Thursday, 29 March 2012


Our Woodhenge is the weirdest thing; a field with concentric concrete posts...

But circular ditches and banks with post holes are not confined to Britain. The Middle Neolithic circular ditch systems are known as Kreisgrabenanlagen (KGA) and are found all over Middle Europe. One third of the approx. 135 monuments known so far are found in the eastern federal states of Austria.

 I applaud the purity of the Woodhenge concrete posts for they are so much more symbolic than a reconstruction...Knossos is a warning to all that fixing a dream of the past into physical reality creates a theme park.

But on the other hand the only way to see if Woodhenge could work (Woodhenge in particular because unlike Stonehenge there is nothing left of it!) to try to re-make it by the side of the real thing...why isn't that happening?

Same with the Sanctuary.

The rings of Woodhenge and The Sanctuary are similar to structures found in northern Europe.

Even though this feels a very long way off from the Persephone myth  I had to buy Stonehenge and Timber Circles by Alex Gibson- still waiting for it to be posted from America.

Here is Joshua Pollard's review of the book...

The word Henge rather gets in the way of understanding these things. We have Stonehenge and British timber circles and we have henges. A henge is a bank and ditch and very often either a stone circle or the remains of one. The central European sites are considerably older than the British- dating to around 5000 BC

Henge: A type of ritual monument found only in the British Isles and consisting of a circular area, anything from 150 to 1700 feet across, delimited by a ditch with the bank normally outside it.
W.Bray and D. Trump, A Dictionary of Archaeology (1970), 103.
British henges are I think dated at around 3200 BC and seem to have been abandoned a thousand years latter. Nevertheless it is tempting to believe that the people who used circular monuments that probably had astronomical alignments built into them shared concerns, rituals and observations.

Kreisgrabenanlagen are not henges, but nor are they not henges.

Then there is the question of entrances, and numbers of ditches, alignments and burials. Some British henges in Western England and Ireland don't have any ditches.

It becomes increasingly difficult to make a case for henge as a type of ritual monument found only in the British Isles.

Another name for circular areas with post holes is roundels, and another is Sunbursts- such as Catholme Sunburst which came complete with a central burial.

Like The Sanctuary, the Catholme site contained an artifact probably from continental Europe.

What has Woodhenge got to do with the Persephone myth- I keep asking myself that. I mean obviously I should be visiting Eleusis or Sicily, or...yes! but I don't have the money or time to do this yet. Woodhenge is as good a place as any to work out a strategy for studying a location.

The central burials as a feature of this shape of monument is interesting though. The burial at The Sanctuary was Bronze Age and probably a mummified composite, body. The preserved remains of more than one person fixed together to make a sacred, other, entity...

It is difficult to say anything about the central burial at Woodhenge.

The central sacrifice echos the abduction of Persephone, she is the archetypal buried girl after all.

As to the Kreisgrabenanlagen, some burials were found in contorted positions indicating death at the time of burial.  A burial found at Ippesheim  (Bavaria) was a woman buried "upside down in a pit, one hand above her head breaking her fall, the other covering her face". This murder is very different from empowering a circle with a sacred body, or is it?

Yet again no way to know...