- Light, Human Evolution, and the Palaeolithic
- The Role of Darkness in Ancient Greek Religion and Religious Practice
- Darkness and the Imagination: The Role of Environment in the Development of Spiritual Beliefs
- Rediscovering the Winter Solstice Alignment at Newgrange, Ireland
- Light and Shadow Effects in Megalithic Monuments in the Iberian Peninsula
- Sunlight, Divination, and the Dead in Aegean Ritual Tradition
- Illuminating Triangulations: Moonlight and the Mississippian World
- The Chacoan World: Light and Shadow, Stone and Sky
- Animate Shadows of Bears and Giants
- The Beautiful Face of Ra: The Role of Sunlight in the Architecture of Ancient Egypt
- The Handling of Light: Its Effect on Form and Space in the Greek Temple and the Byzantine Church
- In Visible Presence: The Role of Light in Shaping Religious Atmospheres
- Lighting in Muslim and Christian Religious Buildings: A Comparative Study
- Prehistoric Light in the Air: Celestial Symbols of the Bronze Age
- Phenomenology of Light: The Glitter of Salvation in Bessarion’s Cross
- The Light of the Flame: Use and Symbolism of Light and Lighting Devices in Traditional Greek Culture
- Encountering Photoamulets and the Use of Apotropaic Light in Late Antiquity
- Visibility, Privacy, and Missing Windows: Lighting Domestic Space in Ancient Mesopotamia
- Lighting the Good Life: The Role of Light in the Aristocratic Housing System duringLate Antiquity
- Thirty Days of Night: The Role of Light and Shadow in Inuit Architecture, North of the Arctic Circle
- Household Consumption of Artificial Light at Pompeii
- Industrializing Light: The Development and Deployment of Artificial Lighting in Early Factories
- Materializing Light, Making Worlds: Optical Image Projection within the Megalithic Passage Tombs of Britain and Ireland
- Lighting in Reconstructed Contexts: Experiential Archaeology with Pyrotechnologies
- Çatalhöyük: A Study of Light and Darkness—A Photo-essay
- Light and its Interaction with Antiquities and Works of Art: A Conservator’s Perspective
- Lighting and Museum Exhibits
- Modalities of Meaning: Light and Shadow in Archaeological Images
- Reconstructing Artificial Light in Ancient Greece
- The Eleusinian Projector: The Hierophant’s Optical Method of Conjuring the Goddess
- Constructing the Invisible: Light and Darkness in the Topography of Hades
Abstract and Keywords
The distinctive architecture of Neolithic passage tombs reproduces the fundamental format of a camera obscura. Could Neolithic people have projected animated images of the outside world into the chambers of these monuments? Fieldwork in Wales and Scotland reveals that the methods required to generate optical projections inside passage tombs are straightforward and do not require a lens. At those sites that feature a solar alignment it is possible to project an enlarged disc of the sun into the chamber, while the landscape is visible within others. Some of the most distinctive effects featured projections of people; spectral human figures that moved through the monument, or even appeared to emerge from the walls. These phenomena are striking to witnesses in the present day. In the Neolithic, such intense multisensory events might have transformed passage tombs into places where people engaged with spectacular and otherworldly experiences.
Aaron is an archaeologist who specialises in the Neolithic and Bronze Age, with a focus upon monuments, landscape and sensory experience. Since completing a doctorate in 2000 he has collaborated upon numerous research projects and excavations, from stone circles to rock art. His study of the acoustic qualities of megalithic sites has received international recognition. Aaron is Creative Director in the heritage consultancy Monumental, and an Honorary Fellow in the Department of Archaeology at Durham University. For further information: www.aaronwatson.co.uk.
Ronnie is an artist and archaeologist who explores the visual character of Neolithic and Bronze Age monuments and landscape through fieldwork, painting and photography. Since Graduating from Glasgow School of Art in 1966 he has been a Teacher of Art and Design in schools in Glasgow and Principle Teacher at Nairn Academy. He has worked in Orkney and across the Scottish mainland for GUARD and the National Trust for Scotland, collaborated upon many field projects at sites ranging from Neolithic houses to rock art, and has directed excavations at Bronze Age cairns. In 2007 Ronnie completed an MA in archaeology at Aberdeen University, focusing upon a four-year investigation into the experience of light within the Clava Cairns near Inverness.
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