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john davies
notes from a small vicar
from a parish
in Liverpool, UK

    Thursday, February 13, 2003
    The Modern Antiquarian
    Working out holidays, I've decided on Kilmartin in June. Click on the interactive map and you see the attraction - it's a hidden, prehistoric, edgy place. 350 ancient monuments within a six-mile radius of Kilmartin village, 150 of them prehistoric, according to Kilmartin House visitor centre.

    I'm drawn to places like that (recently it's been Pembrokeshire Bluestone country) - partly for their isolation, and partly because of a fascination with landscapes marked by the inhabitants of previous millennia. I don't share all of Julian Cope's interpretations of such places (he's a bit "gnostic" for me), but some of his instincts, eg, "The past 2,000 years of Roman Christianity have set up within us a deep denial of this island earth".

    I enjoy chucking my copy of Cope's The Modern Antiquarian into the car on a summer's day and after wandering some lonely upland, returning to check out The Modern Antiquarian website to see what other visitors have written about the place I've just been.

    Refreshingly humbling to find yourself a tiny figure on a vast landscape, to know the 'civilisation' you represent is just one among many ways of life visitors to that place have lived over so many centuries.