Tuesday, February 13, 2007

A new Medieval view of Stonehenge
Medieval representations of Stonehenge are extremely rare. For generations we have known of only two, dateable to the earlier 14th century. Further views do not appear until the second half of the 16th century, after a complete break in both the spirit and form of imagery. I can now describe, for the first time to the English-speaking world, a newlydiscovered medieval drawing of Stonehenge created in the 1440s. This drawing has a literary association that is identical to one of the 14th century illustrations, and extends the medieval iconography of the site while remaining firmly attached to mythical history. It is also the first known design to represent Stonehenge not just as a symbolic image, but with precise observations on its form and construction techniques. It bridges perfectly the worlds of medieval myth and Renaissance observation. The discovery provides an opportunity to reconsider the two previously known drawings. First, however, we will look at the new manuscript.