On Sun, 16 Sep 2007 10:41:55 -0400, Orion <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>Now, now let's have none of this questioning of the experts. That would be
>See what the late, great RJC Atkinson writes:
>RJC Atkinson "Stonehenge", p27
>The earliest monument at Stonehenge thus appears to have been a circular
>enclosure bounded by the earthwork, with the ring of Aubrey Holes just
>inside it. As these holes appear to have been ritual pits, dug for some
>religious or ceremonial purpose and refilled almost immediately (p. 27), the
>presence of two of them on the entrance causeway itself (nos. 55, 56) need
>not be taken to imply that they are of different date from the earthwork.
>For once refilled they would cause no obstruction, and in any case there is
>a clear space of 16 ft between them.
>RJC Atkinson "Stonehenge", p76
>The purpose of this ditch can only be conjectured. Once the course of the
>Avenue had been decided, it would be clear that the Heel Stone would stand
>within it, though not symmetrically. As part of the earlier sanctuary of
>period I the Heel Stone was doubtless hedged round, for the new builders,
>with all kinds of taboos and restrictions; and the digging of the ditch
>round it may well be interpreted as an expression, in physical form, of a
>ritual prohibition by which the sacred stone was cut off from the more
>profane activities with which the Avenue was associated. Even so, however,
>there seems to have been some compromise between the requirements of ritual
>and of expediency, for the ditch was filled up almost at once, so that
>thereafter it formed a symbolic rather than a physical barrier.
I know the problem as I am involved in what is looking more and more like a
sacred or ritual area which has evidence of Neolithic through to RB 'things'
going off there. We have Neolithic carved stones, and associated pits, which
were apparently - as Atkinson - dug and then filled back in immediately but
with 'rubble sculptures' on top of the backfill; we have BA (early and late)
'offering' pits filled with burnt material (bone included)and evidence of IA
and RB potsherds being left within the confines of the features (and nowhere
else on the site). Oh, and hundreds of potboilers filling what were natural
gulleys - through which some of the 'offering' pits had been dug............
The major problem we have is that if this isn't a 'ritual' site then we
really don't have the knowledge of what exactly was going on and the
vocabulary to give it another purpose!