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The Sweet Track (Megalithic)
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Pulp History


In: Wales
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Just reading about the 'Sweet Track' in Somerset and a few things spring to mind.....

In origin this area is said to be a deep drowned valley, filled approximately to sea level by clay and alluvial silt, with occasional 'islands' of raised beach deposits. It is said that the trackway dates to 3807BC. From c. 4500 B.C. the area was apparently gradually transformed into a series of dry islands surrounded by fresh water marsh and brackish reed swamp punctuated with open pools. Increasing rainfall encouraged plants to form a raised peat bog which continued to grow, in some places until c. 900 A.D.

This probably ties in with 'Somerset' - Wiki gives us the usual AngloSaxon interpretation of 'people who lived here in the summer'.... where did they go in the winter?? But it may also come from 'Old English' for Sae Mere meaning 'sea lakes'.

Anyway - we are told that as the seas receded peat began to grow in this area and people settled here. It is reported on the Shapwick history site that 'The deepest peats, more than 7 m. thick, occur in the moors furthest inland'.........

Peat 7 metres thick has apparently developed since the seas receded and the area became habitable. A quick research on peat growth shows from the TorvForsk Swedish Peat Research Foundation that peat grows on average at 0.5mm per year....

This means that the peat in this part of Somerset started growing 14000 years ago!!

Am I missing something or does this not add up??
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Mick Harper
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In: London
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Try to find out whether the Glastonbury Tor is artificial or not.
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Hatty
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In: Berkshire
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Pulp History wrote:
This means that the peat in this part of Somerset started growing 14000 years ago!!

That would coincide with the last of the ice? Peatland is similar to tundra in its constitution isn't it?
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Pulp History


In: Wales
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From research it appears that there is local 'mythology' that the Tor is man-made, or that it is 'hollow'. It is reported as being a natural feature which has been reshaped by man into seven circular levels rising to the top...... it is alleged to lie on the dragon line (?) which has a feature called Burrowbridge 'Mump'. The Mump is also said to be man-made, as the clay it consists of is not local to the area - it also has a church on top and you can see Glastonbury Tor from the top of the Mump......
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Mick Harper
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In: London
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I think we need a few photos of all the various features along the Dragon Line. For the sensible among you, the Dragon Line is the longest line that can be drawn in Britain (east to west, I don't know what the north-to-south one is...anybody?). All the way along it you find features associated with the two dragon-killing saints, St Michael and St George, hence the name.
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Hatty
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In: Berkshire
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Now the countryside's in bloom, thoughts are turning to a summer get-together...Interest in the Burrowbridge Mump and Dragon Line could be incorporated into a visit to Avebury and Stonehenge/ Woodhenge (and Glastonbury).

Mid or late August is the obvious choice for an outdoorsy expedition unless everyone's already got holidays booked then. First though it'd be helpful to know if people are enthused or appalled at the prospect of meeting up with other members. You can bring family and Canis lupus along to carry the luggage.
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Mick Harper
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In: London
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August seems very late. I would vote for a weekend in June.
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Mick Harper
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In: London
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As usual the dog has run away with the spoon (look it up, someone) and we are now into something very much bigger.

All this started a coupla days ago when Keimpe (our esteemed editor for those who don't know) e-mailed me and Hatty re a proposed walk he and two of his mates wanted to do, based on a megalithic treasure hunt we once did.

Not to go into the subject-matter of this too much (we can discuss it here if you wish), he wanted to walk along one of the Old Straight Tracks that may or may not have once existed in Britain in the olden times.

So basically you've all got to delve into the usual places and come up with anything you can discover about whether there are still 'walks' along these straight lines. We have the Ridgeway and things like that (ie very old but not 'straight tracks') in the eastern half of Britain covered for the moment but we need routes leading from the west into Avebury or Stonehenge or wherever. Actually they don't have to be straight just clearly connected to or by or from megaliths.

We would specially like to hear about books, websites etc that specifically deal with this subject ie megalithic walks. If you don't do this we'll have to spend this year's AE Summer Break on it, so be warned.
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Keimpe


In: Leeuwarden, Frisia
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http://megalithic.servehttp.com/mapserv/
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Mick Harper
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In: London
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Thanks for bringing this to our attention, Keimpe, even though as far as I can see it doesn't assist directly in our search. Terrific overview though. However I might be prejudiced because the head honcho of this site published a review of THOBR which ran as follows:

This little green hardback looks quite innocuous from the outside -- it has 141 pages and the rather impressive price tag of £20. Well, you might be thinking, this has to be good -- no-one would pay that if it wasn't good'

The basic premise of the author seems to be that the language of English -- not Anglo-Saxon, but English -- is the living ancestor of all the modern European languages. That it existed as an underlying demotic language of the ordinary people of much of Europe for the whole of prehistory, that it grew and developed into the modern languages of French, German, etc and that the whole of the academic world who have any interest in linguistics or the history of language have got it all wrong... Oh, and by the way, all the Celtic peoples came from the west and never lived anywhere except where they do now, on the fringes of the coasts of the main, English-speaking countries...

At least, I believe that is what is being said. I only managed to read it through once. And it took me a long time...

Parts of the book seeks to destroy one of the sacred cows of academia. I have absolutely no objection to that as an ideal -- there is a lovely saying, that the majority is always wrong... But the theory which is being levered into the hollowed place where the cow was lying is difficult to reconcile with the evidence presented in this work. A lot of the author's time has been spent in rubbishing other theories -- but at least some of these are theories which are already at worst questioned, and at best mostly dismissed by those who study the subject. Other ideas discussed - and dismissed - are simplistic school versions of history, rather than the detailed and complex actualities of modern academic study.

I did try to be objective, I really did. But the writing style is rambling, the side-issues (geological, evolutionary) seem to be largely unrelated to the arguments being put forward, and the degree and amount of vitriol that drips unrelentingly from every page whenever the author considers the opinions, research, writings or findings of any other academic is, to say the least, distracting. It seems to be a book written more to annoy others rather than to present a reasoned case. If I could have given the author any advice before publication, it would have been 'lose the anger, concentrate on the arguments'.

There's probably a good article in there somewhere. But an over-priced, tiny 141 page hardback? No. Save your money for a good book on megaliths


You can all write in with viciously contrary comments here
http://www.megalithic.co.uk/article.php?sid=2146410915
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Keimpe


In: Leeuwarden, Frisia
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Mick wrote:

You can all write in with viciously contrary comments here
http://www.megalithic.co.uk/article.php?sid=2146410915


There's no need. Look at how positive everybody else on that page is!
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Mick Harper
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In: London
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Yes, my mum has a certain style.
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DPCrisp


In: Bedfordshire
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Am I missing something or does this not add up??

Can't tell. It might do. The average (in Sweden) might be 0.5 mm per year, but what is the fastest (in Britain)?

This area is just outside the glaciated bit (clay shovelled in by the ice sheet?) and the farthest inland is the highest up the valley. Praps it did take 14,000 years and the deeper stuff is buried.
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Keimpe


In: Leeuwarden, Frisia
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I think I will take my two friends (both psychologists and both senior somethings for the company they work for) on a stroll along part of the St. Michael line. They say they normally walk some 20 kilometers per day, which gives us (roughly) enough time to walk from Glastonbury Tor to Avebury. I am anxious to see both of these places and now I can combine it in one trip. Any thoughts on this?

Also, I don't want to outright tell them where we're going and what we'll be doing. Instead, I'm taking them on a little treasure hunt.

As for step one, I've already asked them to send me a (digital) copy of a map on which they have drawn what they believe is the longest possible line to be drawn from left to right on a map of Great Britain. If they succeed (or if I correct them) I will then ask them to see if they notice anything special on zooming in on this line. They probably won't notice a lot (perhaps Avebury), so I will then give them a hint to look for the name Michael.

In the end I will tell them (unless they found it out themselves) that this line is actually called the St. Michaels line and that it does a special trick every May 1st.
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Mick Harper
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In: London
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This is brilliant. Keep me informed of how they get on.
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