On Silbury Hill

Episodes

EpisodeFirst
Broadcast
RepeatedComments
0120140818

Adam Thorpe has known the 4,300-year-old man-made construction since he was 13 years old.

Silbury Hill in Wiltshire - together with Stonehenge, Avebury and the remains of numerous barrows - forms part of a Neolithic landscape about which very little is known or understood.

Adam Thorpe describes his book as '"a marble cake of different soils. Memoir, data, theory, streaks of poetry, swirls of fiction" - but he is not alone in having been drawn to explore the meaning of the largest prehistoric mound in Europe. Artists and archaeologists as well as various cults and neo-pagan traditions have focussed on the blank canvas that the hill presents as a way of exploring our complicated relationship with the past and the people who lived there.

"An estimated million hours spent on construction rather than herding or cooking or stitching must have had a point, but we don't get it. Is conjecture a species of fiction? To muddy the difference further, Silbury insisted on being called 'she'. I obeyed, not out of New Age winsomeness but from the influence of country dialect, in which neuter pronouns are as alien as robot leaf blowers."

This chalkland memoir told in fragments and snapshots, takes a circular route around the hill, a monument which we can no longer climb, and celebrates the urge to stand and wonder.

Episode 1:The base of Silbury Hill covers five acres of Wiltshire turf which have not seen sunlight for 4,300 years. Adam Thorpe has known her since he was 13yrs old.

Abridged, directed and produced by Jill Waters

A Waters Company production for BBC Radio 4.

0220140819

A target of bullying, the author was grateful for the soothing mysteries of the landscape.

Silbury Hill in Wiltshire - together with Stonehenge, Avebury and the remains of numerous barrows - forms part of a Neolithic landscape about which very little is known or understood.

Adam Thorpe describes his book as '"a marble cake of different soils. Memoir, data, theory, streaks of poetry, swirls of fiction" - but he is not alone in having been drawn to explore the meaning of the largest prehistoric mound in Europe. Artists and archaeologists as well as various cults and neo-pagan traditions have focussed on the blank canvas that the hill presents as a way of exploring our complicated relationship with the past and the people who lived there.

"An estimated million hours spent on construction rather than herding or cooking or stitching must have had a point, but we don't get it. Is conjecture a species of fiction? To muddy the difference further, Silbury insisted on being called 'she'. I obeyed, not out of New Age winsomeness but from the influence of country dialect, in which neuter pronouns are as alien as robot leaf blowers."

This chalkland memoir told in fragments and snapshots, takes a circular route around the hill, a monument which we can no longer climb, and celebrates the urge to stand and wonder.

Episode 2:

The author's boarding school was three miles up the road from Silbury Hill. The target of vicious bullying, he was grateful for the soothing mysteries of the landscape.

Abridged, directed and produced by Jill Waters

A Waters Company production for BBC Radio 4.

0320140820

What can archaeology really tell us? Face-to-face with Neolithic man.

Silbury Hill in Wiltshire - together with Stonehenge, Avebury and the remains of numerous barrows - forms part of a Neolithic landscape about which very little is known or understood.

Adam Thorpe describes his book as '"a marble cake of different soils. Memoir, data, theory, streaks of poetry, swirls of fiction" - but he is not alone in having been drawn to explore the meaning of the largest prehistoric mound in Europe. Artists and archaeologists as well as various cults and neo-pagan traditions have focussed on the blank canvas that the hill presents as a way of exploring our complicated relationship with the past and the people who lived there.

"An estimated million hours spent on construction rather than herding or cooking or stitching must have had a point, but we don't get it. Is conjecture a species of fiction? To muddy the difference further, Silbury insisted on being called 'she'. I obeyed, not out of New Age winsomeness but from the influence of country dialect, in which neuter pronouns are as alien as robot leaf blowers."

This chalkland memoir told in fragments and snapshots, takes a circular route around the hill, a monument which we can no longer climb, and celebrates the urge to stand and wonder.

Episode 3:

Abridged, directed and produced by Jill Waters

A Waters Company production for BBC Radio 4.

042014082120140822

042014082120140822

Silbury Hill in Wiltshire - together with Stonehenge, Avebury and the remains of numerous barrows - forms part of a Neolithic landscape about which very little is known or understood.

Adam Thorpe describes his book as '"a marble cake of different soils. Memoir, data, theory, streaks of poetry, swirls of fiction" - but he is not alone in having been drawn to explore the meaning of the largest prehistoric mound in Europe. Artists and archaeologists as well as various cults and neo-pagan traditions have focussed on the blank canvas that the hill presents as a way of exploring our complicated relationship with the past and the people who lived there.

"An estimated million hours spent on construction rather than herding or cooking or stitching must have had a point, but we don't get it. Is conjecture a species of fiction? To muddy the difference further, Silbury insisted on being called 'she'. I obeyed, not out of New Age winsomeness but from the influence of country dialect, in which neuter pronouns are as alien as robot leaf blowers."

This chalkland memoir told in fragments and snapshots, takes a circular route around the hill, a monument which we can no longer climb, and celebrates the urge to stand and wonder.

Episode 4:The author meets a pair of enthusiastic Wiccan drummers.

Abridged, directed and produced by Jill Waters

A Waters Company production for BBC Radio 4.

0420140821

The author meets a pair of enthusiastic Wiccan drummers.

Silbury Hill in Wiltshire - together with Stonehenge, Avebury and the remains of numerous barrows - forms part of a Neolithic landscape about which very little is known or understood.

Adam Thorpe describes his book as '"a marble cake of different soils. Memoir, data, theory, streaks of poetry, swirls of fiction" - but he is not alone in having been drawn to explore the meaning of the largest prehistoric mound in Europe. Artists and archaeologists as well as various cults and neo-pagan traditions have focussed on the blank canvas that the hill presents as a way of exploring our complicated relationship with the past and the people who lived there.

"An estimated million hours spent on construction rather than herding or cooking or stitching must have had a point, but we don't get it. Is conjecture a species of fiction? To muddy the difference further, Silbury insisted on being called 'she'. I obeyed, not out of New Age winsomeness but from the influence of country dialect, in which neuter pronouns are as alien as robot leaf blowers."

This chalkland memoir told in fragments and snapshots, takes a circular route around the hill, a monument which we can no longer climb, and celebrates the urge to stand and wonder.

Episode 4:The author meets a pair of enthusiastic Wiccan drummers.

Abridged, directed and produced by Jill Waters

A Waters Company production for BBC Radio 4.

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All Hallow's Eve 2013 - Silbury and the stone circle at Avebury, shadows and rituals.

05 LAST2014082220140823

05 LAST2014082220140823

All Hallow's Eve 2013 - Silbury and the stone circle at Avebury, shadows and rituals.

05 LAST20140822

05 LAST20140822

Silbury Hill in Wiltshire - together with Stonehenge, Avebury and the remains of numerous barrows - forms part of a Neolithic landscape about which very little is known or understood.

Adam Thorpe describes his book as '"a marble cake of different soils. Memoir, data, theory, streaks of poetry, swirls of fiction" - but he is not alone in having been drawn to explore the meaning of the largest prehistoric mound in Europe. Artists and archaeologists as well as various cults and neo-pagan traditions have focussed on the blank canvas that the hill presents as a way of exploring our complicated relationship with the past and the people who lived there.

"An estimated million hours spent on construction rather than herding or cooking or stitching must have had a point, but we don't get it. Is conjecture a species of fiction? To muddy the difference further, Silbury insisted on being called 'she'. I obeyed, not out of New Age winsomeness but from the influence of country dialect, in which neuter pronouns are as alien as robot leaf blowers."

This chalkland memoir told in fragments and snapshots, takes a circular route around the hill, a monument which we can no longer climb, and celebrates the urge to stand and wonder.

Episode 5: All Hallow's Eve 2013 - Silbury and the stone circle at Avebury, shadows and rituals.

Abridged, directed and produced by Jill Waters

A Waters Company production for BBC Radio 4.