A Conversation for Najopomo 2020: Gravepicking

November 31-ish: Background thought processes.

Post 1

Caiman raptor elk - Escaping the Array

Just some afterthoughts on how my story came to be:

After sorting out the first person versus third person narrative question, I started this writing assignment with just a time, a location and a general idea of the cultures around at the time. I got my starting point from the excavation descriptions on this website: https://peaceandjustice.freeforums.net/thread/792/maikop-culture-pie-homeland?page=5

The notion that Elbrus, the highest mountain in Europe was within walking distance, set me up with the idea of having someone climb it (after I read current day accounts that stated that the mountain isn’t actually that hard to climb in a technical sense, apart from the remoteness and the altitude). The first recorded successful summit attempt is in 1874 (1829 for the lower summit). I also found that the Caucasus in itself formed a barrier between cultures, but not so much that there was no intermingling at all. Since Elbrus is a volcano, I dug deeper and found out that it last erupted 50 BCE, and that earlier eruptions coincided with climate change (it got colder and drier). Around this time, the first evidence has been found of writing in other places, so I introduced the history stone as a sort of precursor.
I have left the patriarch / matriarch question a bit in the middle (we don’t know for sure). Basically my solution is to have a sort of patriarchal society in appearance with a strong matriarchal influence in the actual decision making. I everyday life men and women act as equals.
For the expedition, I used Google Earth / Google maps to work out the itinerary with reasonable daily distances and landscape features. (The thermal springs are real, the waterfalls and conical rocks are real). Naming geological features is difficult. The current names are unlikely to have been around back then. The only exception I made was to mention “the river called Malka” for anyone willing to look up where things were happening.
For the culture, I have chosen to stay on the boundaries rather than of putting a label to it. The origin of both Clans is from the southern Caucasus, being Kura-Araxes. The new Clan is clearly influenced by trading relationships with the northern Maykop steppe culture, while the old Clan retains more specific Kura-Araxes traits. The language thing is that Maykop culture is considered to have carried the Proto-Indo-European language, while Kura-Araxes is in the Proto-Indo-Iranian area.
The eruption of Elbrus triggered the breaking of a self-inflicted ritual rift between the two Clans, finding out that there was an easier way to stay in contact instead. As cultures come and go, the final chapter could carry the seed of things to follow, including written accounts, cities, other belief systems.

Other stuff I found out and used:
The thing about capital punishment is that for a long time, there was no alternative if the safety of the group was at stake. Long term imprisonment was not feasible at the time.
The origin of a lot of today’s horse breeds lies in the Caucasus region.
The grain fire actually throws the Clan back from farming to the earlier hunter-gatherer origins, with wild grain species still around.
Burial practices change over time and depending on contacts between different cultures.
Given the average lifespan of 26 years, I realised that there must have been a bit of a hurry to procreate as soon as maturity was reached. I wonder if adolescence took place earlier as well. I tried to include some of the experimentation and playfulness in the interactions between the fresh couples.

As the story went, I never wrote more than three days ahead (usually just one), so the developments sometimes took me by surprise as well...

Let me end in saying that I hope you all enjoyed reading it.


November 31-ish: Background thought processes.

Post 2

Dmitri Gheorgheni - Post Editor

I enjoyed it very much! smiley - biggrin Thanks for letting us in on your work process! You really showed us how to explore that hole in history

Have you ever read a book called 'The Inheritors' by William Golding? His people lived a lot longer ago than your people - half were Cro-Magnon and half Neanderthal. But it's a similar take on filling in the holes.

Here's an interview with his daughter about the book.

http://www.theguardian.com/books/2015/sep/16/the-inheritors-william-golding-neanderthal-novel-60-years


November 31-ish: Background thought processes.

Post 3

Minorvogonpoet

I enjoyed it very much. Thank you. smiley - applause


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