Sunday, 12 August 2012

Can't see the wood for the trees.

So far all my attempts at modelling The Sanctuary have been inconclusive.

My mind always stops at the ring of stones (marked on the map by rectangles) mainly because it is difficult to model stones in Gmod (computer) or with satay sticks.
See film further down on this page!

I have no idea how big the stones were, how deep the post holes.
I'm in the dark.

I need to read Maud Cunnington's excavation notes.

At the moment my best guess is that the shadows cast by the posts were significant.
I don't mean that the shadows were *it*.
The shadows were a part, not the whole reason...

But they would be dramatic.

The best way to check that would be to draw lines through the plan and see how it appears, I'm guessing that the posts act as multiple gnomons, a weird porcupine-like sun-dial.

The sun's light streams down to us from 'infinity' (as we used to say in physics).

This means that the shadow is at 90 degrees to the sun's azimuth.

The Sanctuary is not aligned to midsummer sun-rise.
This I know because I stood there freezing to death at 5 AM with my bits of string and compass on one of the few days in June when it wasn't raining!

If the midwinter sun sets further to the south than its official azimuth, that would explain why the north-east pathway doesn't align with the sun.

There are a lot of extra posts (The H posts) in the midwinter sun-set position, and a recumbent stone, plus I'd really like to believe that the reason why we celebrate Christmas so close to the midwinter solstice isn't as simple as 'Mithras' or rather 'Sol Invictus'.

Newgrange and Meas Howe prove that a fascination with the midwinter sun in Britain is older than AD 43- the Roman invasion...

At The Sanctuary, the sun path from the midwinter sun points to The Ridgeway and the round barrows. Does this mean that The Sanctuary 'functioned' as a portal for the spirits?

Like a key turning in a lock, the sun slowly moves around to indicate the time when 'the way' is open for the dead to return..or perhaps leave...?

Who knows!
I could write similar things about any structure.

(ignore the grey writing that says equinox sun set. I should have cut that off)
Sanctuary map with shadows.

So the film.
No sound
Just a printed plan, Plasticine
And a torch.

Post script:
I am very grateful to Mike Pitts for posting a photocopy of Maud Cunnington's Sanctuary plans.

This makes it much easier to link pottery remains etc to the correct post holes.
Here, for the terminally confused and border-line obsessive, are the letters and names of the rings.