This review by Maia of Shaldon in 2009

So was Megalithomania 2009 worth the trip? Too right it was! Once again Hugh and his crew gave us a weekend of education, re-evaluation and entertainment. There was Taffy still on the door (does he live in the Assembly Rooms?) who must be the nicest bouncer in the world; and the rest of the team looking so much more organised and ready to roll.

The quality of the presentations was superb, as nearly everyone has gone up techno-wise. The excellent balance of light and sound made the lectures very accessible. I am not surprised that the projector overheated once or twice - we were treated to ideas and discoveries that were clearly very hot off the press.

However, to comment on the end of this conference seems a fitting start. The final gathering as a tribute to John Michel lifted our spirits; the words and visuals reminded us of his massive contribution to our world, and that he continued to work with originality despite his failing health. We all felt we could claim a part in his life - he was that sort of man - generous through to his soul - which has every right to rest in peace.

The Saturday began with Chris Trwoga, who got us all excited about quartz. He also put paid to my desire to revisit the Newgrange complex, as he showed us how Knowth (and Dowth) have been extensively reconstructed with modern materials and may no longer resemble their original builder's blueprint. I was delighted with his summary of the uses of quartz at megalithic sites, as it matches my own observations in the UK and Eire. As paved areas and as Monolithic pointers it excels both in the day and by the light of the full moon.

This was followed by Michael Hodges who shared his study of Neolithic calendar evidence. His lists of ‘clues’ in placenames was very helpful. His 5 ‘folklore themes’ were identified as ‘Time and Light’, ‘Movement and Travel’, Sex and fertility, Healing and Renewal, Death and Devil, which was reassuringly familiar to those of any religious affiliation.

So what is it about this Eastern Europeans? Tim Hooker blew our minds with the fantastic structures in the Ukraine. When he showed us that ‘Shu-Nan’ was 4x the size of Stonehenge - and it is single cairn full of petroglyphs - I was googling for the next flight out. The two local researchers Yuri (Archaeologist) and Volodymr (Physicist) show us the vital importance of two disciplines co-operating and not competing. This has led to a fast and deep understanding the foundation and practices of the society of Slavic people. The second part of this lecture was led by Heather Lee who continued to show us the quality and quantity of the evidence of early people, which is awaiting serious study in the Ukraine; she showed us the 100km serpent shaped ‘Dragon’s Dyke’ from Ukraine to the Danube. A stunner of a structure, as are the giant footprints of Petrini.

Robin Williamson (in the lecturer’s ‘graveyard’ slot after lunch) was a perfect antidote. I have loved this man since the days of ‘Big Ted’. He enchanted us with his tales within tales, magickal harp with song. This prepared us well for Glenn and Cameron Broughton. They took us on a virtual trip around the sacred waters of the world. He slipped in some scientific facts without us really noticing - so gentle in his delivery. The final sharing of the magic of synchronicity amazed us all; his original work in Winchester delighted us. They were followed by the Welshman Robin, who instructed us well in the correct pronunciation of Bryn Celli Ddu, (Brinn Kethlee Deeeee) and sang praises to the work of Thom and others, re-evaluating the importance of Latitude and angular correspondence, and the Pythagorean relationships. This talk sparked off a conversation with Hugo Jenks, and I would appreciate seeing a presentation on his work on the Henge soon (please Hugh and crew).

The final lecture of Day 1 by Graham Hancock was as stunning as his books. Here is a man who is really out there having a good look for us all, with his very able wife. He stretched our belief in the History of Time as we know it, sharing his study with clarity. His amazing eclectic collection of maps along with his analyses, and ground level checking out leaves me with no doubt in the authenticity to his quest, and that we need to rethink the history of the presence of a civilised nation on planet earth. If he is right, then the messages they left us about a cataclysmic earth extinction event are only about the likelihood of synchronicity with the cosmic alignments, and less about certainty. It is has been my belief for many decades as well.

Day 2 dawned bright and beautiful (it was a hot and sunny weekend) and Mark Rawson presented us with a discussion on real measures. Flashing up geometry before coffee was a challenge but the math was sound (pun - as he was relating it to music), pointing us towards the work of Bligh Bond and Geomatria. Geoff Ward brought us a DVD from Tom Brooks which was made so brilliantly for Megalithomania that I felt Tom was really sat in the corner telling us his truth ‘Prehistoric Geometry in the British Isles'. His work with spiralling isosceles triangles on maps has revealed many local sites of interest.

Howard Crowhurst has moved to France, and shared with us his outstanding original work with the Megaliths of Brittany. He has covered an extensive area, and has used his understanding of the importance of annular time and place to maximum effect. I loved his ground breaking ground level research, and look forward to his future studies being revealed. Having had my heart broken about Knowth, I was delighted to find his Gavrinis Chamber, relatively untouched and performing similar functions. Well done to him and more of it please!

John Michel’s work was brought to us by the philosophical Christine Rhone. Her beautiful pictures and sanguine observations sang to us hypnotically as she spun a tale of twelves around us.

Edmund Marriage’s carefully prepared presentation delighted us all. His precise explanation for the links between the older people and us (post apocalypse) was compelling. His ancestors work (the O’Briens) has been extended. He tied myth with legend with old records and finally with fact that cannot be denied. It was truly exciting to realise that we survived it all last time, and we will be able to do it again.

The final lecture by Robert and Olivia Temple brought this fantastic 2 days of talks to an interesting end. They shared their work on the Sphinx which revealed to us all that s/he was really a dog in a moat. Not any old dog of course - but Anubis. We all resisted the moat jokes (eg: did he have a receipt….). I agree with the idea from his evidence and once more it was lovely to see the work of people out there really taking a look. I am sure we would love to see a computer generated image of it - there must be a whiz kid itching to do it?

We closed later than planned, but many stayed on to present their tributes to John Michel. I wanted to stand up and say “John was a true Antiquarian Gentleman” but like many of us, I just thought it - knowing that he would have been politely listening anyway.

Roll on 2010 - and the OOTO before then. You are bringing us the best of them all.

Maia of Shaldon, Devon.

Click here to go to 2009 page.