Ancient Hill Figures on Wandlebury Hill

Iron Man Records has started work with Flinton Chalk, of the band TC Lethbridge, to “Uncover The Ancient Hill Figures On Wandlebury Hill, Cambridgeshire. Sometimes I do things for money. Sometimes I do things for free, and sometimes I do things I don’t really understand. It started with a blog post here. You’re welcome to get involved if you would like to help make this happen faster.

Gogmagog Hill figure
I hope that in the process of working in the ritual landscape of Wandlebury Hill, new material may be brought to light. In addition, some new TC Lethbridge T-shirts and artworks, a Vinyl release of TC Lethbridge – 2000TC, and another run of the books: TC Lethbridge – 2000 TC Standing on the verge of getting it on by John Higgs.

Flinton Chalk composed and produced The soundtrack to the Cairn T film and art installation. It was performed by The Barrittones choir in the prehistoric chamber of Cairn T, Loughcrew, County Meath, Ireland. Listen to it here on the New Scientist Soundcloud.

111 Hertz is the average resonant frequency of the Neolithic monuments archaeoacoustically tested by Cambridge University. Medical pilot trials to date have established that this frequency increases activity in the right prefrontal cortex of the human brain whist reducing activity in the left prefrontal cortex.

Flinton Chalk of TC Lethbridge on Fyfield Down, Wiltshire

Flinton Chalk born UK 1963, is an Artist, musician, curator and researcher specialising in alternative archaeology and archaeoacoustics. Some of the interesting things he has done include:

Avebury stone circle Wiltshire – official guide 1993

Photographer and PA to Julian Cope during the writing of ‘The Modern Antiquarian’ 1994-96

Proprietor of the Tomtom gallery in Soho, London, 1998-2013

DJ for the 2004 Brit Awards and after show party

Unity Stone prototype, sound stone sculpture 2010

‘T.C.Lethbridge’ collaboration with rock group ‘Spiritualized’ 2013

Gneiss – Photography exhibitions of prehistoric sites from personal archive

Cairn T – film and 111hz sound installations introducing the science of archaeoacoustics

Flinton used to work at the Henge shop at Avebury. The picture of Flinton above was taken on Fyfield Down by John Higgs and used in his book TC Lethbridge – 2000 TC Standing on the verge of getting it on.

John Higgs.

John Higgs is a writer who specialises in finding previously unsuspected narratives, hidden in obscure corners of our history and culture, which can change the way we see the world. In the words of MOJO magazine, “Reading John Higgs is like being shot with a diamond. Suddenly everything becomes terrifyingly clear.”

I haven’t read Watling Street: Travels through Britain and its Ever-Present Past. It was published in July 2017. The Financial Times called it “mischievous and iconoclastic”, the Observer said it was “a book for our times” and the Times Literary Suplement described it as “a new vision of England… full of magic, mystery and bits of William Blake”. Lord Victor Adebowale called his 2019 book, The Future Starts Here: Adventures in the Twenty-First Century, “Brilliant, incisive and superbly written with humour, humanity and an intellectual honesty rarely found these days.”

The reviews are great, but I blame John Higgs for all of this. He told Flinton to call Iron Man Records and ask for help.

Flinton’s band TC Lethbridge took their name from Thomas Charles Lethbridge (23 March 1901 – 30 September 1971), better known as T. C. Lethbridge, who was an English archaeologist, parapsychologist, and explorer.

TC Lethbridge was a specialist in Anglo-Saxon archaeology, he served as honorary Keeper of Anglo-Saxon Antiquities at the Cambridge University Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology from 1923 to 1957, and over the course of his lifetime wrote twenty-four books on various subjects, becoming particularly well known for his advocacy of dowsing.

Born in Somerset to a wealthy family, Lethbridge was educated at Trinity College, Cambridge, during the course of which he attended an expedition to Jan Mayen island, becoming part of the first group to successfully climb the Beerenberg. After a failed second expedition to the Arctic Circle, he became involved in archaeology. In his capacity as Keeper of Anglo-Saxon Antiquities at the Cambridge University Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, Lethbridge carried out excavations at various sites around Britain.

TC Lethbridge’s claims regarding the existence of ancient hill figures on Wandlebury Hill in Cambridgeshire caused significant controversy within the archaeological community, with most archaeologists believing that Lethbridge had erroneously misidentified a natural feature. Lethbridge’s methodology and theories were widely deemed unorthodox, and in turn he became increasingly critical of the archaeological profession.

The area of Wandlebury Hill has been described as a neolithic ritual landscape.

upon gogmagog down

Flinton has a plan to uncover the ancient hill figures on Wandlebury Hill and Iron Man Records and John Higgs are going to help him do it. Your help is needed too. You may wonder why Iron Man Records supports this project.

Thomas Charles Lethbridge was born on 23 March 1901 and passed away around midday on 30th September 1971. I was born around 4pm on 30th September 1971. One day in London, a few years ago, I was with Flinton and John Higgs, the man who had just written a book called “The KLF: Chaos, Magic and the Band who Burned a Million Pounds.” We had returned to my car after a long discussion about releasing the back catalogue of TC Lethbridge on Iron Man Records, and I had a parking ticket. I was mad as hell. Flinton asked me if I wanted to meet up the following weekend to celebrate the passing of TC Lethbridge. Of course I said no. I had other plans, and I had just got a parking ticket. Flinton asked me “What other plans? I said it was my Birthday, and celebrating someone else’s death on my Birthday didn’t sound like the best idea. Flinton didn’t see it that way, and to this day, I’ve had to tell Flinton many times, “I am not the reincarnation of TC Lethbridge.” Flinton won’t take no for an answer. He still sends me text messages saying things like “Are you sure you’re not him reincarnated – All the signs are there?”

To initiate this Hill Figure project, It will cost £300 for an invertebrate specialist/ecologist to carry out an initial assessment of the likely ecological impact of re-revealing the chalk on Wandlebury Hill and potential trampling in the vicinity.

This would enable trustees at Cambridge Past, Present & Future – Wandlebury Country Park to at least decide if they would be happy for Flinton’s proposal to “Uncover the Ancient Hill Figures” to move to the next stage. As with any of these types, the Chief Executive at Cambridge Past, Present & Future had told Flinton

“I need to make clear that even if the report is positive from your perspective that is not any guarantee that they (the Trustees) may wish to proceed. Neither would it guarantee that statutory agencies or funders would not require more detailed surveys at a later point in the project. However without it I think we are stuck.

Please could you let me know if you would like to proceed? I would need to have the £300 in the bank before I can commission the survey.

The survey would need to be conducted in late spring/summer so the sooner we know the better.”

Flinton confirmed that the £300 that he assembled with John Higgs and Iron Man Records was paid to Cambridge Past, Present & Future on 23rd April 2020. We await the outcome.

This might sound like nonsense, but nonsense is what Iron Man Records specialises in. There’s work to do, and it’s also the apocalypse. What better time to try and uncover Gog & Magog on Wandlebury Hill?

Here’s a lecture from Hugh Newman that gives an overview of what Flinton is taking about.

Wandlebury Hill (grid reference TL493534) is a peak in the Gog Magog Hills, a ridge of low chalk hills extending for several miles to the southeast of Cambridge, England. The underlying rock is present in a number of places on the hill. At 74 metres (243 ft) it is the same height as the nearby Little Trees Hill, although the latter is a more notable landmark.

The top stands in Wandlebury Country Park, a nature reserve owned by Cambridge Past Present and Future, formerly known as the Cambridge Preservation Society. Wandlebury was already inhabited in the Bronze Age and 2500 years ago there was an Iron Age hill fort here known as Wandlebury Ring. This hill fort once had concentric ditches and earthen walls which were kept in place by wooden palisades. Although the fort has vanished, the ditch (the Ring) dug around the edge can clearly be seen and walked along, being 5 metres deep in places and offering an adventurous route along its edge. There is no evidence that it was ever used in defence.

The reserve, mainly beech woodlands and fields, is a place for birdwatching. Banyard bird hide, overlooking Varley’s Field, was completed in February 2012. Like Little Trees Hill, the summit is on public land and is accessible when sheep or Highland cattle are not in the field. Dogs must be on a lead everywhere in Wandlebury Country Park. It can be reached by walking across the field from post 3 of the nature trail. Virtually no climb is involved in the ascent, just a stroll through woodland.

Archaeoastronomy: A number of hypotheses have been made about “The Wandlebury Enigma,” the purpose, function and decoration of Wandlebury Hill.

The first is the suggestion that an Ancient Hill Figure had once been carved into the side of Wandlebury Hill, similar to the Cerne Abbas Giant. This was thought to have been overgrown or effaced in the 18th century. The figure was first recorded by Bishop Joseph Hall in 1605 and later by others including William Cole and John Layer. Investigation was carried out in 1954 by T. C. Lethbridge, an archaeologist and parapsychologist. He found small lumps of chalk to the south of the hill and proceeded to survey the area with a sounding bar, probing areas of soft ground and disturbed chalk. By placing markers he was able to draw out the pattern of what he claimed were 3 hill figures picturing ancient British deities – A horse Goddess (Magog or Epona), a Sun God (Gog, Bel, Belinus or Lucifer) and a warrior figure with sword and shield.

The Times reported on Lethbridge’s discovery as a “previously lost, three thousand-year-old hill-figure”. A later article about Lethbridge’s efforts was written by W.A. Clark in 1997 which did not confirm his claims, nor did magnometer and resistivity meter testing. This suggestion was dismissed by Professor Glyn Daniel who commented that Lethbridge had not found any real antiquities but was “probably confusing geological features”. A report by the Council for British Archaeology concluded that the ‘hollows’ were caused by common geological processes.

Another Wandlebury Enigma dismissed by Glyn Daniel that was featured in a 1978 Sunday Telegraph article is the Line A Loxodrome or Cam Valley Loxodrome, a series of what retired geologist Christian O’Brien considered to be hand-carved stone monolith markers placed 1,430 metres apart between Wandlebury Earthworks and Portingbury Hills Mound at Hatfield Broad Oak, in Hatfield Forest. O’Brien stated that eleven of the original twenty-six stones are still in situ, with several others lying nearby. According to O’Brien local records indicate that at least one was moved due to it impeding modern agriculture.

The names suggested for the stones featured include the Wandlebury Stone, Great Chesterfield Stone, Bordeaux Stone, Wendens Ambow Stone, Shortgrove Monolith, Newport Stone (also known as The Leper Stone), Springfield Stone, and the Priory Stone. The line forms a perfect rhumb line, so that wherever an observer stands on the line between Wandlebury and Portingbury, the North Star is always at the same oblique angle. Based upon this alignment, O’Brien believed that the line’s builders possessed knowledge that the Earth was round, and also of its approximate circumference. O’Brien believed it to have been created in the Bronze Age.

O’Brien was following up a suggestion put forward by Alfred Watkins that the Wandlebury bank had astronomical purposes. According to O’Brien dents point from its exact centre to the North Star, the midsummer sunrise and the lunar summer maximum, he suggested probabilities for this and the markers being in the correct locations by pure chance were in the order of 10 million to one. By factoring in the Earth’s drift, O’Brien placed the date of its construction around 2,500 BC. His hypothesis met with mixed comments. Interviewed by the Sunday Telegraph, Glyn Daniel, Professor of Archaeology at Cambridge University dismissed the paper as “nonsense” and could find nothing in it to revise the documented view of Wandlebury. Archie Roy, Professor of Astronomy at Glasgow University commented that “in the absence of a more convincing explanation, this conclusion also has to be taken very seriously.” Alexander Thom stated that he believed it to be only an Iron Age Hill Fort.

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Some questions may never be answered, but what we need at a time like this is optimism.

If you share this view, and have the resources to do so, please consider giving your support to Flinton’s project to “Uncover the Ancient hill figures on Wandlebury Hill” in Cambridgeshire by becoming an Iron Man Records Patron. Your support can help make this project happen faster. All funds generated will go directly into this project.

Contributions of additional research materials, links, images, photos or artwork that may be helpful to this project would be welcome by email.

The Hill at Gog Magog Downs

Gogmagog Hill Figures quick dip links