Of granny squares, archaeology, and Agatha Christie

This weekend I had a number of things on my “to-do before Monday” list, and happily for me, I got a lot of them done.

The one that was the most pressing was finishing the second of what are now two scrap yarn granny squares.

Originally destined to be the front and back of a granny square tote, now that I have finished the second square:

scrap yarn granny square
A second scrap yarn granny square

I have changed my mind.

Although I like the look of each square on its own — which is how they would be viewed if made into a bag — I decidedly like the way the two of them look together better:

scrap yarn granny squares
Two scrap yarn granny squares

And while the front of the squares give the appearance of being “done,” the back of the squares tell a different story:

two scrap yarn granny squares
A few ends to weave in

I had been in a hurry to finish crocheting the second square because I was going to be going the North Carolina Museum of Art to see an Ansel Adams exhibit that was due to close today, followed by the annual Weinberg Lecture of Egyptology.

This year’s lecture, ÔÇťAgatha Christie, Archaeology, and Alzheimer’s”, was given by Amy Barron.

To say that Amy Barron likes Mesopotamian Archaeology is like saying that I like crochet — it really doesn’t capture her deep connection and unbridled enthusiasm for her area of study — as for her lecture, it was absolutely riveting.

As Agatha Christie fans are no doubt aware, she was married twice.

After a first, somewhat disastrous marriage, she found herself in Ur at the invitation of Katharine Woolley (an ardent Agatha Christie fan who was eventually immortalized as the murder victim in Christie’s Murder in Mesopotamia) and it was on one of these jaunts to the archaeological dig done under the direction of Katharine Woolley’s second husband, Leonard, that Agatha Christie met her second husband Max Mallowan.

Like today’s lecturer, Amy Barron, Max Mallowan studied ancient Mesopotamia, and that is how Ms. Barron’s and Agatha Christie’s paths crossed.

While her first marriage ended in some ignominy, Agatha Christie’s second marriage seems to have been a genuine partnership, and she often kept herself busy on the various digs that her husband oversaw by working to preserve the artifacts he unearthed.

On more than one occasion, Agatha preserved metal weaponry that had most recently been used by a long-dead Assyrian soldier by wrapping it in honey-infused gauze.

Amy Barron has handled several of these objects while pursuing her own studies, and the scent and stickiness of the honey Agatha Christie used to preserve these objects still linger.

I don’t know that the fruits of my labor will last as long as Agatha Christie’s have, but maybe in another 75 years or so, someone will come across these as-yet-to-be-completed crochet squares, and think, for a moment, about the hands that made them:

two scrap yarn granny squares
Later with a few of the ends woven in