Conceptual art is a bubble | Cherwell
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REALISATION: From Seeing to Understanding – The Origins of Art by Julian Spalding
About this product Product Information Our world view has changed from a flat earth under the dome of heaven to a planet spinning in the universe. Eric Hopton for redOrbit. It fascinates everyone from archaeologists to the fruitcakes who dress in white frocks and gather to celebrate arcane solstice rituals. Hundreds of years of serious scientific research and speculation about its origin and purpose have thrown up theories ranging from the utterly believable to the totally bizarre. Spalding has written about his theory theories in his latest book, Realisation-from Seeing to Understanding: The Origins of Art.
The book challenges accepted interpretations of several famous artworks and monuments. His new theory for Stonehenge is that the megaliths, those iconic giant standing stones, were actually supports for a circular wooden platform where celebrants performed their ceremonies and rituals as the stars rotated in the skies above them.
One of the most common theories for the great henge is that it served as a huge temple for the Druid priests and their followers. It has also been seen as a kind of astronomical calendar, a healing centre, an abode of the long dead, and even a place dedicated to human sacrifice. But all previous speculation has placed Stonehenge activity right on the ground. Wrong, says Spalding, the action all took place on the great stage-like altar above.
Spalding, in a Guardian interview , cites supporting evidence for his theory from ancient monuments around the world including China, Peru and Turkey where such sites were located on manmade or natural sites, and in circular patterns possibly linked to celestial movements. The fact that the author is not an archaeologist himself will not help him win scientific backing for his idea.
So why should Stonehenge?
The arguments are unlikely to trouble the one million plus visitors to Stonehenge, which is around , years old. There is enough evidence based history to fire the imagination of any modern tourist.
Somehow, in around 3, BC, its builders organized an estimated 30 million man hours in the construction. Over 80 of the enormous stones were transported from the Preseli mountains around miles away in south-west Wales.
Some of these bluestones weighed 4 tons each and scientists believe they were dragged on rollers and sledges to the headwaters on Milford Haven. There, they were loaded onto rafts and floated around the coast of south Wales and up the Avon and Frome rivers.