesis concerns of early medieval historical accounts across Europe. To a 13-year old boy reading Lord Of The Rings for the first time this was one of its deepest and most beguiling pleasures. I knew just enough about history at that age for its texture and internal referencing of The Red Book to be entirely plausible and to provide me with a sense of discovering something about the past, though I never did find The Red Book in bookshops or libraries.

Finally in this abbreviated discussion of Tolkien we should note that he saw his creation of Middle-earth as our own world, veiled in myth and proto-myth. Middle-earth was another word he worked on for the OED and so was acutely aware of its meaning as the middle-region occupied by humans, between heaven and hell, with a derivation as far back as the 4th century Germanic ‘midjan-gards’ (Gilliver et al 2007, 162-4). He stressed several times in his writings that Middle-earth was not an imaginary place but a real place in which he set an imaginary story.

Discworld on the other hand is a parallel world primarily concerned with exposing myth, using a sharp-edged satirical wit. Its creator Terry Pratchett is on record as being inspired to write fantasy contra Lord Of The Rings. In terms of their genre and their exploration of the medieval they could not be more different but both authors display moral astuteness and a shrewd understanding of human behaviour. At the root of Pratchett’s different approach is his adoption of a narrative context of broad, satirical humour (including at the expense of Lord Of The Rings, e.g. with female, bearded dwarves). One of the key comic characters is Death, a skeletal creature who wears a hooded cloak and carries a scythe and is a hybrid figure combining ‘Father Time’ with the medieval European Dance macabre and its 20th century incarnation in Bergman’s film The Seventh Seal.
Bernt Notke

Norwich window He is a constant presence throughout the novels, helping to define the medieval infrastructure of Discworld. As the name implies the world is a flat disc – one carried by four elephants on the back of a celestial turtle, an inventive play on the popular medieval notion that the world was flat and that you could sail of its edge. The key location on Discworld is the twin city of Ankh-Morpork, on both sides of the river Ankh. This is a skilfully wrought recreation of the medieval urban environment complete with guilds, timber-framed buildings, town-walls and gates, a university and an ethnically diverse, socially stratified population with all its concomitant rivalries and multiple identities that such diversity produces. There are various temples and belief systems but the role of a pervasive Christian church is taken by the order of wizards that run the university. The wizards are monastically male and control the use of magic and its holy books. In Moving Pictures we have a sharp parody of the holy Moving Pictures text in the shape of ‘the book of the film’ and its attendant monastic routines at the shrine of ‘Holy Wood’. Wizards are primarily urban men and contrasted with female witches, who have little to do with deceiving magic. Pratchett’s witches have all the trappings of our medieval myths, including pointy hats, flying brooms and familiars but these serve to disguise the fact that they are clever, cunning women who relieve pain and suffering in their communities. One more constant worth noting is that Ankh-Morpork is ruled by a patrician, a renaissance prince of Machiavellian disposition with echoes of a Roman emperor.

This echo of Rome is one that resounds in several areas. The so-called Unseen University is like a city within a city, rather like the Vatican. In Men at Arms one of the buried roads is the Via Cloaca, complete with a tile stamped CIRONE IV ME FABRICAT, Cirone being an early king and the whole suggestive of a pre-Republican Rome. The Rome reflex not only alludes to a classical past appropriated in a contemporary setting but is also used to develop an archaeological sensibility about the development of the eternal city of Ankh-Morpork. In Men at Arms we learn that: ‘Technically Ankh-Morpork is built on loam, but what it is mainly built on is Ankh-Morpork; it has been constructed, burnt down, silted-up and rebuilt so many times that its foundations are old cellars, buried roads and the fossil bones and middens of earlier cities.’

Different books in the series incorporate different aspects of medieval material culture, myths and politics, including magical swords and Arthurian legend (The Colour of Magic and Men at Arms), alchemy and the philosopher’s stone (Moving Pictures), the stone of destiny (The Fifth Elephant, which is also an adroit Fifth Elephant demonstration of the cultural biography of material culture), drama (notably medieval travelling players and the development of a fixed ‘Elizabethan’ theatre) and the development of printing (led by William de Worde in The Truth). In Moving Pictures we encounter a medieval chained library, several of its books echoing a medieval trajectory of books and knowledge preserved in the Islamic East and circulated to the Christian west, including the Necrotelicomnicon, written by the Klatchian Ahmed the Mad, now in the Library of the Unseen University. Books and manuscripts are a strong theme, part of the cultural category of the Library. The university librarian is an orang-utan, an ape that could have stepped out of the margin of a medieval manuscript or misericord. The medieval aping motif is continued by the use of footnotes throughout the novels – an aping of academic history akin to its triumphal deployment in Flann O’ Brien’s The Third Policeman.

Within fantasy, story comes first and great works of medieval inspired fiction include what purists would call anachronistic elements (Tolkien’s hobbits for example drink tea) but more importantly such anachronisms add to the mirroring of our own world which amidst its modernity has its medieval roots exposed, part of the fabric of our places and mentalities. Pratchett adds a further level of reflexivity to this by weaving in post medieval cultural categories of the medieval. The witches of Wyrd Sisters have already been mentioned and they return in Witches Abroad, a Calvino-like deconstruction of fairy stories. Amongst the key characters of The Wee Free Men, Wee Free Men A Hatful of Sky and Wintersmith are the Nac Mac Feegle: tiny, blue, kilt-wearing, fierce fairies or ‘Pictsies’, a delightful pun on 18th and 19th century concepts of the Picts.

The question of what archaeology can learn from the popularity of these and other invented civilisations is a difficult one for me because of the paradox at its root. In the words of Terry Eagleton (2004, 4) ‘human existence is at least as much about fantasy and desire as it is about truth and reason’. Imagined realities have been an ever present part of the human drive to explain and adapt through narrative constructions. The same wellspring produced the creative drives for mythopoesis, invention, and material culture. Archaeological and historical explanations have grown and sought their own path, influenced mostly by an honestly meant desire to be objective. The paradox has grown as a consequence of the fantasy / truth split. On the one hand invention and mythopoesis are part of the human condition and so infuse the material culture / archaeological record. The cult of saints and the associated cult of heroes is a prime example: thus in the 12th century the abbey of Landevennec, Finistere, Brittany under the patronage of local secular potentates had a new chapel built dedicated to Landavennec King Gradlon, a fictitious first ancestor and king of Avalon. He was given a reality in stone, mortar and worship.9 On the other hand in a contemporary context we require an objective separation between archaeological, scientific, fact-centred analysis of reality and narrative desires. It can be hard to separate fact from fiction when fiction is a fact of existence.

Pratchett’s fusion of fact and fiction is about the blend rather than the separate entities – it is not seeking to prove an ancient reality nor to deceive us but to remind us about the contemporary relevance of the past and present and its abilities to expose the tricks of power and capitalist-fuelled consumerism. Like hermeneutics it sees history as a dialogue between past, present and future and it overtly takes us to the past using the present as a vehicle. One measure of their popularity is their huge audiences and whilst this cannot be translated into a homogenous audience reaction they can serve as barometers of a wider public understanding of the past or more particularly how people have coped with life. Myths of course are as much about what we want or would wish to have happened as accommodating what actually happened. If we live in a narrative world that is only focussed on wish fulfilment then anything goes and the mythopoeic tendencies of political and commercial powers are harder to challenge. History and the earliest archaeology were concerned with producing narratives of national and social identity but today academic disciplines have broken away from an authorised view of the past. They are no longer tasked with creating narratives but pointing towards deeper truths and plural voices. They certainly need to be aware of narrative: Tolkien approached his mythopoesis in a scholarly and he kept it separate from his academic endeavours (rather like that other great scholar/fiction writer, M R James) – in his own mind undoubtedly one informed the other but they formed separate reifications. Tolkien demonstrated that you can pursue separately fact and fiction and that each can inform the other but he did so in the knowledge of their separate if contingent limits. And he invented to suit his story. Derek Brewer (1979) has noted how Lord Of The Rings works as an archetypal quest story familiar from medieval romances but with ‘a paradoxical twist that amounts to genius. Frodo already has the ring, the instrument of power that earlier… ages might have sought. His quest is to destroy it in the only place where it can be done, its place of origin.’

Perhaps archaeologists and historians should write more narrative constructions but should these form part of their analysis of the past? We need to be aware of our own and our audiences’ desires to know all and to subvert the past to an ideal reality but we should not produce myths in lieu of not knowing. We should not though feel threatened by the range of alternative readings produced by writers and film-makers or indeed the audience – it is a necessary debate and actually some of those practitioners and our shared audience are on our side.

One final thought reflecting yet another facet of the truth vs. fiction debate is evoked by Alfred Hitchcock’s famous quip about film-making: ‘drama is life with the boring bits left out’.10 Shouldn’t archaeology be about life with the boring bits left in?


1. An intractable stand-off between audience and author is evident in the on-going, disputed ownership of substantial fragment of Pictish cross-slab in Hilton of Cadboll, Easter Ross, Scotland. The audience is the local community and though their strength of attachment to the fragment (in lieu of the whole that would be made by the substantial part that is in Edinburgh, at the National Museum) is evident it is in part fuelled by and for the community vindicated by an array of contradictory and largely spurious/invented, oral, folkloric stories about the sculpture, masking a politico-economic concern with retention. For the stories see Jones 2004, 29ff, Jones 2005 and James et al forthcoming.

2. It is now something of a convention to knock the authorial or expert voice but the line between author and audience is more fuzzy and permeable than is often allowed for. It is astutely satirised in Mel Brook’ 1969 comedy The Producers. The plot is founded on the existence of reams and reams of bad writing and useless authors (not only is everyone a critic bit everyone is a writer). The anti-authorial stance continues with the plucking from obscurity of the German soldier and Nazi Franz Liebkind (played by Kenneth Mars) who becomes the author as figure of ridicule. On the first night of his play about Hitler he has to sit out in the midst of the audience and is aghast at their mocking reaction and laughter. He tries and fails to quieten those around him and in frustration cries out: ‘You are the audience, I am the author, I out rank you.’ The point of course is that no author out ranks his audience.

3. Two UK archaeologists (James Doeser and Keith Fitzpatrick) have decided to fight a valiant rear-guard action and have set up a website: with a view to exposing ‘pseudo-archaeology, hoaxes and other archaeological aberrations of the modern world’ that fuel the ‘… distorted view of the past that passes for knowledge in popular culture’.

4. In particular it demonstrates both how fiction, invention if you will, can have a moral purpose but that a perceived truth can be founded on misunderstanding and misinterpreting the facts, wilfully or otherwise, acknowledging its more humorous tackling in Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey (1818).

5. The quote comes from an interview of Wright in the film magazine Sight & Sound 17.10 (October 2007), 34-5.

6. The quote is taken from the interview with Altman in the special features section of the Gosford Park DVD.

7. The quotes are taken from Elsner 2000, 176. This reflex of appropriation and re-telling is clearly evident today, for example, in popular music culture, notably the sampling and mashing of rap and house music. A clear recent example is the track ‘Clothes Off’ by Gym Class Heroes (from their CD As Cruel As School Children), which samples from and re-works ‘We Don’t Have to Take Our Clothes Off’ by Germaine Stewart (from his 1986 Frantic Romantic album) to subvert and reverse the latter’s meaning. Currently on U-Tube it is possible to contrast the sexual politics of 1986 as against 2007 by watching both videos, along with other versions by Li’l Chris (2007), Toronto Queer Rockers (2007), Clea (2005) and Mase (2004).

8. There is nothing of the Viking in the Rohirrim, contra the interpolation of Tveskov & Erlandson 2007, 37.

9. This is not a lone reflex in the medieval period and it is also evident in portable material culture. In 1191 King Richard of England presented to Tancred of Sicily the sword Excalibur ‘and the legend was brought to life’, thus demonstrating how ‘precious symbols of the past become objects which one could touch and admire or give as gifts’ (Schnapp 1996, 98) and they also served as practical manifestations of psychological desires ‘to magnify our power, enhance our well-being and extend our memory into the future’ (Csikszentnihalyi 1993, 28).

10. I was delighted to discover from a large interpretation panel on the waterfront in Zadar that Hitchcock apparently said this on his visit to Zadar in the 1960s.

B Abou-el-Haj 1991 ‘The Audiences for the Medieval Cult of Saints’ in Gesta XXX(1991), 3-15.

M Csikszentnihalyi 1993 ‘Why we need things’, in S Lubar W P Kingary (eds) History From Things Essays On Material Culture, Washington, 20-9.

T Eagleton 1996 Literary Theory, Oxford (2nd ed.)

T Eagleton 2004 After Theory, London.

J Elsner 2000 ‘From the cult of saints to the cult of relics: the arch of Constantine and the genesis of late antique forms’, in Papers of the British School at Rome 68 (2000), 149-84.

P Gilliver, J Marshall, E Weiner 2006 The Ring of Words – Tolkien and the Oxford English Dictionary, Oxford.

D Hinton 2005 Gold and Gilt, Pots & Pins: Possessions and People in Medieval Britain, Oxford.

H James et al forthcoming Hilton of Cadboll final excavation report (title tbc).

S Jones 2004 Early Medieval Sculpture and the Production of Meaning, Value and Place: The Case of Hilton of Cadboll, Edinburgh (=Historic Scotland Ancient Monuments Division Research Report).

H Jones 2005 ‘“That stone was born here and that’s where it belongs”: Hilton of Cadboll and the negotiation of identity, ownership and belonging’, in S M Foster & M Cross (ed.) Able Minds and Practised Hands Scotland’s Early Medieval Sculpture in the 21st Century, Leeds (= Society of Medieval Archaeology Monograph 23), 37-54.

E Oakeshott, 2003 ‘Introduction’, in Pierce, I G 2003 Swords of the Viking Age, Woodbury, 1-14.

D S Brewer ‘The Lord of the Rings as Romance’, in M Salu & R T Farrell (eds) 1979 J R R Tolkien Scholar and Storyteller, Ithaca & London, 249-64.

A Schnapp 1996 The Discovery of the Past The Origins of Archaeology, London.

M A Tveskov & J M Erlandson 2007 ‘Vikings, Vixens and Valhalla Hollywood Depictions of the Norse’, in J M Schablitsky (ed.) Box Office Archaeology Refining Hollywood’s Portrayals of the Past, Walnut Creek, California, 34-50.

M Winkler, ‘Introduction’, in M Winkler (ed.) 2001 (rev. ed.) Classical Myth and Culture in the Cinema, Oxford, 3-23.

Figure Captions

Picture 1

Picture 2 Caption: Where science and fiction meet: the exhibition about the making of the films of the books

Picture 3 caption: Danse Macabre by Bernt Notke, in Lübeck (1463)

Picture 4 caption: Death comes for a Bishop across a Chess board, stained glass window, St Andrew’s, Norwich.

Picture 5

Picture 6

Picture 7

Picture 8 Caption: 12th century tomb-chapel of King Gradlon, Landavennec Abbey, Brittany

Picture 9 Caption: Statue of King Gradlon on late 16th century Parish Close, Argol, Brittany

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