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.
"when Stonehenge, which is out on the waterless plain is used to bolster the argument, then colour me unconvinced"ReplyDelete
Sorry Tim, when you're wrong - you're just wrong!
To look at the present landscape and believe it looked anything like this 10,000 years ago (which most recent findings now confirms Stonehenge was first occupied) is just nonsense.
We now know that the vast Sahara desert we see today which archaeologists once imagined had not changed much in history (was at the same point in time ten thousand years ago) a jungle with Elephants and Giraffes.
Consequently, to believe that in Britain ten thousand years ago our countryside looked the same is to ignore the scientific facts - get yourself the geology map of the area and look around Stonehenge - you find the so called 'dry river valleys' (clue is in the name river valley!) such as Stonehenge bottom, are covered in silty sand. These are the remains of water deposits.
If you have the perception to be able to take your mind back ten thousand years then history is obvious and a practical observation (this use of the terms 'religious' and 'ceremonial' to explain the obvious is plain ignorance, in my humble view!), thats why archaeologists now no longer believe that when you find Lion bones in the desert, its not because the lion when on a religious sabbatical and got lost, its because it was once living in his wet and shaded home.