Broo, in Shetland, was an unremarkable village, shown on maps but not much commented on by anyone. Then in the late 1600s it was swallowed by sand dunes and abandoned, an event that drew curiosity seekers from as far as Scotland.
Archaeologists recently dug into the site to find what was left. The discovered that after the abandonment and the parade of tourists scanning the ruins, somebody went back. The somebody dug down into one of the nearly buried houses and built a wooden staircase connecting it to the surface, living there for long enough to leave a clear archaeological signature. Perhaps years.
The leader of the dig said that the sand-buried site must have been a "grim" place to live.
So who was it?
I raised the question over dinner tonight and we came up with: an outlaw on the run, a madman, a very cranky man who refused to leave his old home, and (my contribution) a shaman driven half mad by his visions who went off to live away from all stimulation except the surf and crying seagulls, occasionally sought out by people desperate enough for help to brave his fearful reputation and the abuse he hurled at anyone who approached.