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Below is the first in a series of short “postcards” that we hope will be submitted by anyone that has something to share, whether that be a digital snap and a “wish you were here” or something more involved. Whilst the origins of Stonehenge and Avebury remain shrouded in the mists of prehistory, the public has much to offer in the way of observations and memories, photographs and drawings, family and community stories, poems and songs, notes and diaries. Whether an old favourite or a gem that has remained unnoticed in the home, a snippet from a journal or something encountered in a museum collection, a much photographed monument or an uncelebrated view encountered in the landscape: this collective story of Stonehenge and Avebury has never been told so please do join in by sending your postcards to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stonehenge and Avebury: William Stukeley awakened by Britannia!
A smiling Britannia appears to a figure attempting to rise from a fallen capital of an adjacent classical column, the base of which portrays his facial image in relief. The awestruck figure is an eighteenth century antiquary, William Stukeley. Britannia has awakened Stukeley to an ancient past that had been overshadowed by attention devoted to Roman remains. It was high time indigenous monuments were sought out to be celebrated in their own right, and with his bare foot planted on soil at the edge of the shadow cast by the pillar, Stukeley was about to rise and champion their cause.
A detail from the frontispiece of William Stukeley’s Itinerarium Curiosum: An Account of the Antiquitys and Remarkable Curiositys in Nature or Art Observ’d in Travels Thro’ Great Britain, published in 1724 and publicly accessible in the library of the Wiltshire Heritage Museum.
For others in the series put postcards in the search box.