Glastonbury Tor hovering above a cricket match on a typical English summer's day.
Photo by Harrias
Tor (a conical hill in the Celtic language) in Somerset rises out of
a plain in England's south west. It is the scene of a plethora of myths and legends, including the most popular - that it is the site of King Arthur's
Neo-hippies, Neopagans, New Ageists, party people and music lovers of all sorts, on the other hand, know the area as the
site of the legendary, mud-spattered and annual Glastonbury
Music Festival which is actually situated in Pilton, some 7 miles away from Glastonbury town, and nothing to do with the Tor, apart from being embedded in the same mud on rainy days!
garnished by St Michael's Tower - the last remnant of a medieval
church - the
Tor shows signs of fortified occupation over many hundreds of
years, from primitive earth defences in Neolithic times (early
Britons are believed to have called the place 'Ynys yr Afalon'),
through Roman forts to sturdy churches.
enduring Glastonbury mystery resides in the seven terraces circling
Some think that these were constructed for crop development
purposes, but this does not explain why the sunless north side
- where little would grow - sports the same rings.
Farmers say that grazing cattle can trample out terraces over
considerable time but knowledgeable rural folk point out that
in that case the rings would be less defined and more more aligned
with the contours of the hill.
The path running from the Tor down to Glastonbury town.
obvious possibility is that the terraces were the remains of
defensive earthworks but the traditional Neolithic earth fort
involved three ditches fronting three banks of earth while Glastonbury
Tor appears to comprise only simple terraces with little defensive
capability. In addition, the space on top of the defended area
(the Tor) was too small to support a village. (See Maiden
Castle pictures for traditional Neolithic earthworks)
final theory is that the Tor markings form a labyrinth, a popular
though laborious concept in Neolithic days. And the purpose
of a labyrinth would be...?
The Tor interior view.
Photo by JosepRenalias
lines: Some people (with heads firmly in the sky) believe that
Glastonbury Tor lies on spiritual/mystical Ley lines, connecting
it to other magical global locations such as Easter Island or
the Great Pyramids of Giza, Egypt.
Lovely feel-good theory but archeologists point out that ancient
cultures used straight paths between important points, whether
they be towns or pyramids, obviously because that would be the
shortest distance. In addition it's not too difficult to connect
the worldwide super-culture/artifact dots with lines, especially
if you're flying at hyper-velocity in an outsize saucer and
your brain evolved on Pluto.
The view of Glastonbury town from the Tor.
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