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Aa100 – The Arts Past And Present

1518 words - 7 pages

The character of a place is influence by many factors, such as human activity and religious perspective of a monument such as Stonehenge and the desire for leisure at Blackpool’s resort. However, many argue that it depends on what the place is used for that determines what it becomes. For example, Stonehenge is a prominently used as gathering for Druids and Pagans and tourists, so it is assumed that it is a religious side, more so than an archaeological or perhaps a tourist site. This can also be said for Blackpool, without the industrialisation of the train age, Blackpool may not have become the recognised holiday resort it is today. The controversy behind both Blackpool and Stonehenge is ...view middle of the document...

40). Defining a landmark such as Stonehenge as just a sacred site ignores any other political or economic background and it cannot rely on religious belief to state what the place has been used for.
This explanation contradicts Mircea Eliade’s statement that something sacred shows itself to us, as something wholly different from the profane. Whereas Chidester and Linenthal believe that its meaning derives from human interaction, Eliade believes that ‘man becomes aware of the sacred because it manifests itself’ (Harvey, 2008, p. 39). Its holy quality reveals itself and this manifestation does ‘not belong to our world’ (Harvey, 2008, p. 39), and it is through divine intervention, when a godlike being gets involved, that man becomes aware of sacred places such as Stonehenge.
Yet, without human interaction, such as Pagan and Druid festivals, Stonehenge would be nothing more than an archaeological site. It is already a ‘famous archaeological monument’ (Dr. Robert Wallis, speaking in…) and if no spiritual practice was performed, then it would not be considered a spiritual shrine. For example, the Egyptian Pyramids were constructed for religious use and without any religious practice taking place in them since their erection they are considered only an archaeological wonder. The same would apply to Stonehenge.
However, considering Stonehenge as just an archaeological monument and only worth religious treatment since current Druids and Pagans use it for worship, diminishes any religious factors behind its original construction. John Aubery (1626-1697) theorised however, that it was a ‘temple built for ancient Druids’ (02). Built for religious purposes, this roofless temple acts just like any standing church in modern times. Although it has an archaeological significance, it was and is still used for religious practice and ceremonies which gives it its religious quality and does not depend on constant interaction for its religious quality.
Also, Stonehenge’s religious quality has lasted longer than any archaeological understanding of the megalith. Pagans and Druids have always ‘gravitated towards Stonehenge’ (Harvey, 2009, p. 49) to celebrate their religious beliefs; a tradition that has been continued for hundreds and possibly thousands of years, where they celebrate their season festivals and conduct their rites of passage. It was a spiritual site before it became archaeological and it may be reasoned that Stonehenge depends on human activity to maintain its archaeological quality, rather than its sacred quality.
Human activity can define any building or landscape and this is prominently true when a seaside resort such as Blackpool is identified. Its reputation is based on many factors such as industrialisation, music, and artwork and more importantly the constant involvement of social and economic influence.
Everyone can identify with the song, ‘Oh! I Do Like to be beside the Seaside’ by John Glover-Kind, specifically the ‘popular audience...

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