Monday, July 11, 2016

Regarding Research

One thing that I don’t wish my posts to turn into are dry historical accounts that could have been written by some history prof long ensconced in academia and its narrowing compass. What I mean to say is even a  cursory glimpse through historical sites and the more speculative New Age stuff tends to make me feel that there are two camps, both at odds with each other - the dry, empirical data-bound academic and the fanciful. 

A case in point is Marija Gimbutas who wrote a whole series of academic books in which she referenced, from her own experience in the field, the discovery of numerous mesolithic and neolithic goddess figurines. She began to interpret the resulting data into a theory in which a passive matriarchal society was superseded by a warrior based patriarchal one. Her book The Goddesses and Gods Of Old Europe is a fine book indeed. I came across this book years ago, when I was looking for designs to carve (over the past twenty years I've filled many sketchbooks with images from sites, ref and museums). However, in part, her theories are intuitive and don't always rely on much evidence (fanciful, intuitive). She caused a stir in the academic world.  

As far as I'm concerned I like her idea. Her notion is an insight, not truth... we'll never know the complete truth. And after researching numerous dry archaeological accounts which offer measly tokens, usually from a safe, logical perspective, I feel that there is room to examine the finding of so-called alternative archaeologists (like Martin Brennan for example). 

Here I’m trying to gather both the archaeological, historical and notions, ideas that might sometimes deviate from the rationalist path. Why? Because throughout history people have never been rational or reasonable. When it comes to things like symbology and religious meanings  the empirical attempt falls short, as we are dealing with a subject that sits uncomfortably with reasonable minded professors, clutching thesis and degrees based on scant evidence. The illogical nature of belief is therefore best approached with a healthy measure of irrationality, a sort of inspired madness perhaps. 

I’m going to delve into some odd ideas in the course of these blogs, that much is for certain, but exactly how ‘out there’ they might appear remains to be seen. I’m hardly going down the UFO conspiracy line, but I’m attempting to keep an open mind. If something strikes me as relevant, interesting and plausible I’ll include it. 

There will also be something of the intuitive here too. I do believe that much that so-called primitive humans knew/discovered was the result of ‘channeling’ a deep, inner intuition. 

I’m also going to take on a slightly holistic approach - again I need to explain this. Many modern archaeological bodies appear to be constrained by location and thus the tendency is to focus on that location, albeit a modern location - say for example a Scottish archaeological society funded by the Scottish government, finding itself limited to Scottish sites and data  - the problem being such geographical boundaries did not exist way back when:   for example Celtic tribal boundaries were always shifting and our knowledge of them comes from Roman manuscripts written at a certain point of a very long history. With such documents we have to take into account hearsay, interpretation, political bias etc etc - however we can’t discount them altogether, just see them for what they are: insights rather than ’truths’. In fact it is safe to say that this approach is best at many levels - to see both ancient texts and archaeological data and 'interpretation, as insights

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