16 October 2023 – Hill Figures, The Glastonbury Zodiac and Mazes

By | October 28, 2023

We continued the topic of hill figures in the landscape.

1/. We discussed the possible link between hill figures and folk legends concerning giants

The Long Man of Wilmington was said to be the outline of a giant who was killed in battle.  A figure that was once at Plymouth Hoe was said portray the giant Gogmagog, who was killed in combat with Brutus’ champion Corineus.

In the 1950s, the archaeologist T. C. Lethbridge carried out a prolonged investigation of the Gogmagog Hills in Cambridgeshire, in search of a hill figure of the same giant.  He claimed to have discovered several figures, but his claims have largely been dismissed.

In a similar fashion, in 1929 Katherine Maltwood claimed that she had discovered the figures of a huge prehistoric zodiac marked out by roads, lanes, field boundaries, watercourses and earthworks in the area around Glastonbury.  The centre of the zodiac was occupied by a figure of King Arthur at Glastonbury Tor.  Mrs Maltwood’s claims have largely been discounted.

2/.  We also considered the ancient mazes – convoluting pathways cut into the turf, or marked out by rocks and stones – that have survived in Britain and on the continent.  The purpose of these mazes is unknown, but it has been suggested that some of them may have been used by church men as paths for contemplation; or they may have been used for ritual dances, with the dancers spiralling in and out of the maze along the paths.

Last Updated on October 28, 2023