White Island on the Ocean (cont.)
Seven Landscape Mysteries of Bronze Age Britain, A Unified Theory
By William Glyn-Jones
Mystery 4: The Pilgrim Path
In the heady 1960's a realization dawned on Earth Mysteries investigator John Michel as a kind of mystic vision. It concerns Glastonbury Tor, the evocative, enigmatic and prominent man-sculptured hill that rises above the Somerset levels, inspiring legends down through the ages. The hill itself is an elongated teardrop shape in plan view, and the old Pilgrim Path runs straight along its long axis. Michel knew that the tower on the Tor was once part of a church dedicated to St Michael, and he got a feeling that the long axis aligned to another mound capped by a St Michael tower off to the southwest, Burrowbridge Mump. Checking out this alignment he found that it did indeed run along the Pilgrim Path, and that in the other direction it went to the site of the afore-mentioned Avebury Henge, and then continued over the landscape to pass near to the Dorchester-on-Thames site also mentioned in Mystery 3.
A further realization then came to Michel - the line if extended ran from approximately the most westerly point on the Cornish Coast up to approximately the most easterly point in Norfolk, making it the longest East to West line that can be followed over the land, and he also noticed it following quite closely parts of the Old Icknield Way in the more easterly counties. He called it the St Michael Line and it generated a lot of public interest.
Mystery 5: The Old Road
The Icknield Way, the old road that follows the course of Michel's long alignment, runs during its chalky Chilterns section close to and often parallel to an even older track: the Ridgeway. This track has been called Europe's Oldest Road. Its course takes in some interesting ancient sites such as the Whiteleaf barrows and the great long barrow called Wayland's Smithy. The end of the Ridgeway is actually located next to the afore-mentioned great mound of Silbury Hill in the Avebury complex that we looked at in Mystery 2. The Avebury structure appears from archaeology to have been completed by people who had adopted the round-barrow building Beaker Culture, and a Beaker burial has been found in the Whiteleaf Cross region, and since the Ridgeway itself was also in existence at that time we know that these builders walked its length, and can reasonably assume that it was a sacred pilgrimage route of some kind.
Mystery 6: The Two Staffs
As the Whiteleaf Cross chalk hill marking is on the Ridgeway, the chalk giant known as the Long Man is located along the course of the old chalky track of the South Downs Way, near the village of Wilmington, in East Sussex. Once carved into the chalk, it is now marked out with white bricks. Its age is till unknown. Scientific dating was recently done on chips found lower down the hill, but it is acknowledged that the most likely origin of these chips is the old quarry adjacent to the figure, rather than from the figure himself.
The pose of the Man, with his hands raised to shoulder level, palms flat and facing upward, immediately suggests Egypt, and indeed as we note the form of the Long Man, we can see that there are in fact some intriguing iconographic parallels from that land. Compare the Long Man with, for instance, this image of a double-serpent bearing figure in the night sky from the ceiling of the Temple of Hathor at Deir el Medina.
This image of the double serpent bearing figure is a close up of a drawing that was done by Lepsius' draughtsman, and it shows the ceiling of the Ptolemaic temple of Hathor-Ma'at in Deir-el-Medina. When Lepsius and his team travelled through Egypt in the Nineteenth Century, his draughtsman produced many accurate, faithfully reproduced drawings of the temples and their artwork based on what was then visible. These drawings have proved invaluable to Egyptology, because much of the artwork has since deteriorated due to the carbon dioxide from the breath of millions of tourists over the years, greatly affecting the colours of the ancient paints. Is some trace of this figure still present on this ceiling? It would be interesting to investigate, but here the image functions just as an introductory formic analogue to the Long Man, who holds staffs rather than snakes, while there are other Egyptian images that actually grasp two staffs, and it is these that we shall consider in more detail. (As Graham H reminded me, this serpent bearing figure is interesting for other reasons - such as the uncanny similarity to the figure on the Gateway of the Sun at Tiahuanaco - but this would lead us into a tangential investigation.)
Two staffs in Egypt could represent the Two Lands, Upper and Lower Egypt, and as a simple development of this a figure with two staffs could represent the favorite Egyptian theme of the "Balance of the Two Lands", the place found by measurement to be the boundary between Upper and Lower, and which geodetic measurement thus resolved the drawn-out and nationally destructive mythological dispute between the gods Horus and Set. Examples of a double-staff bearing figure are shown here, in the long necked amphora from Tutankhamun's tomb treasures and a similar image from the temple of Denderah.
For more on this see The Balance of the Two Lands: Ancient Egypt's Division According to the Ratio of Triangular Equilibrium
In the long-necked amphora piece shown above there are also two staffs framing the left and right of the upper register, and these take the form of palm ribs. This is a reference to another figure traditionally shown in Egyptian art carrying a staff in each hand, namely Heh, the personification of Eternity. The palm ribs are a year symbol which, in concert with the tadpole symbols for infinity at their bases, represents Millions of Years, or Eternity.