Become a Friend of the Swindon Museumand Art Gallery

For only £10 a year, you can become a Friend and come along to our talks, join us on trips out to places like The Royal Academy and Pallant House Gallery, there's always something going on. To become a Friend or find out more about us, go to the website www.friendsofsmag.org

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

The Lost Chalk Figures of Wanborough

Bryn Walters gave this excellent talk to the Friends on the 28th of March to what seemed like a fairly packed house of about 50 people. Before the talk I knew very little about hill figures and hadn't thought much about them, although when a student at UCNW in Bangor in the 1970s, a Rag Week stunt was to carve a panda into a chalk hillside somewhere which impressed me at the time.
Bryn, an archaeologist has taken a passionate interest in hill figures, particularly the ones in Wanborough for 40 years.
The original aerial views of the hill figures in 1966 taken by Gerald Wooland from the Swindon School of Art before the M4 was constructed, are very faint, but can be seen more clearly using computer enhancement.
It is thought the two figures were to frighten off the invading Saxons in 570AD, one had oculi and the second figure is thought to be Woden, god of war and giving his name to Wodensborough eventually Wanborough. The figures are approximately 50-60metres tall on a hillside seen from Liddington long barrow across the vale, and like all hill figures are best seen from a distance.
Many questions are unanswered, are the figures contemporary? Do they interrelate?
It is thought Gerald Wooland may have given the negatives of the aerial views to Denys Hodson, who may have given them to the Swindon Museum, we were issued a challenge to find them in the store rooms.
I took 3 photos of the evening, the first one shows Bryn Walters and Paul Ricketts at the beginning of the talk:
 The other two from different angles in the gallery:


Next talk 'Gone But Not Forgotten' by Andy Binks on Friday 24th April at 7.30pm
To buy a ticket in advance phone museum on 01793 46656 or buy on the door on the night.

No comments:

Post a Comment