Sacred Sites | Lamyatt Beacon - Glastonbury | Map of its Ancient Landscape and Ley Alignments

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Sacred Sites | Lamyatt Beacon

Sacred Sites

Lamyatt Beacon

Lamyatt is a double hill above Bruton, though the archaeological attention is on the wooded hill. From Glastonbury, take the old drovers' road from West Pennard, south of Pennard Hill to Ditcheat, then to Evercreech, or take the A361 to near Shepton, and down to Evercreech from there.

A square temple situated a mile north-west of the town on the summit of Lamyatt Beacon. It was built in two phases, with annexes being added at a later date. It fell into disuse around 370 or perhaps 410

The early phase was a Roman-period Celtic temple built in the late 200s CE, square, with two annexes on the east side and a sunken room to the south. The temple was built of mortared stone, paved inside and with limestone slates on the roof. A road led to the temple from the Fosse Way on Pennard Hill, northwestwards. The temple was similar to one on Brean Down.

There were niches in the walls containing carved figures. A tall statue, possibly of Mithras or Mars, stood in the east. Various signs point to the Roman Mars or the Celtic Cernunnos as the deity of the place. Lots of offerings were found, including a coin, miniature axes and spears, pots, beads and a brooch.

The later phase was Saxon, dating to the 600s - a cemetery of 16 burials, 11 of which were female, with a building and boundary bank.

Lamyatt Beacon overlooks the medieval ecclesiastic town of Bruton, and will have been locally significant in medieval times, even though there are no remains on the hill. As the name implies, it was a beacon hill, with a few notable ley alignments. It is likely that there was usage in pre-Roman times, since the hill is so prominent and thus unlikely to have simply been left alone. But this might not have extended to detectable remains, or they have not been sought or found.

The temple was excavated in 1955-60 and 1973 before treasure-hunters destroyed the remaining archaeological evidence.

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