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Sunday, 15 September 2013

Stonehenge -- progress or aberration?

This is a fun cartoon about Stonehenge -- but it got me thinking about whether Stonehenge really was "progress" in the sense that it was a development from something else that was inferior, and the forerunner of something that came later that was even more sophisticated.  Actually there was nothing much before it that you can say was clearly related -- Woodhenge?  Pentre Ifan and the other dolmens?  Stone circles and henges?   Hmm  -- not very convincing.

And what came after?  Nothing.  Stonehenge does not seem to have led to anything very much.  So was it really just a dead end or an aberration?  Back once again to the thought that it was in fact nothing more than a wild flight of fancy on the part of some clan or family, and that it was simply  a very early folly, designed to demonstrate status or an ability to do something BIG.

I know that many will be outraged by this thought, and will claim that it was a very sophisticated observatory, a set of alignments tied to astronomical observations with great mathematical precision etc etc.  In other words, it was a sort of high point in civilization, after which things went backwards. 

But I don't like the idea of "lost knowledge" and "lost wisdom" -- so that brings me back to the idea that the whole thing probably had no great significance at all.

4 comments:

Constantinos Ragazas said...

Brian,

I agree with your thinking on this! But I go one step further and give prehistoric people more credit and sense than those that would have them do improbable senseless cartoonish tasks for no apparant reason. To me such thinking mocks our prehistoric ancestors true worth as able to endure harsh living conditions and live to have us.

Most people would argue, however, Stonehenge, etc. exist! So prehistoric people must had the capabilities and their own unbeknown to us reasons for building these. So how I resolve this dilemma?

I believe Nature had more to do with all these prehistoric sites than we currently think. The Earth has gone through more Natural sculpting by geological processes long gone than anything we can see or imagine in the landscape today. And Nature can do some amazing things!

We only need to figure out such natural processes that would have made these prehistoric sites. In my view, ice and glacier melt played the leading role in this drama.

Kostas

Anonymous said...

Poor Brian.

A barren mind devoid of insight, perspective or understanding. You remind me of a small boy I once saw looking at a the mona lisa in the louvre, remarking to his parents that "it's just a picture of a lady, what's the fuss"?

BRIAN JOHN said...

Don't feel sorry for me, Anon. And keep your insults for other sites -- I might respect you more if you were not hiding behind a cloak of anonymity. If you could be bothered to look at this blog more carefully, you might appreciate that I have never denied that Stonehenge is a thing of wonder -- indeed, I am rather impressed by it, by the mastery that the builders had of certain techniques, by the ambition and sheer effrontery of those who dreamed it up and constructed it (the stone monument, that is.) What I do NOT subscribe to is the sort of woolly thinking that ascribes to Stonehenge some sort of mystical or even mythical status. If that's the way you think about Stonehenge, then that's your problem. Go off and enjoy some other blogs to which you are more closely attuned.

Constantinos Ragazas said...

Brian,

Take such strong negative knee-jerk reactions by Anon and others as testament of the strength of your arguments.

Its not easy for 'true believers' to accept the truth. But that much more necessary for the truth to be spoken.

Kostas