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Culverswell Barrow

The following Page is copied into Posts because it seems very few visitors look beyond the Posts and therefore miss this important finding which is crucial to the credibility of the  pattern.

The CROOKSBURY LINE at 232.32 degrees from North would appear to be aligned to the mid-winter sunset.  At just over 7 Druid Miles (DM) the line passes through St Bartholomew’s Church at Wanborough.  At just over 8 DM, and on the extremity of visibility, lies the site of the Hogs Back Barrow on a high ridge which appears to be the aiming point for the midwinter sunset.  The line then passes close by Hillbury Hillfort at 10 DM, but it is other alignments which pass through the fort itself, and then carries on to Culverswell Barrow.   Although precisely on the line it is slightly beyond the 12 DM point at the crest of the hill. Carrying on down the hill the alignment terminates between two very close tumuli known as Crooksbury Barrows. Nothing has so far been found beyond this point.

Culverswell Barrow

Culverswell Barrow ditch with mound on right side viewed from the south

232_12 Culverswell Barrow

 

RED LETTER DAY

On 25 July 1979 I finally proved to my own satisfaction that at least one of the alignments was laid out intentionally by prehistoric peoples. I had always realised that my case would be greatly enhanced by the discovery of a previously unrecorded barrow in a precise location predetermined by myself prior to a site visit.

It had seemed logical that one would be more likely to find a prehistoric site on the highest point of an alignment and so profiles were produced using the contours shown on the Ordnance Survey six inch to the mile maps. These proved very useful for the demonstration of sightlines and showed several high points where no ancient site was recorded. One of the most prominent of these was at Culverswell Hill on Crooksbury Common at the south western end of the CROOKSBURY LINE. The alignment was followed on a compass bearing from the well-preserved bowl barrow about 300 m to the South West. After negotiating some dense rhododendron bushes I emerged onto the pine covered plateau to the North West of the bluff to be confronted by a large mound surrounded by a shallow ditch. It was so obviously a barrow that it was quite beyond me that it was unknown to the Surrey Archaeological Society. The top was deeply cut by a badly eroded cross- trench indicating that it had been dug into at some time in the distant past but had remained unrecorded. The following weekend a tacheometric traverse was carried out from Littleworth Cross to the mound through the nearby Crooksbury barrows and back to the road thus establishing a grid reference for my survey pegs by the barrow to 1m of accuracy. When plotted onto the 1 to 1250 Ordnance Survey sheet it would seem to be in alignment as predicted.

The barrow has since been visited by the County Archaeologist who requested the county’s foremost expert on the Bronze Age. Mr Stuart Needham, to give his opinion. Mr Needham ruled out the alternatives such as a windmill stead, or landscaping and concluded his report by expressing great surprise that such a fine prehistoric monument had remained unrecorded in an area well known for its earthworks. I suspect that one reason is that most people walking in this area of Scots pine covered sandy hills would use the established paths. The path which crosses below the bluff affords a view up to the barrow but as no ditch is visible from the south side owing to the erosion of the slope, the earthwork appears to be merely the top of the small hill. The ditch and mound are only obvious when viewed from the North, the least accessible direction.

Letter to Dr D G Bird, County Archaeological Officer, from Stuart Needham.

‘Dear David

ROUND MOUND ON CULVERSWELL HILL C. SU 89234561.

Thank you for notifying of this earthwork;  I have recently had the opportunity of visiting the site.  I found a sizeable round mound approximately 24.8m diameter and perhaps approaching 2m in height.

The top of the mound has been mutilated in the past by the digging of a cross-shaped trench, now much silted.  Around roughly half of the mound’s base may be detected traces of a ditch 2.8m across and at present barely 0.2m deep.  The mound is sited on the end of an eastward facing spur with steep slopes on three sides.  The ditch peters out here, perhaps there having been no necessity for it, or otherwise it has been removed or concealed by a greater degree of erosion down the slopes.  Inspection of the side of a foxhole suggested a possible composite mound structure, but as usual such evidence is ambiguous.  The ground to the west rises gently and evenly with no indications of undulations frequent in this sort of sandy terrain resulting from natural agencies, or extractive disturbance.  There are some rhododendron clumps immediately to the west of the mound, but no sign of any associated landscaping.

In my opinion the extant features – the size, circular plan, evidence for a ditch, and its siting – are strongly in favour of it being a genuine ditched bowl barrow, which would of course normally be referable to the earlier Bronze Age.  Other possibilities such as a natural mound, a feature of relatively recent landscaping, or the base of a post windmill, can I think be reasonably dismissed for the present.

It really is astonishing that that such a fine upstanding monument should have escaped notice for so long in view of the proximity of the triple (sic) bell barrow on Crooksbury Common!

Best wishes

Stuart Needham’

In the summer of 2015 the site was visited with the purpose of carrying out a GPS survey and the resultant coordinates were added to the AutoCAD database.  This showed that the original survey was accurate and that the barrow was indeed perfectly on the alignment.

Home

This blog could be said to be all about ley lines…. but please bear with me.  I could be just as sceptical as you.  I want to know the truth and hopefully have an open mind.

For those unfamiliar with blogs, the bit you are reading now is not called a page but a post.  All posts are at the front of the website and are chunks of information added as and when I wish to say something new.  In the header they are listed under Home.  All other headers are pages and are the meat of the website and more akin to an e-book.  These pages are permanent (although they can be edited by me) whereas posts are a temporary storage for information which may be added to the pages and are open for readers comments.

To see an overall description and plan of the alignment of ancient sites go to the top line of headers above and open the header titled ‘Summary of Alignments’ rather than clicking on the sub-headers revealed by hovering over the other main headers.

So what’s it all about….

Some forty years ago I made an extraordinary discovery – certain ancient sites in the area around my home town of Guildford were arranged within the landscape in a seemingly intentional pattern. Some sites fall upon bearings of ten degrees from a common point and are aligned at regular distances from that point. This regular distance also occurs along other alignments within the area. On one alignment I calculated a high point where I suspected a site may have existed and consequently discovered an unrecorded barrow at precisely that point – later confirmed by the County Archaeologist.

The following pages are the result of many years of intermittent research into the alignment of ancient sites across the landscape, popularly known as ley lines.  Originally ley lines were defined as the physical alignments of ancient sites but in recent years they have become to  be thought of as lines of ‘earth energy’ detectable by dowsing.  This is outside my area of interest and I no longer think of or refer to alignments in this work as ley lines.

The first pages are entered under the header titled About.  After the Introduction the chapter titled Beginnings describes my early years of research and this is succeeded by Developments which describes recent research dating from the time this blog was begun.  The Summary of Alignments is a listing and brief description of the lines, and the heading is concluded by a brief (at the moment) chapter titled The Elephant in the Corner on the contentious issue of site relevance.

At this time there are thirteen alignments listed in this work.  Others may come to light especially if the area of interest is expanded.  The alignments are divided into two groups.  The primary group is at bearings of 10° intervals from a common point.  These intervals have been refined to 9.95° and the bearings have been divided into the recurring distance interval of 3600 feet (1097.3m).  This distance, for want of a better name, I have called the Druid Mile (DM). The secondary group are all roughly East-West and contain further instances of the Druid Mile.

It should be noted that this is very much a work in progress and many entries await the addition of information.  Field-work, once all sites are studied and photographed, will be concentrated on visiting deduced points on the alignments in the hope of discovering other unrecorded sites.  This would go a long way to proving the theory.

For those who are interested in the origins and developments of the ley theory I recommend the website of Paul Devereux who has written a concise and comprehensive history from the coining of the term by Alfred Watkins in 1921 up to recent times.  Go to www.pauldevereux.co.uk and click on ‘ley lines’ in the contents panel.

 

COINCIDENCE? – Some statistics.

The area chosen for detailed examination was approximately 25 miles east to west and 20 miles north to south, centred upon Guildford in Surrey.

Within this area a list of all prehistoric sites; pre-reformation religious sites; other ancient sites; and sites of possible interest was compiled.  Eighty sites in all were added to a database with their Ordnance Survey (OS) coordinates.  I should point out here that the data was taken from the largest scale OS maps using Promap online to give a working tolerance of a metre.

Of these sites 22 fell upon the ten degree rays based upon a common base point (Whitmoor Barrow); 16 were in various other alignments; 18 were associated with a common distance of 3600 feet; and 11 of these sites occurred on more than one alignment.

Seven sites had serious relevance problems, being moats and Victorian churches.  These were included as, certainly in the case of Victorian churches, a little research often reveals far older origins than one might at first suspect.  At this time moated sites must be regarded as coincidental.  The two precise ones have been excavated with no sign of anything pre-medieval.

It may well be that some of this is coincidence but the accuracy of most of this is extraordinary – for example, if the distance value of 3600 feet (Which I have named the Druid Mile) is altered to, say 3650 feet, then the new value cannot be found between any of the 80 sites, nor can any other common distance be found.  This alone is well beyond coincidence.  What does seem to be coincidence is the preciseness of the figure 3600.  It is well known that the english foot was not standardised until the Middle Ages and that the more ancient values varied between times and places so it is difficult to see how this originated.

The alignments radiating from Whitmoor Barrow are extremely precise  – the South Line has the Crooksbury Line at fifty degrees to the west and the Compton Line at thirty degrees to the west.  These are mirrored by the Tyting Line at thirty degrees to the east and the Newlands Line at fifty degrees to the east – again well beyond coincidence.

There are many other ‘coincidences’ described in the text of the alignments.

 

The Possible Importance of Latitude

Professor Richard Atkinson, excavator and restorer of Stonehenge in the 1950’s, has stated: ‘The position, at least of the Heel Stone and the Station Stones, and indeed the latitude of Stonehenge itself, were astronomically determined’.

The latitude of Stonehenge is 51 ̊10’42”.  It is now widely accepted that this location was chosen because it fell upon the best position to observe the midwinter and midsummer risings and setting of the sun, together with the rising and setting position of the moon at its major and minor standstills, these being the limit of its travel during the 18.6 year cycle of its travel.  At this latitude the equinoctial risings and settings of the sun are virtually opposite to each other so a sight line may have backsights and foresights; for example the midwinter sunset in the south west is opposite the midsummer sunrise in the north east, and the midwinter sunrise is opposite the midsummer sunset. This only applies to a relatively narrow band of some 30 miles in width at the latitude of Stonehenge. Once one goes beyond this band the opposing risings and settings do not align.

The latitude of Whitmoor Barrow is 51̊ 16’ 24.9”.  This is just short of seven miles north of the latitude of Stonehenge, and within the corridor of interest.  If the above is true it would seem possible that other ‘observatory’ sites might lie upon the same latitude.  Certainly I have faith in my discovery of the possible midwinter sunset line, reinforced by my finding of an unknown barrow precisely on this line.  There is an error of just over three degrees compared with the Stonehenge figures, which could be accounted for by the elevation of the Hog’s Back, which provides a very level and clearly visible backdrop from Whitmoor Barrow.  The theodolite observation which I carried out at midwinter sunset in the 1980’s satisfied me that I was observing down the alignment towards the destroyed Hog’s Back Barrow.  It would be good to check this but in the intervening years the scrub birch has grown tall and strong and it is no longer possible.

The Goseck Circle as restored

It was recently pointed out to me that the Goseck Circle bears a remarkable relationship with Stonehenge in that it is on almost the same latitude.  At 51011’53.72” it is a mere 1.35 miles north, well within the band of interest discussed above.  The Goseck Circle is a restored Neolithic monument in the German state of Saxony-Anhalt first discovered in 1991 from aerial photographs.  It is radiocarbon dated to 4900 BC and is believed to be the oldest known solar observatory, having two entrances in the henge aligning with the winter solstice sunrise in the south east and with the winter sunset in the south west.  A third entrance to due north has no known significance.

There was a time when researching the above would have been a doddle but with my advancing years I find it increasingly difficult to get my head around this stuff.  If I am in error I ask that I may be put right – politely I hope!