|Stonehenge December 18th 2013|
How do I know the date so well? well it was LS's birthday treat that took us to the stones, the grand opening of the visitor's centre. But like an ever rolling sea Stonehenge once more hits the beach into the news. Yesterday I read the news about the next wave of spending on roads, and the monies proposed to spend on the short tunnel on the A303 which will take the cars and lorries through the tunnel thereby creating less noise and visual intrusion at Stonehenge. I have no say on this matter, the truth lies in politicians and their 'promises' so easily broken as to whether they will start work on this road next year or in 20 years time. It is just so much noise, but Jacquetta Hawke's words echoes a much quieter time for Stonehenge and so I choose her words. Note she says 'the blighting military activites of Amesbury', LS said yesterday that the military had thought of knocking down Stonehenge as it obviously would have proved a target to enemy planes, luckily it never happened.
Prehistoric and Roman Monuments in England and Wales - Jacquetta Hawkes 1954; Chatto and Windus publ.
"The traveller who wishes to approach Stonehenge most fittingly should keep along this road, crossing the little river Till at Winterbourne Stoke. As he reaches the quiet crossroads on the summit, he will be on the edge of one of the greatest, and certainly the richest, congregation of burial mounds in all Britain. Here was a kind of vast scattered cemetery on ground hallowed by its proximity to the renowned sanctuary. Barrows cluster round Stonehenge on all sides - three hundred of them - but here to the west is the greatest concentration and the area most sequestered from the blighting military activities of Amesbury. Close within the north-eastern angle of the crossroads is a well preserved longbarrow and its spine acts as a pointer to a line of round barrows starting just beyond the small wood. These in their range of forms make a typologist's heaven. First there are two striking bell barrows and on their left two disks - one of normal type, the other with twin tumps. Just beyond them is perhaps the best known example of that rare variety - the pond barrow - which consists of a circular depression with a low bank on the lip. Back on the line of bells are four bowl barrows, and there are many more of this type beside the left-hand road as it leads very happily northwards to nowhere.
This completes the enumeration of this famous group, and I will not attempt another. When the ritual and whatever its accompaniment may have been of masks, effigies and offerings have vanished so long ago, when there is no stir left of emotion and the ghosts which emotion keeps alive, when the very people responsible for raising these mounds have been overwhelmed, absorbed and forgotten, then their detailed study can become lifeless enough.
Better perhaps to look at them with knowledge but with the knowledge unexpressed, these round barrows that are like the floating bubbles of events drowned in time."
And Darwin's Letters; I have John Hooker to thank for this..............'themes' will set the path!