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Sittaford Tor

11 May 2015

On a high point of Dartmoor an undiscovered, until now, stone circle has been found and is being excavated – see www.guardian.co.uk/science/2015/may/11/highest-stone-circle-in-southern-…

Archaeologists are over the Moon as antiquarians of the past did not know it was there and have therefore not fiddled around with the site. However, the stone are no longer upright so it is not exactly pristine. C14 from the soil beneath one of the stones gave a date in the late 3rd millennium BC – making the circle contemporary with the flurry of activity that took place at Stonehenge (various rearrangements and additions). It appears to belong to a group of circles situated in an arc on the NE edge of the Dartmoor massif – a huge slab of rock protruding out of the surrounding landscape. Dartmoor is the highest point of a underlying rock strata that protrudes elsewhere on the SW peninsular – on Bodmin Moor for example, at Lands End and on the Scilly Islands. The formation actually gets lower and lower towards the SW direction – the Scillies protruding out of the sea. It would seem that at some stage in the past the formation may have been level – but changes to the geoid have caused it to slope downwards. What it provided, for our Neolithic ancestors, was a high point on the eastward side – especially in the NE. The Guardian reporter predictably mumbles some mish mash about a 'sacred arc' of stone circles – without explaining the practicalities involved. Stonehenge likewise is aligned on a NE orientation – and this has been known for some years.

The circle builders might be likened to the NW European equivalent of Isaiah in his watchtower scanning the heavens for a sign of God interfering in human affairs. It is assumed Isaiah was on the lookout for an Assyrian army – but that is not the role of a prophet. Isaiah was looking skywards – that may be what the watchtower was all about. What then was he looking for? An act of God may of course have been wishful – as only God may have seemed to have the ability to halt the Assyrian threat.

The equivalent of Neolithic druids, for want of a better term, may have been gazing at the NE horizon for a specific reason, as yet unclear. What better position than a high point on the NE edge of Dartmoor. At that time lots of people lived on the moor – and continued to well into the Bronze Age. They were doing this 1500 years prior to Isaiah – and following in what seems to have been a long tradition – and a constant worry.

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