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The Independent Culture
The world of Homer Sykes's Celtic Britain (Weidenfeld pounds 14.99) is over 6,000 years old, and includes sites which predate even the Iron Age. The mysteries were especially active in the so-called Dark Ages, after the Roman colonisers left, as early Christianity mingled with the older traditions of the King Arthur cult. But the megalithic monument (above) created by Edward Prynn of St Merryn is modern. The granite gateway in the foreground is a copy of a Neolithic chamber tomb; the triangular "marriage stone", where Prynn and his wife, Glynis, conduct Druid weddings, echoes a Bronze Age original. A stone circle, a rocking stone and a copy of the Men-an-Tol complete the "Angles Runway", a neo-pagan tourist attraction.

The Angles Runway's mixture of ancient and modern reflects the atavistic modernism of Le Corbusier. But other photos in the "Contemporary Celts" chapter are far stranger. The "Burry man" of South Queensferry - a human effigy covered in burrs, paraded through the streets, to this day, to raise the herring? The present-day Gorsedds of Cornwall, at which dozens of bards dressed in nun-like blue robes sing hymns to King Arthur? Neo- pagans believe that the rites of the past never really die out; worshippers bring such rites alive and kicking into the here and now. It is a strange, and not entirely comical, sight.

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