|12 August 2007
The lost city of Apollo: is it near Stonehenge?
A British archaeologist believes he has found the lost city of Apollo. Dennis Price, who shot to prominence after finding a missing altar stone from Stonehenge, is the man behind what could be an amazing discovery. With the help of language experts from Exeter University, Mr Price has translated the early works of the Greek mariner Pytheas of Massilia, who was one of the earliest visitors to Britain, in around 325 BCE, and who wrote of the City of Apollo. Now, after dedicated work, Mr Price believes he has solved the ancient mystery of just where it is.
He said: "Just a mile or so to the east of Stonehenge is a gigantic prehistoric earthwork called Vespasian's Camp, named in later years by William Camden after the same Vespasian who subjugated the south west of England during the Roman invasion of Britain in 43 CE. It is invariably described as an Iron Age hillfort, yet excavations there have shown the existence of far earlier Neolithic pits, while there still exist the remains of early Bronze Age funeral barrows, showing that the site was in use while nearby Stonehenge was being constructed. Vespasian's Camp lies at the bottom of a slope occupied further up by what is known as the King's Barrow Ridge, overlooking Stonehenge, while this is further divided into the New King Barrows and Old King Barrows. Vespasian's Camp cannot be seen from Stonehenge, but it lies to the east of the ruins, or in the direction of the rising sun."
Mr Price added: "As Apollo had largely become thought of as a Sun god by the time Pytheas was writing, it is another fairly obvious connection, while Vespasian's Camp lies slightly to the south east, or the direction of the midwinter sunrise when viewed from Stonehenge, something else that may have had a bearing on matters as far as the consideration of a god who visited Britain during the winter months was concerned. Given the huge scale of the earthworks at Vespasian's Camp, it is not unthinkable that Pytheas may have thought of Troy, another city sacred to or beloved of Apollo, as some later versions of the stories of this place speak of Apollo building the walls there along with Poseidon. We cannot know precisely how Pytheas came to equate the sanctuary, the temple and the city with Apollo."
Alexander Fitzpatrick, of Wessex Archaeology, said he knew Mr Price but had not heard of his findings. "Vespasian's Camp is not something we know a great deal about but it does date from around the time of Pytheas' writings and he does refer to the Lost City of Apollo. What Dennis would have to do is establish a link between Pytheas and the camp. I don't know how he could be sure there's a link between those two camps as opposed to others, such as Hembury at Honiton."
Source: Express & Echo (9 August 2007)
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