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Restored but medieval maze is still a puzzle after centuries[UK]
Yorkshire Post ^ | 19 June 2007 | Simon Bristow

Posted on 06/20/2007 4:47:34 AM PDT by BGHater

A maze is designed to puzzle, but whoever dreamt up the intricate earth and grass labyrinth that is Julian's Bower can be especially pleased –it remains a mystery after hundreds of years. The medieval maze in Alkborough, near Scunthorpe, has been reopened to the public after a major returfing project, but experts are no closer to solving the riddle of why or when it was made.

The 44ft relic cut into the landscape has many interlocking rings, and the theories surrounding its origins are just as complex.

Some have observed how Alkborough's maze is strikingly similar to a floor design in the 13th century French cathedral of Chartres.

There, pilgrims followed the circular route, sometimes on their knees, as an act of penitence, piety or meditation, the centre of the maze being known as Jerusalem. Strong claims have been made for a similar ecclesiastical origin and purpose for Julian's Bower.

What is known for certain is that the maze was a playground for local people for centuries and once had a nearby companion, now lost to history.

In 1697, the Lincolnshire diarist and antiquarian, Abraham de la Pryme, noted: "They have at (Alkborough) two Roman games, the one called Gillian's (for Julian's) Bore, and the other Troy's Walls.

"They are nothing but great labyrinths cut into the ground with a hill cast up round about them for the spectators to sit round about to behold the sport. The two labyrinths are somewhat different in their turnings from one another."

Shakespeare mentions similar mazes in both A Midsummer Night's Dream and The Tempest.

The name Julian's Bower may have been inspired by Julius, son of Aeneas of Troy. In legend, the walls of the ancient city of Troy were built in such a confusing way that an enemy who entered would never find a way out.

The site is designated as a Scheduled Ancient Monument. It had been closed for three months for repairs after countless feet had compacted the soil and eroded its surface.

English Heritage inspector of ancient monuments, Keith Miller, said: "Julian's Bower is a name which was given to turf mazes in several different parts of England.

"The Alkborough relic is incredibly puzzling and its survival is nothing short of miraculous. But by its very nature it is both ephemeral and vulnerable.

"Returfing has gone extremely well and the specially hard-wearing grass mix, the same used for top-flight football grounds, should wear well.

"Even so, visitors can help preserve the maze by leaving their heavy boots at home."

It is thought the maze was last returfed more than 40 years ago.

It is located on a spectacular bluff overlooking the confluence of the rivers Trent and Ouse.

North Lincolnshire Council spokesman Tim Allen said: "Julian's Bower retains its power to fascinate and intrigue.

"Thanks to the South Humber Bank initiative we have been able to work with local people to ensure this old landmark stays at the centre of the community, while attracting visitors seeking to delve into its mysterious purpose."

A-Maze-ing facts...

The origins of mazes probably go back to Neolithic times, but among the earliest recorded was the Egyptian Labyrinth, which some believed surpassed even the Pyramids. A vast palace complex, it consisted of thousands of rooms and 12 large maze-like courtyards.

The oldest-known church labyrinth is at the Basilica of Reparatus in modern-day Algeria, which dates from the fourth century. Many mazes were included in churches built in the 12th century in Italy and France.

Church mazes didn't catch on in England – but turf mazes did, and their origins may date back as far as Roman times.

Many turf mazes were called "Shepherd's Race" – possibly referring to curious custom shepherds once had of cutting the turf in the form of a labyrinth.

The country's most famous hedge maze was built at Hampton Court Palace, near London, in 1690.


TOPICS: Miscellaneous; United Kingdom
KEYWORDS: cathedral; godsgravesglyphs; labyrinth; maze; medieval; uk
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To: WBL 1952

on the one hand, you have developers, who would like to use land regardless of any archeological value. then you have archeophiles, who would fight to preserve many things there simply isn’t money for. In the end, if corporations get to make the decisions, many fascinating things will vanish, and have.

Is this the only extant mini-maze of its type left, or the best preserved or sited? That would be a good argument for preserving it.


41 posted on 06/20/2007 1:01:08 PM PDT by WoofDog123
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To: WBL 1952

on the one hand, you have developers, who would like to use land regardless of any archeological value. then you have archeophiles, who would fight to preserve many things there simply isn’t money for. In the end, if corporations get to make the decisions, many fascinating things will vanish, and have.

Is this the only extant mini-maze of its type left, or the best preserved or sited? That would be a good argument for preserving it.


42 posted on 06/20/2007 1:01:22 PM PDT by WoofDog123
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To: WoofDog123

“Of its type” is the key to it. It is not the only one, but it is really old and has been continuously used. I know there is one in the foyer of the Methodist church down the street, but it isn’t old, it isn’t outdoors, and it certainly isn’t made from turf. There soon will be one at the Episcopal church we used to attend, but again, not outside, not grass turf and most definitely not old.


43 posted on 06/20/2007 2:48:46 PM PDT by Peanut Gallery
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To: marsh2

You put your hand on the wall, either the right or left and follow it until your done. That will help you make it in and out of a maze. If you’re trying to find your way to the center, that may or may not work for you, depending on how the maze is engineered.


44 posted on 06/20/2007 2:57:28 PM PDT by Kaylee Frye
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To: SunkenCiv

This unique shape has been perpetuated in many human cultures. Labyrinths are found carved in rock, ceramics, clay tablets, mosaics, manuscripts, stone patterns, turf, hedges, and cathedral pavements. The earliest known designs are about 3000 years old.

45 posted on 06/20/2007 3:48:23 PM PDT by Fred Nerks (FAIR DINKUM!)
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To: SunkenCiv

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MPcJbb5Qfj0&mode=related&search=

possibly a resonance effect?


46 posted on 06/20/2007 4:09:04 PM PDT by Fred Nerks (FAIR DINKUM!)
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To: BGHater
Here, you can solve the maze yourself.

What's the point?

47 posted on 06/20/2007 4:13:50 PM PDT by hinckley buzzard
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To: BGHater
The Alkborough Maze
(solution)
Since it is a unicursal maze there is only one path through it existing - just as shown in the illustration with the red line.


48 posted on 06/20/2007 5:53:47 PM PDT by ViLaLuz (2 Chronicles 7:14)
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To: marsh2
I had heard that if you keep turning to your right, you can make it through a maze.

Right, left, it doesn't matter. If you're ever caught in a maze, you just need to keep turning in the same direction and you'll eventually find your way out. It may take an incredibly long time because your path will be inefficient, but you'll get to the end eventually.

Statistically, that's a completely useless bit of knowledge for anyone here.
49 posted on 06/20/2007 6:06:32 PM PDT by Arthalion
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To: SunkenCiv

so egregiously pagan

Ah, if only someone would say that about me, sigh.

Gee, it’s too bad some freeper wizz couldn’t photoshop
Hillery!’s face onto Cromwell’s picture, you couldn’t get
a much closer match.


50 posted on 06/20/2007 6:15:09 PM PDT by tet68 ( " We would not die in that man's company, that fears his fellowship to die with us...." Henry V.)
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To: SunkenCiv

Title: Neolithic labyrinth, northwest Russia Description: The biggest labyrinth in Europe, a neolith cult structure 1-2 thousand years B.C., on Zajatcky Island, 5 kilometers from a monastery. Photographed by Viktor Gritsyuk.

51 posted on 06/20/2007 6:54:49 PM PDT by Fred Nerks (FAIR DINKUM!)
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To: SunkenCiv

Rock inscripion recently discovered at Pansaimol, Goa.

http://www.labyrinthos.net/indialabs.htm

52 posted on 06/20/2007 7:44:08 PM PDT by Fred Nerks (FAIR DINKUM!)
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To: afraidfortherepublic

Sure, but a cat food company got back at ‘em in the late 1960s.


53 posted on 06/20/2007 9:23:58 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (Time heals all wounds, particularly when they're not yours. Profile updated June 20, 2007.)
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To: tet68; Seadog Bytes
Ah, if only someone would say that about me, sigh.
Okay, okay, you're egregiously pagan. ;') Putting Hillary's face onto Oliver Cromwell wouldn't be appropriate. Oliver Hardy, maybe... ;')
54 posted on 06/20/2007 9:26:21 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (Time heals all wounds, particularly when they're not yours. Profile updated June 20, 2007.)
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To: Fred Nerks

Wowzo.


55 posted on 06/20/2007 9:26:46 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (Time heals all wounds, particularly when they're not yours. Profile updated June 20, 2007.)
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To: SunkenCiv

“cat food company got back at them...” LOL. THat took me a minute, but it was very clever. Except for one thing, that cat Morris barely moved — he didn’t remind me of the dance!


56 posted on 06/21/2007 1:33:41 PM PDT by afraidfortherepublic
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To: afraidfortherepublic

Hey, he was smart enough to know that the advertising field is *littered* with unsuccessful dancing cats.


57 posted on 06/22/2007 9:19:06 AM PDT by SunkenCiv (Time heals all wounds, particularly when they're not yours. Profile updated June 20, 2007.)
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To: BGHater

· join list or digest · view topics · view or post blog · bookmark · post a topic ·

 
Gods
Graves
Glyphs
Just updating the GGG info, not sending a general distribution.

To all -- please ping me to other topics which are appropriate for the GGG list.
GGG managers are SunkenCiv, StayAt HomeMother, and Ernest_at_the_Beach
 

·Dogpile · Archaeologica · ArchaeoBlog · Archaeology · Biblical Archaeology Society ·
· Discover · Nat Geographic · Texas AM Anthro News · Yahoo Anthro & Archaeo · Google ·
· The Archaeology Channel · Excerpt, or Link only? · cgk's list of ping lists ·


58 posted on 09/01/2009 7:10:52 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/__Since Jan 3, 2004__Profile updated Monday, January 12, 2009)
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