Reply To: Bush Barrow Chieftain, Devizes Museum

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david poole

    Thank you for the suggestion Dowrgi. I shall do so at once. I can provide a reference for the magazine, I have it with me right now.

    Wiltshire Life December 2019 Stonehenge: Landscape Perspectives pages 28 to 30

    This article draws on the expertise of Susan Greaney from English Heritage, David Dawson from Wiltshire Museum, and Adrian Green from Salisbury Museum. The landscape and history of Stonehenge are described. Botany and ecology are covered. Neolithic views of the cosmos and astronomy. This takes on a spiritual aspect. Midsummer and midwinter. There is some description of the alignment of the stones. Gatherings took place at Durrington Walls. The Moon and star alignments are discussed. At this point the Bush Barrow Chieftain is introduced as a significant find. Another important burial, I recall something of this from my museum visit, is that of a shaman or priest from nearby Upton Lovell. Goldworking and religious beliefs were apparently linked in the early Bronze Age. Bones, boar’s tusks, flint axes, herbs and intoxicating substances also feature. The shaman carried tools and burnishing stones to work gold, this is connected to magic. Gold and bronze sky discs represented the movements of the Sun and the Moon, featuring sun chariots. One such disc was found as part of a Bronze Age burial at Monkton Farleigh, a gold disc with a cross at the centre. It is thought to represent the Sun. The art collections at Salisbury Museum are described. William Geller’s The Druid’s Sacrifice from 1832 is given as an example. The article gives a wide variety of different perspectives on Stonehenge covering science, history and culture. The Bronze Age acquires serious significance. This is an important time and one I wish I knew more about. The Bronze Age comes later than the Neolithic, so we are crossing multiple time periods.

    Overall the magazine is very good. There are a lot of good features on the country, on nature, on folk customs. Wiltshire Life comes recommended.