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In 1799 William Wordsworth imagined his younger self standing beneath the rocks of his native mountains listening to the ‘ghostly language of the ancient earth’. I also try to hear the echoes that come out of the deep past and decipher what we can learn from them about the entangling of the human and natural worlds and the origins of the idea of Nature.

Professor Ashley currently teaches medieval, world and environmental history at Newcastle University, UK. He has published on diverse matters, including the Vikings, ninth-century astronomy and Captain James Cook. He is currently researching the role of climate change in the early middle ages and the ecological impacts of the Vikings in the North Atlantic.

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