Megalithic shipping and trade routes

Current topics

Re: Megalithic shipping and trade routes

Postby Boreades » 10:22 pm

Mick Harper wrote:You two have a dogged genius for mistaking the wood for the trees

We certainly have no problem recognising your wooden and persistent obfuscatation.

Some people have tried to share a wider picture that does not always start with your own opinions.

So be it.

If the only opinion you want to hear is your own, you are welcome to your sad and lonely echo chamber.

Good night and good bye.
Posts: 1995
Joined: 2:35 pm

Re: Megalithic shipping and trade routes

Postby Mick Harper » 2:47 pm

While you're away, Borrie, get hold of Time Song: Searching for Doggerland by Julia Blackburn (out today) and report back. While you're in the bath, Hatty, read the Guardian Review's review of the same book and report back. Both are a bit long for me.
Mick Harper
Posts: 861
Joined: 10:28 am

Re: Megalithic shipping and trade routes

Postby hvered » 1:57 pm

Julia Blackburn's Doggerland book is not a factual history despite the Guardian categorising it as 'history'. Judging by the review it's a meditation on the distant past, imagining people's lives partly based on encounters with indigenous tribes in Australia and the far north, perhaps inevitable due to the scarcity of physical evidence.
Posts: 847
Joined: 10:22 pm

Re: Megalithic shipping and trade routes

Postby Mick Harper » 2:57 pm

For God's sake, don't tell Borrie.
Mick Harper
Posts: 861
Joined: 10:28 am

Re: Megalithic shipping and trade routes

Postby TisILeclerc » 10:27 pm

There is always a beginning with everything, in this case I'll begin with Cornwall as it's convenient.

I won't go into arguments as they are well known and freely available online, I'll concentrate on this particular idea and let others do the shouting.

For a Celtic country Cornwall looks like a decidedly English name. So I'll make the assumption that Corn means either horn or corner. So, Cornwall is the place in the corner. Which it is if we look at the map.

If we sail eastwards we finish up at the next corner which is Kent. What does Kent mean?

The name Kent is believed to be of British Celtic origin and was known in Old English as Cent, Cent lond, Centrice (all pronounced with a hard “C” as “Kent-”). In Latin sources Kent is mentioned as Cantia, Canticum. The meaning is explained by some researchers as "coastal district," or "corner-land, land on the edge" (compare Welsh cant "bordering of a circle, tire, edge," Breton cant "circle").[3][4] If so, the name could be etymologically related to the placename Cantabria, historically a Celtiberian-speaking coastal region in pre-Roman Iberia, today a province of Spain.

So, we have two corners and now we must sail north. And we get to Duncansby Head.

Image ... ansbyhead/

This is a pretty place with some nice sea stacks one of which has a hole in it. This one's called Thirle Door. A bit like Durdle Dor on the south coast of England. So pretty the government was going to explode a nuclear bomb on it in the fifties. For my purposes I will suggest that Can in the middle of Duncansby is the essential element and I would suggest that it is drawn from Cearn or Corner.

From Middle English thirl, thiril, from Old English þyrel (“a hole made through anything, opening, aperture, orifice, perforation”), from Proto-Germanic *þurhilą (“hole, opening”), from Proto-Indo-European *tr̥h₂kʷelo- which is *tr̥h₂kʷe + *-lo (equivalent to through +‎ -le) from *terh₂-. Related to thrill, drill.

thirl (plural thirls)

(archaic or dialectal) A hole, aperture, especially a nostril.

This is not a coincidence, the name not the bomb, as there are other places with similar features and names.


The village takes its name from Thurlestone Rock, the so-called "thirled stone", an arch-shaped rock formation just offshore in Thurlestone Bay.

There is a Thurlstone further north.

Its name is believed to be of Anglo-Saxon origin, possibly referring to the god Thunor. Other sources argue that its name is taken from thirled (pierced) rock which is found at its location.[3] The nearby village Thurgoland may have a similar derivation.

And I'm sure there are many more. All with big rocks with holes in them and called Thirl, Thurl, Thorl and so forth.

We turn the corner and head west towards Cape Wrath which is on the next corner.

The name Cape Wrath is derived from Old Norse hvarf ("turning point"), accordingly, wrath is pronounced /ˈræθ/ (to rhyme with math),[1] Vikings are believed to have used the cape as a navigation point where they would turn their ships.

It's not too far from Durness which is a bit Durdle Dorish to my mind.

So, who named these places and carved holes in cliffs whenever it suited them? To carve holes in things you need a hammer of sorts. So I suggest Thor the Norse hammer man. Wiki says that his hammer may have been badly made but it's perfect as a 'lump' hammer or 'club' hammer for banging holes in walls. We used them in the Ordnance Survey all the time.

Image ... ump-hammer

A big bloke with a little hammer. Unlike Odin who carried two staves or perhaps war hammers. Perhaps they served a dual purpose? And a war hammer is often called a Bec de Corbin. Not the politician but the crow or raven.

Image ... f7b1ce.jpg

So, I suggest that Odin and his son Thor were part of an early surveying team mapping what they could. They carved signposts into prominent cliff faces which still exist. Any that collapsed, well, it was a long time ago and on the top of those sea stacks they have found the remains of ancient fires. I suggest that once they had knocked a hole in the buttress somebody stayed on the top of the cliff with a beacon fire to guide shipping.

I think they were part of a dynasty of surveyors. Odin's father was called Borr and his grandfather Buri. Both names that imply boring into a solid object and fit perfectly with Thor.

Original Text:[3]
Áðr Burs synir
bjóðum umb ypðu,
þeir er Miðgarð
mæran skópu.

Bellow's Translation:[4]
Then Bur's sons lifted
the level land,
Mithgarth the mighty
there they made.

Oh yes, a site some won't approve of also claims Odin was a surveyor. And Votan in South America carried two sticks as well.

Not a skier, but thought to represent the prehistoric surveyor, or Odin, aka Wotan. The Longman of Wilmington is a 70 x 36m hillside figure. Facing 7° east of north. It’s location is 50.810° north, 0.188° east, on a ley line. The details of which are here. The figure is cleverly arranged to appear of normal proportions when viewed from the road level. It forms the logo adopted by the Society, and is known as Dodman.

Dodman is said to be an old nickname for the land snail. Who has his eyes at the end of his horns. Watkins says, in The Old Straight Track, that ‘doddering’, ‘dodge’, ‘tottering come from the surveyor’s side to side movements in making alignments. Dod… Hod… Dud… Did… Tot… appearing in mound related place names. Like: Doddington (five in the UK), Hoddesdon, Duddingston, Diddington, Tottington etc.

Similarly, known as Votan in parts of Mexico, and depicted as a carving in stone on ‘The Gateway of the Sun’ in Bolivia, the Staff God in the Chavin religion of the Tiwanaku and Wari tribes, carries two staves, one having a sighting notch. These peoples were the successors to the Nazca, famous for their landscape lines and figures, and the predecessors of the Inca.
Posts: 786
Joined: 11:40 am

Re: Megalithic shipping and trade routes

Postby Mick Harper » 3:05 pm

Quite a remarkable cataloguing.

It might be useful to assume, until it's blown out of the water, that the system is 'English' and to dispense provisionally with all Celtic and Norse derivations. This might mean for instance that Cape Wrath means Cape Wrath. (Is it? Borrie's wife would know.) But of course the system might also follow strict THOBR principles and be English in the south, Celtic in the west and Norse in the North. (There is the matter of all the T-rivers in the east.) It will certainly be a relief if we can rescue Thor & Co from Valhalla.

I think we are generally agreed that sea arches are diagnostic rather than natural but why, for instance, is Durdle Dor at Durdle Dor? Unless it has something to do with Chesil Beach it's hard to see who and why it is beckoning. [Beacon, beckon ... is that new? Surely it's more often "Stay away".]
Mick Harper
Posts: 861
Joined: 10:28 am

Re: Megalithic shipping and trade routes

Postby TisILeclerc » 8:26 pm

Odin could bore holes into mountains as well. But he used a drill rather than a hammer and chisel

In Norse mythology, Rati is the name of a drill or auger that was used by Odin during his quest to obtain the mead of poetry from the giant Suttung with the help of Suttung's brother Baugi. According to the Skáldskaparmál section of the Prose Edda, Odin instructed Baugi to bore a hole with the auger through the mountain Hnitbjorg where the mead was kept. When Baugi told him that the hole had been drilled, Odin blew into the hole and the stone bits blew back at him. In this way he realized that Baugi had not drilled all the way through and was trying to trick him. Odin told him to drill a second time, and this time when he blew into the hole the bits flew inward. Odin then transformed himself into a snake, and when he slithered into the hole Baugi tried to stab him with the auger but missed him. In this manner Odin gained access to the mead.
Posts: 786
Joined: 11:40 am

Re: Megalithic shipping and trade routes

Postby hvered » 5:43 pm

A post about the Pointe de Torche came up in the Megalithic Portal. Wiki describes the site as

a promontory located at the southeastern end of the Baie d'Audierne in the commune of Plomeur in the Bigouden region of Finistère, France. It is an officially recognised natural site and at the top of the promontory is a prehistoric settlement and burial site that is registered as a historic monument.

It's archaeologically very rich, plenty of axe-heads and middens and other signs of prehistoric human habitation. What is interesting is the beach, which is long and sandy, unusual for the Atlantic-facing coast of Finistere, and good for fishing. The other interesting point about the Pointe is a sticking-up rock called le rocher du corbeau, crow rock. Or maybe cormorant rock.


According to Wiki torche is derived from the Breton word dochen meaning mound with the usual legend of ships being lured onto rocks from torch-bearing wreckers. Torche is of course torch, connected (indirectly) with twisted flammable things like straw. Torchon translates as a dishcloth or a bundle of straw with a hat placed on top to frighten birds away, i.e. a scarecrow, also a
Float consisting of strands of rushes gathered in a bundle and mounted on a line, used for live fishing

By the sixteenth century sand dunes had encroached inland. The promontory may have been quite a bit longer, more like a breakwater or jetty.
Posts: 847
Joined: 10:22 pm


Return to Index

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest