What Can We Learn From Rocks?
Many of my art students are impressed by modern-day technology, the latest gadgets, and digital design and often see no value in studying history and exploring historical sites. After a trip to the U.K., I was beyond thrilled to share with them the incredible history I learned during my visit to Stonehenge and the world-renowned collections in many of the museums in London. Certainly, as an art historian, Stonehenge has always been at the top of my bucket list.
'Stonehenge is a prehistoric temple, its great stones raised about 4,500 years ago. It is a masterpiece of engineering, with the stones carefully arranged to line up with the movement of the sun.
The ruin that visitors see today is the end result of many different stages of construction and rebuilding in prehistory. The first major event, 5,000 years ago, was the construction of a large circular enclosure. About 500 years later enormous sarsen stones were raised in a horseshoe and a circle, with smaller bluestones placed between them. Later the bluestones were rearranged.
Since construction activities at Stonehenge ceased in the early Bronze Age, some of the stones have been removed from the site and many have fallen. Some were re-erected during restoration, which started in 1919, continued in episodes and was completed in 1964.'
The fields around Stonehenge are owned by The National Trust nationaltrust.org.uk
Photo Credit: Stacey Queen and Dr. Tyrica Hendricks
My experience was beyond my laudable expectations. The grounds felt sacred, the stones were colossal and the presence of the human spirit was real. But what was I going to share with my students? What could I share with them from my walk around 5,000 year old rocks? How could I properly articulate this breathtaking experience? I decided to keep it simple.
Mankind has always been ingenious.
Mankind has always had a deep, often spiritual connection to the environment, the land, and nature.
Mankind is creative.
The rocks are witnesses to the evolution of man.
Bonus takeaway: History is critically important! (and they can always use their fancy gadgets to take really great pictures at historical sites)
I hope my students will one day experience art through travel, engage with diverse cultures, and fall in love with history. Believe me, it is a fun journey!