New Book Spotlights Rich Heritage of Historic Sites

Article excerpt

Byline: By Tony Henderson

Author and archaeologist Stan Beckensall has spent decades plotting the prehistoric landscape of the North-East.

Now a new book by Stan, who lives in Hexham, lays out the extent and nature of the historic sites and offers a list of places to visit.

"In this area we have one of the finest prehistoric landscapes in the world. Features like hill forts and ancient field systems which were abandoned have not changed, because they have never been ploughed," says Stan.

He points out that elements in the countryside which we find pretty or picturesque, such as hills, crags or rivers, may have had a different meaning to prehistoric people.

"We may not realise that a natural feature or a small part of an area, such as a waterfall, might have appeared in the past as a place of magic, myth or legend. For prehistoric people, a tree or a spring could become an object of veneration. Omens might abound. This is not surprising when we see in our own society a belief in horoscopes or in throwing salt over one's shoulder. …