Since 2001, I’ve been reading about the Copper and Bronze Ages of Europe, with a view to writing a work of fiction set sometime in that era. At first, I intended to write a novel along the lines of J. H. Rosny ainé’s Guerre de Feu or Jim Crace’s The Gift of Stones, but over time the project has changed shape, and I’m currently working on a verse drama that will form part of a cycle, to which I’ve given the working title Danuquécla. It’s possible that that may also change; the project continues.
This page is a catch-all for things I’ve written about this, my longest-running writing project, the one from which I’ve been distracted many times, but to which I keep returning. I’ll keep this page updated with links to everything of mine that’s published anywhere about the project. Eventually (hopefully) there will be some actual literary work, which I will announce here too.
A journey down the Danube
In 2014, I travelled down the Danube, from Germany to Romania, and wrote a series of posts about my travels for the literary journal Southerly’s blog.
Archaic poetic metres
The same year, I also edited New Trad, a volume of poems and essays on poetics by contributors from around the world; the theme was new work written in archaic metrical forms, most notably an excerpt from Beverliey Braune’s epic poem Skulvádi Úlfr. (This wasn’t consciously intended as part of my effort to set a work of fiction in prehistory, but it’s turned out to be very pertinent.)
Prehistory in fiction
In 2017, I started part-time research for a doctorate at the Writing & Society Research Centre, Western Sydney University. It’s a hybrid, ‘creative’ doctorate: half my effort goes into writing a creative work, and the other half is on a separate but related exegesis. My topic is ‘prehistory in fiction’.
To prepare for my confirmation of candidature, I recorded the slideshow and talk I gave to my supervisory panel, which described the direction I intended my research to take. The recording is on YouTube, though it’s pretty dry and I wouldn’t recommend watching it, unless you happen to be as obssessed by this topic as I am.
Perhaps a bit more interesting is ‘Ghosts and Grave Robbers’, a poster presentation I made which combines facts, photos and diagrams alongside a poem that dabbles in some of the formal experimentation I’ve been thinking about for the project as a whole.
Fiction and archaeology
I wrote my first peer-reviewed article for the Australian Humanities Review, on the interrelationship of archaeology and so-called ‘prehistoric fiction’.
An archaeological dig in Bulgaria
In 2019, I attended an archaeological dig near Pazardzhik, Bulgaria. I wrote about the experience for the Sydney Review of Books).
Data store for epic formulae
I am working on a simple system to store and retrieve epic formulae, allowing grouping by metre and by topic; this is assisting me in devising a metrical system for some of the poetry in the project.
(Watch this space for more updates.)