The Modern Antiquarian. Stone Circles, Ancient Sites, Neolithic Monuments, Ancient Monuments, Prehistoric Sites, Megalithic MysteriesThe Modern Antiquarian

Horridge Common (West)



This was, once upon a time, clearly a very substantial cairn - now, but a fragment remains. Guess this is what happens to things when there's no political capital to be made by ostentatious 'rebellion'. One can thus only assume there are ulterior motives to the latter? Shame on those who only see but a fragment themselves... of the much bigger picture.

The setting, nonetheless, is fine... incorporate within a circular walk taking in the great Rippon Tor cairns and Horridge Common. Too sad to contemplate on its own. In more ways than one.
10th November 2020ce
Edited 10th November 2020ce

Comments (6)

Do you think this was ever a round cairn consisting of central mound, or could it have been a ring cairn with open centre? I guess we'll never know but your photo doesn't rule out either.

As to the wider point, as you know I agree with you how depressing it is that remote sites have little or no practical protection while the show sites gets all the research and publicity. On the other hand, if you're comparing with Stonehenge then all I'd say is, if we can't even protect a WHS then there really is no hope for these other sites to be properly looked after. Stonehenge is unfortunately a bit of a showpiece battleground with all sorts of agendas at play, but in my view it's a mistake to dismiss its importance in the bigger scheme of trying to preserve heritage sites generally from the plough, from ignorant vandalism and from development. Public disinterest is as fatal to these monuments as anything.
thesweetcheat Posted by thesweetcheat
11th November 2020ce
I agree with you re the importance of the Stonehenge debate within the big picture - however, I believe it is having a significant negative influence for the UK as a whole. Alienating people who might otherwise be receptive to the issues, much in the same way 'Extinction Rebellion', from what I've experienced, have been so counterproductive to the battle to win hearts and minds and get the force of the masses behind us to make real, global change. People simply do not like being hectored by self-righteous middle/upper-class 'rebels'... and certainly not the likes of Mr Pendragon acting the deranged fool. It seems to me, certainly in the south-east, that the more Stonehenge appears in the national press, the more people are going to dismiss it as nothing to do with them. 'Not again. So what, just an old pile of stones in a field on the way to Cornwall. Why don't they get jobs? etc'.

For what it's worth, I think those who really care - and are not just in it for 'personal reasons' - need to step back, consider basic human psychology. Humans are territorial animals and if they are going to care about anything, chances are it's what's in their town, their own patch. That's where indignation is going to be generated. "No quarrying company's gonna destroy where I've walked my dog... we'll see about that! Who do they think they are?" But when every archaeologist and journalist is swarming around Stonehenge hoping to sell another book, get in the papers, get on TV - avoid having to go somewhere wet and cold - I guess it's up to the likes of us to report what's going on, right? Try and generate some local ownership. I'd say Stonehenge simply does not matter to the vast majority of people.... and by association, neither does our ancient heritage. Need some new thinking here.
11th November 2020ce
Yes, the media is culpable in focusing attention on the likes of Mr Pendragon though, as there is a significant body of entirely mainstream archaeologists who are opposed to the scheme as proposed.

By referring to "Druids" etc (as the recent Guardian news story did), it makes the debate appear to be a disagreement between a small of people on the lunatic fringes vs "the Economy (Stupid)", rather than putting across very valid arguments about not infringing our international obligations to protect the WHS and preserving important archaeology for the future. Even if some archaeos make hay out of never-ending Stonehenge books and papers, it shouldn't detract from the wider picture of what's at stake, particularly when we have a govt that clearly has no interest in supporting heritage/arts and is happy to rip up international obligations if they don't suit its agenda.
thesweetcheat Posted by thesweetcheat
12th November 2020ce
BTW, be interested in your thoughts on the forum discussion, if you can bear to talk Even More about Stonehenge :) thesweetcheat Posted by thesweetcheat
13th November 2020ce
And therein lies the problem... 'Stonehenge' being used as the axiom for 'ancient monument', when it is so utterly unrepresentative of the genre..... conditioning people to view anything else as not 'as good as'...

My focus is with the much more mundane but, to me, infinitely more interesting sites which informed the day to day lives of 'ordinary people' back then. Not just the political elites. Without whatever tenuous, subjective connections to common humanity a visit to those places can forge, I reckon our ancient heritage IS just piles of old stones and earth. That's why I feel very little emotive element if I ever happen to find myself in a stately home. Sure, impressive architecture, conveying political power, status etc... I might be impressed at the skill, workmanship, but, ultimately I pity the owners for having that need. The Trumps of their time. Empty people. It might be argued that Stonehenge serves the same purpose today as it has always done... powerplay far removed from life in general, somewhere for a pilgrimage, perhaps? But nothing more.

One only has to journey to Thornborough Henges to weep at the attention Stonehenge receives at the expense of EVERYTHING else. Owned by Tarmac? Do people really not give a damn about the north? Now, I have no doubt MPP is a man of the utmost integrity, but, since he is one of our premier prehistoric academics, I await his or a colleague's dissertation re the impact of outdoor leisure upon the Bronze Age archaeology of upland Britain with unparalleled interest. Perhaps I've missed it? Or are we to think those upland regions - i.e most of Wales, Scotland, Northern England - really don't warrant attention when there's so much more to discover about former political elites in Wessex, which, naturally, must take precedent? Is it really awaiting the likes of someone as woefully uneducated as me to try it?

I ask myself just why that is. Why does Stonehenge attract so much attention? Hence the earlier postings. As you'll be aware, just up the road is Yarnbury, one of the south's most splendid hillforts. Last time I was there this ludicrous man ordered me to leave... and was so out of his depth when I demanded to know why he was not taking his responsibility to the nation seriously that I almost felt sorry for him. Try to visit the famous Bush barrow on Normanton and you have to shin barbed wire. MPP complains we'll be destroying the camp where the people who probably built Stonehenge lived... while we can't even visit the archaeology what is there. Knowledge for the sake of knowledge is, in my opinion, worse than useless. Without that physical connection, we may as well enclose the whole area in a geodesic dome and bung Bruce Dern a few quid as caretaker. Perhaps you can appreciate why the average 'person in the street' says 'So what?'.

I happen to think one should judge a culture not by what the 'elite' do, but the masses. Currently, I would say people, in general, don't give a monkey's about our ancient heritage. The reasons are no doubt myriad, but perhaps the average punter may hold views such as these: i) since Stonehenge is presented as the archetype, aside from a few places way up in Orkney and the like, nothing else like that exists, so nothing else to see? If there was, the archaeologists would talk about them, right?; ii) only pagans with dreadlocks and nutters who think they are King Arthur reincarnated go to ancient sites, so best avoided; iii) no matter what the government does, it can't please these archeologist types, so they are clearly just spoiling for a fight with circular, contradictory arguments; iv) the traffic is so bad here that the pollution levels must be appalling. So why do these people want to oppose a scheme that will go a fair way to alleviating that and help the environment? Are they mad? v) I don't wanna live in a museum, but look to the future.

The Romans managed a 400-year-old tenure here by classic stick and carrot techniques - we'll destroy you if needs be, but much better if you embrace all the perks and feel part of what we're building here, enjoy yourself instead - whereas The Normans just used the stick, meaning the indigenous culture went underground, the language resurfacing to become the world's dominant. I reckon by repeatedly going 'over the top' and staging full-frontal attacks to try and change the UK's view towards its ancient heritage we're just as stupid as the proverbial Haig. No vision. No one with any real strategy for good. People need to be involved, be able to see what's in it for them for attitudes to change. Everyone right across these isles. To achieve that ownership I mentioned, get people curious about their prehistory. And for that, we need to stop talking about bloody Stonehenge. Who knows, perhaps a farmer about to trash the next Horridge Common (West) may stop and think. It'll be a start. Then again, it's not as if it's Stonehenge, is it?
14th November 2020ce
Thank you, I enjoyed that. Can't disagree with anything there, other than to say "can't we do both?" :)

The level of media attention given to the so-called druids is massively irritating, especially when they like many archaeos do not do anything to highlight the destruction of other sites. Almost as if their 'religion' is a bit made-up (mind you, which isn't?).

The point that resonates most for me in your comment is about access though. If we're so keen to extoll the virtues of Stonehenge's wider landscape, access should be granted to all of it (on foot, I'm not suggesting 4x4s). Obviously I am partisan where access questions are concerned. Personally I think the current EH cash-cow arrangement for access is disgusting. If the landscape is so important to the monument, remove the fences separating it from the cursus etc.

I still disagree with the tunnel decision (on balance, as I've said on the forum thread), but I do think some of the arguments being made are hyperbolic in the extreme. MPP going on about 'half a milion' objects lost or whatever is ridiculous nonsense with no basis in evidence. As you say, thousands of real, physically verifiable sites (many scheduled) are damaged and threatened with destruction across the country and there is no murmur of protest from either 'druids' or most of the archaeologists who are fighting the tunnel.

I suspect there is much more Stonehenge argument to come though, so prepare to be unsurprised and irritated.
thesweetcheat Posted by thesweetcheat
14th November 2020ce
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