Monday, January 10, 2022

Stonehenge: The Story of a Sacred Landscape by Francis Pryor

This book about Stonehenge caught my attention at the library and it's been an interesting narrative overall. I won't lie, there are some dry parts to this book but the stories I found interesting are the discoveries of grave sites, historical excavations and carbon dating.

Stonehenge has been a fascination of mine since I was a teen.  My husband, son and I were fortunate enough to take a vacation over a decade ago and visited Stonehenge twice. Highlight of the trip!



The fact that the stones come from Wales and other areas in England show that the stone was not constructed for practical purposes with straightforward business motives. If that were the case, stones would have been sourced as locally as possible. It was far more complex and a place of gatherings for many "tribes" and communities from all over England.

Near Stonehenge at Amesbury Archer a discovery of  three males, apparently related, were buried in nearby graves. Human teeth do most of the growing during childhood,  therefore the composition of the enamel will reflect the water a child drinks. Experts were able to find where they came from through their teeth.  The oldest male came from Germany but a younger male's teeth revealed he grew up in Southern England - his teeth showed he drank water from the chalklands.

In 1978 during an excavation they came upon burial mounds. They found the body of a man with his legs bent and one arm across the chest. The time period could be estimated because of the distinctively shaped arrowheads found. These arrows entered his chest from three different sides of his body. This would seem to imply someone protecting Stonehenge and shooting at the intruder.  I think it’s also amazing they can do radiocarbon dates and therefore knew this body was buried somewhere between 2400 and 2140 BC.

These are just a few interesting facts I read in this book by Francis Pryor. If Mike Biles,  who writes at A Bit About Britain, wrote a book about Stonehenge I would be very interested to read that book.  Historical narratives can be very engaging depending on the author and style.

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Category: Geography





8 comments:

  1. That's a very generous comment you've made there, Tina; thank you! I'm not sure how I'd approach a book about Stonehenge. It is such a complex subject and I'd certainly have to do a heck of a lot of research! I don't know what Francis Pryor is like as a writer, but I don't have anything like his knowledge and experience of the subject. It's not simply Stonehenge, of course - the whole area is packed with prehistoric reminders of one sort or another. I remember visiting Stonehenge when entry was through a simple gate and the ticket office was a guy in a wooden hut!

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    1. A wooden hut! I’m glad it’s so well protected now as Pryor’s book had some old photos of school outings and boys pushing at the stones. Also people picnicking there, graffiti 😟, as well as a bonfire set against a stone!
      I love your writing style as history can be a dry narrative but you make it interesting. Also, I realize Stonehenge is a monumental project (pun intended:-) !

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  2. This sounds fascinating! I've always been interested in Stonehenge as well and knew that the stones were from a distant location but don't know that much about it. The information they've been able to learn from the burials especially catches my interest. Last time we were at the Natural History Museum at the Smithsonian they had an exhbit on bodies that had been discovered in early European settlements in North America and I could have stayed at the exhibit for hours. I was there long enough that my husband finally abandoned me and went to look at rocks!

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    1. Katherine, that's a funny story about the Smithsonian! This book was pretty good but as i said, some areas were dry (for me). Lots of interesting facts about Stonehenge though and kept me reading.

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  3. I'm always fascinated by Stonehenge, especially the new things that they keep discovering about it.

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    1. Joy, it seems they come up with more discoveries about the land and the findings. I liked this book overall.

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  4. Stonehenge is an endless source of fascination, I always liked the theory that it played a role in seasonal celebrations and rituals. Thanks for sharing your thoughts

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    1. Shelleyrae, it's an amazing place to visit!

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Thank you for visiting. I appreciate your comments!

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