Monday, July 14, 2014

Francis Pryor - Channel 4 - Britain B.C.

I realise this short Channel 4 series by Time Team's ex-sheep farmer, pre-historian and archaeologist Francis Pryor titled Britain B.C. might be presented in a populist fashion but I like Francis, he's easy on the ear and I like his personality, his enthusiasm and zeal.

Plus, he disses the Roman Empire, and I'm always gonna support 'dissing Empires'. All Empires fail, and are only about making your slave-life Hell in the name of Economy, Prosperity and Cities.



Echoing my own Free Planet thoughts, Tim Shadla-Hall explains in the first part that ancient Britons were, "...people adopting the principle of least effort. They're intelligent like us, they do no more than they need to. They kept their populations levels low enough..." KEY POINT. Low enough. Yes, I'm of the opinion that 'there are too many of us humans' for the Limited Resource that is a FIXED-SIZE planet to sustain us AND ALL THE OTHER LIFE FORMS this planet can sustain. Modern Economies are built on the principle of limited choice i.e. manufacturing.



"And so the population was gradually led into the demoralising temptations of arcades, baths and sumptuous banquets. The unsuspecting Britons spoke of such novelties as civilisation when in fact they were features of their enslavement," Tacitus understood the situation well.

Would you like more fries with that?


HEARTHS, CIRCLES, BURIAL MOUNDS: okay, so it's a couple of hours later and the content of that two-parter are starting to rub up against each other and jar in my head. I'm a little confused, is what I'm trying to say. I 'understood' that these monuments were astrological calendars but this is not exclusively so:

  • HEARTH
    it sounds like 'one interpretation' of how a Stone Circle grows is that a 'hearth' of an old (king's?) roundhouse goes cold, the roof and walls crumble and the foundation circle is used as a guide for imported standing stones.
  • CIRCLES
    as happened at Stonehenge, outer stones in the circle (namely the blue stones) made their way from an earlier (outer) position to a more homely or internal position within the monument.
  • BURIAL MOUNDS
    these magnificent stone circles were sometimes 'butchered' and some of the outer stones eventually became the New Home of the dead which were then covered over by a burial mound.
Right, but then where does the 'living' wood henge with a processional way via water to a stone henge of the 'dead' fit into this scheme?

It seems (obviously) that, despite the enormity of the stones, Neolithic man considered them 'mobile'. The bluestones of Stonehenge for example are Welsh, and have been either quarried in or removed from a Welsh site down to Stonehenge. As has happened elsewhere, the stones are impermanent, alive.

And the stones that were moved into the centre of the circle representing The Members of the Family. I really like this, that you could visit a circle and go up to the stone named Uncle Frank, and it would be his, it would be him. Then what are the FIVE trilithon or topped sarsen-units of inner Stonehenge? Are these family-stone units? Five families? Then what are the ring of lintel'd sarsens all around, the family of man? Or the tribes of the region? Tribes of Europe?

And (back to the original design) what of these stoneless 'safe zones' between ring-fenced farmer-land where special meetings used to take place. These became formalised into great proto-hill fort spaces where wider clans gathered to do 'whatever they did'. Notice the four entrances on many of them, as there are four entrances to Avebury, also in Wiltshire, where a series of stone circles then grew.

It also sounds like 'spirit' or 'soul' or 'the continuing cycle of death and rebirth' seems to have come from the concept of plants i.e. farming, and how 'seemingly dead things' like the crop seeds can miraculously grow into wheat and corn and barley and trees. Spiritualism then is a response to a change of culture from Hunter-gatherer to Landed-farmer?


  • WAS STONEHENGE UNFINISHED?
    is that the answer? Stonehenge was part of the life-death processional-way version of existence where life is shepherded through the phases and celebrated at both ends. Maybe Stonehenge originated from a Great Neolithic King's roundhouse foundation and the hearth had become the centre of the encroaching stone monument until...  but then it was never capped. It never achieved its Burial Mound status. Instead, all around Stonehenge more private or smaller burial mounds grew, dotting the Wiltshire landscape.

My real question is, "Was Stonehenge designed to UNIFY Wiltshire with its farm-trading neighbours across Europe (these Bell Beaker people maybe?) and something (some dispute or change of heart/mind?) happened such that an enormous burial mound never came to fruition?" There were people involved in the Stonehenge story who hail from as far away as the Swiss Alps. Travellers, trader people, technologists, or maybe just imported signs of an outward mentality.

There was a suggestion that the 'archer' found at Stonehenge wasn't an archer at all but but a stone axe-wielding Sentinel of the monument who was KILLED by an imported (foreign) archer who then took up his role of axe-wielding Sentinel. That there was some ritualistic or sport element to the security/function of the circle. Custodians implies protecting something from some one or some thing.

I haven't even started to consider how Stonehenge may be connected to similar sites like Carnac in France, or which may have influenced or help evolve which. Maybe stone circles are as varied as the regional accents or local mindsets of their creators? Oh, too many questions, still... which is good. :)

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