|Back to K's||Leys - Alignments and patterns of powerful, invisible earth energy said to connect various sacred sites, such as churches, temples, stone circles, megaliths, holy wells, burials sites, and other locations of spiritual or magical importance. The existance of leys is controversial. Their study is part of the so-called "earth mysteries," an area of holistic research into ancient sites and their landscapes.
If leys do exist, their true age and purpose remain a mystery. Controversy over them has existed since 1925, when Alfred Watkins, an English beer salesman and amatuer antiquarian, published his research and theory in his book, The Old Straight Track. Watkins suggested that all holy sites and places of antiquity were connected by a pattern of lines he called "leys" (also called "ley lines," a term some say is inaccurate). Mounds, barrows, tumuli, stones, stone circles, crosses, churches built on pagan sites, legendary trees, castles, mottes and baileys, moats, hillforts, earthworks, and holy wells were all thought to stand in alignment. Using the Ordnance Survey, Watkins claimed that the leys were the "old straight tracks," which crossed the landscape of prehistoric Britain and represented all types of early human activities.
Many archaeologistsand other scientists dispute the existance of leys and say theory originated by Watkins was contrived because Watkins aligned secular and sacred sites from different periods of history.
Central to the controversy over leys is the question of what evidence - how many alignmentys over what distance validates a ley. Among the most persuasive evidence has been documented in Cornwall, England, where researcher John Michell identified twenty-two alignments between fifty three megalithic sites over distances up to seven miles. Despite the controversy ley researchers hope to at least come to a better understanding of ancient sacred sites, and of the people who built them.
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