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Journey on Foot to Yellow Top
Liner notes and album information
In the Palaeolithic, roughly thirty millennia ago, England and Europe weren’t separated by water, but by a vast tundra. During winter this enormous plain was completely frozen, but in the warmer seasons it was overgrown with weeds and flowers. The oldest ceremonial human burial yet found in Europe took place on the edge of this tundra, in Goat’s Hole, a cave located on what is now the coastline of southern Wales. There, in 1823, an archaeologist found the bones of a person who had been buried there 35.000 years ago, along with some shells and ivory rings. It was first falsely assumed that the bones, dyed in red ochre, were those of a woman, and therefore the finding was named ‘The Red Lady of Paviland’. Two centuries later, archaeologists have discovered that the person was actually an adolescent man, and that he was brought to the cave all the way from the European mainland.
Why was this man buried in this particular cave, so far away from his home? Some archaeologists believe it had something to do with the fact that the cave is located right beneath a distinctive rock formation called ‘Yellow Top’, named after the yellow lichens that cover it and which make the rock glow in sunshine, making it noticeable from great distances. In his book Pagan Britain, Ronald Hutton writes that ‘for people moving north and west into what has become Britain from adjacent areas of Europe, a large river flowing along the present line of what is now the English Channel represented a serious barrier. The easiest route round it was along the Atlantic coast of what is now France, which meant that the first sight of the upland area which has become the island of Britain would have been the coastline of modern Wales. Yellow Top would therefore have been a landmark of extraordinary importance’.
1. Entering the Cave of Ancestral Spirits (7:22)
2. Incantations of the Antler Crown (14:51)
3. Across the Tundra Under the Night Sky (9:56)
4. Journey on Foot to Yellow Top (22:27)
©2020 T.M. van der Zwan