I first became aware of UBC professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Dr. Anthony Perks' theory that Stonehenge symbolically represented the vulva of an Earth Goddess aka Mother Goddess in the summer of 2003 when Dr. Perks' theory was reported in the mainstream media. Dr. Perks' Stonehenge vulva theory, which could shed considerable new light on the purpose and meaning of Stonehenge if true, was flippantly and quite disingenuously dismissed out of hand by the chief archaeologist for English Heritage David Miles in the article that The Observer newspaper ran under the witty headline 'The Vagina Monoliths'. Here is the letter to the editor that I sent to The Observer in response to that article with some pertinent links embedded in it. The letter was never published by The Observer but I did forward a copy of it to David Miles and even received a personal email response from him playing down his attempt to discredit Dr. Perks' theory -
Subject: Vagina Monoliths response
Date: Thu, 10 Jul 2003 17:02 EST
XXXX rue XXXXX,
Canada HXX XXX
Tel. - (514) XXX-XXXX
The Editors of the Guardian/Observer
I do not know Dr. Anthony Perks nor have I yet had the opportunity to read his paper proposing that Stonehenge was constructed in the shape of the female reproductive organs however I do know enough about ancient history and culture to say that Dr. Perks' Stonehenge theory deserves better than the gratuitously dismissive response of English Heritage's chief archaeologist David Miles.
David Miles displays glaring disingenuousness, if not outright ignorance of ancient history and well established archaeological fact, by rhetorically asking, "if Stonehenge was built so that it looked like a female sexual organ when viewed from above, how were people supposed to see that? As far as we have been able to tell, they didn't have hot-air balloons in prehistoric times." Surely most competent archaeologists or ancient historians understand that ancient geoglyph artworks and religious structures (perhaps most notably the Nazca Lines of Peru and Great Serpent Mound of Ohio) were never intended to be seen by the eyes of the people who built them but rather were meant to be seen by the "eyes of heaven" of the "sky gods" the ancients venerated such as the sun and the moon etc. Dare I ask David Miles if the ancient Britons who created the 3000 year old Uffington White Horse chalk figure were able to see it in all its radiant white glory from the skies above?
Dr. Perks' theory in no way conflicts with the scientific theories of Gerald Hawkins, Alexander Thom, and Sir Fred Hoyle that Stonehenge (amongst many other megalithic structures) served as an astronomical observatory, and even an eclipse calculator. In fact these two theories closely complement each other when one more fully understands how ancient cultures responded to both solar and lunar eclipses.
The totally eclipsed sun distinctly resembles the pupil and iris of a gigantic "Eye of God". One of the diverse ways in which ancient cultures responded to this "Eye of God" effect and other cosmic symbolism that is spectacularly manifested during the awe-inspiring "death" and "rebirth" of the "Sungod" was to create gigantic religious artworks that are best viewed from an "eye in the sky". There is quite literally rock solid archaeological evidence in the form of prehistoric petroglyphs that the ancient inhabitants of the British Isles and Ireland witnessed the total solar eclipse "Eye of God", most notably the "compound sun/eye symbols" at Dowth.
The deep red color of the eclipsed moon was universally perceived as blood. Indeed it was perceived as the vaginal blood of menstruation and birthing by a variety of ancient cultures. It is thus well within possibility that Stonehenge was created to predict lunar eclipses, and perhaps even solar eclipses, so that ancient Britons could practice "pagan" religious rites directly associated with birth and sexual fertility on those occasions when the sun and the moon most spectacularly manifested perceivable cosmic symbolism associated with birth and "rebirth" after death, to say nothing of menstruation and other aspects of human reproduction and fertility.
David Miles might benefit from taking a good look at aerial photographs of Glastonbury Tor, noting the terraced "lips" that ring it, and paying close attention to the position of the tower of St. Michael's church which was no doubt intended to obliterate an ancient pagan altar but most ironically ended up accentuating it when viewed by the "eyes of heaven". I am fully confident that Dr. Anthony Perks would be suitably impressed, and even quite amused, if he was to do likewise.
The Stonehenge, and indeed the Glastonbury Tor and other cultural heritage sites, that the modern age deserves are those revealed by modern insights and interpretations that most truthfully and accurately reflect the human culture of the ancient ages during which they were created. I am confident that Jacquetta Hawkes herself would agree that Dr. Anthony Perks' Stonehenge theory thus deserves greater respect and further investigation.
Here is a follow-up comment that I posted to the web page where that letter was made available to the public -
Update - 3:00pm Wednesday July 16, 2003
A very helpful "little birdy" provided me with a phone number in England where I could reach Dr. Anthony Perks. I have thus had the opportunity to speak with Dr. Perks about his Stonehenge theory in person and to share some of the fruits of my own research and knowledge with him during a fairly lengthy long distance phone call earlier this afternoon. As I fully expected, it was abundantly clear from our lengthy phone conversation that Dr. Anthony Perks is a serious academic researcher and that his Stonehenge theory is highly plausible. It is thus eminently worthy of being responded to in a responsible and respectful manner by the archaeological and other academic communities to say nothing of the general public.
The chief archaeologist of English Heritage, David Miles, whose flippant and quite spurious dismissal of Dr. Perks Stonehenge theory is much quoted in the media in a manner that serves to publicly discredit Dr. Perks Stonehenge theory appears to have forgotten that he is on public record as saying the following words:
"We're (i.e. English Heritage) at great pains to promote
a responsible attitude to amateur archaeology. . ."
"Stonehenge is a site of global significance
and anything that adds to our knowledge and
understanding is of great importance."
If it is largely correct, Dr. Anthony Perks' theory that Stonehenge was constructed to symbolically represent the female reproductive organs when viewed from the sky clearly "adds" most significantly to our modern knowledge and understanding of Stonehenge and thus Dr. Perk's theory should be acknowledged as being, at least potentially, of "great importance" and even of "global significance".
I dare say that David Miles, and thus by extension English Heritage whom David Miles publicly represents, owes Dr. Perks an apology for the clearly sarcastic and gratuitously dismissive, evidently quite spurious, and indeed far from responsible publicly expressed "bad attitude" towards Dr. Perks' Stonehenge theory. In fact, Dr. Perks may well be quite deserving of an archaeological commission from English Heritage towards further archaeological investigation of his potentially very important Stonehenge theory. As far as I am concerned David Miles' gratuitously dismissive public comments represent a betrayal of his own words and English cultural heritage.
The Internet Archive's Wayback Machine has preserved some of the original newspaper reports about Dr. Anthony Perks' Stonehenge theory. Be patient as it may take some time for the pages to load. Once loaded I would highly recommend downloading these archived articles for future reference as they may not be around forever. . .
The Observer Sunday July 6, 2003
Boston Globe July 12, 2003
CNN.com SCIENCE & SPACE
Reuters July 8, 2003 (not available)
The Discovery Channel
An early report in The Scotsman (not available)
After posting that letter to the editor to the internet in the summer of 2003 I went on to create an eclipsology website dedicated to my take on Dr. Anthony Perks' interesting and quite plausible theory that Stonehenge was intended to be a symbolic vulva of "The Goddess" which showed how his theory was fully compatible with the now largely accepted theory that one of Stonehenge's purposes was to predict solar and/or lunar eclipses. I decided to use The Observer's witty 'The Vagina Monoliths' headline as the title of that website.