Arts Victoria grant for Ancient Memory Spaces

Some days are just so significant they become milestones in your life. I have no doubt last  Wednesday will be one.

An email arrived headed Arts Victoria funding outcome, and I could see the opening words “I am pleased to advise that you have been successful …” Obviously this is a fantastic email to get because of the money awarded. But it is much more than that. It is my first literary grant. It is recognition of my status as a writer. Can you imagine how good that was for my self-esteem?

Ancient Memory Spaces is for the general reader and will focus on the memory methods used by indigenous cultures to memorise vast amounts of rational information. It then shows how a simpler version of these methods were used by the Ancient Greeks and Romans and then slowly became more specialised in the Middle Ages and Renaissance until they disappeared in Western cultures other than for world memory champions showing off in memory competitions. Ancient Memory Spaces then shows how these ideas explain the purpose of ancient monuments around the world, including the great houses of Chaco Canyon, Easter Island, the mound builders along the Mississippi, the Nasca lines in Peru and many more. And of course, Stonehenge and other Neolithic sites including Avebury, the Ness of Brodgar, Newgrange and the amazing 3000 standing stones of Carnac.

So much fun and I am now funded to write it!

Meanwhile, back at the Cambridge book, Knowledge and power in prehistoric societies, we are just up to the production phase. There’s much more on my blog specifically about my research, Memory Spaces The designers have chosen one of my photos for the cover. Not surprisingly, it is of Stonehenge – one of the all important Welsh bluestones overshadowed (both physically and metaphorically) by the huge sarsen trilithon. Here’s the image. I can’t wait to see what they do with it.