My first blog - 20th August 2013
by Duncan Lunan - 22:15 on 20 August 2013
20th August 2013
This is my first attempt at a blog on the new website, so I’m not sure how this is going to go. At one time we had several websites for different projects, such as the Friends of Sighthill Stone Circle and “Children from the Sky”, but after the ‘Save Our Stones’ campaign developed that proved to be too much work. We gave the campaign priority and took the other sites down, but it meant we had no web presence for my other books and other aspects of my work, so we’ve now made over the website into one that reflects everything that I do, keeping most of the features of the previous Sighthill stone circle site under The Stones and the Stars.
The campaign priority was to try to save the stones in place; ideally that would have included saving Sighthill Park in its present form, preserving the trees and the wildlife, but if that couldn’t be done, at least keeping the circle in its present location. At our meeting with Development and Regeneration Services on July 4th, however, when the plans for redevelopment of the park were explained in detail, it was clear that the circle could not remain where it is. Originally they were talking only of lowering the ground by about 3 metres, to eliminate any possibility of contamination in the ‘made ground’ below the topsoil in which the circle is embedded. If that went ahead, we were hoping that the circle might be preserved on a mound, to keep it at its present position and height. Since the horizon events take place on diagonal lines, moving the stones even a few feet either in height or horizontal position would put them out of alignment with the astronomical events; and they would have to be cut out of their present cement arcs, cemented to reinforced concrete below, in order to be repositioned individually.
Now however the hilltop is to be lowered by 7-10 metres, and clean soil removed in the process will be used to flatten the whole park area and make a plateau, on which new building has been planned in detail. If you picture the circle going down on an elevator, you’ll see that the change in height would destroy the astronomical alignments altogether. Furthermore, it would no longer be on the edge of the hill as at present, but would be underneath a building, and moving it south to the new edge would again put the alignments out.
We were assured that the stones would be removed intact, and when I pointed out the technical difficulties, we were assured that the engineers would be instructed to find a way to do it. We were also promised that funding would be available to re-erect the stones elsewhere, and both these promises have now been repeated at higher Council level.
There doesn’t seem to be much point in simply building another circle of the same kind elsewhere. It could be made more accurate than the present one, but nothing new would be learned from it, and while we built the first of its kind for at least 3500 years, many more stone circles of different designs have been erected since, in the British Isles and elsewhere.
At the summer solstice, however, we had been approached by Nick Fuller and Simone Moir about the idea of building a labyrinth in Glasgow. It’s particularly attractive because in the 1930s a very large Neolithic labyrinth was excavated in Clydebank, with built-in astronomical alignments and standing stones on the perimeter marking them. I’ve described it in some detail in The Stones and the Stars. If we could create something like that on a smaller scale, it would provide a way to reuse the stones in an original project which was nevertheless rooted in the historical past of the city.
There is plenty of historical precedent for reusing the stones: the bluestones of Stonehenge II seem to have been moved at least five times, from their original location in the Presceli mountains in Wales. Several possible sites were mentioned at the July 4th meeting, and the initial reaction from DRS was that they might like to see a public consultation on the future use of the stones. There could be better ideas out there! For the moment, however, we’ve had a very productive second meeting on the possible layout of the labyrinth, and as Nick has said elsewhere he’s working on possible designs now, which I’m looking forward to seeing.
More news as it happens!
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