|12 November 2006
Sacred landscape discovered in Oxfordshire
An archaeologist surveying Northmoor has accidentally discovered a sacred landscape' created in the Bronze Age. Robin Brunner-Ellis was amazed when he stumbled upon a pattern of features in the landscape made by ancient people to communicate with their gods. He is now hoping to launch a sacred landscape heritage trail to enable people and walkers to discover how and why the landscape was formed. He said: "From near the Rose Revived pub across the meadows and across the river up to Cumnor Hill there are a series of ditches people in the Bronze Age dug as a form of ritual to communicate with the gods. These ditches were laid out to capture burial mounds in which their own ancestors had buried their dead 1,000 years before the ditch builders. The ditches connect those ancestral remains with natural elements in the landscape in such a way that they could draw down the sacred power of the rising full moon that occurred only once every 18 years. The rivers were equally important for prehistoric people as living forces running through their landscape. So the ditches are aligned with the River Windrush where it meets the Thames at Newbridge, cuts across a long loop of the Thames before crossing it and heading over Hurst and Cumnor Hills. It ends up at the point where the River Cherwell meets the Thames on Christchurch Meadows."
On October 6, Mr Brunner-Ellis visited the site with his eight-year-old son Tom to see the Autumn equinox moon at its fullest and its closest to Earth in 18 years. He said: "What we saw was amazing. It took my breath away. The huge pale disk of the harvest moon rose between Hurst Hill and Cumnor Hill on the eastern horizon exactly in line with the orientation of the Northmoor linear ditches. And at precisely the same moment as the moons appearance, the autumn sun disappeared over the western horizon exactly over the point where the Windrush and Thames rivers meet at the opposite end of the Northmoor linear ditches. It was astonishing. We got an extraordinary insight into the ingenuity of people we imagine were quite primitive."
Zetica, a Witney based research company, is to carry out a geophysical survey of the whole parish and Mr Brunner-Ellis hopes the astronomy department at Oxford University will also get involved in the research. He also hopes a leaflet about the heritage trail will be produced. For information see www.goodmarketing.org.uk/sacredlandscapes
Source: Oxford Mail (9 November 2006)
Share this webpage: