Tuesday, July 15, 2008
Avebury - Jacquetta Hawkes
To continue with Jacquetta Hawke's writing, her words on Avebury, what she then saw at Avebury 70 odd years ago, thousands of tourists, is still seen today, as they traipse round paying homage. Strangely she does'nt have much to say about Silbury except perhaps
"there it stands a challenge to science, and a proof that faith can build mountains with the help of no more than bone shovels and antler picks"
Time drifts on but Avebury still manages to keep its air of mystery, its secrets safely kept, Silbury is the same, experts circle and pronounce their verdicts, amateurs theorise but the essence of truth remains stubbornly hidden.
" Learned men and kings (she mentions a testimonial in the Red Lion here), still go to Avebury, but they are supplemented by thousands of tourists. This flow of visitors to ancestral monuments is curiously reminiscent of that of medieval pilgrims to famous shrines; though without faith or doctrine, their fundamental needs and purposes are, I believe, very much the same.
However this may be, there is no doubt that in the summer months visitors swarm at Avebury, and the archaeological traveller may prefer to go there in other seasons when the place relapses peacefully into the downland countryside. Let him go in early spring when the wind still blows chilly across the chalk hills but the beeches are grape coloured with thrusting buds, or in autumn when these same trees are no more than a glowing aftermath of summer in the pale nostalgic air, and he can wander in pursuit of earthworks and stones among cottage gardens heavy with the last dahlias and chrysantheums."