Past, Present, Man, Nature: 9. “The Stonehenge it deserves”

Past, Present, Man, Nature: celebrating Jacquetta Hawkes.

An online exhibit by Alison Cullingford, Special Collections Librarian, University of Bradford.

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9. “The Stonehenge it deserves”

Although she was no longer involved in excavations, Jacquetta continued to be active in her profession, with what she called a “fairly steady output of articles, reviews, broadcasts etc., some popular and some specialist”. She wrote or edited major publications, including a biography of “Mortimer Wheeler” (1982), the Unesco History of Mankind (1963), the “Atlas of Ancient Archaeology” (1974), the “Atlas of Early Man” (1976), and the “Shell Guide to British Archaeology” (1986).

Atlas of early man

Atlas of early man

She was keen to engage with the question, “Whither archaeology?”  For instance, in 1968, she argued in “The Proper Study of Mankind”, an article in the journal “Antiquity”, that the scientific approach in archaeology was taking over, and argued for the use of imagination and synthesis, for consideration of the religious and aesthetic lives of past civilisations.  Her attack on the approach of what she called the “statniks” drew support from her contemporaries: Glyn Daniel, the editor of Antiquity, reported in a letter to Jacquetta the many favourable comments by students.

Stonehenge

Stonehenge

Jacquetta has a particularly strong association with Stonehenge, thanks to her oft-quoted remark in “The God in the Machine”, an “Antiquity” article of 1967: “every age gets the Stonehenge it deserves – and desires”.  The article surveyed the discussion of Stonehenge as an observatory: she believed that it was not, that its significance was ritualistic and religious, and that attempts to see it as a scientific construct were as much a product of the present time as the ideas of other ages about Stonehenge were of theirs.  Her interest in Stonehenge extended to another of her campaigns, her involvement with the New Sarum Society.

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3 responses to “Past, Present, Man, Nature: 9. “The Stonehenge it deserves”

  1. Pingback: Past, Present, Man, Nature: 8. A Woman asks why « Celebrating Jacquetta Hawkes

  2. Pingback: Past, Present, Man, Nature: 10. “Active elderly lady, retired writer” « Celebrating Jacquetta Hawkes

  3. Pingback: 2010 in review « Celebrating Jacquetta Hawkes

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