Long before zero, we discovered the eternal O, the infinite round of ending and beginning, loss and discovery, death and renewal. Our life was defined by circles: the sun and moon, the belly of a woman in full fruit, the pot which carried our food, the house in which we lived, the wheel that moved our carts and turned our pots; and the ring ditch that encircled our barrow, echoing the nearby henge, a relic of the Stone Age.
Our history is written in soil, scratched on the face of the round earth, lost for centuries but now emerging for a brief moment to re-connect with a new generation who are building their square homes above our heads.
Rumbling forward on great rubber wheels, their diggers have disturbed our site, cutting through our infinite circles. But, at least, they stopped a while to look and learn, to hold the objects we treasured, to wonder at our lives and say to each other ‘Nothing is new’ before covering us up again until their houses are pulled down and once more we emerge to complete the circle.
Photograph: Excavation of a ring ditch at The Meads, Sittingbourne. Courtesy of Canterbury Archaeological Trust.