Stonehenge may be the best-known Neolithic monument in Britain but it has never stood in glorious, awe-inspiring isolation. In fact, it is situated within what archaeologists call a ritual landscape, defined by Frances Pryor as a ‘concentration of funerary and ceremonial monuments that were constructed in the Neolithic (4000- 2500 BC) and Early Bronze Age (2500-1500 BC)’.
Anyone visiting the Iron Age hill fort at Old Sarum in Wiltshire is likely to miss the weathered, lichen-speckled monument opposite the entrance, on the other side of the main road into Salisbury. The inscription on this irregular block of stone is very difficult to decipher, not just because of its age but also because of its unusual (perhaps even unique — certainly, I have seen nothing in this style before) lettering.
I was browsing through January’s issue of the Journal of Sporting Archaeology when a notice caught my eye: ‘Professor Allison’s lecture on “The Druidic Origins of Association Football” scheduled for the 20th March has been cancelled due to unforeseen circumstances.’ When I contacted the journal’s editor he was unable to explain what those ‘circumstances’ were but he did put me in touch with Professor Allison.
A man’s most open actions have a secret side to them. (Under Western Eyes – Joseph Conrad)
What do we call them, these hybrid, liminal places? ‘Parks’, it seems. ‘Park’ being a word that conjures nothing of their reality, their bounty and their lack.
On his way back from the 2014 NATO summit at Newport in Wales, Barack Obama made a surprise visit to Stonehenge. The president was helicoptered in to Boscombe Down airbase and then motorcaded to the site, where he was given a guided tour by an English heritage curator.