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Chapter 1 Journal Activity

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Journal Activity - Chapter 1 - Just the stones or the whole landscape?


This question brings to my mind the analogy "Cannot see the forest for the trees"
A single tree is a very fascinating subject to study. By focussing on the tree in isolation, one can learn a lot about it's life, form and structure. However, with such a narrow view it creates many unanswered questions. If one then zooms out to observe the tree's surroundings, much more can be learnt about why the tree takes on a particular form and how it relates to the other trees in the forest. The picture gradually comes more detailed as the information is unearthed.

Stonehenge is no different. To focus on just the stones themselves, while a specialised field of study, it limits the knowledge of why & how it is where it is. By zooming out to view its surroundings, it enables one to gain a more complete understanding of its relationship with its environment.

I also feel the study of the surrounding landscape is a bit like researching the family tree. Having a name and birth/death dates are all very good, but who was this person I'm related to? What were they like when they were alive? Why did they uproot their family to travel to the other side of the planet? etc.

By having an understanding of the landscape, the environment, the climate, the peoples, the verbal history, the similarities & differences to it's surroundings really brings the subject to life.

Having said all that, I do feel that studying the stones themselves is just as important as putting them into context with their surroundings.


almost 2 years ago

Hi Chris
Interesting reflection. The direction of movement of studies of Stonehenge is away from a focus on the stones and towards a focus on the landscape, the people, the world of Neolithic (and Mesolithic) Britain.

almost 2 years ago

Hi Dr Graeme,
Thank you ^^
I suppose my "interesting" reflection is based on my previous years in the class room learning about horticulture and my obsession with finding out about my own ancestors. At least I fully understand the hows and whys dendrochronology works as an archaeology dating tool. And understand what can prompt migrations to the other side of the world to start life all over again. ^


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