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Tuesday, May 3, 2011

A Sacred Site

I entered a contest after I wrote Knight of Runes, not with hopes of winning, which would have been awesome, but rather for feedback. More than anything, I wanted feedback.
I did very well in the contest actually. Well, according to two of the three judges anyway. The swing in the third set of scores was, well that's a blog for another day. Suffice it to say, I placed well but didn’t win. But I did get the feedback. Awesome!
My story is a time travel. Our heroine says the right words, carries the correct talisman, and is standing in the right spot. The constellation of events transports her back in time 400 years. I set the magic place at Stonehenge.  I know I took some ‘poetic’ license. The great stones now stand protected behind a fence. No longer can visitors walk around them.  
One judge noted that she lived near some great stones that were about as old as Stonehenge and had no barriers. The stones stand proudly amidst the village of Avebury, Wiltshire County in southern England.
Avebury is impressive. The henge is made up of sets of standing stones in set patterns surrounded by a ditch and bank. While erosion and vandalism, to say nothing of religious persecution (even for a stone), has reduced the henge, it remains breathtaking. Construction at Avebury started about 3000 B.C., when the central part of the henge, the Cove, was built. Archeologists estimate this to be about the same time that the first stones at Stonehenge were set in place. Construction of the Avebury henge moved outward and lasted for several centuries finishing with the a great circles that define its border. Within the larger circle, sitting side by side are two smaller circles. The outermost circle covers almost 29 acres with a circumference of almost 1 mile. It is the largest stone circle in Europe and the best known prehistoric site in Britain. 
These circles are much larger than the more famous Stonehenge. As a matter of fact, Stonehenge would fit into the outer stone circle at Avebury around 130 times.

 In the early Saxon period, about 600 A.D., a small settlement was built that was went inside and outside the henge. It is surmised that the settlers thought it a semi-fortified area. A Benedictine church and priory were built in 1114 A.D. Later in the 12th century, the church suppressed pagan rituals. The more prominent stones were given names associated with the devil. Many of the stones were toppled and buried. Today, a large portion of village still resides inside the Avebury circle. 
The Cove is the area of the henge where Rebeka, my heroine, is drawn into the time portal.  Like the rest of the henge, it’s been a long held belief that the stones represent male and female characteristics. A male scientist must have done this designation as male stones are long and thin while the female is short and square. The two surviving primary stones at the Cove are perfect examples.  I thought the Cove the perfect place for Rebeka’s adventure to begin. 
Where does your favorite adventure begin? 

7 comments:

lilydewaruile said...

It has taken me nearly 30 years to finally visit Stonehenge – my impression had always been that it was huge and the stones from the Preseli Mountains were so enormous that the feat of transporting them was super-human. Impressions are relative! Thank you for this information, Ruth.

My personal choice of settings for any adventure are the mountains, forests and river valleys of Cymru.

Ruth said...

@lilydewaruile

The great stones have led me to wonderful daydreams. It seemed so right for this story.

In doing my research, I also found an area, The Ridgeway, which looks so lush. I can easily imagine a forest sprite or two. Maybe that's the setting for the next adventure.

Thanks for leaving a comment.

Debra Maher said...

Our family visited Stonehenge on a trip to England in 2000. I'd always pictured it on some vast open plain. In reality, it sits on a rise between a fork in the road. Still vast, still incredibly impressive but with highways on either side and lorries racing by. The modern and the prehistoric.

Cool, cloudy day in late March. Smatters of a damp mist, and the earthy smell of spring grass.

We couldn't walk up to the stones but we could walk around them on a broad path. Overhead, a scattering of large black crows circled, landed on the stones then flew off. Eerie but so natural.

There was a shorter fence at the edge of the grounds to contain sheep and rams in a field. A ram caught his horns in the wire. We all strolled over to see. A tourist, apparently with some experience in un-tangling rams horns from farm fences, freed him. Flashes of some ancient sacrifice.

The whole experience is etched indelibly in my mind. Surreal. The henges are a natural for time travel, Ruth. I'll look forward to reading the book.

Paty Jager said...

On the north side of the Columbia River in Washington state there is a circle of stones like Stonehenge. They have a plaque that talks about Stonehenge and how a coven holds a ceremony of the rites of spring at these rocks every year.

My latest adventure takes place in the jungle of Guatemala.

Caroline Clemmons said...

Beautiful post! I was lucky to visit Stonehenge before it was roped off.

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sbobet said...

the first stones at Stonehenge were set insbo
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place. Construction of the Avebury henge moved outward and lasted for several centuries finishing with the a great circles that define its border. Within the larger circle, sitting side by side are two smaller circles. The outermost circle covers