Drawn to the Flames
Greetings to all readers for a fine 2015! – “Now is the time for fire and wine…” – its elemental…
Darkness; landscape fades, eyes are drawn to the fire cups, intimate in their rocky relief.
Altitude; changed world – domed profile glimpsed through the notch, upturned axe blade thrust into the earth marking the spot
Through the vaporous air – Isle of Man – connecting the Neolithic Irish Sea-farers
Mountains mirrored in mercury water, a place for reflection and offering
Light; solstice morning, winds blow, the sun hides
Notes and references
A session themed on “Fire” at the Theoretical Archaeology Group Conference at Manchester University this year reminded me of some “experiential archaeology” from a few years back;“Fire Cups” ,the consequence of some discussions with Dave Chapman around simple stone lamps from Late Upper Palaeolithic cave sites in France which was followed by an impressive demonstration using a home pecked stone-cup-lamp, cooking oil and a plaited moss wick.
To the best of my knowledge there is no archaeological evidence of burning within pecked cups on outcrops but this was simulated with enclosed candles. The main problem on a still evening was to get the candles to stay alight; the rock’s elevated position meant that there were small eddies encircling the outcrop repeatedly puffing the flames out. With perseverance the effect was intriguing, like stars, an eerie sight late in the evening had anyone cast their gaze lake-wards. No cups were harmed in the making!
More on experimental “Burning The Circle” on Arran can be found on Gavin MacGregor’s blog and Northlight Heritage’s website
Pike O’Stickle – site of Neolithic Axe-Factories – although a diminutive peak in the Cumbrian Mountains has distinctive profile which is curiously conspicuous from a broad area.
The quote is from Steve Ashley’s song “Fire and Wine”.