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  • Print publication year: 2012
  • Online publication date: April 2013

CHAPTER 19 - ‘Art, Spirit and Ancient Places in Norfolk’

Summary

INTRODUCTION

The Art of Faith project as a whole has drawn on archaeological evidence and the work of artists past and present, in its exploration of faith and belief in East Anglia since prehistoric times. Many individual papers in this volume present archaeological and art-historical analyses. As an archaeologist, I have a special interest in prehistoric geography and ‘sacred sites’ but I have also felt drawn, over time, to explore Norfolk's historic landscape as an artist. This chapter starts by considering the essential character of that ‘historic landscape’ as it survives today, and some of the issues involved in imagining what its ancient inhabitants would have seen, from an archaeological perspective. It then describes how it has become increasingly important for me to express my purely subjective responses to archaeological sites and their settings, and my growing interest in a possible shamanic dimension to prehistoric behaviour and belief.

THE BACKGROUND: NOTES FROM AN ARCHAEOLOGIST ON LOCATION

As a trained historian and an archaeologist, I have specialised particularly in prehistory and the rural archaeology of eastern England. Subsequently, I have conducted archaeological fieldwork on prehistoric and Anglo-Saxon sites across Britain, including East Yorkshire. In 1989, I came to Norfolk to direct excavations on prehistoric funerary and settlement remains that were threatened by the construction of the A47 Norwich Southern Bypass.