Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Stonehenge and other things By Nancy M Bell

Wow, it's February 18th already. Time flies, it seems like only a few days ago I was posting my January offering to the Books We Love blog. I have started an online course with the University of Buckingham on Stonehenge. It is delivered via iversity.org. The information is relayed via video clips followed by a quiz and it very informative. There is a discussion page where students can interact and share thoughts and ideas as well as ask questions. I'm in the fourth week right now and have just completed the first Project which will be judged by my peers in the group and then issued a grade by the course facilitator. I find the topic terribly interesting and intriguing. I've always been fascinated by the huge stone constructions in England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland. There are so many theories of how they were built and why. When I was researching my first novel, Laurel's Quest, I had the opportunity to delve deeper into the reams of data available on stone monuments, structures and effigies. The more I read, the more it seemed there was to find out. Research can suck you in and make you forget you should be writing. I became enamoured with the stones in Cornwall which led me to source a couple of books by Ithtell Colquhoun which have been out of print for decades. The Living Stones deals with Cornwall and the author wrote it while living in Lamorna Cove which figures prominently in my Cornwall Adventures novels, especially my current work in progress, Arabella's Secret. The second is The Crying of the Wind which she wrote while visiting Ireland.


Her writing style is very similar to Canadian west coast author Gilean Douglas.


But back to Stonehenge... the bluestones in the smaller horseshoe have been sourced to the Preseli Hills in Wales.


The mind boggles at the size of the stones and how far they were moved. It is thought they were taken over the steep, rough uneven ground to the sea and then brought by boat up the Bristol Channel and then overland to the Salisbury Plain. The huge sarcen stones were brought from the Marlborough Downs, with the largest weighing more than 40 tons there has been much speculation on how they were moved. Personally, I believe that ancient man, or at least a segment of the society, had an advanced understanding of engineering and of the movement of the stars and planets. There are others who will refute this opinion quite strongly. Buy hey, everyone is entitled to their own opinion.
From Cornwall's multitude of stone circles and Stonehenge I found myself following the earth energy lines across Cornwall and southwest England. From Carn les Boels to St. Michael's Mount to the Cheeswring on Bodmin Moor to Glastonbury Tor and the Vale of Avalon. My research took me to Avebury, which I still have to visit in person, and the huge stone complex there. It covers much of the landscape and is watched over the flat topped conical presence of Silbury Hill. William Stukeley called the whole arrangement the Serpent Temple and believed it had been built by the Druids. I think these stone arrangements are much older. Interestingly, there are stone circles scattered across the prairies of Albert and Saskatchewan. One of the most enigmatic and hard to find is what is known as the Majorville Medicine Wheel. In reality, it is closer to Bow City than Majorville and sits high on a cliff overlooking the Bow River. It is not often visited but is still used by members of the Blackfoot Nation for sweats down by the river and as a sacred place. The stone arrangement sits on the same latitude as Stonehenge. 51 degrees north. The stones and lichen have been dated to before the building of Stonehenge and the pyramids of Egypt. Gordon Freeman has devoted many years to studying the sun dial as he calls it and has drawn many parallels with Stonehenge and it's solar and lunar alignments. His work can be seen in his book Canada's Stonehenge and his later work Hidden Stonehenge. It seems the more answers we find, the more questions and mystery there is.

Majorville Arrangement from the air


Standing on the central cairm and looking toward the Bow River


If you are interested in where all this research led, pick up a copy of Laurel's Quest and A Step Beyond. There you'll find all kinds of things woven into the fabric of the story. My current WIP, Arabella's Secret utilizes more Cornish myth and legend and Lamorna Cove and the cliffs near Land's End feature prominently. You can find Laurel's Quest and A Step Beyond by clicking on the title.

A bit about me;

Nancy M Bell has publishing credits in poetry, fiction and non-fiction. Nancy has presented at the Surrey International Writers Conference and the Writers Guild of Alberta Conference. She is currently working on Book 3 of her series The Cornwall Adventures.
Please visit her webpage http://www.nancymbell.ca
You can find her on Facebook at http://facebook.com/NancyMBell
Follow on twitter: @emilypikkasso