The Danebury Ring Landscape Calendar Four thousand years ago, instead of the army helicopters that now buzz and roar  overhead, larks filled the air with song above the flocks of sheep kept by the  pastoralists and farmers of the chalk uplands. They were kinsfolk of the builders of   Stonehenge and Avebury and may even have gone over to help them haul the huge  Sarsen stones down from the hills beyond Marlborough, when those magnificent  “temples” were being erected. People of this time also built the barrows, tumuli and  banks, not to mention Silbury Hill, which have fascinated so many generations since.  Here, with Wiltshire, Berkshire and Sussex in sight, evidence of these early ancestors  is still visible, scattered over the hills and recorded on our invaluable Ordnance Survey  maps. On an evening in early May, twenty years ago, I stood on the tumulus, with its trig  point, just outside the gateway into Danebury camp and was entranced by the beauty  of the whole sweep of green and gentle landscape around me. The still, warm air was  filled with the sound of sheep and lambs calling to each other and the slanting light of  the sun, as it set  in the northwest, picked out all the mounds and hollows in the fields  below. Among those mounds were three Neolithic long barrows, the earliest of the  ceremonial structures left by the people who lived in fixed settlements here on the  eastern edge of Salisbury plain.  Much reduced by ploughing, they lie within a few  hundred yards of the tumulus upon which I was standing. I had come up here once  again to pursue the line of investigation which had been sparked off by my first visit a  year earlier. On that occasion I had picked up the little leaflet issued by the Hampshire  County Council which mentioned that excavation had revealed some post holes, big  enough to take three foot wide tree trunks, which had been found just to the NW of the  tumulus. They had ritual deposits of animal bones at the bottom of the pits. I wondered  what they could have been for and thought that any three foot wide post would have  been quite tall and therefore visible from a long distance away. I was also immediately  reminded of the post holes discovered in the car park at Stonehenge which had formed  footings for   tall wooden indicators for solar and lunar settings viewed from the  henge. Perhaps the people here at Danebury, lacking access to large stones, had also  used wooden posts to make astronomical markers. So, with my mind alerted to the possibility that the site at Danebury, with its ridge top  tumulus, might be part of a setting with astronomical and calendrical alignments I  considered the situation. Earlier experience of mine with something similar in  Pembrokeshire had given some clues to what might be found. (See the piece on  Stonehenge “0” elsewhere on this website.) I started to look at the mounds around and  their relation to the points on the horizon where the sun rose or set on various  significant dates in the year. The more I looked the more interesting and exciting I  found it. © Jon Appleton 2010 under construction Jon Appleton This site brings together a kaleidoscope of ideas derived from 60 years of enquiry: it shares insights into fields as disparate as:- Archaeology, Landscape alignments, Megaliths, Henges, Prehistoric measurement, Astronomy, Mythology, Calendars of the past and Seasonal celebration. Click here to contact Jon