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The Heritage Trust
The Wiltshire Heritage Museum in Devizes, Wiltshire England announces an exhibition of pictures from the Museum’s art collection which has, “…an extensive collection of paintings, drawings, engravings, prints and photographs of Stonehenge, dating from the 18th century to the present day.” that will be on display from 25 May until 1 September 2013 in the Museum’s Art Gallery. The exhibition will include works by Frederick Nash, A V Copley Fielding, George Richmond, James Bridges and Henry Moore.
John Aubrey (1626-1697)
John Aubrey may have been described by his friends as, “Shiftless, roving and magotie-headed…” but he was among the first to examine and record Stonehenge, Avebury and other megalithic structures with any degree of accuracy. Writing about Avebury and Stonehenge Aubrey says, “I have brought (them) from an inner darkness to a thin mist.” Extracts from the Wikipedia entry on Aubrey describes him as -
…an English antiquary, natural philosopher and writer. He is perhaps best known as the author of the collection of short biographical pieces usually referred to as Brief Lives. He was a pioneer archaeologist, who recorded (often for the first time) numerous megalithic and other field monuments in southern England, and who is particularly noted as the discoverer of the Avebury henge monument. The Aubrey holes at Stonehenge are named after him, although there is considerable doubt as to whether the holes that he observed are those that currently bear the name… He spent much of his time in the country, and in 1649 he first ‘discovered’ the megalithic remains at Avebury, which he later mapped and discussed in his important antiquarian work Monumenta Britannica. He was to show Avebury to Charles II at the King’s request in 1663.
John Aubrey’s map of Avebury
He was also a pioneer folklorist, collecting together a miscellany of material on customs, traditions and beliefs under the title “Remaines of Gentilisme and Judaisme”. He set out to compile county histories of both Wiltshire and Surrey, although both projects remained unfinished. His “Interpretation of Villare Anglicanum” (also unfinished) was the first attempt to compile a full-length study of English place-names. He had wider interests in applied mathematics and astronomy, and was friendly with many of the greatest scientists of the day.
Star motif over the door of the porch at The Church of St Peter, Clyffe Pypard where Aubrey visited in or around 1660
Stonehenge: Exploring the greatest Stone Age mystery by Mike Parker Pearson
Our knowledge about Stonehenge has changed dramatically as a result of the Stonehenge Riverside Project (2003-2009), led by Mike Parker Pearson, and included not only Stonehenge itself but also the nearby great henge enclosure of Durrington Walls. This book is about the people who built Stonehenge and its relationship to the surrounding landscape. The book explores the theory that the people of Durrington Walls built both Stonehenge and Durrington Walls, and that the choice of stone for constructing Stonehenge has a significance so far undiscovered, namely, that stone was used for monuments to the dead. Through years of thorough and extensive work at the site, Parker Pearson and his team unearthed evidence of the Neolithic inhabitants and builders which connected the settlement at Durrington Walls with the henge, and contextualised Stonehenge within the larger site complex, linked by the River Avon, as well as in terms of its relationship with the rest of the British Isles. Parker Pearson’s book changes the way that we think about Stonehenge; correcting previously erroneous chronology and dating; filling in gaps in our knowledge about its people and how they lived; identifying a previously unknown type of Neolithic building; discovering Bluestonehenge, a circle of 25 blue stones from western Wales; and confirming what started as a hypothesis – that Stonehenge was a place of the dead – through more than 64 cremation burials unearthed there, which span the monument’s use during the third millennium BC. In lively and engaging prose, Parker Pearson brings to life the imposing ancient monument that continues to hold a fascination for everyone.
Published this month by Simon & Schuster UK. Hardcover, 416 pages. ISBN-10: 085720730X. ISBN-13: 9780857207302.
See also the review in yesterday’s Telegraph by Daisy Dunn.
Stonehenge by Hellman
Prof Mike Parker Pearson and the The Stonehenge Riverside Project’s new theory that, “Perhaps they [the builders of Stonehenge] saw this place as the centre of the world” and that -
Previous theories suggesting the great stone circle was inspired by ancient Egyptians or extra-terrestrials have been firmly rejected by researchers. “All the architectural influences for Stonehenge can be found in previous monuments and buildings within Britain, with origins in Wales and Scotland,” said Mr Parker Pearson. “In fact, Britain’s Neolithic people were isolated from the rest of Europe for centuries. “Britain may have become unified but there was no interest in interacting with people across the Channel.
Suggests to our interplanetary reporter that the new Stonehenge Visitor Centre could perhaps embrace, even improvise on this theory, by having stones from around the world built into the Visitor Centre itself or, alternatively, a discreet new circle created near the Centre that might act as a ‘modern place of pilgrimage’ and an alternative meeting place to the Stonehenge monument itself for those who gather there at certain times.
Standing stones from the Americas perhaps, and from the Arab world, Asia, Australia, Egypt, Europe and India to name but a few. Stones to unite the world… and beyond?
Above quote from BBC News Wiltshire.