A common misconception?

“….so, this year it is Shakespeare and the Elizabethan Court, and next year we’ll be in Sumeria.” Running around getting things organised for the workshops always involves the attempted acquisition of some strange items. I frequently get asked what I’m hoping to use them for and that inevitably leads to questions about what we do, how and why.

“Sumeria?” The face was blank.

“An ancient civilisation, goes back five thousand years and more…” The face brightened with understanding.

“Oh.” There was a weird sort of relief too. “Cave men,” she said, thereby dismissing the great city of Uruk with two words.

“Not exactly…” But where do you start? The great walled city of Uruk, home to around eighty thousand people, was founded six thousand years ago, predating the rise of ancient Egyptian civilisation by a thousand years. The Sumerian culture had been growing for a long time before that too.

Say ‘Egypt’ and everyone thinks of the fabulous art, the gold and the temples that remain. We have no problem accepting that ancient Egypt was civilised, but unless there is a particular interest, most of us don’t have much of an idea about dates. Say, ‘five thousand years ago’ and ‘cave man’ is still the image in many minds. Say ‘prehistoric’ and that conjures dinosaurs, say ‘stone age’ and you are probably thinking Fred Flintstone.

Prehistoric means simply that period before written history… and written language first began, we believe, in Sumeria… over five thousand years ago. Archaeology has revealed the beauty and artistry of the culture, from musical instruments to fabulously worked gold and miniature carved seals. Prior to the beginnings of written history, the prehistoric culture was already exceptionally rich.

The various ‘Ages’, like Stone, Bronze and Iron, refer in brief to a leap in technology. Thus, the basic advance in the Bronze Age was the ability to work with metal. Before that, stone was the prime technology and, while it may have begun with the use of a simple rock or a worked flint arrowhead, it ended with the complexity of the enigmatic monuments that still draw us today.

stonehenge 012

Stonehenge is perhaps the best known in this country. No mere pile of rocks, but a fantastic feat of engineering by any standards, where mortice and tenon joints allow the stones, weighing tons apiece, to ‘float’ above the circle. The construction of Stonehenge too was begun five thousand years ago. What remains suggests a complex mathematical and geometrical understanding, even though it may not have taken the form we now use. It also implies a knowledge of astronomy as well as an established culture strong enough to build the monument. And Stonehenge is just one of over a thousand known circles in these islands…

But why does it matter? That is another question frequently asked regarding the workshops. What possible benefit can there be to delving into the past for our workshops, be it the few hundred years back to the Elizabethan Court, or a few thousand?

Continue reading at The Silent Eye

About Sue Vincent

Sue Vincent is a Yorkshire-born writer and one of the Directors of The Silent Eye, a modern Mystery School. She has written a number of books, both alone and with Stuart France, exploring ancient myths, the mysterious landscape of Albion and the inner journey of the soul. She is owned by a small dog who also blogs. Follow her at scvincent.com and on Twitter @SCVincent Find her books on Goodreads and follow her on Amazon worldwide to find out about new releases and offers. Email: findme@scvincent.com
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11 Responses to A common misconception?

  1. Pingback: A common misconception? – The Militant Negro™

  2. Anne Copeland says:

    This is growing on me and sticking! I am very interested and want to try to figure out how much the correspondence course is and how it is paid for (i.e. annually, monthly, per lesson, etc.) I think I asked Stuart before, but I cannot remember. This should be right up my alley. I have done many workshops and classes thru my life related to consciousness raising and spirituality and I used to give a workshop, “A Conscious Alternative to New Year’s Resolutions” yearly. I have not had any further study for years, and I think I could perhaps start somewhere. Now I want to order one of the first books by the two of you, but am having difficulty understanding the USA dollar amount in the exchange rate. Don’t have any experience with this, so not sure it includes shipping or ??? The closest I came after looking on the many exchange rates was that it looks as though the paperback book is approx. $28.28? Does that sound right? Can I get the Ebook version if I would read it on my computer? I don’t have a Kindle, but I have read other Ebooks on my computer. Thanks a bunch. This definitely is growing on me.

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    • Sue Vincent says:

      From what you have wrtten in your emails, Anne, I think you would enjoy the course.
      The course is available by email at £10 per lesson, and each lesson lasts one month.
      With regard to the books, you can order them through Amazon US here: http://a.co/727EwP9 . The paperbacks, becuase of the colour printing, came out at a higher price than we would have liked, but the Kindle version can be read on almost any device…you don’t need a Kindle. You can download a free Kindle app for PC , tablet or phone from Amazon and take advantage of all the books that are free, on offer and many that have been out of print for decades.
      You can download the apps here: https://www.amazon.com/kindle-dbs/fd/kcp

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  3. Anne Copeland says:

    Oops, forgot. I have one of my degrees in Archaeology, and have had some really unique experiences in Mexico and parts of the Southwest in the USA. Outside digging and finds per se.

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  4. The whole concept of “cave men” irritates me. Our ancestors were as citified as we are. Less technological, but not less sociable or communicative. And certainly not less intelligent. I think too many of us tend to confuse technology with intellect, as if you can’t have one without the other. I’m not sure technology isn’t lowering our intellects!

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    • Sue Vincent says:

      The whole ‘they’ idea is wrong anyway. ‘They’ are our ancestors…why would we think they were less intelligent, creative or wise than modern humans? Technology develops over time. Things our great-grandparents accepted now seem barbaric to us (like dentistry!) and no doubt, in a generation or three, we will seem primitive and barbaric to our descendants.

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