An Old New World Wonder

“People urged to vote for Stonehenge” says the BBC. Vote for Stonehenge? I didn’t know there was another election but maybe an ancient monument could make a better job of running the country than the current political parties, so I’m game.

In fact, this instruction is to do with English Heritage wanting us to vote for Stonehenge, currently languishing well below the bottom of the candidates list, as a new 7th Wonder of the World.

Unusual use of the word “new” there. Surely Stonehenge is older than most of the original 7 wonders, let alone the “new” ones.

The 7 Wonders of the World has a horrible shouty website (though this may be a case of the “pot calling the kettle black” after some of my attempts at creating sites in the past few days, although I had teh grace to bin most of them.) It has so much movement that it makes you feel vaguely nauseous. Which is neither here nor there, except it doesn’t inspire much confidence in the taste of the judges.

To get back to the point, despite being a slavish devotee of megalithic monuments and a lover of Stonehenge, I can’t see that Stonehenge counts as much of a “World Wonder.” Avebury is much more impressive for a start.

Visiting Stonehenge can be a deeply dispiriting experience. The car park, the gift shops, the shuffling walk round in a circle – making you feel you are either an extra in a remake of “One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest” or in a WWII queue for dried egg to which everyone else has unaccountably brought a digital camera. And is not afraid to use it.

Not to mention English Heritage’s new plans, which appear to be an excuse for destroying the landscape even more, in order to create even more of an ersatz “Heritage” experience. Will a vote for Stonehenge just encourage them?

Silbury Hill to get stuffed

This blog (as a collective being) loves megalithic structures and sites.

So, it was interesting to read on clioaudio‘s excellent blog and in an English Heritage press release that Silbury Hill is being excavated.

Ironically,the half-arsed attempts to nose around in Silbury Hill were what is putting it at risk, after about 4000 years of being pretty solid. It’s a pyramid shaped man-made hill so it was inherently steady.

It was dug into by the Duke of Northumberland, in 1777, and by a Professor Atkinson, in the 1960s. The shafts they dug have made the monument unstable. Hence English Heritage is going in to shore it up with concrete. Hmm.

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