Tag Archives: geophys

King Arthur had Glastonbury Tor paved in ancient times

Visitors to Glastonbury Tor are familiar with the information boards at the gift shop, that tell the history of the tor since it was discovered in 1275.  Chief Gatekeeper Titania Bonham-Smythe will often quiz visitors on key facts before allowing them entry, much to the annoyance of visitors with poor short term memories who sometimes have to take the test several times.

But a recent geophysics scan commissioned by Glastonbury Archaeology Society has uncovered interesting facts that fill big gaps in our knowledge of the tor that have mystified experts for hundreds of years.

Geophysics is the electronic mapping technique used by Tony Robinson’s Time Team to create underground and subsurface images that tell archaeologists where to dig trenches.

It is common knowledge that King Arthur was responsible for creating the path that runs from the base of the tor where the gift shop now stands, to St. Michael’s Tower at the top.  Preservation of the ancient path is a real challenge for the National Trust.  But geophysics has revealed that the paving was once much more widespread – covering the whole of Glastonbury Tor.

Expert opinion is divided as to why King Arthur would have wanted the whole thing paved, but we now know that only the imprints from the paving slabs can be found on the electronic geophys scans – the slabs themselves are long gone.

Barry Spright, chief scanner at Torsion Bar Dynamics, the geophysics company responsible for the latest scan is keen to put forward his explanation; “Historical records tell us that when they travelled around Britain, King Arthur and his merry men paved important areas to mark his reign – the largest being Trafalgar Square, although of course it was called Lady Guinevere Plaza at the time. Even today you can visit many high streets in England and see the evidence of their work.”

Spright continues; “Our scans have revealed the huge scale of King Arthur’s original work – the imprints left by the paving stones are clearly visible deep underground.  The question is what happened to them? Could it be that all those slabs paving the back gardens of Glastonbury once graced the tor itself?”

If you have a paving slab in your garden that you believe might once have been on Glastonbury Tor you can hand it in at Glastonbury Police Station during the 30 day amnesty.

Second geophysics scan confirms 42 is Times New Roman

Torsion Bar Dynamics (TBD), the second geophysics company brought in to scan Glastonbury Tor have now completed their scan, with exciting results. TBD were brought in for their second opinion following the discovery on 4th February by Spordfield French Geophys Limited of an absolutely huge 42.

Cynics had dismissed the first scan, assuming it was a simple mistake, such as an imprint from dirty glass on a photocopying machine, with some even suggesting a hoax.

But the new geophysics scan has gone one stage further, said Barry Spright, chief scanner at TBD; “We performed two scans because we knew there would be close scrutiny of this exciting discovery. The main scan was essentially the same as that performed by Spordfield French earlier this month. We can confirm that the 42 exists, and is non-bold Times New Roman. The second scan was to establish what the 42 might be made from. We discovered that the 42 is actually composed of solid iron, just like the rest of Glastonbury Tor. It shows up on the geophysics scan because it is raised above the level of the regular iron mound that forms the tor by between one and two metres, and therefore protrudes into the subsoil.”

Visitors to the tor have always known that its solid iron composition makes metal detectors go wild. Sensitive devices can pick up the tor at a range of up to two miles.

The Time Team declined our request for a comment.

Geophysicists discover huge 42 on Glastonbury Tor

Glastonbury Tor Geophysics ScanGeophysicists mapping the surface of Glastonbury Tor have made a discovery that is sure to excite fans of Douglas Adams. The number 42 is clearly visible in their computer generated maps of the tor. Indeed, the number is so big, stretching over 400 metres, that scientists believe it might be the biggest 42 on earth. It is so big that were it not covered by a layer of grass and earth it might even be visible from jets flying at 20,000 feet.

Speaking to an excited press gathering, the analysts responsible for the discovery, Joseph French and Anthony Spordfield, demonstrated their equipment. The number 42 was clearly visible on their laptop screens, in a serif font reminiscent of Times New Roman.

The pair explained that geophysics is the surveying technique used on the archaeology programme Time Team, enabling them to make decisions about where to dig trenches. Complicated devices such as Fluxgate Gradiometers and Seismic Refractors look below the surface of the earth, detecting the structures within.

The current survey was commissioned by the Glastonbury Archaeology Society with the aim of mapping the network of ancient tunnels that is believed to run through the tor.

But the discovery of the number 42 has brought calls for the proposed replacement of the grass that covers the tor with a mixed crop of vines and garlic to be delayed until a second geophysics scan can verify the precise font that has been used.