THE HANG OF THE STONES
The archaeologist, seeing the child brought here for healing, sadly remembered the excavated child sacrifice. “Not cast in stone,” people say. They muddle casting the first stone and commandments cut in stone. Stonehenge was thirteen centuries in building, every change perhaps an altered purpose. And this was long before the Bible retold kings, rebounded transgression lines, gave new fulfillings of the law.
THE CREATIVE JOURNEY
I work in an archaeology library. The assignment gave me a chance to read properly a book that I had often dipped into: Christopher Chippindale’s Stonehenge Complete. This begins the tale of Stonehenge in the times when it was rediscovered and given its present name, more or less, by the Anglo-Saxons, takes us through centuries of attempts to understand the place, and keeps till the end a systematic account of today’s evidence-based inferences about when and how it was built.
I had literally a creative journey: a week cycling, with wife Clare, amongst abbey ruins in Yorkshire. Those fed into my creative process in that they were religious structures, as Stonehenge is assumed to be, and they too incorporated building done over centuries.
I finished reading Stonehenge Complete on Monday night in Helmsley, drafted the sestude in my notebook on Tuesday on a bench near the east end of Rievaulx Abbey, made revisions in Ripon and Ilkley, and met the deadline by smartphone from Ilkley’s Craiglands Hotel.