Blog PostLidar Investigation

The Old Sarum Hoax

This week we that a look at The Old Sarum Hoax

If we use the Southern Station Stone as a direction marker from Stonehenge, it points South by South East.  If we then follow the line on a map of our Mesolithic landscape, showing the raised river levels of the past, we find that it points to a fantastic site just 10 km away from Stonehenge: an island in the middle of an extensive waterway called Old Sarum. (The Old Sarum Hoax).

The Island of Old Sarum in the Mesolithic Period - The Old Sarum Hoax
The Island of Old Sarum in the Mesolithic Period – The Old Sarum Hoax

The positioning of this site is most interesting, as it lies very close to the English Channel, which would have taken boats off to the continent.  It is quite possible that this was Britain’s first seaport, as it seems to be the last known occupied Mesolithic island.  If so, it would have been one of the most critical sites in Britain and Europe, as it would have been involved in nearly all Mesolithic imports and exports to and from France, Spain and the Mediterranean countries.

The area surrounding Old Sarum is also of great interest as it has two sites on the same raised rivers of the Avon in the past.  One of these sites shows that it was even older than Old Sarum, and it’s called Figsbury Ring.  The Old Sarum area is very similar to the Avebury Area as it has an ancient site older than the central Avebury Stone circle called Windmill Hill. 

River avon display
River Avon and sites on the route

Both Windmill hill and Figsbury are what archaeologists call ’causewayed enclosures’ – this is sadly and not uncommonly incorrect labelling of these sites by academics as we also see from their term ‘Iron Age Forts’ that are neither not Iron Age nor fortifications.

Causewayed enclosures are labelled so as archaeologists perceive them to be enclosures for cattle and paths across the ditches (causeways) for access by the livestock – this is complete nonsense.

A more historically accurate definition for these monuments would be ‘concentric circle sites’ – the term was created by none other than Plato referred to them back in 300 BCE when relating to the story of Atlantis and its central city’s description – which I cover in great depths in my books.

This ancient referral to such sites clearly dates both Windmill Hill and Figsbury to the very early Neolithic, when the Avon and Kennet waters were at their highest directly after the last Ice Age 12k years ago.

These monuments were constructed for boats to moor with their circle ditches to trade, and it was only when the waters fell towards the end of the Mesolithic and early Neolithic that both Old Sarum and Avebury were constructed to replace their predecessors.

The island of Sarum would have been a magnificent sight, sitting in a vast river as wide as the eye could see.  When we look at the LiDAR survey of the site, we notice that two deep ditches lead from the outer to the inner ditch, both of which have been partially filled.  During the Mesolithic, the groundwater would have flooded both the outer and inner channel via the Dykes (canal) cut in between the two ditches.

Current theories on this site speculate that the central moat was dug for the motte-and-bailey Norman castle that stands there today.  Still, without firm evidence, this is just speculation – although as the centre of the site is now raised, it would be probable that both the Romans and then the Normans, cleaned out the prehistoric ditch and then extended further down to the new water table, to keep the inner ditch as a defensive moat, placing the excess spoil in the inner area of the site.

Lidar Magnetometry Survey showing two Dykes
Lidar Magnetometry Survey showing two Dykes

The site at Old Sarum is much bigger than Stonehenge and is similar to Avebury.  One can only guess what would have been in the centre of the Mesolithic island.  From the amount of reused Sarsen stone found in the remains of the Norman castle the original cathedral and the Roman Fort, we can infer that a megalithic structure like Stonehenge or Avebury stood at Sarum during prehistoric times.  Because if you extend a line from the centre of the motte-and-bailey at Old Sarum through the centre of the church (the original Salisbury Cathedral), it points to Stonehenge.

Churches built on prehistoric sites are not uncommon.  In addition, there are many instances of pagan religions being crushed by Christianity taking over their sacred sites and using the stone circles as a building material for their churches.  So, we believe that in prehistory, three stone circles existed at Sarum: one large outer circle and two smaller inner circles, indicating the way to Stonehenge.  Later, as the groundwater fell, our ancestors built Sarum’s outer banks to keep their sacred site an island.  At Avebury, a similar configuration can be seen, with two smaller stone rings inside the large ring that borders the outer moat.

In the Neolithic Period, the groundwater table dropped by about 10 m, and the island of Sarum was joined to the mainland by a peninsula.  Our ancestors, therefore, built giant ditches 12 m deep to keep the site surrounded by groundwater.  The Southern and Northern mooring points could no longer be used, as the groundwater had receded too far, so the Neolithic people created a new landing point to the West.  They left a gap in the large ditch, so that people and goods could enter the island; this would have looked like a bridge across the water.

Neolithic Loading position with a pathway cut over the outer moat to the interior
Neolithic Loading position with a pathway cut over the outer moat to the interior

At the end of this footpath, they built another mooring station that protruded from the edge of the moat-like a peninsula so that boats could be moored safely around the feature.  (Silbaby)

For some bizarre reason known only to early archaeologists, the platform is shown on some maps as a Roman road which connected to a road some 200 metres away on the island’s West side. But, unfortunately, that theory would take a leap of faith and nature. As the landing platform, which is shown as a lumpy protrusion on maps, has a 1:2 slope with a vertical drop of over 30 metres.  I would suggest that a Roman horse and cart would not be an advisable means of transport for this terrain unless they were equipped with ABS brakes and a parachute.

Plan of Old Sarum - with 'impossible' Roman road to Bath with a 1:2 vertical drop
Plan of Old Sarum – with ‘impossible’ Roman road to Bath with a 1:2 vertical drop

The historical record gives us some clues to Old Sarum’s deeper past and how the groundwater surrounding the island dictated its history.  The original Salisbury Cathedral was built here, only to be moved down to the valley a few hundred years later.  Can you guess the reason for the move?  That’s right, the lack of water!  It seems that even over the Cathedral’s brief history at Old Sarum, the groundwater continued to subside.  As this story is well known, why did no one wonder how deep the rivers might have been thousands of years ago?

The Maths

Currently, the groundwater table around Old Sarum is 56.5 m above sea level.  The well in the Norman fort is 70 m deep from an altitude of 130 m, which shows that the groundwater is today 3.5 m below the Norman well.  Therefore, the groundwater table in 1000 AD – when the well was first constructed – must have been at least 60 m, so in 1,000 years the groundwater has fallen 3.5 m.  If we multiply this thousand-year drop in the groundwater table by 9, then add 56.5 m to account for the existing groundwater table, we can estimate the groundwater table 9,000 years ago, i.e. in 7000 BC.  That would make the groundwater table (9 x 3.5 m) + 56.5 m = 88 m.

I the outer banks of Old Sarum are 89 m above sea level – close enough to prove my point methinks?

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