by David Barrowclough
"Less well understood is the role that water plays in the location of these monument complexes. In almost every case study... they sit alongside a river or water‐course in close proximity to a spring....The presence of water seems to have been a key factor in the initial selection of
locations.....The reason that water is so important is perhaps because of its religious significance,
which explains why prehistoric monuments were built adjacent to springs and rivers...."
A fascinating discussion document but let me raise a note of scepticism .
Firstly I am not convinced that it has been shown that enclosure monuments are significantly in closer proximity to water courses and springs than a random site in the same geographic area. Picking random locations on http://www.getamap.ordnancesurveyleisure.co.uk/ gives me "close proximity to water" in the vast majority of cases. This is a wet country. And when Stonehenge, which is out on the waterless plain is used to bolster the argument, then colour me unconvinced.
And secondly it may well be that they are associated with water, it would be odd if they were not. For the mundane and practical reasons of drinking, fishing and transport humans tend to live near water.
I am just not convinced that the specialness of their proximity has been shown or that it has been shown to be for religious rather than practical reasons, especially when the religious or ritual seems to have permeated every aspect of neolithic life.