What are the chances?
How precise does an alignment of three points need to be before it is considered "likely to be deliberate" rather than "mere chance"?
It's an impossible question since "mere chance" can never be discounted. But what can perhaps be said is that the more accurate, the more the possibility it is deliberate.
On that basis, if these rather inaccurate alignments are given some sort of credence by some as being perhaps deliberate -
then what is to be made of THIS level of accuracy between The Sanctuary, Silbury and Silbaby? http://www.themodernantiquarian.com/post/64185/images/silbaby.html
(Just asking, not saying)
Just another Ridgeway hillfort, (though better if you don't get out a lot like me.)
Worth a visit though, if only to be reminded of the sheer effort involved (this is a pretty big one). Needs some imagination to get the full impact though - deeper, steeper ditches, higher ramparts and timber stockade on top - not at all pretty or softened like now but a place of power and warning, something to force you to feel huge respect even if you viewed it from ten miles away. People not to be messed with lightly.
It's not as it was though, Fresh badger diggings adding to the erosion, just like they've been doing constantly since their Nth grandparents were doing it. But there's a long way to go. It'll still be impressive in a thousand years.
Hardly a speck of it is quite how it was, its a different place. Even the amazing view to the North. So its best to keep the imagination in gear. Just one thing's the same maybe. The loud plaintiff hiss of the wind in the stunted hawthorns, at precisely the same pitch as they heard. So if you close your eyes you're back in the authentic Iron Age.
Open them again though, this isn't the place to spend the night with a broken leg.
"Silbaby" was noted (or "re-discovered"?) and named by Pete Glastonbury. It's not thought to be modern, and is apparently artificial (but that's as far as it seems safe to go). The site is posted here, not because it's known to qualify, but because no-one seems to have established that such a thing is impossible. Silbaby is currently subject to fly tipping, which is ruining its (possibly important) shape.
Marked on old maps as "the Girt Bank" and possibly sketched by Stukeley (we think) it must have been seen by many archaeologists and thousands of tourists, yet no-one seems to have considered it noteworthy. Yet, as can be seen from the pictures, it's worth a second look, and a third.
Interesting factoids, to aid any "unwarranted speculation" as an expert might term it's presence here: it's slopes equate precisely with Silbury's, it's exactly on a line between Silbury and The Sanctuary and is co-visible with both, it has a sarsen lying on it, a spring at it's base, a "moat" round it and a flat flood plain adjoining it. So far, we can find no expert attribution or even mention of it, and it's currently being liberally fly tipped.
Apart from the fact that dumping stuff in a WHS should be stopped, expert reassurance that this place is of no archaeological significance would seem to be urgently required and would be gratefully received.
To add to the complexity of all this - someone has been doing some searching to the left of the road leading South - about from this car onwards for about 100 yards http://www.themodernantiquarian.com/post/26829
and has cut back the vegetation to reveal 7 fair sized stones that are currently fully visible (July 04).
There's mention here of a survey finding lots of stones and discounting them as probably "natural" but these look very characterful and several are extremely gnarled - just what you'd choose if you needed some, so I don't know.
Further complication is the mention of a previous barrow with lots of stones - that would have been in the field adjoining these I think.
From this position, of course, Avebury and Silbury ARE visible.
4x4s Banned from Ridgeway in Winter
From the Scotsman:
Drivers of 4X4 vehicles are to be banned from using parts of Britain's oldest known road this winter.
Quadbikes, trail bikes and off-road cars will face a seasonal ban from vulnerable sections of the ancient Ridgeway which runs from Wiltshire to Buckinghamshire.
The "mudlarks" have been blamed for causing ruts in the 85-mile route, which is thought to be at least 6,000-years-old and was used by prehistoric man.
The implementation follows meetings with rural affairs minister Alun Michael and campaigners who have sought a complete ban on vehicles since 1983.
Among those pressing for the ban have been mountaineer Sir Chris Bonington.
Thames Valley Police has been carrying out special patrols in Oxfordshire recently to catch irresponsible off-road thrill seekers tearing up the track.
But off-road enthusiasts such as the Land Access and Recreation Association say they are a small minority and have been victimised. They claim farmers and horses cause more damage.
Ian Ritchie, chairman of the Friends Of The Ridgeway, said: "A voluntary code of respect has been in operation on the Ridgeway for 10 years but has plainly not been working.
"This ban is excellent news for all walkers, horse riders and cyclists who wish to enjoy the Ridgeway in peace, free from the ruts and mud that make the trail hazardous and unpleasant.
"Although a seasonal ban falls short of the total ban that we have been advocating, it is a very big step in the right direction."
Mr Michael said: "I am sure that this will help to make the difference we all want to see in order to protect the Ridgeway for all users."
The Ridgeway runs from Overton Hill, near Avebury in the south, to Ivinghoe Beacon, north of Aylesbury, and includes numerous Stone Age and Iron Age hill forts and burial mounds.
All six councils along the route have agreed to the seasonal ban which will be imposed from October.
A mere one thousand years ago,
King Alfred marched this crest of chalk
To fight the Danish foe,
And strained to see that very lark.
In this same Saxon blue.
Just two thousand years ago,
The feet of Rome stamped here and here
Upon this bouncing turf,
And glittering, ravenous conqueror’s eyes
Devoured these seemly, gentle hills.
From here, four thousand years ago,
The men of Bronze surveyed their works
Through eyes as wide as mine,
As wondrous Silbury, virgin white,
Bedazzled in it’s prime.
And here, six thousand years ago
Gazed Neolithic eyes
On wonders older still:
On tombs of Kennet, Avebury Henge
And ancient, ancient Windmill Hill.
Now they are gone, those mighty men,
Those Lords of all they saw,
And only I am left to walk
This high and winding lonely lane,
Whilst all around, on deep-etched hills,
Their proud, immortal marks remain.
What voice commands, what power compels
That such as they should go?
It is the same insistent call
As whispers in my ear:
There is a time for mortal men,
You may not linger here.
Perhaps, like mine, their spirits soared,
Above this magic land,
Perhaps they both rejoiced and cried
At beauty unconfined,
Perhaps this final earthly view
Blazed in dying eyes.
Perhaps that spark has never died,
And essences remain.
For see that joyous soaring lark
And hear it’s blissful cries.
It could not be more free than I,
Nor joyful nor fulfilled:
Perhaps no power, no time, no death
Can take me from these hills.
A Perfect View
I saw a view that was truly perfect.
Amidst that choking beauty, I was sad,
For there are no words for me to tell of it.
So what! Just go and look on top of Cherhill Down!
Interests: Looking, Aimless Rambling and Rambling Aimlessly.
Dislikes: Whiskered Lady Foxhunters, who set him off like a firework (UPDATE, 17 Feb 2005, the day of the Ban - Hahahahaha! How d'you like that you witches from Hell!!), and little else.
Likes: Laughing, Red Dwarf, Dylan Thomas, Tiswas (this site, really).
Earliest Recollection: Ascent of Everest by Hilary Benn, 1953.
Latest Recollection: September 1968, a lay-by outside Swindon.
Minders: See Rota.