Culture and Cosmos is a peer-reviewed academic journal in the history of astrology and cultural astronomy published by the Sophia Centre Press in partnership with the Sophia Centre for the Study of Cosmology in Culture, Faculty of Humanitiies and the Performing Arts, at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David

We are currently seeking submissions for future volumes of Culture and Cosmos.

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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