44. The timber post settings inside Mount Pleasant's henge, Dorset. Built by Beaker folk to the east of the present town of Dorchester, proves that the nine-megalithic-inch gold lozenge found in the Bush Barrow of Stonehenge was based on astronomy.
This monument expresses and proves several things... Eggs aligned on the sun and moon (Professor John North, Stonehenge: Neolithic Man and the Cosmos). Growth, where the 80 by 100-degree lozenge can be seen to grow in steps of 10 plus one, up to Stonehenge's 36 megalithic yards and beyond.
This image works equally well even when the lozenge is rotated through 90-degrees. It also works just as well for the small 60-degree Bush Barrow lozenge.
Furthermore, it proves the reason for the 70-degree Clandon Barrow lozenge found nearby at Maiden Castle. Dorset.
It will no doubt work for the Little Cressingham rectangle of gold too, presently in Norwhich Castle Museum, if only we could wrest the size of it from archaeologists. A recent visit to Norwhich Castle shows it to be around three by four megalithic inches, in which case it's based on a pair of 3:4:5 Pythagorean triangles.
Next: Analysing the purpose of the six-mile-long Dorset cursus.
The Thickthorn terminal in 2017. It’s surrounding ditch can also be seen in this picture.
The Dorset Cursus, to which this terminal is connected, is a six mile long, 280 foot wide prehistoric avenue consisting of a pair of ditches excavated into chalk subsoil with external banks running parallel to the ditches. The ditch was not deep and the banks not particularly high, because the cursus's simple purpose was to connect three vitally important terminals together. The cursus is not dead straight, but makes a curving path as it travels over the Downs (hills) and across valleys gouged out thousands of years ago by torrents of glacial melt water. So, serving purely as a link, the avenue of ditches and banks have no alignments of their own.
The Thickthorn terminal is easy to find.
Leave Blandford Forum NNE via the A345 to Salisbury, and, after some six and a half miles from the centre of Blandford, (five and a half from the Blandford ring road) turn right at Thickthorn Cross and park up in the layby in Millers Lane – if there is a clear space for you to do so. Exit car in bright coloured ridiculous clothes, or do as I did in 2007 and make yourself look clown-like by holding aloft a colourful brolly on a bright summers day! All this is to keep you safe. Millers Lane is dead straight. There are no pavements, and cars drive up and down it as if everyone is late for work.
Proceed up the hill on foot. Pass hedgerows threaded with barbed wire, and continue until you reach a metal gate. Climb the gate and enter the field. You are now trespassing. You could have asked the farmers permission, I suppose, but that would let the cat out of the bag of what you are up to, and you might well get told No!
Carry on to the bottom of the field, passing several monuments, to arrive at the southern terminal of the cursus.
An aerial view, courtesy of Bing images 2017.
The Thickthorn terminal is the only terminal left standing; another, half way along the cursus, and a third at its northern end, have been completely destroyed by the plough. Sadly, as I write this, I have to report that this one remaining terminal, having survived the hand of man for over 5,000 years, was violated by the plough in 2018. And perhaps by now, is already gone.
An overhead view of the Thickthorn terminal at the southern end of the prehistoric Dorset cursus, courtesy of Google Earth, after being re-aligned by the plough in 2018. This is not the work of naughty children, for if it was, they’d have driven right over it!
The Thickthorn terminal is vital to the hypothesis of the cursus in that it is not set at right angles to the cursus and consequently its normal axis points several degrees more north. This can be seen more clearly on some OS maps than others. The Thickthorn terminal accurately points/pointed now?, to where the moon exits the massive Handley number 1 barrow - commonly known as the Wor barrow. The moon will been seen to rise from out of Handley number 1 in 2024 for anyone standing in the middle of the Thickthorn Down terminal, because that is when she attains her most northerly position known as the Major Standstill.
Add this moonrise alignment to the proven solstice alignment on Gussage Down and we have another monument designed to bring the sun, moon and a star - almost certainly Sirius, which tracked the sun at that time - together in one place.
This is a view of the cursus from the Thickthorn Down terminal. We cannot walk it from here because of a thick hedge. Here we see the cursus going one way and the terminal pointing another. As you can see, the Thickthorn terminal, which is now behind us, is aligned on Handley number 1 - the Wor barrow, and the 18.61-year rising moon.
Lets take a virtual walk along the cursus to stand alongside the Gussage St Michael III long barrow sitting on the crest of Gussage Down.
This is a view looking northeast from alongside the long barrow known as Gussage St Michael III. Here we can see the terminal on Wyke Down as it crosses the cursus. We will walk up to this terminal and turn around to see what the Dorset Cursus is most famous for.
It's from this terminal that the winter solstice sun can be seen to enter the barrow Gussage St Michael III.
There is a reason why these two barrows face one another like a pair of dogs. I have it that the long barrow of Gussage St Michael IV (on the left) would be on the horizon when seen from the Bokerley terminal (117 OD) were it not for the Salisbury plantation which is in the way. Furthermore, were it not for the Salisbury plantation, the southernmost moon could be seen to enter Gussage St Michael IV every 18 years. Clearly, the whole idea was for the sun to enter one barrow and the moon enters the other.
This is my rendition of the northern terminal on Bokerley Down. The arrow, normal to the terminal, points all the way back, not to the barrow St Michael III, but its partner St Michael IV and the setting moon. Today, however, the path to St Michael IV and the southernmost setting moon is blocked by the Salisbury plantation.
A likely scenario.
The rolling hills and high ridges called ‘Downs,’ and the valleys that run from northwest to southeast across Cranborne Chace, owe their great beauty to torrents of glacial meltwater that flooded over and through that Dorset chalkland, many thousands of years ago.
One especially long and level ridge took the eye of people living on the Downs some six thousand years ago for the way that the most southerly position of the setting sun - the winter solstice, appeared to sink into it. That ridge today is called Gussage Down, and people had watched the sun disappear into it for many years while sitting near the top of the Wyke Down ridge, almost two miles to the north of Gussage Down.
From around 4,000BC, generation after generation had sat and watched the sun sink into Gussage Down, and while doing so, noticed something else. The brightest star, Sirius, which also sinks into Gussage Down, was getting closer and closer to the maximum southerly sunset.
The meeting of these two finally occurred around 3,500 BC and lasted for a couple of hundred years. So, building a long barrow on Gussage Down to try and capture them together, was an obvious thing to do.
Meanwhile, some more folk standing on a low rise at Bokerley Down had noticed lit braziers placed to mark the sun’s position on Gussage Down, which from Bokerley is some five miles south.
You might think that we ought to feel sorry for those living on Bokerley Down because the angle of view between them and the winter sun was all wrong for the solstice. But not so! People at Bokerley had marked the position of the 18.61-year southernmost setting position of the moon and knew it set a little to the left of the brazier and where others were about to build their long barrow, Gussage St Michael III.
This realisation called for a second long barrow to be built on top of Gussage Down - Gussage St Michael IV- and a terminal was built on Bokerley Down which aimed at it.
This bringing of the sun, moon and a star together in one place was still not enough for such ambitious folk. So they went to the next ridge south and built another terminal on top of Thickthorn Down. This third terminal was aligned on where the northernmost moon rises out of the massive Wor barrow, some four miles away.
Maximum moonrise and maximum moonset seen leaving and entering barrow mounds - catching the sun and brightest star in one place – it’s all there. All that was needed now was to connect the whole lot together with a six mile long avenue scratched into the chalk, but care was taken to give it no alignments of its own.
I am not ashamed to say that this is what I wrote in my book ‘Stonehenge Secrets 2007.’
The Dorset Cursus as a love nest.
“If you had been fortunate enough to find yourself standing at the Wyke Down terminus, 4,500 years ago, and at the right time of year, you might have seen the sun as he disappeared into the long barrow known as Gussage St Michael III. This apparition occurred when the sun set in the southwest on the day of the setting midwinter sun.
If you had then travelled to the Thickthorn Down terminus at the southern end of this cursus and looked towards the northeast, you would have seen the rising moon as she left this long barrow – no doubt adjusting her dress. This was when the moon reached her most northerly point of rising. All this can still be seen today of course. But where was her baby to have been born? Presumably, and in view of her rising; this child was, perhaps, meant to be born in heaven.
As also was the case with the long barrow known as Amesbury 42 that once stood at the end of the Stonehenge Great cursus, no primary human burials were ever found in Gussage St Michael III.”
You can see from the above that I was on the right track. There are some mistakes though: First, the date for the building of the cursus is more likely to be around 3,400 BC. Second, I obviously chose the wrong barrow.
One official report, produced by A. Penny and J. E. Wood, suggested a moonset alignment over the Thickthorn Down terminal, but had to admit that the terminal is below the horizon when viewed from Gussage St Michael III – A distant hill forms the actual horizon.
To sum up, we have that the north and south terminals were dedicated to the moon, as my website shows. No wonder some ignorant shti wants the Thickthorn terminal destroyed.
Once more I find it necessary to repeat the words of Professor Mick Aston of the Time Team.
“I’m not proud of the Time Team, it hasn’t worked. And I’m totally dissatisfied with my time at Bristol University. Archaeology in Britain is a shambles from top to bottom. The forces of darkness and evil are stalking the land again.” British Archaeology Magazine, August 2012.
Bibliography: The Dorset Cursus Complex: A Neolithic Astronomical Observatory? Penny. A. Journal - Royal Archaeological Institute 130 1973.