Mar. 14th, 2009

salvianus: (Lunt)
This season's exploration of the pilgrimage site on Looe Island was fascinating, Cornwall being key in unravelling Sub-Roman (or Brythonic) Christianity.

The Roman finds particularly provoke thoughts of continuity, though presumably there wasn't clear dating evidence for the early Saxon half of that equation beyond 'pre-1100'.

What bugged my was the director's decision to keep repeating Professor Nicholas Orme's description of Glastonbury Abbey as 'the first English theme park' and applying it to the pilgrim chapels they refurbished on the site. I'm happy to accept that Glastonbury monks fabricated the 'Arthur's grave' found on the site and I'm sure the prof has a lot of further evidence of the deliberate manufacture of artificial atmosphere, so to speak, in order to justify such a description, but it seems rather an odd term for two chapels and a little monk's house with a small room to crash in.

I can't help contrasting this dismissive phrase with the reverent tones heard in the series regarding prehistoric religious sites: Francis Pryor describing a couple of imposing hilltops with connecting trackways as a 'highly sophisticated ritual landscape'.

Am I paranoid or would they speak of any other religion but Christianity in these terms?

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February 2011

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