A trip to Belas Knap

I started to write this post inside a Neolithic Long Barrow. A wonderful old place of still stone and earth, with the modern world at a distance. The sense of the ancient people, our ancestors, is strong here. I sit looking around this low stone chamber, the ceiling low enough that I must stoop to move around, there’s a sense of stillness and peace.

As I move around the barrow, the sense of peace and almost otherworldliness is strong. Normally, one can sit on a hillside and watch the world go by; listening to the birds and watching the clouds. I’m doing that here, watching a grass wreath being made; a message to those who went before “we see you, you are not forgotten”. Sitting at Belas Knap is different, this place has a meaning and a more focussed history than a random patch of hillside.

I walked around the site and looked out from there over the countryside, trying to picture the people who came here to bury their dead. Then came back to remember their lost loved ones. It reminded me that the people back then had different values in many areas, but were perhaps, not so different from us as we might fondly believe. We tend graves, and speak to the gravestones, I don’t think we’re as different from them as our airs and graces would have us think.

According to English Heritage Belas Knap dates from approximately 3000 BC, around 5 millennia look out at us from that tomb; a silent presence on the landscape. A sign to us from a time before the Celts arrived, “We were here, our influence is still here“. I find myself looking at us, our society and our troubles again, in light of my visit to Belas Knap. What trace of us will still be here in 5000 years? I can’t begin to imagine, but then I wonder if the builders of Belas Knap knew either?

You can find more pictures on Instagram.






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