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whats so special about a bloody henge?
Why are henges and associated monuments so important to the study of prehistory? Why is it important to understand these monuments in their wider landscape context? Discuss- why are henges and their landscapes important national assets?Smile
Cuz tourists like Stonehenge? I personally prefer roundhouses.
Are all henges, henges? Great big huge ones, tiny little ones. medium sized ones.........

Today, Bradford. Tomorrow, well, Bradford probably.
I can't put it better than this....

Gordon Barclay... Historic Scotland

I would argue that there really isn't such a thing as a 'henge' as a single class of monument. New dates for and recent re-analysis of the Scottish material suggests that this sort of enclosure, with the ditch inside the circuit of the bank, were built for over 1000 years, range in size from less than 15m across (Wormy Hillock) to over 100m across (Brodgar) and surround a considerable range of pre-existing structures (timber circles (Balfarg, North Mains, Cairnpapple), timber mortuary structures (Balfarg Riding School), stone circles (Stenness), cist burials (the North Mains site again - the ditch and bank are contemporary with the cists inside)). A better explanation than the 'national' class serving a single function might be that they represent the closing off of pre-existing sites that are problematic or dangerous. From analogies with later Irish sites it has been suggested that the internal ditch and bank do represent a defensive rampart, but facing inwards against what is enclosed.

Gordon Barclay

point is... that one mans Henge is another womans sacred area...

we will never really know what each place as used for.. they deal with concepts that are within the mind. - Spiritual etc etc... you can't excavate a feeling.. you can only guess at what happened within them...

WE process to them... do we really know that is what happened? nope.. we hugs stones... did they? Did the builders of one monument actual feel teh same when they saw another?

They have another purpose for understanding prehistory... but knowing the mind of the individuals is a bit far off jsut now.


Another day another WSI?
Simple -

rarity clause in why sites are nationally important in PPG 16.

further to ranked in English Heritage's Monument Class Descriptions.

EH web site states...
The Monument Class Description (MCD) is a key tool, developed and used by the Monuments Protection Programme, in the evaluation of monuments. To date a group of circa 225 MCDs has been prepared and one of the aims of their dissemination on the WWW is to facilitate their expansion, and further enhancement.

But the damned link don't work anymore Sad
To me Henges are so important because they are just so enigmatic.
We truly have no idea what their original purpose was, ok so we have convinced ourselves that they have some kind of religous significance or that they are "ritual"(don't you just love throwing that word in)but who knows.
Perhaps one way to have all henge type monuments saved would be to convince people that they were the the starting point of some kind of freemasonry, that would get the great and good behind us!!
only joking honest!

I still don't see why monumnets that are so varried in size, shape and style can all be grouped under the same heading.
Maybe people think they are important because we don't realy know that much about them? I don't know. I find them quite interesting but they aren't really very exiting..give me a nice settlement site any day (preferebly in shetland)
Iron Age forts are the same to me - it seems obvious that there was a variety of functions these enclosures were built for - many not really defensive, some possibly ritual related.

Save the Thornborough Henge Complex -
Could expand forever this thread.... I think one key point is that all "henges" are unique. To be a bit topical here, how on earth can we justify making grand one-way decisions over a sacred landscape like Thornborough on the basis of a commercial evaluation of a silly-percentage of the site? That aside for a mo, was having a silly moment with the mob on site t`other day and this came up: How about Neolithic communities seeing celestial bodies as holes in the sky? How about henges as a way of joining up the holes to access the beyond? We just don`t know enough. Time and again, current understanding has been radically shaken when known monuments are (through new work) placed within their landscape context. This should not be read as a green light to rape sacred landscapes in pursuit of knowledge! For me, the enigmatic nature of Neolithic and Bronze-Age monuments places them at the top of any priority list. At the pinnacle of the period and, at the extreme ends of the behavioural spectrum, prehistoric monumentalism is, our pyramid complex.Big Grin

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