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Digging Deep

If prehistoric people regarded the earth as a powerful, animate being that needed to be placated and honoured, are there lessons for our own attitudes to the world beneath our feet

There is fascinating evidence that 5,000 years ago, people living in Britain and Ireland had a deep and meaningful relationship with the underworld seen in the carved chalk, animal bones and human skeletons found at Cranborne Chase in Dorset in a large pit, at the base of which had been sunk a 7-metre-deep shaft. Other examples considered in this Essay include Carrowkeel in County Sligo, the passage tombs in the Boyne Valley in eastern Ireland and the Priddy Circles in the Mendip Hills in Somerset. If prehistoric people regarded the earth as a powerful, animate being that needed to be placated and honoured, perhaps there are lessons here for our own attitudes to the world beneath our feet.

Susan Greaney is a New Generation Thinker who works for English Heritage at Stonehenge and who is studying for her PHD at Cardiff University.
New Generation Thinkers is a scheme run by the BBC and the Arts and Humanities Research Council which selects ten academics each year to turn their research into radio. You can hear her journey to Japan to compare the Jomon civilisations with Stonehenge as a Radio 3 Sunday Feature https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000hgqx

Producer: Torquil MacLeod

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14 minutes

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  • Tue 30 Jun 2020 22:45

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