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In 1849 a young relative of Wordsworth, Emmeline Fisher, wrote Lines on the Opening of Silbury Hill, a poetic apology to the ancestors for an excavation that was going on at that time into the “Green Pyramid of the plains, from far-ebbed Time” as she called it. It commenced:

Bones of our wild forefathers, O forgive,
If now we pierce the chambers of your rest,
And open your dark pillows to the eye
Of the irreverent Day!

We think there may be a much more significant apology due soon, for the gouging of a mile of new dual carriageway through Europe’s most important prehistoric landscape at Stonehenge and the stealing of the free view of the stones currently enjoyed by millions of travellers a year. We’ll all be long gone when the full scale of the loss is fully understood by a future possessing technology inconceivably more sophisticated than ours.

So, we would like to announce a poetry competition, in the form of an apology to the future. The winning entry or entries will be put in an envelope sealed with red wax and placed in a ceramic urn, just like Emmeline’s was, and buried just outside the World Heritage site, an apology for posterity to find!

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Entries please, no longer than 10 lines, with your own choice of title. We’ll publish some of them here in the Journal and elsewhere and the winner will be chosen by a committee drawn from some of the many organisations and groups who have worked so hard for so long to stop this dreadful scheme going ahead. Then, if the worst happens, on the day the first bulldozer is deployed, we will bury the apologies as described. Please send your entries to info@heritageaction.org.uk  Good luck!

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CLUE #1:  In a World Heritage Site

CLUE #2: No longer visible, but if it was, it soon wouldn’t be.

A somewhat simple puzzle for these dark times. Most of you internet-savvy types should solve this in just a few minutes.

Below are eight sets of three random words. What is the common denominator between the sets?

 
language nursery likening
restrict nanny underline
frail across kings
ruffling ladders riverbed
cult cobras fluffed
early distilled inner
mystified potions farmed
searching shredding printer

Our friends at Clonehenge have announced a new competition!

Announcing the Clonehenge Group Henging Contest! (Participation is voluntary.) The deadline will be March 1, but if it turns out we need to we can push it further. Anyone who wants to participate would make Stonehenge out of found objects or trash (or both), any size, and post pictures to our Facebook group. We’re not going to make a lot of rules and if someone varies a little from the materials mentioned, we’re likely to turn a blind eye. The one solid rule is no henges from pre-made kits.

The point is to make the Stonehenge you feel inspired to make. Depending what we get, we’ll figure out winning categories. Funniness counts, of course, but accurate ones that aren’t funny will also be valued. If you go for beauty instead, we will enjoy that, too. You will no doubt come up with things we would never think of. We live for that.

You can make it as Stonehenge may have been when it was complete or Stonehenge as it is now, or some portion of either. Lone trilithons are okay if that’s how the spirit moves you, but it’s harder to win that way.

Remember, curved lintels on the outer circle are the way to my heart. I have seen enough Spinal Tap references in the last 12 years to last me ten lifetimes so if you go there, don’t count on me. But I won’t be the only judge.

Ready, set, start your henges!

No mention yet of any prize, but it should be interesting seeing how creative people can be! Will you be entering?

So where (and when) was this remarkable image captured?

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september-puzzle

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APRIL PUZZLE.

The Red Lion at Avebury is famous for being the world’s only pub standing inside a stone circle but there’s another pub with an even better boast – it has a group of megaliths standing in its garden (see above). They’ve been scheduled for 135 years, as long as Stonehenge and Avebury and they’ve been standing there a thousand years longer.

What they were used for is a mystery but Historic England’s List Entry Summary helpfully suggests they may have had a “ritual purpose”. More convincingly, it’s said that a nearby village was the site of Camelot and that a sword was seen in a stone near to there. So …..  name those stones – and more to the point, name that pub!

March puzzle

It’s a scheduled Bronze Age stone circle and much visited. It is where Arthur extracted Excalibur. Perhaps.

Aubrey Burl said of it: “aerial photographs have revealed mediaeval ridge-and-furrow plough-marks not only running up to the ring, but also through it as though this ‘prehistoric’ megalithic ring might postdate the Middle Ages! It does not.” However, others have suggested he may have been wrong and that it is a fake.

So where is it? The answer, and the evidence, in a week.

Two images of hundreds of protestors at a hillfort. Can you spot the crucial difference?

Feb Puzzle

Well, the top one is the surroundings of Cissbury Rings, West Sussex and the lower one is Oswestry, Shropshire. But the difference is more than that. At the top one the Council promptly listened to the democratic voice and abandoned its sell-off plans. At the bottom one Shropshire Council not only ignored the democratic voice but also the combined voices of a host of national and international experts.

For reasons it still hasn’t explained it insists that a County with less than half a million people and 860,000 acres to choose from MUST build houses on one particular tiny spot where it will do maximum damage.

Back in November we highlighted another instance of heritage being safer in West Sussex than Shropshire) which prompted Oswestry Hillfort campaigner Dr George Nash to write: “I have just asked the Chairman of West Sussex Council if Old Oswestry Hillfort and its surrounding landscape can be incorporated into West Sussex. We want this ancient site to be administered by a useful, honest and progressive cultural heritage team”.  The above two pictures illustrate why that would be a damn good thing.

How did you get on with last week’s puzzle? A wider view may help …..

january puzzle answer.

January puzzle answer 2.

It’s British Camp, Malvern, as seen from The Kremlin Inn, Clee Hill, 30 miles away.

Suggestions for future puzzles very welcome.

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