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Archaeology, folklore & myth of Britain's pre-christian sites & heritage: stone circles, holy wells, maypoles, tombs, archaic cosmologies and human consciousness. Everyone welcome - even Southerners!


    WORSAW HILL BURIAL MOUND & SETTLEMENT SITE. SD 779 432

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    WORSAW HILL BURIAL MOUND & SETTLEMENT SITE. SD 779 432

    Post  Guest on Sun Feb 07, 2010 8:01 am

    WORSAW HILL MOUND SD 779 432


    I find myself in early autumn high above Sfakia in the village of Anopoli. A culture of hospitable tables, at which one sat in groups of a warm evening to eat cheese and olives, drink cool wine, converse. An open space unrestricted by walls sited below the Lefka Ori looking out over the Libyan Sea. Such a setting liberates the human soul and the conviviality affords the recounting of many a beguiling tale. Fact is here mixed with fantasy, times and places are misstated, legends are born, myths arise.

    It is here that I meet with three English fellows, cavers who have spent the last ten days exploring a cave system above Anopoli. The food is good and the krasi (rough red wine) flows as it does when Northerners meet in foreign parts, they hailing from Manchester and Leeds. On gleaning that I reside under the shadow of Pendle, they inform me of an illegal ‘cave dig’ they undertook near the village of Worston below an ancient burial mound, only to be halted in their nocturnal endeavourers by stewards of the Downham Estate. The information I gleaned I now share here:

    For permission to view the mound on Worsaw summit ask at Worsaw End farm.

    To view the mound follow RH track up alongside the hill, passing a number of old lead workings to a point where you are above the saddle that links Worsaw Hill & Warren Hill. From here start to climb the hill till you reach the summit.

    Here we find a large and very prominent round barrow, possibly of Bronze Age origin, that has so far never been investigated. To the west, just below the barrow is a man-made platform in front of a scar of rock. The scar itself is a filled-in cave entrance, the passage of which is known to go in 20m. and then becomes a water sump. During the excavation of the cave amounts of course brown earthenware pottery were discovered. When I investigated the site I found it not unlike the ‘Fairy Holes’ Bronze Age cave burial and habitation site above Whitewell in Bowland. The site faces west and is sheltered and hidden in the mouth of the scar. The platform is bounded by a semi-circular revetment of stone, and I visualize a timber and turf-roofed dwelling to have been built against the scar. From what I know the earthenware fragments were not taken from the site when the cavers back-filled their illegal activity.

    I have always considered Worsaw Hill to be the ‘navel’ to the ‘head’ of Pendle, a shamanic Altai concept explained to me by Danil Mamyev on a visit to the sacred mountain of Uch-Enmek. To the people of the Altai mountains Uch-Enmek, rising in vertical planes of granite high above the Karakol Valley, represents the ‘woman’s spirit in man’, that that rises from the solar-plexus region giving rise to the ‘sacred breath’ - transmutation breathing, a mechanism for helping the lungs transform it’s energies for the betterment of the whole body. Worsaw Hill is the sacred navel, a place of meditation and contemplation upon that which is the embodiment of that that is not apparent.

    Return the way you came up to the track above the saddle.

    Here notice below on the saddle a rectangular ditched earthwork 16.9m x 9m with an internal platform of 14.5m x 6.3m. Look to slope leading to the fields of Worsa End Farm to observe numerous ditched pillow-mounds, being not uniform in shape or dispersion. This is the site of a mediaeval rabbit warren that was last used by the Downham Estate during the famine caused by the Napoleonic Wars. The rectangular platform may represent the Warren Keeper’s dwelling. In the field below the ‘warren’ is a quarried cave opening that I take to be an old lead mine.

    A Romano-British settlement has been located between Worston and Worsaw End, but its exact location is available on a ‘need to know’ basis as no formal investigation has yet been undertaken.

    The Roman road between Ribcheser and Elslack passes below Worsa Hill on the north side, and it was here that during road works in 1778 a large coin horde was discovered. Some Roman nobleman or Romano-British reeve had deposited 1,000 silver denarii of the Higher Early Empire and a bronze lamp within an earthenware urn. The nine workmen who found the horde divided the coins amongst themselves, but about 350 were recovered and given to the ladies of the manor and a Mr. Robinson. The earliest of the coins were those of Augustus.

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