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Through the Gloomy Vale: Underworld Alignments at Stonehenge
Lionel Sims and David Fisher
Three recent independently developed models suggest that some Neolithic and Bronze Age monuments exhibit dual design properties in monument complexes by pairing obverse structures. Parker Pearson's (1) materiality model proposes that monuments of wood are paired with monuments of stone, these material metaphors respectively signifying places of rituals for the living with rituals for the dead. Higginbottom's (2) landscape model suggests that many western Scottish megalithic structures are paired in mirror-image landscape locations in which the horizon distance, direction and height of one site is the topographical reverse of the paired site - all in the service of ritually experiencing the liminal boundaries to the world. Sims' (3) diacritical model suggests that materials, landscapes and lunar-solar alignments are diacritically combined to facilitate cyclical ritual processions between paired monuments through a simulated underworld. All three models combine in varying degrees archaeology and archaeoastronomy and our paper tests them through the case study of the late Neolithic/EBA Stonehenge Palisade in the Stonehenge monument complex.
(1) M. Parker Pearson, Stonehenge, (London: Simon & Schuster, 2012).
(2) G. Higginbottom, 'The World Begins, the World Ends Here', at https://www.academia.edu/22473630 [accessed 3 Jan. 2017].
(3) L. Sims, 'Entering, and returning from, the underworld: reconstituting Silbury Hill by combining a quantified landscape phenomenology with archaeoastro-nomy', Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 15, no. 2 (2009): pp. 386-408.