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Ritual spaces

If, like me, you’re a fan of Time Team, you’ll have witnessed archaeologists in the act of looking at a collection of stones or smudges in the earth marking post holes and saying something like, “This may have been a place where they performed their rituals.”

German fortifications, Pointe du Hoc, Normandy invasion beaches, Calvados, France

And again, if you’re like me, there’s a small part of your brain shouting, “How do they know that? They’re making this up.”

But there is way, somehow, that you can tell if a place is used for formal ceremony. A church is different from a castle. A cricket pitch (wherein are performed strange rituals that baffle me) is different from a field.

German fortifications, Pointe du Hoc, Normandy invasion beaches, Calvados, France

Sometimes it’s the shape. But, of course, it’s easy to get this wrong. The pictures on this page were taken at Pointe du Hoc on the Normandy coast. It saw one of the most famous battles on D-Day in which US Rangers climbed cliffs with ladders and ropes to take gun emplacements that turned out to be empty.

German fortifications, Pointe du Hoc, Normandy invasion beaches, Calvados, France

And that’s what these sacrificial stones are – gun mounts. But there is, none the less, a strong sense of sacrifice about this location.

» See the Pointe du Hoc portfolio in The Layered Land »

 

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