Ancient Traces in the British Landscape
Aubrey’s studies of stone circles were only a small part of his vast Monumenta Britannica, a wide-ranging study of ancient archaeological sites and artefacts across Britain. This chapter discusses the remainder of the Monumenta, exploring the circumstances of its composition and examining Aubrey’s engagement with burial mounds, hill forts, ancient fortifications, and roads, as well as contemporary theories of cataclysmic geological change. Throughout, Aubrey deployed his comparative methods to understand new objects through the lens of known ones, for example likening Offa’s Dyke to the Great Wall of China. Less nationalist in its tone, the remainder of the Monumenta sees Aubrey moving towards theories of a universal ancient culture which would reach full fruition in the Remaines of Gentilisme. The chapter concludes with a discussion of his unsuccessful attempts to publish the Monumenta in the 1690s.
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