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Shapes On The Landscape

Watching The Dark
Celtic Moon Rising
Sweeney's Men
Sweeney's Men 1968
Bagpipes and Other Incendinary Devices
Máire Ni Chathasaigh
Old Bridge Music
Celtic Women in Music
The Harp
Loreena McKennitt
The Visit
The Mask and The Mirror
The Book of Secrets
Blue Horses
Dragons Milk and Coal
Ten Leagues Beyond The Wild Worlds End
Folk On The Water
Harvest Storm
A Sense Of Place
Shapes On The Landscape
Dorset Cursus
Wayland's Smithy
Maiden Castle Hill Fort
Expansion of The Celts
Cara Dillon
The Streets Of Derry
The Road Less Traveled
Wild Welsh Women
Isle of Môn
Death of the King's Canary
Siân Phillips, the Welsh Fiddler
Julie Fowlis
mar a tha mo chridhe (as my heart is)
Clan Wallace

Dorset Life

Danebury Iron Age Hill Fort
Danebury Iron Age Hill Fort, Hampshire

Shapes On The Landscape

Tilling and toiling has shaped these strips,
Tumbling terraces, ridges of ground,
These are the lynchettes the first farmers made
Shapes on the landscape are all around,
Shapes on the landscape are all around.
Deep in a disc the warriors sleep,
Bow, bell and berm - hallowed ground,
These are the barrows from Ages of Bronze,
Shapes on the landscape are all around,
Shapes on the landscape are all around.
Circles of stone, horses of chalk,
Castles and forts, mysterious mounds,
These are the wonders that welcome our gaze,
Shapes on the landscape are all around,
Shapes on the landscape are all around.
©Ashley Hutchings/Chris While 

West Kennet long barrow, Wiltshire
West Kennet long barrow, Wiltshire

Barrows - Barrows were introduced during the Beaker phase. They are a burial cist or grave covered with a mound of earth. They come in two styles; long barrows or round barrows.

Long Barrows - Rectangular mounds of earth and/or stones used for inhumations and cremation burials.

Round Barrows - A circular mound, which covers an inhumation or cremation burial. Also known as Tumuli. These come in several sub-types:

Bell Barrows - Circular mounds which have a flat platform, before the encircling ditch. They usually contain male burials.

Disc - A flat circular area, surrounded by both a ditch and a bank. A small tump of earth in the centre marks the position of the grave itself. They usually contain female burials.

Bowl Barrows - Circular mounds which are sometimes accompanied by a surrounding ditch.

West Kennet Long Barrow - of which the burial chamber is only a small part - stretches for 100 metres in an East - West orientation. The earth used in its construction was taken from two trenches dug alongside the mound (see diagram), although these have long since become filled with weathered material. The chamber, which extends 10 metres into the mound, consists of five seperate chambers, two on either side of a narrow passage

Berm: (noun)
1. A narrow ledge or shelf, as along the top or bottom of a slope
2. A terrace formed by wave action along the backshore of a beach
3. A mound or bank of earth, used especially as a barrier or to provide insulation.
4. A ledge between the parapet and the moat in a fortification
Etymology: French berme, from Dutch berm, from Middle Dutch bærm, berme.
source: Oxford English Dictionary

Cursus - A long, linear enclosure formed by a parallel bank and/or ditch. They are thought to have been used for ceremonial processions, as like many megalithic monuments they are aligned with the midsummer sunrise. The spread of these monuments is quite extensive. Examples have been found as far apart as Norfolk and the Orkneys. Some of them run for miles across the landscape. The Dorset Cursus on Cranbourne Chase runs for six miles and is the longest known. The name comes from the Latin for racecourse, as early investigators of these monuments thought they were Roman structures used for chariot racing.

Cerne Abbas "Giant" Dorset
Cerne Abbas "Giant" Dorset

Hill Figures - Giant figures of humans or animals, which are carved out of chalk hillsides in Southern England.

The Cerne Abbas Giant  is the largest hillfigure in Britain, he  is one of two representations of the human form, the other being the Long Man of Wilmington in East Sussex. The giant, carved in solid lines from the chalk bedrock measures in at 180 feet high, and carries a huge knobbled club, which measures 120 feet in length.

Maiden Castle Hill Fort southern rampart, Dorset
part of the southern rampart. Maiden Castle, Dorset

Hill Forts - These were, as the name suggests, fortified defensive settlements on the top of hills. They were chiefly occupied by the Iron Age Celtic tribes, but some sites had been in use since the Neolithic and some lasted well into the Roman period. The Celts updated the old wooden fortifications by digging out large earth ramparts, which often wound mazelike around the settlement to confuse the enemy.

Maiden Hill Fort, a huge hillfort, that can be seen from miles around, was in use in one form or another for something like 3500 years and consists of 3 separate occupation periods and construction projects.
The first use of the site was during the Neolithic period. A causewayed enclosure consisting of 2 banks 15 metres apart was constructed sometime between 3000-2000 BC at the eastern end of the hill enclosing an area of about 8 hectares. About half a millennium later a 500 metre bank was built running northwest to southeast - the burials of 2 young children were found beneath the eastern end.

Medieval lynchettes
Medieval lynchettes near Mere, Wiltshire

Lynchettes are created either unintentionally by ploughing or intentionally in the hilly landscape to create terraces suitable for farming. This pressure for more agricultural land, led to the creation of lynchettes, a form of terracing. Lynchette patterns can be seen in the above photograph.

Butser Hill top view
Butser Hill top view

Much of Butser Hill and sites on Holt and War Down have Scheduled Ancient Monument Status as designated by English Heritage. These features include trackways, barrows, lynchets and the site of a Roman farmstead.

Silbury Hill earth mound near Avebury, Wiltshire
Silbury Hill earth mound near Avebury, Wiltshire

Silbury Hill, located just south of the village of Avebury in Wiltshire, is a massive artificial mound with a flat top. It is approximately 130 feet (40 m.) high, with a base circumference of 1640 feet. It is composed of over 12 million cubic feet (339,600 cubic m.) of chalk and earth and covers over 5 acres (2 ha). Silbury Hill occupies a low-lying site and except at certain points in the landscape, it does not protrude significantly above the horizon.

Bronze Age tumulus
Bronze Age tumulus

this is the most incredible, most
comprehensive website on
Avebury Village and The Stones
anywhere on the internet.
A Must See!

Avebury Panoramic Tour.
The only internet site about
Avebury From Avebury.

This is the site of the largest stone circle
in Europe.The circle is 335m across
with 98 stones remaining
ranging in height
from 2.1-5.5m (7-18ft).

High above Swindon, and
overlooking the modern metropolis
is one of Wiltshire's
Iron Age forts, Barbury Castle.
The stronghold comprises a
double line of earthworks,
occupying a four hectare site,
with entrances on its
eastern and western edges.
One of Barbury's attractions
is the view - the main reason why
Iron Age man chose to
occupy the site
2500 years ago

Littering the countryside
of the British Isles
are thousand upon
thousand of barrows.
They can be seen standing alone
on a windswept hill
or clustered together
in a farmers field.
Sometimes you will find
them miles from anywhere
on a deserted moor
and other times they might
stand beside a busy road.
For centuries they have been
steeped with legend
and folklore and, more often
than not, have been associated
with dark forces of magic.
What exactly is a barrow?
this site will answer  some
of the questions.

an ancient farm reconstructed
in Hampshire.
A community Website for
the ancient village of
Cerne Abbas. 
famous for its
Giant carved in the hillside
2000 years ago
the Roman Town of
Calleva Atrebatum
the BBC helps to excavate
this major achaeological find,
in Hampshire

Helen Mark of the BBC
visits this area of
Southern England
which straddles three
county boundaries: Dorset,
Wiltshire and Hampshire.
It is a rolling chalk landscape
with dramatic scarps and
steep-sided, sheltered valleys.
The area is rich in pre-historic
monuments, hillforts and
ancient burial mounds
called barrows.
It was a royal hunting ground
for centuries and, as a result,
remained almost untouched by
modern agriculture until the
mid-19th century.
A learning journey through
the history in Hampshire's countryside

The discovery and careful pinpointing
of a fabulous Bronze Age gold cup
in November 2001 by Cliff Bradshaw
has led to repeated investigations
of the site near Ringlemere.

a prehistoric burial on
Salisbury Plain.
once more the BBC shows
us the way.

The 1200+ photographs
of Dorset are divided across
two sets of galleries.
This one incredible site 

an introduction to some of the
most fascinating relics of Britain's past,
from the world famous Stonehenge to the
little known Rempstone
and Knowlton Circles.
Wessex is one of the richest archaeological
landscapes in the world with forgotten roads,
crumbling castles, great cathedrals
and ancient burial grounds,
each with stories to tell.
The site is © 1997 - 2003 Phil Dunn
and a very fine job it is too

Moonraking brings you a
multimedia mix of stories
concerning the mysterious
in Wiltshire and gives you
the chance to contribute
your ideas!
Chalk downland combines gracefully
with low lying pastures while
Wiltshire's woodland and forests
are reminders of the
county's feudal past.

The history of the Romans in Britain -
100BC to 450AD
Along with insights into Roman life,
the military and how the
Romans changed Britain

this valuable index is constantly being
added to and updated, so return often

Many ancient sites, from huge hillforts
to long barrows dating from Neolithic or
New Stone Age, can be found
in West Dorset.

Museum and Heritage Centre
West End, Hampshire, UK

A Sense of Place
the places and landscape
of Wiltshire, from Wiltshire's
version of this wonderfully
insightful BBC series.
this site has an amazing 360 degree
panoramic shot of  Stonehenge

Chalk downland combines gracefully
with low lying pastures while Wiltshire's
woodland and forests are reminders
of the county's past.


 The Ridgeway at West Overton Wiltshire
The Ridgeway at West Overton Wiltshire

The Wiltshire stretch of the Ridgeway is the most remote section of the entire route and runs along the ridge of archaeologically rich downland between Overton Hill and Uffington White Horse, on the Oxfordshire borders.The route has been in constant use for 4000 years and some believe it continued beyond Wiltshire, heading south into Dorset and on to the coast.

Wiltshire Heritage

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