Breast-shaped hill

A breast-shaped hill in the Western Sahara.
Mola Murada, one of the mountains of the Moles de Xert, Spain. There is an ancient Iberian archaeological site beneath the hill.

A breast-shaped hill is a mountain in the shape of a human breast. Some such hills are named "Pap", a word for the breast or nipple. Such anthropomorphic geographic features are to be found in different places of the world and in some cultures they were revered as the attributes of the Mother Goddess, such as the Paps of Anu, named after Anu, an important female deity of pre-Christian Ireland.[1]


The Mamelon Central, formed by the Bory and Dolomieu craters, Piton de la Fournaise, on 28 brumaire 1801. Drawing by Jean-Baptiste Bory de Saint-Vincent.

The name Mamucium that gave origin to the name of the city of Manchester is thought to derive from the Celtic language meaning "breast-shaped hill", referring to the sandstone bluff on which the fort stood; this later evolved into the name Manchester.[2][3]

Mostly breast-shaped hills are connected with local ancestral veneration of the breast as a symbol of fertility and well-being. It is not uncommon for very old archaeological sites to be located in or below such hills, as on Samson, Isles of Scilly, where there are large ancient burial grounds both on the North Hill and South Hill,[4][5] or Burrén and Burrena, Aragon, Spain, where two Iron Age Urnfield culture archaeological sites lie beneath the hills.[6]

The 'Breasts of Aphrodite' in Mykonos, Greece.

Also the myths surrounding these mountains are ancient and enduring and some have been recorded in the oral literature or written texts; for example, in an unspecified location in Asia, there was a mountain known as "Breast Mountain" with a cave in which the Buddhist monk Bodhidharma (Da Mo) spent a long time in meditation.[7]

Travelers and cartographers in colonial times often changed the ancestral names of such hills. The mountain known as Didhol or Dithol, Woman's Breast, by the Indigenous Australian people since time immemorial, was rechristened Pigeon House Mountain by Captain James Cook at the time of his exploration of Australia's eastern coast in 1770.

"Mamelon" (from French "nipple") is a French name for a breast-shaped hillock.[8] Fort Mamelon was a famous hillock fortified by the Russians and captured by the French as part of the Siege of Sevastopol during the Crimean War of the 1850s. The word "mamelon" is also used in volcanology to describe a particular rock formation of volcanic origin. The term was coined by the French explorer and naturalist Jean Baptiste Bory de Saint-Vincent.[9]


View of one of the Trois Mamelles in Mauritius. Drawing from page 121 of Atlas by Jacques-Gérard Milbert.
African Great Lakes
Horn of Africa
Indian Ocean
Southern Africa
West Africa



Middle East


Paps of Anu. View of the western Pap from the eastern Pap, Ireland.
UK and Ireland
Marens Patter (literally "Maren's breasts") in Denmark.

Lilienstein in Saxon Switzerland, Germany


North and Central America

El Salvador
Puerto Rico
United States


Saddle Hill, as seen from Lookout Point, Dunedin, New Zealand.
New Zealand

South America

French Guiana

In fiction


See also


  1. "The feminine in early Irish myth and legend". Scoilnet. Retrieved 4 April 2011.
  2. Mills, A.D. (2003). A Dictionary of British Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-852758-6.
  3. Hylton (2003), p. 6.
  4. Samson, South Hill Chambered Cairn - The Megalithic Portal
  5. Samson, North Hill - The Megalithic Portal
  6. Burrén. Parque Arqueológico de la Primera Edad del Hierro en Frescano
  7. "The Story of Bodhidharma". USA Shaolin Temple. Retrieved 4 April 2011.
  8. Moureau, M.; Brace, G. (January 2008). Dictionnaire Du Petrole Et Autres Sources D'Energie: Anglais-Franncais, Francais-Anglais [Comprehensive Dictionary of Petroleum and Other Energy Sources]. Editions Technip. p. 936. ISBN 2-7108-0911-7. Retrieved 4 April 2011.
  9. Decobecq, Dominique. "L'histoire du cratère Dolomieu (Piton de la Fournaise)" (in French). Retrieved 4 April 2011.
  10. Jackman, Brian (16 January 2009). "Africa: taking flight over Kenya's elephant country". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 4 April 2011.
  11. Lay, Vicheka (2007). "Cambodian Resort "Virtuous Woman's Breast" Mountain". Free Online Library. Retrieved 4 April 2011.
  12. "Maiden's breast mountain, Occ. Mindoro (photo)". Retrieved 4 April 2011.
  13. "Virac (Capital Town)". Catanduanes Local Government. 2010. Retrieved 4 April 2011.
  14. Doi Phu Nom picture
  15. "The Legend of Khanom". Ice Family Tour. 2007. Retrieved 4 April 2011.
  16. "Nom Sao Island (Ko Nom Sao)". Retrieved 4 April 2011.
  17. Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park - Activities Archived March 17, 2010, at the Wayback Machine.
  18. Ko Nom Sao
  19. Chanthaburi, Laem Sing Beach
  20. "The meaning of place names in Ashfield". Ashfield District Council. Retrieved 4 April 2011.
  21. "Tetica de Bacares, Sierra de los Filabres (2.080 m. altitud) (photo)". Panoramio. Retrieved 4 April 2011.
  22. Burrén y Burrena, las "dos teticas" con historia en Fréscano
  23. "Bubble Mountains". Hike Bubble Mountains ME. July 2010. Retrieved 2 September 2011.
  24. "Pinnacle Mountain State Park". The Encyclopedia of Arkansas History & Culture. 4 February 2011. Retrieved 4 April 2011.
  25. Evans, Frances P. (August 1958). "The Mystic Huajatolla". Trail and Timberline. Colorado Mountain Club: 103.
  26. "Geology". Jackson 2011. Retrieved 4 April 2011.
  27. Archived June 14, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.
  28. "Uncanoonuc Mountains". Dan LaRochelle. Retrieved 9 April 2012.
  29. Squawteat Peak archaeological site, The Handbook of Texas
  30. Cerro Tres Tetas - Argentina
  31. "Cerro Batoví" (in Spanish). Enciclopedia Geográfica del Uruguay. Retrieved 4 April 2011.
  32. "Teta de Niquitao" (in Spanish). Cúspides Venezuela. 2008. Retrieved 4 April 2011.

External links

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