ur- history is a means of establishing the origin of things. as such prehistory becomes a fundamental conceptual resource for understanding cultural form, and that this ‘natural’ architecture had a supra-natural ur-history
> a conceptual distinction between nature and culture lies at the heart of modernist epistemologies.< [bradley]
far from this being seen as a problem to understanding its symbolic or mythic qualities, it is essential to this understanding.
it is argued that the mesolithic is typified by the direct and intimate relationship humans had with the land, sea and sky which they inhabited. in following their means of subsistence, the seasonal traversing from sea to higher pastures established an intimate world in which each tree and rock outcrop is understood as interconnected, entangled in the creation of a local cosmological identity. this world became understood by moving through it and over it.*
in this way, these natural features of the landform over time become important signifiers. the evidence is that these sites became increasingly ritualised, with these natural feature gaining supra-natural powers, attracting votive offerings. some were to become gathering places, with their own established ceremonial proceedings.
this essentially phenomenological practice entangles people within the natural landscape and integrates all into a holistic socialised environment. it insists on reading natural form as cultural form, in which dialectic is established between the two. [tilley/bennett]
it is the dialectic between human action (labour) and nature that unites these aspects of the material world. where things are brought into being by humans acting on lithic material and fashioned slowly over time, with great effort and considerable dexterity and practical knowledge. where the form of such objects necessarily is dictated by the its material nature and the way in which the material is worked.
that these forms, over time, resemble natural forms in the landscape and reflect inherent natural processes, can then be understood, by those who frequented these places, as being fashioned in the same way but on a larger scale . this ‘shared’ knowledge imparts importance both to these natural landscapes and to the object created. it is understood as a process of mimesis whereby, the extent, the level of difficulty involved, and significance of the context – all involving aspects of creative labour – contribute to the objects signification and builds its supra-natural connotations.
*it connects with some aspects of architectural and art practices which engage directly with place and site – it is read through traversing it.