Culture and Cosmos is a peer-reviewed academic journal in the history of astrology and cultural astronomy published in association with the Sophia Centre for the Study of Cosmology in Culture, School of Archaeology, History and Anthropology, University of Wales Trinity Saint David

Vol 18 no 2 (Autumn/Winter 2014 will be published in July/August 2016. Vol. 19 (2015) will be a double issue featuring the proceedings of the 2013 Sophia Centre conference on Celestial Magic and is scheduled for publication in September/October 2016. Vol. 20 (2016) will be a double issue featuring the proceedings of the 2014 Sophia Centre conference on the Marriage of Heaven and Earth.

Volume 17-2

North as a Sacred Direction? Traces of a Prehistoric North-South Route Across Pembrokeshire

Olwyn Pritchard


The King's Quoit dolmen perches precariously half-way up a headland in south Wales. Its location has been an enigma since Victorian times. The monument builders chose, not the spectacular sea views of the south-facing slope, but the apparently more mundane inland vista of the north side, with a near horizon comprising a low ridge on the far side of a small valley, now a beach. Previous research by the author into the astronomical possibilities at this site have revealed horizon indicators for cardinal north, in the form of earth mounds which appear to have marked the lower culminations of Deneb and Vega, as they dipped down to the horizon and rose again during the third and fourth millennium BC. This has led to another discovery, namely, that a still traceable route way of roads and footpaths leads north from this monument across Pembrokeshire, passing close by several Neolithic monuments and settlements as it does so, before reaching a sheltered bay and another, south facing, dolmen on the north coast. The southern end of this possible ancient trackway is located on Carmarthen Bay, and the northern end, on Cardigan Bay. Both bays encompass a lengthy stretch of relatively sheltered coastal and estuarine water.

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