We Have Never Been Material.© Andrew Cochrane 2007 - Page 5
The stone objects in passage tombs may have embodied other places and other times,
radiating some of their essences through presence or by appropriating their
influences. The placement of these parts into a passage tomb with cremated
remains may have served to further project them into the cosmos or
alternative relationships (Fowler 2004, 140). Certainly, the process of
cremation may have facilitated the release of some elements to the heavens.
Such engagements may have been viewed by some as acts of renewal and
regeneration, especially if associated with engraved imagery and connections
with other realms (physical or otherwise). The placement of material objects
in passage tombs upon the floors and in the chambers would have created
temporal sequential layers, with early deposits being recognisable.
CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OR DIALECTICS AT STANDSTILL?
The sensory qualities of particular substances seem to have played a role in determining
what materials were employed. For example, the colour of stone seems to have
been important in choosing what went where. In the Boyne Valley complex and Knockroe, the soft
green coloured greywacke was the preferred (although not exclusive) medium
for imagery carved on structural stones (O’Sullivan 1997, 28). The placement
of a pink sandstone orthostat in the western tomb, Knockroe; white quartz
facades, platforms and standing stones in the Boyne
valley and Loughcrew complexes; and blue carboniferous limestone for the
uprights and roof corbels at Fourknocks I all suggest deliberate combination
and juxtaposition of substances of differing form, colour, texture and
composition. Indeed, the colours of particular stones may have operated in
similar ways as the imagery present (O’Sullivan 1997, 30).
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