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The English Channel is the busiest waterway on this planet. Ferries steam from side to side, trains thunder throughout the tunnel. The slender sea has been an important to our improvement and prosperity. It is helping outline our concept of Englishness, as an island humans, a state of seafarers. it's also our nearest, dearest playground the place humans have sought solar, sin and bracing breezes.

Tom fortress takes us on a desirable, discursive trip from east to west, to determine what this stretch of water capability to us and what's so precise concerning the English beach, that aspect among land and seawater. He dips his toe into Sandgate's waters, takes the air in Hastings and Bexhill, chews whelks in Brighton, builds a sandcastle in Sandbanks, sunbathes in sunny Sidmouth, catches prawns off the slipway at Salcombe and hunts a shark off Looe. tales of smugglers and shipwreck robbers, of beachcombers and samphire gatherers, gold diggers and fossil hunters abound.

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This type of ceremony was probably widespread in northern Europe in the middle stone age, when deer meat was an important part of the diet. Antler frontlets have been found not only in England but also in Germany, at Hohen Viecheln near Berlin, so deer rituals were not just a local phenomenon. In Brittany at this time boulder-covered graves were made, some of them containing clothed and ochre-painted bodies trussed tightly into a contracted position as if they were parcelled up for return to the womb.

A white stone arrived at hole 51 at intervals of eighteen, nineteen and nineteen years and this predicted ‘conditions of the high moon’ at its extreme declination. Winter or summer eclipses occurred when any stone arrived at hole 56 or hole 28, that is, coinciding with the monument’s main axis. Equinox eclipses happened whenever a white stone reached holes 5 or 51. Hawkins claimed that his eclipse predictor would have been capable of predicting accurately ‘every important lunar event for hundreds of years’.

A semi-nomadic life style seems likely, with each band of people using several contrasting environments relatively close together in a more or less systematic rotation. In the Stonehenge area, they probably walked from campsite to campsite, exploiting in turn the riverbanks, marshes and water meadows on the valley floors, the scrublands of the valley sides, the closed pine and birch forests and woodland clearings up on the rolling plain, and then returned to their base camps near the river to begin all over again.

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