Greetings and welcome to Mountains of Meaning. This blog examines mountain environments from the perspective of landscape archaeology, becoming somewhat whimsical at times in an attempt to express the influence of the landscape on myself; How peoples in different times interacted with, on and around mountains, is considered and how this can inform us about how ancient and not so ancient people used and perceived and these places. To what extent does the landscape become embedded in our collective and individual psyche? My native Cumbria has extensive prehistoric upland archaeology as well as the more well known lowland sites such as Castlerigg, Mayburgh henges and Long Meg not to forget her Daughters; I also consider how the archaeology here relates to other sites across the British and Irish Isles, and more distant lands around the world.
Many mountains across the world are still regarded as sacred by modern societies and here I wish to explore how this attribute relates to mountains here in the Cumbrian Fells of England; a place where we know prehistoric peoples were living and working from the earliest Neolithic period quarrying the volcanic strata to manufacture the stone axes that were traded across the British and Irish Isles. In doing this I will be looking at any relevant ethnographic comparisons and how we may gain an insight into the spiritual beliefs that may have been held by prehistoric societies and how high places may fit into their world view. Contemporary beliefs in a highly technological fast-moving age have, in some cases, returned to more elemental roots; in particular the potential overlap of how people currently interact spiritually with natural places and prehistoric sites and whether these beliefs have any connection with more ancient cosmologies.
I have been researching the prehistoric archaeology of Cumbria for many years now, spent some time in academic study and now continue as an independent researcher. I live in the Cumbrian Fells and consequently have a strong affinity with the landscape; where, in an environment more closely walked than any other in the country, it is perhaps surprising that it is still possible to discover new prehistoric sites.