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White Island on the Ocean (cont.)
Seven Landscape Mysteries of Bronze Age Britain, A Unified Theory
By William Glyn-Jones

Mystery 2 : The British Primordial Mound


Silbury Hill, the 'British Pyramid' - largest Neolithic 'mound' in Europe, started around 4,700 years ago in the same era as the Great Pyramid.

In the British Early Bronze landscape nothing stands out so clearly as being unique and anomalous as the enormous man-made structure of Silbury Hill, west of Marlborough in Wiltshire. You would have had to have traveled all the way to Egypt to find something similar, and archaeology now states, through the most up-to-date carbon dating techniques, that it was indeed built at the same time as the Great Pyramids of Giza. The hill is a well-balanced structure, symmetrical even, with a flat platform at the top, and underneath the turf covering has a stepped structure like an Egyptian stepped pyramid. It was built from chalk blocks and the engineering and architectural skill involved was considerable, with no precedent in Britain.

There is good reason to believe that the hill was constructed as a representation of the Primordial Mound, and not just because it was surrounded by a lake like the primordial waters. There is something deeply curious about the hill's exact latitude, for the latitude line precisely 4/7 of the way from Equator to Pole runs right through the hill. This connects it with other Primordial Mound sites of the Ancient World. Delphi, the greatest of the Greek oracle centers, is located on Mount Parnassus. There was a version of the Deukalion myth where this Ancient Greek Noah figure landed his ark on Mount Parnassus, it being the first mountain to rise above the waters of the flood, just as with the Primordial Mound of Egyptian Myth. Indeed, Parnassus is at 3/7 from Equator to Pole, while the Theban Primordial Mountain, the sacred mountain of Thebes in Egypt known as Mistress of the West and sacred to Hathor, is as 2/7. Silbury, at 4/7, actually matches Egyptian depictions of the seven-stepped Primordial Mound. At Thebes an annual festival was held in which statues of the god Amun as a ram-headed figure were carried about in a crescent shaped boat. Similarly, at Delphi there was a festival in which a crescent shaped boat was carried, and this boat was known as the Argo, the same name used for the boat which carried the golden fleece of the Ram. Indeed, one version has the Castalian Spring of Delphi as the place where the dragon lived from whose teeth were sprouted the Earth-born warriors we find in the Argo myth. And furthermore, Herodotus says that in Egyptian Thebes once a year a sacred ram was sacrificed and its fleece was draped over the statue of this Theban ram god, Amun. These coincidences may be explained if there is truth in the stories told by Herodotus in which the Greek oracle centers were founded by visitors from Egyptian Thebes. Certainly there was also an oracle at Egyptian Thebes, as there was at Delphi, and in the Theban temple of Amun there was even an equivalent of the omphallos stone of Delphi that was said to have been placed at this spot after Zeus had measured the size of the Earth. Since the Earth-measuring that links Egyptian Thebes and Greek Delphi is the seventh divisions of the hemisphere, would you call me a fool if I were to make the same claim for the seven-stepped hemisphere of Silbury that Herodotus made for Delphi, namely that it was built according to the commission of Egyptian visitors? In which case, perhaps it was you that were the fool. (You may be interested in exploring these matters with reference to the Hindu/Tibetan concept of the dwipa.)


Right: Egyptian stepped Primordial Mound depiction.
Left: 'Mistress of the West' - the sacred peak of Thebes

Mystery 3 : Henges and Cursuses

This Silbury Hill is in fact located within a group of prehistoric landscape monuments known as the Avebury Complex. This includes the large East and West Kennet Long Barrows, several round barrows, the site of a vast palisaded enclosure, and long avenues of megalithic stones leading to, of course, the massive Avebury Henge and stone circle - the largest of the stone circles, to be sure.

The word henge is now used to refer to a large circular ditch and bank earthwork. The henge of Avebury is built on a gigantic scale, banks big enough to toboggan down, and a total circumference long enough to make a Sunday afternoon walk. The ditch may have been water-filled, and the great bank was not grass-covered, but shone as a circular wall of white chalk. This henge and Silbury Hill just a mile to the South were under construction in the same period. It seems inconceivable that they were products of separate commissions.

There are of course other examples of large henges in the British Isles, one of them forming the earlier phase of Stonehenge, for example. But the national capital is the site of Thornborough in North Yorkshire, the so-called "Stonehenge of the North". The Thornborough complex is built to massive proportions, and is certainly impressive. The core of it consists of three large henges linked by two long straight cursuses. A cursus is a long, straight avenue bounded by banks. The Thornborough Henges have an interesting structure. Each of them has two circular ditches with banks placed concentrically and the banks were covered with locally sourced white gypsum, rather as the Great Pyramids of Giza were originally given an outer covering of white limestone that shone brilliantly in the Egyptian sunshine. It seems logical to concur with archaeological opinion when it proposes that this white covering was given to the Thornbourgh Henges in Yorkshire in order to replicate the effect produced by the chalk banks of southern henges, and there is a close link to one of the southern sites in particular. At Dorchester-on-Thames the huge Big Rings henge likewise consisted of two concentric circular ditches with banks, and again a long straight cursus linked to the henge, and both the Dorchester and Thornborough henge sites are located on floodplains adjacent to rivers. This has lead to the conclusion that the same builders were involved, despite the great distance between the two sites. Why were these two sites in particular singled out by these builders, these lovers of shining white walls?


A crop mark aerial photo of the great Big Rings double henge of Dorchester-on-Thames

The three henges that form the core of the Thornborough complex are configured intriguingly. Whilst the henges that join the three together are themselves straight, they are slightly off alignment. This makes the ground plan strongly reminiscent of the three Giza Pyramids, and, of course, the three stars of the prominent asterism called Orion's Belt located on what we might call the floodplains next to the River of the Sky, the Milky Way. Indeed, the orientation of Thornborough has been calculated to have aligned with the rising of Orion. The theory linking Thornborough with Orion was first put forward by university academic archaeologist Dr Jan Harding.

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