I think the most important aspect of archaeology that we discussed this semester is ultimately what Professor Watrall emphasized on the last class period; archaeology is important to understanding the past, or reaction to stress, environmental impact, and time depth. As well as the fact that there is always more to be discovered. I don’t believe that any one single site could be awarded as the most important; but the greater significance of archaeology as a whole field is most important.
As far specific sites we discussed in class, I find Stonehenge to personally be the most interesting. Before this class, I always thought of Stonehenge as only being a single site; I had no idea about the Cursus, or Woodhenge, etc. It was actually really exciting to learn that there is a whole lot more to Stonehenge, as well as what its purposes were.
From shows that I had watched on networks like the History Channel, I had thought that Stonehenge had some astromonical purpose, but as expected from a tv show trying to gain viewers, of course there was theories of aliens, amongst other non-scholarly explanations, of how Stonehenge was built. It was interesting to learn about how it was actually built over time and how the people dragged and shaped the stones to build it.
The human and animal sacrifices we talked about occuring at Stonehenge in class interested me as well, mainly because it’s something thought of as so unethical in our society. It’s stange to imagine a community were sacrifices, while they may not have been common practice, weren’t thought of as totally barbaric. This makes me wonder what things we do in our culture today will be thought of as strange or barbaric in the future.
Lastly, I thought it was interesting to learn about the people who gathered at Stonehenge during the summer solstice to essentially, party, and how controversial it is to allow human contact with the stones that one day out of the year. I wonder if this will ever be prohibited as well in the future due to harm caused by human contact?
As we know, there is always new things to be discovered, and I hope during my lifetime we will find out more about Stonehenge and surrounding sites in the landscape that give us more insight as to what there purpose’s were, and who lived there/ came to visit.