Stonehenge, Avebury, The Ring of Brodgar, Callanish and hundreds of lesser stone circles are to be found in the British Isles and elsewhere. But which was the first and from where did the knowledge that went into their building originate? Dating information indicates that the very first, the Mother and Father of all the Great Circles of Stone, was the Stone Circle of Stenness, to be found on the Isle of Orkney.
Which in turn gives rise to a great mystery. From where came the knowledge to build the first Stone Ring at Stenness? And to place the alignments with the Solstices?
The Poem the Seer (of Stenness) gives one explanation, albeit mythical. The poem is available here
It sits on a shelf, in a little pillbox. I rarely look at it, yet somehow I am always aware of its presence. Not in a good or a bad way, but as though gravity is slightly heavier near to it. Tonight I took it out of its box and viewed it again. Compared to a modern coin, it’s tiny, light and not well finished.
Yet what holds me is that 2,000 years ago, someone minted this coin, someone carried this coin with them, perhaps it changed hands many times, and I guess someone lost this coin, who knows, and somehow, it found its way to my shelf. In geographical terms, a short journey from Norfolk to Yorkshire, in terms of time, a journey that few artefacts survive.
Certainly, the kingdom of the Catuvellauni, whose coinage it was, has long disappeared in the sea of history, and of those who live in its lands today, there will be few who will have heard of this long lost kingdom. Yet a coin survives to tell a tale and to speak of people who lived, loved, fought wars, and vanished, although no doubt the children of their children’s children still live, love and walk in the footsteps of their ancestors.
And the coin? Does history, or time, imbue it with a power, a presence, or is it my imagination?