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Mallorcan central circuit

Mallorcan central circuit

Monday 1st May
Another sunny day dawned, and our shortlist of 10 sites were between the towns of Inca, Algaida and Manacor, in the centre of the island but north of the main C715 highway.
As usual, we managed to make our approach from the opposite direction to our instructions, but, being right alongside the road, we had no problem locating the pair of talaiots of Es Racons.
The one nearer the road has not been excavated, and is crumbling away

The one set back from the road is the more impressive

and having entered the talaiot the remains of the central pillar is visible.

The site was quite overgrown, but it was well worth going round the back of the second talaiot into the wood to see where a tree has grown into its structure, and to find the megalithic locker described in TME.

With no information about what we could expect to find at Son Creixell or Sa Ritxola, both marked as places of interest on the map, we decided to head for the village of Costitx and soon found ourselves in a traffic jam caused by the local fiesta. The village was closed to through traffic, so we rejoined the PM324 to Inca and took the PM312 back down again to approach from the other direction - and then just before Sencelles we took the left turn to Son Fred.

The information board was just about undecipherable, and there were two huge mounds of sandy coloured rubble round the outside of the talaiot.

There's been excavations carried out here - the central pillar is propped and wrapped

and the area at the front has been dug to expose a step

but there's no way in through the unusual curved entrance passage.

The directions in TME are good for Son Fred - and it's easiest to find heading north from Sencelles. Our next site was to be the sanctuary of Son Corro, and the recommendation is to be travelling east to west, from Costitx to Sencelles, or you will do as we did, and miss the sign! The usual pink one has company - a white municipal sign which I believe dates the restoration of the site as having taken place in 1994.

The sanctuary is on shelf overlooking fields

with six tall columns

forming a corridor to the shorter column, still used for offerings today.

The finds from this site include 3 life-size bronze bulls heads, now in the National Archaeological Museum in Madrid.

Feeling a bit more confident with our navigational skills, we went back to Sencelles and took the PM314 south to Cas Canar. After the houses at Cas Canar, just as the road bends sharply to the right, we took the turning to the right and drove slowly on, watching the fields to the left. A couple of kilometres later, we turned round, and on the way back to the main road, on a whim, stopped at a pair of gates - one low and rusty, the other over 8ft high with spikes on the top, opposite a sign saying "Sencelles 2,8", - and there in the field to the left as we looked at gates, we spotted the first of the pair of square talaiots.

The nearer one is surrounded by a modern wall and is overgrown, making it impossible to distinguish any of the expected features - a staggered entrance and part of the central pillar.

The second of the pair is barely recognisable as a talaiot anymore and will be no more than a cascade of stones in a field boundary before too long.

Enough for one day? Time for a break? No! Onwards to somewhere incredible - Son Fornes, just north of Montuiri.

The site is reasonably well signposted, and when you go through the narrow gate it's only 50 yards or so to the trees where it's best to park. Follow the track uphill on foot, and then through the gate on the right into the site. There's an information board - completely blank!

In the picture above, the talaiot to the right is talaiot 2, further away from the gate. This talaiot has a central column, and 3 steps are clearly visible in its inner wall.

The first talaiot is magnificent - 17 metres in diameter - with a huge central pillar, a side chamber big enough to climb into

and 5 metre entrance passage to negotiate.

Surrounding the two talaiots are numerous rooms and enclosures, some with pillars - in magnificent location. I was still exploring talaiot 1 when Beardy shouted to me "there's more in the next field" and sure enough, another circular building

with rooms beyond it

stretched down into a wooded area.

We then took the path to the north east into the trees on the higher part of the site, behind talaiot 2, and found a strange construction

and a beautiful section of wall.

The best was yet to come though - the huge circular platform with steps down towards the track.

The site is being excavated periodically by a team led by the "Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona" and there's a museum in the nearby town showing the finds and its website has an excellent site plan - confusingly not oriented with north at the top! - the museum is closed on Mondays; the site plan link gives full opening times and contact details.

What a glorious day!
sals Posted by sals
7th May 2006ce

Malta. Easter 2006

Malta. Easter 2006

Fitz Family Rule
When it comes to family holidays, we never return to the same place.
The dangers of letting Fitz book a family holiday
"We're going where?
Malta, why Malta, we were only there a couple of years ago?
Oh you know, it's just a nice place for a holiday and it was cheap.
What you mean is, it's got lots of those old stones and things that you like to look at.
I s'pose it has. I never really thought about it.
Fitz Personal Rule.
Rules are for fools.

12th April
Valletta. The National Museum of Archaeology

For a month prior to the leaving for Malta I had exchanged numerous e-mails with the people from Heritage Malta to try and make an appointment to visit the Hal Saflieni Hypogeum. Unfortunately every date and time I had requested was fully booked and the only appointment they could give me was for three weeks after I had left the islands.
My plan was to go to Valletta and visit the national Museum of Archaeology and see if I could beg an appointment or perhaps pick up a cancellation. Unfortunately my plans came to nothing. There were no appointments left, so that was that. I can't say that I was too deeply disappointed. I have visited the Hypogeum on a number of occasions and what the hell, there was still plenty more to see starting with the museum itself.

The Museum is housed in the beautiful Auberge de Provence on Valetta's Triq Ir-Repubblika, it's a doddle to find with its façade decked with large banners proclaiming it's presence. The Museum is currently being refurbished and when I visited only the bottom and top floors were open. The bottom floor is breathtaking. It is packed full of just about every thing you've read about prehistoric Malta, carved stones, altars, stone balls, Goddess figures, model temples, it's all here.

Non- flash photography is permitted in the museum, unfortunately because I've never really learned how to use my camera so most of my photographs came out blurred.
I would recommend that you check out the museum shop and buy a copy of David Trumps 'Malta Prehistory and Temples', it's a cracking book.

Trump has been involved in the study of Maltese prehistory since 1954, his book is up to date and as a guide book it is just about all you need to guide you around the prehistoric sites of Malta and Gozo.
All in all and in its current state, the museum may be a bit of a disappointment to you with only the two floors open but I'm sure that once the whole building is open it will be an absolutely marvellous place and Valleta is a wonderful city, it's small, friendly and beautiful to look at.
13th April Maundy Thursday
I'd planned an early start today, get out of the house before the family get out of bed and return in time for an early lunch.
Ok, confession time, I'm not a very good driver, there I said it. Blokes are all supposed to be naturally good drivers but I'm not, my brain is wired to look out of the window, I'm a passenger at heart. I'm far more interested in what's going on in the landscape around me than in keeping an eye on other road users. So it was with some trepidation that I drove out onto the Maltese roads.
Maltese drivers have a poor reputation but truth be told are pretty much the same as drivers anywhere else. They beep their horns a lot and like to overtake on both sides of you but apart from that there's not a lot to worry about. The roads are a different matter. Malta has some lovely roads, it also has some terrible roads, many of it's roads are a mixture of both. For example, I drove down one particular road that advertised itself as a by-pass around Mdina and Rabat, this road was a beautiful two-lane pristine blacktop. So there's me tootling along admiring the view when all of a sudden, SHITE! Where's the fucking road gone? In front of me was a row of concrete bollards and a farm track , the road had just….. finished!.
I love stuff like that, it typifies Malta. I wish I'd taken a photograph.
So back to Maundy Thursday.
Buggibba was to be my first temple site. I chose it because this was to be my first solo outing, the site was only a ten to fifteen minute drive from where I was staying and if I crashed the car I figured that I had enough cash for a taxi ride home.
Buggibba/Quara is a typical Mediterranean tourist town. It has developed in a strip along the sea shore overlooking St Pauls Bay. The temple is in the grounds of a hotel called the New Dolmen. I drove up and down the seafront looking for this hotel but was unable to find it. I eventually parked the car and walked along the sea front.
The hotel faces the sea but doesn't open out onto the shoreside road, its quite easy to find, just look for the biggest, ugliest hotel on the strip, and then march on in through the glass, marble and gold foyer, through the bar and out onto a patio area where you'll find all of the usual suspects laying around the pool on their sunbeds oblivious to the Megalithic wonder in their midst.
The temple has been incorporated into the hotel grounds and on the day I visited it was being used as a sanctuary/hangout for teenagers escaping from their over-oiled, overweight, g-string be-decked parents.

The uprights and lintel of the temple entrance are present and give the temple an air of authenticity, but apart from that there are a number of low walls and a few large stones but it is difficult to visualise what the original structure must have looked like from these meagre remains.

It's worth thinking about the closeness of the sea and the role it may have played in the choice of site for the temple builders. The sea is only a couple of dozen yards away from the temple. This part of the bay forms a natural harbour within a harbour. The view to the North West is interesting as it looks over to Saint Paul's island and the coast beyond.

This may be significant to the location of the temple when you consider that the wonderful temples of Hagar Qim and Mnajdra also overlook an island. However the temple entrance is orientated to face inland (south-south-west). This view is completely obscured by the hotel and town.
Another indicator that the sea may be linked to this temple is the lintel stone, that was discovered during the excavation of the temple, with carved fish along it.

This stone is now in the museum in the Archaeological Museum in Valletta.

The drive to Buggibba had assured me that driving in Malta shouldn't be too much of a problem so I decided to press on.
I'd been to the New Dolmen hotel and found a temple, I now felt the occasion called for a genuine dolmen. It was only recently that I found out that dolmen existed on Malta so I was quite keen to have a look at one.
My dolmen of choice was Ta Hammut unfortunately I couldn't find it. In my defence, Trumps description is rather vague and he describes it as one of the smallest dolmen. The other thing that put me off venturing too far from the path was the almost constant sound of shotgun fire.
However, I was not going to let this put me off finding a dolmen so my next choice was Wied Filep. Trump describes Wied Filep as "the most accessible" and as having "one of the biggest capstones" accessible and biggest, yeh, my kind of words.
Trump doesn't lie when he states that Weid Filep is accessible, it's right beside the road, trouble is you have to find the road. I spent a good part of half an hour driving in and around Mosta before I found the Dolmens. My tip is this, find the wadi on the outskirts of Mosta and head east along the road that parallels the steep valley. Take a look over your left shoulder and you should see a fort on the opposite hillside. Now wind your window down and listen. You should be able to hear the sound of dogs barking. So if you can see the sea, the fort and the wadi and hear the dogs then you are 'in the zone'. Incidentally the noise of the dogs barking is coming from the fort which is the Maltese police dog pound.
The dolmen are situated on the edge of Mosta and can be found on a raised limestone platform beside the road. The monuments have been walled-in presumably to protect them.

There are two dolmen , they are both sat on the same limestone exposure and it is possible to see how the stone has been quarried from behind the dolmen to create the large capstones. Trump states that the largest of the pair is 3.8m from end to end.

As impressive as the dolmen are it's the setting that grabbed me. The dolmen are sat on a hillside overlooking a wadi with the beautiful Mediterranean Sea in the distance. A modern addition to this view is a huge limestone quarry, I guess some people could see this as an abomination but for me it's just another sign of continuity of the use of the beautiful Maltese limestone. Only the scale has changed.

fitzcoraldo Posted by fitzcoraldo
6th May 2006ce
Edited 7th May 2006ce

Mallorca part 2 (of many?)

Mallorca part 2 (of many?)

A quiet evening enabled me to check through my research and plan a full day's activites and we had a short list of 18 possible sites for Sunday 30 April, travelling north of our base in Cala Millor. The trip planning had of course started with the relevant section of TME and I'd found which covers most of the sites in the book plus a few more, but having got the (AA) map of the island (don't get the Rough Guide one as I did initially - hardly any archaeology marked on it so it went on Ebay and I went back to the shop for a better version), there were many many three-little-red-dot markings to indicate excavations, and some googling later, I found and set about babelfishing a laborious translation - which came out quite interesting, shall we say. The town of Porto Christo became "I carry Christ" and many of the directions left a lot to be desired, but at least we had areas to check out and pictures to help us identify what we found.
So after an early-ish breakfast we set off with the plan to check out the monument at Pula first of all - "In the highway of Son Cervera to Cala Rajada, in lands of golf of It polishes, one is in a small alongside same hill of the highway, in its right side" - and surpringly enough, we didn't find it from those instructions!
So onwards, and having ruled out trecking a few kms away from the roads across farmland to find the navetas of l'Angel and the two of Canyamel, we headed to Es Claper des Gegant, marked on the map and signposted - hurrah! - and realised the poblat of S'Heretat had to be nearby too. A pink sign led us to a gate on the left hand side of the road to Canyamel beach - with a huge padlock across it and no way in. Bugger! Dodgy directions meant abandoning looking for the poblat so we drove on, feeling just a little despondent.
The caves at Son Jaumel and poblat of Sos Sastres were ignored and we headed to the highly-recommended-to-me site of Ses Paisses - marked clearly and signposted - only

Could the day get any worse? There was no indication of when we could expect to visit either - if only I'd read but I'd had enough of translating by the time I'd found it.
So with even heavier hearts, we travelled on away from the town of Arta and took the turning off the C712 towards the Colony of St Pedro (marked as Sant Pere on our map - spelling varies quite significantly from maps to signs!) in search of the dolmen of S'Aigua Dolca (apologies for the lack of appropriate accents!) and the talaoits of Sa Clova d'es Xot and Canova d'en Morell - and failed to locate any! (Later revelations about these last two to come).
The next on our list - Son Serra de Marina - we knew would cheer us up as the directions said we couldn't miss it "on the brink of madness (of) the highway" and sure enough it was!

A policeman on a motorbike stopped in the middle of the junction, I initially thought possibly to scold me for hazardous parking (more abandonment half in a ditch!) but he was just stopping the traffic for a huge party of cyclists - complete with following ambulance, how reassuring! - to turn towards the town of Son Serra.
The talaiot here is square

Mallorca has both round and square talaiots (oops, should have explained by now that these are towers!) whereas Menorca has only round ones but this latter island also has taulas - huge T shaped monuments - which are not found on Mallorca.
Slightly more cheerful, we continued to follow the C712 north west towards the necroplis of Son Real - follow the directions in TME carefully as the track you need to take is signed, but on the wall next to the gate rather than from the road itself. We parked up, and wondering about the lack of "toilets and information by the official car park" (TME page 366) but happy as

the pigs in shit in the farm alongside the track marked "necropoli", in glorious sunshine heading towards the beach.
A fair few yards further on, the track forked with both ways being marked as necropoli, so we kept to the left and found ourselves at the beach, near a tall watchtower - at the necropolis of Illot des Porros - on an island!

Wandering north up the coast, past some caves

we eventually arrived, after only abut 1km, at Son Real itself.

with its amazing tombs - rectangular, circular and even boat shaped

A stroll back following the inland path brought us to the aformentioned fork in the path and we headed back towards Son Real farm where we failed to find the way to take to visit Es Figueral.

Dodgy directions again meant missing the dolmen of Son Baulo de Dalt, and after a well deserved and very late lunch in Porto de Pollenca, we continued north to Cala Sant Vicent - called Coves d'Alzinaret in TME but the sign - for once almost legible - was clear about the name

and helped us identify the numbers allocated to the caves by W Hemp who carried out the excavations.
This site is signposted from Porto de Pollenca - take the turn from the PM220 indicated, and when you see the pink sign to the caves off to the right, just as the houses start, beware that the taula (not native to the island, so more modern?) mentioned in TME is hidden by trees. Almost as soon as you've turned off the highway, turn left onto Carrer de Joaquim Sorolla and park up immediately. The path to the caves will be directly to your right.
Past the information board, follow the path to the right to the caves.
Cave number 6

impresses, but then on through the tiny square entrance (of which I seem to have omitted to take a picture!) into an inner entrance and then into cave 7 itself.

There are sizeable rooms to each side, and a shelf runs along both sides. The hole in the floor at the end of the cave

is a modern alteration, made possibly by smugglers, and the series of holes below the shelf on the side walls (visible in the previous picture) were made as late as by prisoners occupying the site during the Spanish civil war.
Cave number 8 is set back - maybe it originally had an inner chamber too?

Cave 9 defintely does though:

Caves 10 and 11 are much shallower

and cave 5, on the opposite side of the road leading down to the cove, has collapsed.

It had been a long day, and we were a fair way from home - at almost the most northerly part of the island, so it was then time to turn round and head back. On the way, we attempted to find the square talaiot at Llenaire, but being on an obviously marked private road - the expensive looking automatic gates just happened to be open - up to an impressive building with flags flying (now known to be an exclusive hotel), we were put off by an extremely unfriendly dog, so gave up and just went home.

To be continued .... we're not even half way through our holiday yet!
sals Posted by sals
6th May 2006ce

Browsing the Balaerics again ...

Browsing the Balaerics again ...

Last May, Beardy and I had thoroughly enjoyed exploring Menorca and its talaiotic remains, so the renewal of annual leave entitlements, a lack of cheap fags, and the desire for some sun, lead us to head to Mallorca at the end of April.
A couple of days were spent relaxing in the city centre in Palma, but then it was time to pick up the hire car, have the usual screaming rows about how to get out of the mad city traffic and onto the correct road, but eventually we checked into our hotel on the east coast of the island and almost immediately headed out in search of the local sites.
Less than 5 km down the road, that being the main road from Son Servera to Porto Christo, the (left) turn to Sa Coma also had a pink archaeological sign to the Talaiot de Na Pol. We pulled in just past the police station, and when I checked the rear view mirror, there, on a corner lot, was the circular talaiot.

It was built over a natural cave - here's Beardy climbing out

which appears to have had much rubble and rubbish tipped into it.

I can't remember if there was an information board about the site - legible ones are few and far between, we were to discover later - but the place felt unloved and ignored, despite its signage from the road.

The gathering clouds started to chuck rain down with some force, so we retreated to the car and set of to find the Poblat Talaiotic de S'Illot - via the scenic route through the resort, with the rain worsening every second, visibility down to almost nil, and with the roads rapidly flooding. It was actually only a couple of km further south, and again signposted from the main road - but we found it eventually squashed in with hotels and holiday homes on 3 sides.

The most prominent feature is the external wall

Yes - quite wet! There are numerous rooms and enclosures around a central monument but it's hard to distinguish what's what in the ruins.

The information board had been trashed, and the continuing downpour led us to beat a relatively hasty retreat to the novelty of a free bar ....

Sat April 29th
Ah. That'll be a hangover then. Remember, free tequila always hurts more than the stuff you pay for! The plans to explore the north east of the island were put on hold to allow recovery and eventually the rain stopped, so we headed out. South again - this time off the main road from Porto Christo to Porto Colom. Just past a zoo, there's a left turn to Cales de Mallorca - also with the pink sign to Hospitalet Vell. The first site that was clearly marked on our (AA) map as "ruinas prehistoricas"!
Only about 1km down the road, you can see what appears to be a huge wall to the right a way off the road, and soon after there's another sign and a layby in front of a gate where we parked up and walked up the track to the poblat.
Before you actually get to the wall you've seen, a signpost directs you to the left to the foundations of 3 naviforms with a small wood still separating you from the major part of the site.

Back round the wood and the sheer scale of what appeared to be a wall reveals itself as a rectangular monument

with the huge blocks of stone typical of the building style of the era.

The interior of this monument had inner walls added later.

Exploring round the back, a path leads to the left to a square talaiot with a series of rooms around it

and wooden steps to allow visitors to admire the central support pillar of the talaiot and the only known remaining spars which formed the ceiling and second floor - the last century hasn't been kind to the momuments on the island and many have been left to go to ruin, if not ruined intentionally.

Beyond the talaiot and surrounding rooms, there's a heavily overgrown area with more ruins extending into the woods.

With the sun shining, we decided to continue south to just beyond Porto Colom. We ignored the first road into the town, the PM 401, but took a more minor road to the left opposite a golf course. Our directions were based on coming from the town - the opposite route - but after about 2km we spotted some stones right on the edge of the road on the left

so parked up and went to explore.

Almost all the site - called Es Closos de can Gaia - is in the process of being excavated, but at a very slow rate (20 days a year apparently) and almost all was covered with black tarp and spikes

and we could only make out only one naviform in the uncovered area and that was becoming overgrown

The site is on the road out of Porto Colom towards S'Horta - the road narrows as it leaves the urban area and the roadside stones - a naviform - are clearly visible on the right hand side.

Feeling weary, and with sunset almost upon us, we headed back for a gentle evening in preparation for a full day of exploration.

And that day's adventures will be coming soon ....
sals Posted by sals
5th May 2006ce
Edited 8th May 2006ce

April 2006 part 2 (Loughcrew)

April 2006 part 2 (Loughcrew)

April 13
We were searching for rock-art but we are complete amateurs. However, this was only a setback when we realised what we were missing by not having the key to cairn T. Exploring the site 'blind'ish (blindish because we had the book though we hadn't read all Cary Meehan had to say) was fun. Our first 'discovery' were the heavily decorated 2 stones on the left of the entrance to cairn T. We had found our spirals! The gate at the entrance blocked our ability to to get good shots as Oscar's camera wouldn't fit through the bars. Leaving the frustration behind we headed for Cairn V.

There is a beautiful concentric circle carving at the base of one of the standing stones (kerbstones? orthostats? Have to work all this out yet). Having been inside Newgrange and been told that we couldn't photograph anything, we were now like the proverbial kids in a candy-shop.

Róisín wandered off as we were photographing Cairn V. She'd gone to Cairn U and 'discovered' the decorated stones in the arms of the cross. Well done Róisín! The wind had really picked up at this stage and Oscar was freezing. I noticed the cold but didn't really feel it as I was busily snapping everything (digital cameras hooray). Also, I didn't want to leave the place, a sensation that I have since experienced at other sites that I've visited. There is so much to see and do on Carnbane East that a return visit with more time is a must.

As we were leaving a local man showed up with 2 of his grand-children. They headed for the entrance to Cairn T but no-such-luck, they hadn't got the key.

The views from this hill-top were stunning. Looking across to Carnbane West we could only wonder at what treasures it held. That's a story for another day…
ryaner Posted by ryaner
4th May 2006ce

April 2006

April 2006

I've gotten into this through a friend of mine from the Canary Islands. There is some rock art on the island of La Palma and he wanted me to show him some of our Irish examples. He came to Ireland for 20 days at the beginning of April and so off we set. I had no experience of investigating ancient sites save for a school trip to Newgrange, a time before the visitor centre and the re-construction of the tomb.

Where we went: Newgrange (not Knowth or Dowth), Crossmaglen and South Armagh, Belfast, the East and North Antrim coasts, the Giant's Causeway (had been here years before), Derry, Glenveagh Mountains, Errigal and the Devil's Glen in Donegal and back to Dublin.
Where we went 2: Slieve Bloom mountains, Moher, Kinvara, Galway City, Inis Mór, Galway City and back to Dublin.

At this stage I was getting a slight education in megalithics. We were using Sacred Ireland by Cary Meehan (Gothic Image Publications) on our travels and LoughCrew was calling. We headed there with my daughter and dog. I read that we needed to get the key to Cairn T on Carnbane East but gave up trying to find Loughcrew Gardens & Estate as I didn't know the extent of what I would be missing without the key. A word of advice: get the key!! The climb from the car-park is easy (well, easy in comparison to the climb to Seefin Hill Passage Tomb).

The fenced in site on Carnbane East is stunning. It was an intermittently sunny and cloudy day with a strong wind the day we were there.

Dún Dúchathair — Images

<b>Dún Dúchathair</b>Posted by ryaner<b>Dún Dúchathair</b>Posted by ryaner<b>Dún Dúchathair</b>Posted by ryaner<b>Dún Dúchathair</b>Posted by ryaner<b>Dún Dúchathair</b>Posted by ryaner
ryaner Posted by ryaner
3rd May 2006ce

Lundy Island, its place in our culture

Lundy Island, its place in our culture

The really great thing about Lundy history, is that whilst the (relatively) well documented post-norman periods are full of lively characters and colourful incident, there is so much more, as Lundy not only has a real place in Celtic and Arthurian myth, but also offers a range of interesting conundrums – the "what ifs". This, for me, is the really exciting thing, as it allows your own imagination to fill in the spaces around the frail fragments of historical record that do exist.

It is known that Lundy had earlier names: Ynys Elen is oft quoted, and is worth remembering for later discussion. It is believed in certain quarters that this means, in the Welsh tongue, the Island of Elen, a Celtic saint. There is no other evidence that links the Island to her, but Lundy certainly had its own resident saint: Saint Nectan. It was pretty well established that the Old Cemetery, next to the Old Light on Beacon Hill, had existed since the early Christian period, but archaeological surveys have identified the central grave of Nectan (from the 5th Century). His bones were re-interred on the mainland at Hartland Abbey, where there was a shrine dedicated to him. The soil on the Island is acidic, and does not take good care of remains. However, the site of his original burial is recognisable.

The four standing stones against the wall of the Old Cemetery (not their original locations) are perplexing, and many efforts have been made to define their original purpose. I favour the conjecture mentioned (although not necessarily supported) by Tony Langham, in the spring edition of the Lundy Island Chronicle, 1985, regarding the possibility of a link with St. Patrick. Two of the names engraved may refer to Potitus (Patrick's grandfather) and Restitutus (related through his sisters marriage). Certainly this is highly circumstantial. But the origin of the name "Lametry", the bay beneath the castle, has always been a mystery: yet the Bishop of Auxerre, whose name happened to be Amator, ordained Patrick. It is also quite likely he may have at least visited the Island: a natural staging post on his travels from the South West to Ireland. But let go of your logic for one moment, resort to your imagination for the final piece: there are no snakes on Lundy!

But the spiritual dimension to the Island predated both Nectan and Patrick's time. In the Celtic world, Islands, particularly those on the west coast, were holy and powerful places almost by definition. Yet Lundy had special status: it was the island of "Annwyn", gateway to the otherworld and home to half human powerful beings: this is arguably still the case in the winter shutdown, when something happens to the islanders (what happens on the island, stays on the island!).

The earthworks at the top of the cliffs on the Westside actually stretched up beneath the site of the lighthouse complex – and abutted the Old Cemetery. I would contend that it is unlikely these were dwellings, as the location is as uninhabitable and exposed as anywhere on the Island. Anne Westcott (a knowledgeable and committed Lundy Veteran) suggested to me that perhaps they were burial mounds, and certainly this would seem more appropriate. But there are so many; certainly more than would be required solely by Island inhabitants. Therefore, it is possible that the dead were actually brought to Lundy: perhaps important people (Kings and spiritual leaders?) . This seems quite possible, and the implication is that, combined with the Old Cemetery, Beacon Hill has been spiritually significant for something approaching 5000 years. This would be highly important. Lundy role as a bastion of Early Christianity, particularly of the Celtic strand has been well documented elsewhere, but this means the Island had an existing importance to the peoples on the mainland. It was the usual practice for the early Church to absorb traditions, mythologies and significant locations into its own teachings as it gained a cultural foothold in its growth. Lundy would have been no different.

So, perhaps we can agree that Lundy was significant both spiritually and culturally for 5000 years: at least locally. Lundy is visible from the majority of South Wales and North Cornwall, the heartland of the Celtic peoples as we acknowledge it, and the Island was slap bang in the middle of that world. But was there any significance attached to the place in wider society, would the peoples "upcountry" be familiar with it? Unfortunately, there is unlikely to be any real hard evidence to confirm this, but Robin Heath has achieved a great deal of interesting work in his studies of Stonehenge.

Heaths studies are very involved and highly technical: it is beyond the scope of this site to explain anything other than the possible conclusion. But his book – see Further Reading is absorbing and highly significant to the Islands possible role in Stone Age times. Stonehenge was built around 3000BC, yet why was it located where it is? Why not move it closer to the source of the Bluestone, used in some of the construction, which came from Prescelli in South Wales. (The use of Bluestone must have been considered essential to the constructors of the henge: the effort and organisation involved rule out any other explanation). Heath has discovered how the builders and designers of Stonehenge used its geometry to provide the calendar that underwrites its existence. Interestingly, the root of it is a Pythagorean Triangle. If you expand this triangle to run the hypotenuse from Stonehenge to Prescelli, then drop down the other two sides as proscribed by Pythagorean rule, the "elbow" of the triangle rests securely, indisputably on Lundy: on a small hillock just north of Pondsbury. Where, if one looks carefully, is a small, decayed stone circle. Perhaps this is just wild conjecture: but to refer back to the name Ynys Elen: an alternative meaning is derived from the welsh word Elen, as opposed to the name: it means elbow. ( A chill up the back is the correct response at this point). The implication is that Lundy was the reference point: Prescelli then became the source of the bluestone: in which case Stonehenge could only be built at its present location.

It is an interesting and compelling conjecture; unlikely to be proven one way or the other, just another question of the many that make the Island the mystery it is today, just as it was thousands of years ago.

A general site for Lundy, from the perspective of an islander. Majors on the history and mythology that surrounds the Island
lundypete Posted by lundypete
21st April 2006ce



8 April 2006

It was raining hard and looked set in for the day as we approached Jelling, Denmark's spiritual home.

Moth and had I been musing on the difference between British jam and American jelly, wondering about the (il)logic of American musicians jamming rather than jelling, when, quite randomly, Bob Marley's 'Jammin'' started playing on the MP3 player.

Jelling was virtually deserted when we arrived. Ours was the only car in the car park and everything was closed, even the museum. And it was very, very cold.

Jelling is a small town centred on series of monuments from a number of different ages. First a bronze age barrow, then a Viking stone long ship, then runestones, then two gigantic mounds, then a church. Peel back the layers here and you begin to understand Denmark's history and sense of national identity.

Picture: taken from a photo in Jelling museum
It is only 1,000 years since Christianity was adopted by Danish kings over the old religion and Jelling marks the place where this happened. Outside the church that now stands between the two mounds a Viking runestone is carved with the earliest known image of the crucified Jesus in Scandinavia.

Each monument has been acknowledged and built into the next phase of Jelling. I like that continuity even if it does mean the land close to the mounds around the church and the runestones is now filled with neat and tidy modern graves.

We wandered around trying to make sense of it but the place lacked atmosphere without any people around. Unusally this is set of monuments that needs people to make it live. A visit to the museum would help us understand but it wasn't open for an hour and a half, so we drove around in the rain in a fruitless search for the carved tree on the Jelling pages of TME before returning to Jelling Kro for some coffee and a plate of chips.

The museum is situated directly opposite the mounds, runestones and church. As you go round reading the excellent displays in Danish and English you can glance out of huge glass windows and actually see the monuments in front of you.

There is a feel of Avebury about this place – the monuments and history still being occupied, enjoyed, revered and used, even if the reasons 'why here especially?' are not addressed.

It is pretty remarkable that only a few years or so before William of Normandy invaded England, the Danes were still following their native 'pagan' religion. That's modern history as far as I'm concerned.

As we waited for the boat to leave Esbjerg we killed an hour or so at Marbaek Strand where the sun came out, I was able to paint and we watched gulls and oystercatchers making their living on this glorious stretch of west-facing beach.

Photos: Moth Clark
Jane Posted by Jane
15th April 2006ce
Edited 16th April 2006ce

Langeland: more lovelies

Langeland: more lovelies

7 April 2006

We were so wowed with Langeland that we felt another trip was necessary. I liked the close proximity of all the monuments and their variety (it's a bit like Carnac in that respect) and the delightful drumlin-hilly landscape.

I was feeling quite miserable due to the terrible cold weather and long driving days we'd had. I felt sure that Langeland would cheer me, especially as the sky was blue and the sun was shining. Next time we're going somewhere hot – like Sardinia – Moth promised. (Or Africa, I hoped.)

We started at Skovsgard megalithic longship tucked away in some leafless late winter woodland in the east on the island. The stones were all there, but all fallen down and thick with acid green carpet moss.

At one end the stone was bigger, like a prow. If only they could be re-erected, this'd be a corker.

Just a five minute drive away (everything here is just a five minute drive away) the Kædeby dolmen lurks in a hedgerow to the south of Kædeby.

It's isn't that easy to find as there are no heritage signs to it and no information board. It's not until you're right up close do you realise the enormous bulk and height of the capstone. As we approached Moth disturbed a sleeping hare, and two deer on the path ahead of us didn't notice our approach until we got quite close.

There were some cupmarks on the capstone showing up clearly in the low sun, but I'm no rock art aficionado and was not whelmed.

The Annemolehøj jættestue is just across the road from the Dyssekammer i Herslov which we had noticed at the roadside the day before.

This was lovely. As usual, the information board displayed lots of useful text in Danish, but from what we could glean the usual potsherds, ritual axes and amber beads were found.

This passage grave had a wide transverse chamber which once you were inside it felt inconceiveable that such a large stone structure could be hidden under such an unassuming little mound.

On a line within sight of the Dyssekammer I Herslov and the Annemolehøj jættestue is yet another monument, the Langdysser I Herslov, but it looked unkempt and had no visible access from the road.

Ringelshøj is a long barrow like Hulbjerg and is tucked away in trees. It was pretty unkempt, but at one time was yet another monster.

Moth noticed Pæregårdstrand dysser on a map and wanted me to see it because he knows how much I love beachside monuments. Pæregårdstrand dysser is about 1000ms along the beach perching on the sandy cliffs, 7 metres above the seashore.

Unfortunately it was overgrown, forgotten and largely trashed, despite its stunning location and the fact that it was once a large monument with three chambers and good sized kerbstones.
The walk back along the deserted beach under virtually cloudless skies was wonderful.

I liked Kong Renes Høj a lot.

It's not hard to see why. We were particularly intrigued with the capstone of one of the dolmens which someone at some point had tried to cut into pieces. They failed to complete the job and left the chunk they'd removed where it lay.

We stopped briefly for Moth to see the very long Langdysser nord Forfrettesvig, but it was in crop and he couldn't get to it.

Tvedeskov is fascinating. Tucked away in woods this double passage grave has lost all its caps but this gives the advantage of being able to see its design. A nice job was made when it was excavated and restored in 1978.

Our final monument on Langeland was the disappointingly abandoned and probably only just tolerated Jaettestue i Skovtofte. In a pine and birch plantation it reminded me of Slatepits Copse long barrow in Oxfordshire – almost lost, horribly overgrown, carpeted with thick moss and in danger of complete loss through sheer neglect.

So many monuments in such a tiny place! Either they escaped destruction because of Langeland's remoteness, or the population here were prolific in their grave building because the farming, fishing and fowling was so easy. The lack of Romans and the late arrival of Christianity probably helped, too.

If you want to take your family on holiday and still see sh*tloads of big old rocks, you'll do no better than Langeland. Just make sure you go during the summer months.

Høj – hill or mound
Jættestue – literally 'giant's stones'
Skibssætning – megalithic longship
Ringdysser – mound or barrow with stones or burial chamber
Dyssekammer – dolmen or burial chamber, I think!
Langdysser – long barrow with stones and/or burial chamber

Photos: Moth Clark
Jane Posted by Jane
15th April 2006ce

Langeland: will the real Kong Humbles Grav please stand up

Langeland: will the real Kong Humbles Grav please stand up

5 April 2006

In The Megalithic European, Julian pays little more than a double page spread of lip-service to the long, glorious island of Langeland off the southern coast of Fyn in Denmark, almost certainly due to lack of space in the book and time in the field. So I'm going to try to make up for that here and in my next blog (coming soon).

The thing that doesn't come over in Julian's commentary is the sheer variety, intensity and close proximity of monument after monument in this small finger of land. It took us two days to do it justice.

The bridges to get there are mercifully toll-free and the rolling countryside on the island is more enchanting even than the rest of Denmark. Langeland is home to scores of bird species and hares and deer abound. The main town on the island is Rudkøbing which felt very strongly like a far less bleak Kirkwall.

It was Moth's birthday and while we were waiting for our friends Cloudhigh and Roland Wyckwyre to join us for some lunch, we quickly zipped out of town to see Bjerrebygaard dolmen.

We arrived in blazing sunshine and galloped over the muddy field to reach the stunning monument, cluster of large stones, dolmens with giant capstones and six monster, gnarled 'pantomime' oak trees sticking out of a large mound. Very dramatic.

We spent some time enjoying it until the sky in the northwest darkened suddenly and a wall of weather closed in. We made it back to the car just in time as a full-on blizzard of hailstones pelted down.

We thought we'd take Cloudhigh and Roland Wyckwyre out to see two monuments guaranteed to delight even non-stone-huggers: Kong Humbles Grav and Ristinge Klint, a dolmen near a beach.

Kong Humbles Grav is in all the guidebooks as the most fabulous langdysser with exposed chambers in Langeland. So what we couldn't understand was the place that Julian's instructions took us to in TME…

…a most underwhelming, crescent shaped long embankment on top of a huge grassy mound overlooking the town of Humble, opposite the church.

Moth and I couldn't believe it. We were embarrassed to have taken our friends after the major build-up we'd given it. Something was wrong. We left disappointed and highly suspicious.

As I drove us to our next monument, Moth checked other guidebooks, including the Oldtidsminder På Langeland by Jens Bech of Langelands Museum and Jens Kortermann, a jewel among guidebooks (text all in Danish) but with brilliant maps and drawings.

Oops Julian! If you're reading this, I'm afraid you screwed up, sweetie. The underwhelming earthwork you call Kong Humbles Grav on page 168 of TME is no such thing. The real Kong Humbles Grav will stand up in two paragraphs' time.

Meanwhile come with us to the dolmen on Ristinge Klint, on a tiny, narrow peninsula, jutting out the west of Langeland. The rain, hail and sleet had passed and the beach was bathed in warm sunshine, the first time I'd not been cold whilst outside all week. We walked along the path up through the dunes and along the sandy cliffs above the deserted and beautiful beach until we reached this glorious erection:

It was much bigger than we dared hope from the tiny line drawing in the pamphlet we had. We were all delighted with it.

The *REAL* Kong Humbles Grav
We returned to where we'd previous been to see Kong Humbles Grav and found the real one with not too much trouble. Here's how to get there. Drive past the church and turn down the first farm track to the left, towards a beautifully kept pink and blue farm house with a monster yellow barn. Park here, put your money in the honesty box and walk north behind the white barn and follow the track through the field. Here is Kong Humbles Grav – a magnificent long barrow with squared off ends and lots of good kerbstones.

The main chamber in the middle is an exposed dolmen in superb condition.

Straw had been put on the ground in the chamber so I shot in, not only to get out of the bitter wind and the threat of rain but because it really was delightfully hygge in there!

Our friends departed and we pressed on towards Hulbjerg jaettestue from where I was thrilled to see a honey buzzard.

Hulbjerg is a classic little passage grave, with a good puffy domed mound and a transverse chamber coming off a narrow and low short passageway.

Beautifully restored and carefully tended, this is a model of care for our prehistoric past.

From here we drove to Myrebjerg jaettestue, past some wetlands and lakes crawling with tufted ducks, but the field was in crop and we couldn't get to it.

The Ormstrup langdysser looked promising and spectacular…

… but again the field was in crop and this no-entry sign made the situation pretty clear.

The Kindeballe dolmen was just round the corner from Ormstrup and a great surprise to see at the roadside.

Hesselbjerg langdysser is featured on page 168 of TME in an open watery landscape alive with swans and geese. Compared to other langdyssers we'd seen I found this one disappointing but Moth loved it.

I'd had enough at this point but Moth nipped out quickly to see Langdysser ved Ristinge Nor:

As we drove back towards the bridge to get us back to Fyn, we spotted this Dyssekammer i Herslev from the main road, the 305.

Ain't that sweet?

Høj – hill or mound
Jættestue – literally 'giant's stones'
Skibssætning – megalithic longship
Ringdysser – mound or barrow with stones or burial chamber
Dyssekammer – dolmen or burial chamber, I think!
Langdysser – long barrow with stones and/or burial chamber

Photos: Moth Clark
Jane Posted by Jane
14th April 2006ce
Edited 17th April 2006ce

Katbjerg and the Spanskhøj mystery solved

Katbjerg and the Spanskhøj mystery solved

4 April 2006 …
…continued from previous blog …

We pressed on northwards towards the charming cobbled-paved town of Mariager where Hohøj, the largest mound in Scandinavia is found.

It is situated at the highest point hereabouts and from the top of its 12metre high bulk there are glorious views. Silbury it ain't, but it is impressive anyway. Legend has it that it was once inhabited by a pig-scoffing troll.

Don't miss the Katbjerg monuments
On route 555 out of Mariager, Moth had found our next set of monuments on the internet. We could find no printed information about the monuments at Katbjerg at all which is almost criminal, because the long barrow called Kongehøjen ved Voldstedlund is the finest long barrow we had ever seen. , Yes, seriously!

This monument was untrashed and probably not much restored. It was long – perhaps 25 metres and rectangular with a continuous line of big kerbstones. And tall, too! The mound billowed upwards along the entire length of the monument, completely undenuded.

No fancy horned forecourts here though; instead just really whopping stones at each end. Down one side are two low passageways, each leading to a large intact chamber. Oooh! Oooh! OOOOH! This place blew our minds.

Fifty metres directly west is the ruins of a round barrow which has lost much of its material but still has a chamber to see.

Now badly overgrown and rather unkempt, this is home a families of blue tits.

Continuing west on the 555 you don't need your specs on to notice the Jordhøj and Ormhøj barrows, sited on the same east-west line as Kongehøjen ved Voldstedlund long barrow

These are gigantic! We didn't bother to walk over to them as the clouds threatened to do something evil again, there was nowhere to park at the roadside and no obvious track through the field to get to these huge barrows, with their south east facing entrances.

Yikes! Julian gets it wrong
It was late in the day and I was døgntired after already having driven more than 170 miles north. We still had 115 miles to get back to our cottage, but we couldn't miss what Julian calls Spanskhøj on page 159 of TME.

After reaching Snæbum* we saw the sign to drive into a farm courtyard. Before we had even turned the engine off, a kind woman had scurried out with a huge torch for us to view inside the mound. We dropped our 6kr kroner each in the honesty box, took an informative homemade leaflet and set off through the thick smell of pig poo to the field with the mounds.
*yes, we tittered, too!

Spanskhøj, Snibhøj and one other flattened double-entranced mound stand in the same field. But don't be mistaken, as Julian apparently was. The picture in TME is not of Spanskhøj it is Snibhøj. Both the information leaflet we picked up on site and James Dyer are clear about this.

Snibhøj is very special.

I'd never seen a monument like it…

… two passageways, two fabulous chambers one of which housed this tiny, sleepy bat.

Immediately next to Snibhøj this is all that is left of its once identical neighbour. We couldn't find its name.

Spanskhøj stands tall and proud at the other side of the field. We drove round to see if we could get in. We couldn't. It was quite tousled with vegetation and had no clear path to it. It certainly had two passages but there was no way we could get in.

Well, now you know for your next edition, Julian, if you're reading this.

Høj – hill or mound
Jættestue – literally 'giant's stones'
Skibssætning – megalithic longship
Ringdysser – mound or barrow with stones or burial chamber
Dyssekammer – dolmen or burial chamber, I think!
Langdysser – long barrow with stones and/or burial chamber

Photos: Moth Clark and Jane Tomlinson
Jane Posted by Jane
13th April 2006ce

Møls and Tustrup

Møls and Tustrup

4 April 2006
From where we were staying on Fyn, the monuments of north east Jutland, Denmark seemed quite long way for a day trip. Nevertheless we went.

Our first stop was Groenhøj (page 163 of The Megalithic European [TME]) chambered tomb, near Horsens, a perfect pincushion of a monument, not unlike the Great Cairn on Porth Hellick Down, Scilly, but bigger.

It has a continuous ring of handsome kerbstones and a good high grassy mound. Like so many of the monuments in Denmark, the stones are lovely sparkly pink and grey. It has a very narrow corridor which I probably could have wriggled through to reach the chamber but as it was wet underhoof and I was wearing my only clean pair of jeans so I didn't bother. At its 1940 excavation, thousands of pottery sherds were unearthed here, the breaking of which was some kind of ritual associated with the use of the mound.

Today, under blue skies with big fluffy clouds and chaffinches darting around in the trees Groenhøj looked very hygge.

From Groenhøj, we headed up to Møls area (page 160 of TME) on the beautiful Djursland peninsula, just north west of Århus. Its pretty remote up here, but quite gorgeous. The most beautiful part of Denmark I had yet seen. I wanted to see Poskær Stenhus – surely the most picturesque place in TME!

As we arrived the sun came out unbroken and I scampered about the monument like a happy bunny. Moth climbed the Tinghulen to get some height some photos and I , after speaking to a woman tending her horses (who, with the horse she currently tended had once lived in Lambourn) sat and found the view where the light was just right for me to paint.

Poskær Stenhus is essentially the skeleton of a monument exactly like Groenhøj – gorgeous pink kerbstones, bit of a passage, nice chamber complete with capstone, bob's yer uncle. But the setting here is so very fabbie.

Rolling fields and hills, great views, green pasture, heathy bits – oooh! And the nicest thing it's that somehow its all on a human scale. Nothing here is grand or majestic or mighty. It's all rather comfortable and nice. I like that.

It should be noted that at Poskær Stenhus visitors will find excellent toilets, so for once, ladies, you don't need to pee in the open and risk mooning as passers-by. Here's what I managed to sketch before I had to use the facilities:

The woman with the horse advised me and Moth to go up the road to the village of Agri where there was more stuff to see and very good walking. I didn't like to tell her that walking + me = no no, but we had a tootle up there anyway. How glad I was we did! As we drove up the hill I spotted this!

And this, one of the many Stabelhøje dolmens…

And many, many more!

A note about Danish barrows
There are tons and tons and tons of them! Everywhere! They are not the sad, flat remnants of once-mighty burial places we get in the UK. Oh no. Here in Denmark they are everywhere and stand tall and proud and big and round dotted all around the countryside with a gratifying frequency and seem to be a source of national pride. How sad that in the UK modern farming methods and treasure hunters over the years have rendered ours so deflated and scrubby.

Anyway, the landscape of Møls is particularly rich in barrows.

From Agri we headed off through the lanes towards the Tustrup jættestue. At one point I mis-navigated but managed to pick up an alternative route. I'm glad that I made this error or we would not have driven past this little dolmen, just sitting in a field quietly minding its own business.

Suddenly the weather changed! From bright sunshine we hit hail, then sleet, then snow, then more hail. Fortunately in the space of 20 minutes the blizzard passed and we were back in bright sunshine for the Tustrup jættestue (page 161 of TME)

The place reminded us a lot of St Just in France. The heathland landscape, the birds, the general atmosphere. There are four main monuments here each within a few metres of each other. There is a stone chamber…

…this lovely chambered tomb with spectacular kerbstones…

… and a weird thing that was probably a building or mortuary house…

…and this marvellous passage grave.

It didn't have kerbstones but the interior was awesome! I sat on top of it for while and considered the landscape, the hooded crows and these lovely monuments.

More from our day out in North East Denmark in the next blog…

Høj – hill or mound
Jættestue – literally 'giant's stones'
Skibssætning – megalithic longship
Ringdysser – mound or barrow with stones or burial chamber
Dyssekammer – dolmen or burial chamber, I think!
Langdysser – long barrow with stones and/or burial chamber

Photos: Moth Clark and Jane Tomlinson
Jane Posted by Jane
13th April 2006ce

Als well that ends at Baronens Høj

Als well that ends at Baronens Høj

Als is a small island off the south eastern coast of Jutland, Denmark, linked to the mainland by a toll-free bridge. It's got a few pretty HOT monuments...

Blommeskobbel (page 155 of TME) is tucked away in woodland off a muddy track – which thankfully you can drive to because it was raining again.

The trees gave some shelter but it was as damp and muddy and joyless as you could ever want. Blommeskobbel cheered me though. How could it not? The site consists of two langdyssers and two round barrows, with good kerbing, nicely exposed chambers and lots of character.

I had looked forward to Blommeskobbel not just because the name sounds so cool and it means flower stones in Danish, but because when I first saw page 155 of Julian's 'The Megalithic European' [TME] I knew it wouldn't be long before I would have get to Denmark.

I would have liked to have painted here but it was too grey, too damp, too miserable. The weather was forecast to dry up later, but there was no sign of that as we headed up the coast a tiny bit from Blommeskobbel towards Nørreskov, 5 kms away.

The Nørreskov monuments
We'd spotted Nørreskov in James Dyer's book 'Discovering the Archaeology of Denmark' and as we were so close thought we'd take a look even if we hade already found Dyer to be slightly unreliable, banging on about finds and stuff rather than the monuments. (It's always bloody pottery sherds and amber beads, too.)

Our first Nørreskov monument was at Frydendal Kro in the strip of woodland leading down to the sea. Here we found a rather cute little dolmen emerging out of a round barrow…

…. and right next to it, a short barrow (it wasn't long) with a good stone cist in the top.

Dyer suggested that there were others lurking in the woods like which went on for a few kilometres hugging the coast, like this one we just happened across…

The woods had some nice rough but driveable tracks running through it, one of which had a very promising name…

As it had suddenly stopped raining and it looked as if even the sun might appear, we drove along spotting birds (jays, an unidentified-but-mighty-raptor and a goldcrest!) and any suspicious humps with stones. We spotted a couple which were deeply underwhelming, but then rounded a corner and found ourselves face to face with the Havredyssers.

The road ran between them.

Each of them were great with plenty of high mound, kerbstones, cists and a chamber.

Moth strode off into the woods to seek out the Gamle Troldhøj (the Old Troll's Hill) …

…while I sat in the car and had a cuppa like a miserable-and-fed-up-with-the-rain old cow. Three days of low cloud, brisk breezes and cold rain and had taken its toll on my mood.

Dyer suggested another monument 5kms through the woods to look at. Despite feeling like 'I just wanna go home' we went to seek out what Dyer describes as: 'a fine round dolmen with a central burial chamber and a ring of kerbstones', the Baronens Høj. He should have just said: 'it's f*cking ace, Jane!'

The setting, the construction, the character and the fact that the sun came out while we were there lifted my heart! What a beautiful place. It perches like a little crown 25 feet above the sea in a clearing which it shares with an old farmhouse.

It reminded me of Innisidgen on Scilly which 'feels' the same. Its immediate neighbour, the old farmhouse was that very distinctive shade of Danish yellow and its thatch was thickly covered in moss. When the sun came out it glowed green and bright – it felt like it was the first time I'd seen Denmark in colour. That was it. Time to get the paints out. At bloody last!

This is what I managed to sketch.

On the way back to our cottage as we travelled through south Jutland, we sought out the Hjulgraven at an industrial estate at Hjordkær a picture of which Moth had found on the internet and looked very promising. In fact it was crap, so don't bother with it.

Badly restored barrows with not much more to see than concrete markers. Shame. Although the factory next door did have a very interesting collection of electricity-generating windmill parts.

Høj – hill or mound
Jættestue – literally 'giant's stones'
Skibssætning – megalithic longship
Ringdysser – mound or barrow with stones or burial chamber
Dyssekammer – dolmen or burial chamber, I think!
Langdysser – long barrow with stones and/or burial chamber

Photos: Moth Clark and Jane Tomlinson
Jane Posted by Jane
11th April 2006ce
Edited 12th April 2006ce

Fyn finds

Fyn finds

Fyn is the Danish island which lies directly east of Jutland and has a gently rolling landscape punctuated by neat little villages and farms of remarkable cuteness and character. It reminded me very much of Drenthe in the Netherlands, only not flat.

Among this scene of bucolic charm is Glavendrup (featured in The Megalithic European [TME] page 156).

It's a bit like Klæbek Høje, that we saw the day before, in that it started as a Bronze Age barrow to which the Vikings added a whole bunch of girly pink stones. First a large runestone was mounted on top of the barrow, and they also built a skibssætning megalithic longship, of the same pink sparkly Barbara Cartland type stones, with stripes and waves of quartz running through.

The wooded area had also been added to by modern stones, inscribed with the names of 20th century archaeologists who worked here. They looked OK, but reminded me too much of the stone memorials in the woods at Bergen-Belsen to thrill me. The wind chilled me and there was no chance of sketching here.

Magic at Marhøj
At the north east tip of Fyn is a little promentary on which can be found Marhøj (TME page 158), a particularly thrilling giant barrow. In a landscape shared by other fat, high, humpy høj, Marhøj is Queen.

Wading through the dark earth of the field littered with flints, we reached the monument and found the entrance to the passageway leading in is half way up the mound, rather than at ground level. Stooping very low (if you're tall this is almost a hands-and-knees-job) I squeezed down the 5 metre passage flanked with big flat stones to reach the main chamber which runs perpendicular to it.

The main passage was darker the dark. I got out the torch but it was unable to penetrate the blackness at all. I found a bit of candle and lit it. Then I found a tealight and lit that. And another and another and another until the whole chamber, 10ms long was illuminated by 26 tealights. It looked very hygge.

I sat down on the damp earth to inspect the chamber, smoke a cig and have a cuppa. It was vast: seven massive capstones formed the roof, all glistening in with wet in the candlelight making it as cosy as a fairy grotto. Moth scampered around with the tripod taking pictures and collecting more than 25 used tealights. It was cold in there – my breath was condensing - but it was out of the rain and the icy wind. It was fab.

We headed south from Marhøj (there is no other direction you can go on Fyn) to the east side of the island to see Lindeskov which is only given a tiny entry on page 157 of TME.

A complex at Lindeskov
We'd spotted another thing in James Dyer around Lindeskov and sought it out first: Lindeskov langdysser at 168ms (yes, metres!) the longest barrow in Denmark, and certainly the longest I've ever seen. It was never more than a metre high or 5ms wide and had regular kerbstones, giving it a visual rhythm not dissimilar to a millipede. That sounds a bit wanky but it was really like that.

While Moth fluttered around with the camera, I inspected the handy visitors' information board. To my surprise and delight, it showed a map with another six monuments nearby. I looked up in the direction indicted on the board towards a dolmen which I could just see through a hedge. I made a mental note of the map and we set out in search of what turned out to be the Lindeskov Complex: for this was indeed a complex: a series of interconnected monuments, each with clear sightlines to the next and no more than 400ms away at maximum from each other.

I drove up a muddy farm track marked 'Privat Vej' but we went on anyway, as on the map I'd seen it clearly stated public access.

We passed the dolmen standing alone in the field in the same lonely manner as Devil's Den and left the car at the copse at the top of the track and set off into the woodland, first coming across a trashed barrow with a couple of capstones in the middle. Just beyond the trees in a clearing lay two mighty monsters, Lindeskov 2 and Lindeskov 3 a couple of twin sister langdyssers lying directly next to each other and about the same length and width. Each of them had good kerbstones. L2 had a single stone cist and L3 had three good exposed chambers with capstones – looking very like Schimeres at Emmen in Drenthe.

Just 20 ms from the top end of L2 was L5 a rungdysse (round barrow) with kerbstones and an exposed central cist which would not have looked out of place in Scilly.

We felt quite chuffed with our 'discoveries'.

Finally we drove to Lindeskov as featured in TME, a langdysser right at the roadside.

It's a main road but as Denmark has so little traffic it didn't matter. The monument is correctly referred to as Lindeskov 6 and is dribblingly tasty. It's not particularly long, but has five chambers exposed on the top, four of which still have capstones. With its regular pink kerbstones and high, pointy supporting stones holding the capstones aloft it seems all dainty and floaty.

Hygge - cosy
Høj – hill or mound
Jættestue – literally 'giant's stones'
Skibssætning – megalithic longship
Ringdysser – mound or barrow with stones or burial chamber
Dyssekammer – dolmen or burial chamber, I think!
Langdysser – long barrow with stones and/or burial chamber

Photos: Moth Clark
Jane Posted by Jane
10th April 2006ce
Edited 12th April 2006ce

Wet west Jutland

Wet west Jutland

1 April 2006

Forty minutes after the boat docked at Esbjerg in Denmark, Moth and I were at our first Danish monument, the Jættestue ved Mejls in west Jutland. Spookily the MP3 player randomly selected a track from Julian's Rite 2, a favourite on our megalithing trips.

As we drove through the almost flat sandy landscape we kept spotting large, tall round barrows – not the flattened shadows of their former selves you get in the UK - these are big, fat and pert. Effectively the jættestue were two very large barrows, one of which had been opened up to reveal two small stone chambers inside, looking all the world like little dolmens. Very nice. The weather was evil – cold, windy, wet. Grim, in fact…which interestingly is the Danish word for ugly. I didn't know it yet, but I would have to get used to this…

Further north, up the west coast of Jutland, we headed for Ølustrup to see what is billed as 'three long dolmens and a long barrow' in James Dyer's 1972 book Discovering Archaeology in Denmark."/>
It was peeing with rain, visibility was very poor and the air hung heavy with the smell of pigshit from a nearby farm. One of the long barrows had some nice exposed chambers, but the site was not particularly whelming. We were pushed for time so headed off towards our cottage near Middelfart* in the island of Fyn.
[*yes, we tittered everytime, too!]

Directly en route was Klæbek Høje (featured in The Megalithic European [TME] page 164).

Also known as Bække, Klæbek Høje is a couple of huge verdant round barrows from the Bronze Age with a much later addition by the Vikings.

They constructed a skibssætning, a megalithic longship between the barrows. The stones at each end of the 'boat' were bigger, implying prows. We liked it a lot. Dyer's book said that the depressions of tracks running through the middle were the remnants of a prehistoric military road or trackway, but neither Moth nor me bought this idea.

Just down the lane from Klæbek Høje stands the mighty Hamborggårdsten, an oath stone.

Hygge is a Danish characteristic meaning 'cosy' or the pursuit of cosiness and is very important to our Danish brothers and sisters. There is no higher compliment than to say to your host: 'what a hygge evening'. For novice hygge-pursuers, light a few candles and you get the idea. When we reached our cottage near Båring we found it was not at all hygge. Within a hour our friends arrived, we lit some tealights, put the kettle on and things got more hygge as the rain pelted down on the thatch. Nevertheless we were to become rather fed up with rain….

Høj – hill or mound
Jættestue – literally 'giant's stones'
Skibssætning – megalithic longship
Ringdysser – mound or barrow with stones or burial chamber
Dyssekammer – dolmen or burial chamber, I think!
Langdysser – long barrow with stones and/or burial chamber

Photos: Moth Clark
Jane Posted by Jane
9th April 2006ce

Orkney sites in local newspapers 1911-5 additions

Orkney sites in local newspapers 1911-5 additions

Backaskaill ?HY63NW 15

May 13th 1911 "The Orcadian" cist with only damp earth inside found

Breckness HY20NW 6

February 22nd 1913 "The Orcadian" 2 skeletons found in low cliff before Bishop's Palace previous week, others found on various other occasions

Burn of Kithuntlin HY32SW 24

November 2nd 1912 "The Orcadian" one-line burnt mound description

Burrian, Rousay HY33SE 13

September 21st 1912 "The Orcadian" artificial island, remains of causeway 1' underwater with central break

Cauldhame, Stromness

July 3rd 1912 "The Orkney Herald" journeyman's box found in 3' of peat


August 23rd 1911 "The Orcadian" two skeletons found 3' deep

Grainshore, Kirkwall

March 7th 1914 "The Orcadian" cist eroded from shoreline by recent high tides

Loch of Clumly broch HY21NE 1

September 30th 1911 "The Orcadian" described, was excavated by R.S.Clouston

Loch of Kirbister HY30NE 6

September 21st 1912 "The Orcadian" holms probably natural, tradition of robber's house on Groundwater Island, possible gravestone there

Lochside HY31SW 32

August 14th "The Orcadian" [not 13th] long cist with two skeletons and kerb found previously

Maes Howe HY31SW 1

May 27th 1911 "The Orcadian" roof repaired and moat boundary fence erected
January 11th 1913 "The Orcadian" description and work due

Maeshowe Cist HY31SW 26

August 14th "The Orcadian" [not 13th] 5' x 4'6" x 2'9" rock-cut cist with burnt remains, no mound, found in quarrying 5 chains from Maeshowe "circle-mound"

Maeshowe mounds HY31SW 21

August 14th "The Orcadian" [not 13th] cists found previous to HY31SW 26 contrasted as regards elevation

Moss of Quothlan, Sandwick

January 18th 1912 "The Orcadian" bow found 6' below surface

St.Mary's Kirk, Biggings

December 23rd 1911 "The Orcadian" described

St.Peter's Kirk HY21NW 26

December 23rd 1911 "The Orcadian" St.Ninian's Well mentioned

St.Tredwell's HY45SE 4

September 21st 1912 "The Orcadian" Chapel ruins on artificial island over ? Pict's house

Skara Brae HY21NW 12

July 15th 1911 "The Orcadian" one-line description


May 3rd 1911 "The Orkney Herald" short cist with flexed skeleton found during house construction in Firth's Park in Stromness

The Warth, Flotta ~ND343927

March 15th 1914 "The Orkney Herald" worked grey stone (with possible mound remnant) SE of the Point of The Warth is called "The Sailor's Headstone"
wideford Posted by wideford
31st March 2006ce

Orkney sites in local newspapers 1825-1910 additions

Orkney sites in local newspapers 1825-1910 additions

Barnhouse standing stone HY31SW 12

February 21st 1906 "The Orkney Herald" Stallybrass report

Benzieclett HY22SE 54

April 23rd 1904 "The Orcadian" 30' x 2'9"-3' x 4' high N/S aligned curved subterranean passage with niches found on property of Vola

Berstane HY41SE 10

May 10th 1844 "John O' Groat Journal" cists with bones and a rim-decorated freestone urn found when digging new house foundations at Birstan [sic]

Big Howe, Newbigging ND49NW 5

September 7th 1907 "The Orcadian" long cist with flexed skeleton found at quarry

May 18th 1881 "The Orkney Herald" cloth-wrapped skeleton found in the moss, full description with location

Blanster Farm, St.Margaret's Hope ND447929

July 18th 1903 "The Orcadian" some years ago cist with inverted clay urn over ashes came from mound formerly in fields of farm buildings

Braes of Gorn HY64SE 8
August 23rd 1858 "The Orcadian" 1/2 cinerary urns discovered at Gornside several years previously

St.Mary's Broch HY40SE 6

August 25th 1908 "The Orkney Herald" copy of description of Broch of Ayre from current "British Birds" magazine

Brodgar standing stones HY31SW 10

February 21st 1906 "The Orkney Herald" Stallybrass report

Broch of Borwick HY21NW 1

December 1st-15th 1906 "The Orcadian" extensive description including that of sea-level chamber
August 13th 1910 "The Orcadian" description

Broch of Burgar, Evie HY32NE 27

March 31st 1825 "The Orkney and Zetland Chronicle" description, finds from clergyman's son's [sic] excavation of top of mound being sent by Peterkin to Dr.Hibbert

Broch of Lingro HY40NW 1

December 9th 1871 "The Saturday Herald and Shetland Gazette" one-line description, Roman coins being donated to S.A.S. Museum

Brough of Bigging HY21NW 7

August 13th 1910 "The Orcadian" one-line description of traditional 'sailor's graves' at narrowest [sic] part of brough

ring hoard, Westray

July 21st 1943 "John O' Groat Journal" 6 heavy precious metal rings (814g total), one of double twisted cord, found in earth by Mr Stewart of Burgh's workmen, linked to tradition of African captain shipwrecked a century before

Burn of Lushan HY32SW 8

December 4th 1909 "The Orcadian" one-line description

Burrian, North Ronaldsay HY75 SE 3

December 9th 1871 "The Saturday Herald and Shetland Gazette" description of Oghan stone donated to S.A.S. Museum

Carness, St.Ola

description of early kirk traceable by burn along brecks between Carness Farm and Kirkwall, HY32SW 9 referenced

Castle Bloody HY21SE 31

March 28th 1903 "The Orcadian" traditionally laid siege to St.Mary's Kirk

Cauldhame, Stromness

March 23rd 1910 "The Orkney Herald" short cist with two skulls found in clay & stone round cairn at base of stone quarry [?Burnside HY24201303]

Clouduhall cairn ND48NW 3

July 11th 1903 "The Orcadian" Ordnance men levelled mound ~20 years before because of height [lies alongside road]

Clouduhall standing stone ND48NW 1

July 11th 1903 "The Orcadian" one-line description

Comet Stone HY21SE 13

February 21st 1906 "The Orkney Herald" Stallybrass report

Crantit HY40NW 3

October 23rd 1909 "The Orcadian" excavation of double cist found June 1908, likened to HY40NW 4 ~11 chains away

Crantit souterrain HY40NW 5

January 13th 1854 "John O' Groat Journal" mentioned

Cumminess HY21SE 17

October 19th 1907 "The Orcadian" cairn mentioned

Dounby HY22SE 12

October 12th 1838 "John O' Groat Journal" cist with skeleton and grey marble 'mallet'found ~200yds from Downby farm-house
August 1839 "The Orkney and Shetland Journal and Fisherman's Magazine" one-line description inc. granite 'mallet'

Dounby HY22SE 32

June 20th 1896 "The Orcadian" 2 burnt mounds close by well of Whilchow [~ HY29672092], cist found "lately" nearby

Dwarfie Stone HY20SW 8

January 1st 1898 "The Orcadian" one-line description
June 22nd 1901 "The Orcadian" description, cramps previously picked up under western base

Earl's Bu, Orphir HY30SW 2

December 17th 1902 "The Orkney Herald" wall excavated 1899 to present, site under 5' of dbris inc. bones & shells & ashes, comb was found

Earl's Palace, Birsay HY22NW 6

March 7th 1903 "The Orcadian" grave of St.Magnus was in floor of church after removal of body from Gairsay to Earl's Palace

East Broch of Burray ND49NE 1

August 18th 1854 "John O' Groat Journal" baked clay cup and whale wheel excavated

Fresh Knowe HY21SE 12
August 18th 1854 "John O' Groat Journal" excavation

September 16th 1908 "The Orkney Herald" excavation trench on top of mound from early 1860's levelled up

Graemeshall ?HY40SE 9/40

May 13th 1896 "The Orkney Herald" long cist with skeleton found where old farmhouse stood, bones found recently on N side of house min.300 years old, in ~1879 headless skeleton found under old millstone on S side of old hall courtyard

Grain HY41SW 19

January 13th 1854 "John O' Groat Journal" mentioned

Hermisgarth, Sanday ?HY64SE 15
August 17th 1880 "The Orkney Herald" building and underground chamber excavated & to be removed

Highbreck, Orphir HY30NE 17
February 13th 1907 "The Orkney Herald" steatite and flagstone urn with burnt bones found at Highbrake [sic], located ~36' from the public road's north side & ~52' W of the 7th milestone, within ~80 yards of the Greystone on the top of slight glacial moraine
Highbreck, Orphir ~HY360067
February 11th 1891 "The Orkney Herald" short cist with burnt bones found then steatite and "clay slate" urn 10 paces away, located ENE of Highbreck & NW of Smoogro ~120yds from road on southern slope of heathery ground
Highbreck 'fort', Orphir HY361167
February 11th 1891 "The Orkney Herald" circular building between HY30NE 17 and main road, finds previous year inc. grooved muller

Hillock of Fea ND49NE 7

November 6th 1909 "The Orcadian" Picts' House well-preserved despite being robbed for building material, showing traces of three circling walls

Hillock Road, Shapinsay HY52SW 3
March 21st 1885 "The Orcadian" cist with skeleton ~300yds from shore near Ness

Hill Trows/ the Knowes, Cross

February 30th 1907 "The Orcadian" largest of 6-8 mounds has ring round it and deep ditch, urns & cists & burnt stones found in area

a holm of Papa Westray

October 17th 1854 "John O' Groat Journal" graves with human skeletons and animal bones (some extinct) opened previous week

Hunclett HY40NE 6

May 14th 1898 "The Orcadian" mentioned as found but not excavated, Taversoe Tuick referenced

Kirk of Forsewell

August 13th 1910 "The Orcadian" mentioned along with HY21NW 6 as near knoust of Bigging

Kirk o' Kirkgoe HY32SW 9

March 21st 1903 "The Orcadian" one-line description
December 4th 1909 "The Orcadian" description

knowe of Bulic, Stenness

October 14th 1908 "The Orkney Herald" implements inc. arrowheads mentioned as found previously in mound

Knowe of Esgarth HY22SE 11

June 20th 1896 "The Orcadian" Æsgar farm nentioned as location of burnt mounds and also cists
March 21st 1903 "The Orcadian" mounds of Aesgar and Ashara mentioned

Knowe of Smirrus HY32SE 17

March 21st 1903 "The Orcadian" Smerrhow mentioned

? Knowes of Trinnawin HY31NW 40

October 31st 1903 "The Orcadian" cist with inverted steatite urn over burn bones found in removing a large mound recently in Harray

Knowe of Taft HY22SE 8

March 14th 1903 "The Orcadian" remains of Knowe of Nurton mentioned as probably still by steading

Konisquoy HY31SW 68

February 20th 1909 "The Orcadian" short cist with bones (covering mound removed in living memory) found at Konizquoy [Congesquoy], Cairston, ~10yds from top of beach [Sands of Congesquoy HY2710] in field where numerous "primitive tools and weapons" have been found several times

Kyelittle ND49NE 8

November 6th 1909 "The Orcadian" likened to nearby Hillock of Fea ND49NE 7

Linga Dee, Yesnaby ?HY21NW 3

January 12th 1907 "The Orcadian" several 'aesir knowes' excavated by late W.Allan at Langadae, each had 8-14 distinct cremations and water trained round

Linahowe HY22SW 17 or HY21NW 22

February 27th 1907 "The Orkney Herald" monastery of St.Lawrence used to build steading in living memory (when extensive building still standing included circular structures)
June 29th 1907 "The Orcadian" Linahowe of large stone construction and covered ~1 acre
July 6th 1907 "The Orcadian" Linahowe called St.Lawrence stook

Lingafold HY21NE 19

August 1839 "The Orkney and Shetland Journal and Fisherman's Magazine" excavations by Directos of Orkney Natural History Society in tumuli at Upper Lyking

Maeshowe HY31SW 1

February 21st 1906 "The Orkney Herald" Stallybrass report
September 16th 1908 "The Orkney Herald" described

meadow of Selwick, West Mainland

January 5th 1907 "The Orcadian" one-line description of ferruginous pot 9"D found during drain-lifting ~25 years before

Mor Stein HY51SW 1

May 21st 1904 "The Orcadian" "Moow's Stane" mentioned

Ness of Onstan HY21SE 22

October 19th 1907 "The Orcadian" stones are graves [opinion at that time]

Nev Hill cairn ND48NW 5

July 11th 1903 "The Orcadian" "Gallows" stone cairn mentioned on Knave Hill

Nev Hill tomb ND48NW 10

July 11th 1903 "The Orcadian" burnt bones & ashes & E side short cist with urn excavated a short time before, burnt stones inside Knave Hill mound

Newbigging, St.Ola HY40NW 4

July 13th 1855 "John O' Groat Journal" double cist with bones found at a previous time excavated Wednesday
October 23rd 1909 "The Orcadian" referenced to HY40NW 3

Odin's Stone HY51NW 2

May 21st 1904 "The Orcadian" Black Stone of Odin mentioned

Pierowall HY44NW 13

June 1839 "The Orkney and Shetland Journal and Fisherman's Magazine" April-May excavations ~¼ N of Pier-o-wall village

Pisgah HY44NW 7

January 13th 1854 "John O' Groat Journal" description

Plumcake Mound HY21SE 11

July 28th 1854 "John O' Groat Journal" graves & baked clay urn with bones excavated Monday before 24th
August 18th 1854 "John O' Groat Journal" one-line description, mentioned as chosen for examination

Queena, Birsay HY22NE 23

July 20th 1909 "The Orkney Herald" stone axe and hammer found in structure

Quoyloo HY22SW 12

May 30th 1896 "The Orcadian" cist with bones and three skulls found at Quarry-banks [Quarrybanks], Scarwell district

Righ Knowe, Breckness estate

January 12th 1907 "The Orcadian" steatite urn with bones and ashes found on one of 3 knowes on hilltop W of Bruntland [slope of Brunt Hill HY2411] 12-15 years before is now at Skaill House

Ring of Bookan HY21SE 7

August 10th 1849 "John O' Groat Journal" "Druidical circle" used as law thing in living memory by Mansie Hay

Ring of Brodgar HY21SE 1

September 19th 1849 "John O' Groat Journal" description
October 2nd 1901 "The Orkney Herald" two-line description including moat
February 21st 1906 "The Orkney Herald" Stallybrass report
September 8th 1906 "The Orcadian" largest stone re-erected (knocked down ~1814) [? confusion with Stones of Stenness here], time capsule placed in cement foundation
July 31st 1907 "The Orkney Herald" runes found on stone stump uncovered in remedial work
September 16th 1908 "The Orkney Herald" 7 stones re-erected
September 16th 1908 "The Orkney Herald" described
September 30th 1908 "The Orkney Herald" quoting Tuesday's "Scotsman" article description (inc. axe find) and work done

Round Church HY30SW 1

July 2nd 1902 "The Orkney Herald" excavation mooted
December 17th 1902 "The Orkney Herald" excavation proposed

Ruid Chapel ND48NW 4

July 11th 1903 "The Orcadian" two-line description of Hollyrood/Halyrude

St.Bride's Chapel HY21NW 6

May 5th 1906 "The Orcadian" description
February 2nd 1907 "The Orcadian" description of facing building and of cornerstone decorated on two sides
August 13th 1910 "The Orcadian" one-line description

St.Colm's Chapel ND38NW 1

December 22nd 1897 "The Orkney Herald" one-line description of cross found in the side of old chapel

St.Magnus Cathedral HY41SW 10
February 2nd 1849 "John O' Groat Journal" skeleton found in a SW wall [now believed to be that of Earl Erlend Haraldsson]
St.Mary's Kirk HY21SE 30

March 28th 1903 "The Orcadian" traditionally besieged by Castle Bloody

St.Peter's Chapel, Pentland Skerries ND47NE 2

September 12th 1903 "The Orcadian" mentioned

St.Peter's Chapel, Swona ND38NE 1

September 12th 1903 "The Orcadian" foundations remain, house built from stones

St.Peter's Kirk HY21NW 26 Deerness parish church

March 28th 1903 & May 12th 1906 "The Orcadian" oldest gravestone in West Mainland, formerly standing beside well but now lying down, is traditionally of earliest missionary

Salt Knowe HY21SE 14

August 18th 1854 "John O' Groat Journal" one-line description

Saverock souterrain HY41SW 5

January 13th 1854 "John O' Groat Journal" description of original excavation, bronze bird's claw found subsequently


July 15th 1853 "John O' Groat Journal" double cist with bones excavated recently on farm of Scalpa in tumulus [near shore]

Skaill hoard HY31NW 14

August 6th 1910 "The Orcadian" two-line description of the "Muckle Brae"

Skae Frue HY21SE 8

August 10th 1849 "John O' Groat Journal" cist with skeleton excavated July 30th-31st

Skara Brae HY21NE 12

October 2nd 1901 "The Orkney Herald" mention of finds, rouge pot mentioned, being stored in Mr.Watt of Skaill's museum

Sorquoy ND49SW 3

July 11th 1903 "The Orcadian" one-line description

South Seatter mound HY21NW 2

May 5th 1906 "The Orcadian" one-line description of Tirlhowe

Stanemora ND38SE 2

September 12th 1903 "The Orcadian" Standing Stones [i.e. the uprights] described, many shells found at base of one

Stanerandy HY22NE 15

March 21st 1903 "The Orcadian" one-line description inc. cramp in soil

Staney Hill standing stone HY31NW 10

March 14th 1903 "The Orcadian" traditionally erected during procession of St.Magnus cortege

Stenness parish church HY31SW 19

April 6th 1907 "The Orcadian" grave mounds without gravestones found when present foundations dug, one produced simple bronze brooches believed in possession of Mr.Murison

Stenness tumuli

August 1839 "The Orkney and Shetland Journal and Fisherman's Magazine" mention by Orkney Natural History Society of copper circle and boar's tusk found in a tumulus
August 18th 1854 "John O' Groat Journal" excavation of two tumuli, each with cist with burnt bones, mentioned

Sties Of the Brough HY64SE 6

February 30th 1907 "The Orcadian" finds from picts house or broch on ness in Cross parish

Stone of Odin HY31SW 40

September 19th 1849 "John O' Groat Journal" one-line description
September 30th 1908 "The Orkney Herald" quoting Tuesday's "Scotsman" article

Stones of Stenness HY31SW 2

September 19th 1849 "John O' Groat Journal" description, 18' prostrate stone knocked down 1815
October 2nd 1901 "The Orkney Herald" one-line description
February 21st 1906 "The Orkney Herald" Stallybrass report
September 16th 1908 "The Orkney Herald" central dolmen re-erected
September 16th 1908 "The Orkney Herald" two-line description of Stansness
September 30th 1908 "The Orkney Herald" quoting Tuesday's "Scotsman" article description and work done

Stonepark, St.Margaret's Hope ~ND443932

July 18th 1903 "The Orcadian" some years ago cists from mound formerly near Stonepark

Swona ND38NE 3 & SE 11

September 12th 1903 "The Orcadian" sheepfolds and dykes and open-ended huts were 'Crevices' (round enclosures) for growing crops and 'Skios' (long narrow structures)for drying fish - mentions one 14' x 3' and largest 72' x 3'

Taversoe Tuick HY42NW 2

May 14th 1898 "The Orcadian" one-line description of excavation, Hunclett (HY40NE 6) referenced
May 18th 1898 "The Orkney Herald" excavation from May 5th

Trimmigarth, Sandwick

February 3rd 1909 "The Orkney Herald" [? network of] underground passages resembling [but too long and wrong geology for] fulgurites found near site of old smithy

Trowie Glen, Hoy

July 6th 1901 "The Orcadian" small orthostats in valley floor mentioned, associated locally with burials

Twinly Kirk ND38SE 6

September 12th 1903 "The Orcadian" one-line description of Kirkgoe/ Twinly Kirk, nearby house formerly used in distilling whisky

Unstan tomb HY21SE 5

October 19th 1907 "The Orcadian" mound still open to elements

Warebeth HY20NW 12

March 28th 1903 "The Orcadian" early missionary traditionally buried under St.James kirk

Warbister Hill ND38SE 8

September 12th 1903 "The Orcadian" one-line description of Knowe of Warbister

Ward Hill HY51NW 12

May 21st 1904 "The Orcadian" the Wart mentioned as man-made

Watch Stone HY31SW 11

February 21st 1906 "The Orkney Herald" Stallybrass report

Weems Castle ND48NW 2

July 11th 1903 "The Orcadian" mention of alternative names of Lady Wemyss' Castle and St.Lowrie's Castle, tradition of subterranean passage [i.e. weem]

Yinstay HY51SW 2

May 30th 1906 "The Orkney Herald" excavation, also modern cairn built from earlier blocks, standing stone removed in living memory, stones & burnt material & food remains & pottery fragments seen in next-door field
wideford Posted by wideford
15th March 2006ce

The Giant's Ring flyby

The Giant's Ring flyby

Another County Down Megalithic flyby from my good friend Nareik.

This time of the Giant's Ring on 16/1/06. The Winter lighting alone makes these pictures worthwhile...

The Giant's Ring — Images

<b>The Giant's Ring</b>Posted by Cursuswalker<b>The Giant's Ring</b>Posted by Cursuswalker<b>The Giant's Ring</b>Posted by Cursuswalker
Cursuswalker Posted by Cursuswalker
4th March 2006ce

Caburn Walker

Caburn Walker

For someone who has the word "walker" in his chosen name I haven't done much walking recently.

So last Sunday I set off from my front door and walked to and from the summit of Mount Caburn, Lewes' pre-Roman counterpart.

I haven't been up there since Lammas 2001, a whole world away in terms of life change.

It was like saying hello to an old friend...

Mount Caburn — Images

<b>Mount Caburn</b>Posted by Cursuswalker<b>Mount Caburn</b>Posted by Cursuswalker<b>Mount Caburn</b>Posted by Cursuswalker<b>Mount Caburn</b>Posted by Cursuswalker

Mount Caburn — Fieldnotes

Mount Caburn means a lot to many people in the town of Lewes I think.
It was the nearest settlement of any size to the site that Lewes was eventually founded on by the Saxons and can be seen from much of the town.

The skyline of the hill from the town means that the ditch and bank of the fort seems to cut it off from the rest of the ridge on which it stands. The hill the fort was built upon is fairly distinctive anyway, being a dome with broad slopes sweeping down from it to the south, while it seems almost to be the head of a giant downland animal, the rest of the downland ridge that it forms part of trailing behind the hill to the north. This ridge is the only block of the South Downs that is not a part of the main ridge along which the South Downs Way runs, having been cut off from it by the Glynde Reach river, that you will see joining the river Ouse to the south west.

When you approach the fort from the north the ditch and bank are very prominent, but the part of the hill still inside the fort protrudes above it still, giving an impression of a round hat, or, one might say, a flattened Dalek's head!

Once inside the fort one seems simply to be on a hill, as the whole ditch and bank becomes far less obvious. This is particularly true on the southern side, where the defences are far less spectacular. I have always been told this is because on this side any attacker would have had quite a climb first. I'm not entirely convinced though, as this does not take account of attackers circling from the northern side. For me, the steep hill suggests some erosion of the defences on this side, though I have no evidence for this either way.

In any case the view is very impressive for a hill that is not actually that high (150m above sea-level), particularly of the downland ridge to the south. Firle Beacon and Windover Hill, home to the Long Man of Wilmington, can also be seen to the south east.
Cursuswalker Posted by Cursuswalker
3rd March 2006ce

The stones on Hill of Drimmie

The stones on Hill of Drimmie

I didn't get into the hills last weekend - a combination of bad weather and a busy week of work made it a struggle to summon up the energy - breaking a New Year's resolution, so this weekend I was determined to get out. Waking up this morning to the sound of rain splashing off the windowsill, I nevertheless got up, got ready, and left the flat heading north for Blairgowrie.

I parked in the water-logged car park of an old mill on the north edge of the town, put on my boots and started off up the Hill of Drimmie. I was just walking on the road, which was very quiet. The rain had stopped but it was still overcast and there was a nip in the air as I got higher up. I paused to take a photo of the view down to Blairgowrie.

I soon reached the Craighall standing stone and Craighall stone circle but decided to carry on up the hill to the Woodside stone circle since it would be a better place to stop for lunch. Woodside is a perfect description, since the circle is situated on the very edge of Drimmie Woods, bisected by a fence between a cattle field and the forest. The trees around one half of the circle have recently been cut down.

I had my lunch here sitting on a tree stump between the stones, being watched all the time by some inquisitive bullocks.

I then retraced my steps, through a cow field and back down onto the road. As I was walking down the road a car stopped beside me - a lost family looking for directions to a hotel. After about half an hour's walking I was back at the Craighall standing stone, and this time I went into the field for a closer look.

This massive stone stands some 2.5m tall, rising from a wide base to a point, with good views from its position on the edge of a valley to the lower ground below. At the base of the stone are four clear cupmarks.

Just a short distance further down the hill are the remains of the Craighall four-poster stone circle, the stones lying on a raised mound at the edge of the field.

As I set off down the final part of the hill light rain started to fall, and with perfect timing as I took my boots off and got into the car, the heavens opened.

The full version of this weblog can be found here

Hill of Drimmie Stone Circle — Images

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Glenballoch Standing Stone — Images

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Glenballoch Stone Circle — Images

<b>Glenballoch Stone Circle</b>Posted by BigSweetie<b>Glenballoch Stone Circle</b>Posted by BigSweetie<b>Glenballoch Stone Circle</b>Posted by BigSweetie<b>Glenballoch Stone Circle</b>Posted by BigSweetie<b>Glenballoch Stone Circle</b>Posted by BigSweetie<b>Glenballoch Stone Circle</b>Posted by BigSweetie
BigSweetie Posted by BigSweetie
20th February 2006ce

My Milton keynes adventure.

My Milton keynes adventure.

I live in Milton Keynes.
Ok, so most people would not choose to live here. I did'nt!. Anyway I am here now and it's not as bad as they say. Honest.
The land that MK was built on was covered by many villages and farms so MK council built a grid system of roads with some grid squares containing complete villages and some containing grotty council estates. There is alot of history here.
I am scouring MK for the ley lines that I feel. My conclusions so far are that there are many ley lines. The lines fall on graveyards and burial mounds. The old MK churches have lines going through their graveyards, not through the main buildings.
Anyway, today I went around Great Linford in North MK. Great place. St Andrews Church has a pair of lines leading south from the western end of the graveyard.
My apologies go to those who see some loon walking around and around their place, semi provoking a neighbourhood watch alert.
Matfink Posted by Matfink
20th February 2006ce

ancient sites in glorious sunshine

ancient sites in glorious sunshine

The sun was burning bright in a brilliant blue sky as a I left Dundee this morning, heading west towards Loch Earn. The further west I went, the more glorious the weather got, the sun picking out the individual hills on the horizon. I parked the car in a layby beside the loch, just beyond the village of St Fillans, and walked back through the village to the footbridge over the River Earn.

Over the footbridge I turned left and followed the path then the minor road along the edge of the river before turning onto the track that cuts across St Fillans golf course to Wester Dundurn. It was another Dundurn I was on my way to though, the fort on St Fillan's Hill, rising majestically above the golf course.

The fort is approached by way of a road to a sewage works, passing the ruins of St Fillan's Church. The road stops at the sewage works - thankfully there wasn't much of a smell - so then it was across a muddy field before fording a wide, shallow burn on the way to the base of the hill. A gate gives access through a fence around the hill, after which the climb starts. You can see why Dundurn was chosen as the site of a fort, as it rises steeply from the flat ground around it making it easy to defend. The slopes are littered with stones that are from the fort's walls, which have now tumbled from their original position on the flat summit.

After scrambling up between these stones and the volcanic rock that formed this naturally-defendable position I reached the wide flat summit, which struck me as being much larger than I imagined after viewing Dundurn from the road. The views from the top are absolutely breathtaking, and provide great views over three major mountain passes, showing how strategically-important the fort was.

I stopped up here for my lunch, sitting on the rocky outcrop at the west end, legs dangling, enjoying the view towards Loch Earn, the only noise being babbling of the River Earn far below. The only noise that is until some goats appeared on the lower terrace. After spending half an hour at the top of Dundurn I began the scramble back down the slopes, and retraced my steps back to the car.

I drove the short distance to Comrie and parked by the school, then walked round the corner to the United Free Church. Behind the church is a mound called Tom na Chessaig (the hill of Kessog) which is supposed to have been the site of a stone circle. It's not much to look at now, overgrown and hemmed in by the church and houses, but originally it would have been in a stunning location, close to the banks of the River Earn with views up and down Strathearn.

Then it was back to the car again, this time heading south over the River Earn and past the West Cowden Farm standing stone to the Auchingarrich Wildlife Centre. The rough track up was frozen and unforgiving, but it's well worth the effort, because at the top - as well as all kinds of animals - is the large Auchingarrich standing stone.

Back in the car I continued on the short distance to Craigneich Farm where there is a complex of fantastic ancient monuments. I parked carefully at the entrance to a field, making sure I didn't block it, but as it happened the farmer's wife came past on a quad bike driven by her grandson and said to park in the farm drive to be safe since they were about to take some hay bales in to the cows in that field. So I moved the car 100m and walked back to the first in this series of stones.

I set off up the track and through a large thicket of gorse, and emerged on the edge of a moor with a one standing stone visible in front of me, and another off to my left. I decided to keep heading up as I knew there were several others further on, and would come back to the outlier on the way back down. After a few hundred more metres traipsing through the heather, I came to another stone, Dunruchan C, a massive stone leaning at a sharp angle.

I could see the next stone, Dunruchan D, over the crest of another ridge. It turned out to be another large stone, again leaning at an angle. It's near neighbour, Dunruchan E, was smaller and more rounded. I made my way back down to Dunruchan C and cut across into the next field to go and see the outlier, Dunruchan A. It can be quite difficult to judge the height of stones from a distance with nothing much to compare them to, and this was proved to be spectacularly true the closer I got. This stone is absolutely huge, measuring 3.45m in height.

The views from up on the moor were fantastic, and as the sun started to go down behind the hills around Glen Artney it bathed the whole area in a soft light.

With the light fading, I made my way back down off the moor, past the cows that were busy eating, to the car, and drove home with a fiery sky in my mirrors.

Dundurn — Images

<b>Dundurn</b>Posted by BigSweetie<b>Dundurn</b>Posted by BigSweetie<b>Dundurn</b>Posted by BigSweetie<b>Dundurn</b>Posted by BigSweetie<b>Dundurn</b>Posted by BigSweetie<b>Dundurn</b>Posted by BigSweetie<b>Dundurn</b>Posted by BigSweetie<b>Dundurn</b>Posted by BigSweetie<b>Dundurn</b>Posted by BigSweetie<b>Dundurn</b>Posted by BigSweetie

Tom na Chessaig — Images

<b>Tom na Chessaig</b>Posted by BigSweetie

Dundurn — Images

<b>Dundurn</b>Posted by BigSweetie

Tom na Chessaig — Images

<b>Tom na Chessaig</b>Posted by BigSweetie<b>Tom na Chessaig</b>Posted by BigSweetie<b>Tom na Chessaig</b>Posted by BigSweetie

Auchingarrich Farm — Images

<b>Auchingarrich Farm</b>Posted by BigSweetie<b>Auchingarrich Farm</b>Posted by BigSweetie<b>Auchingarrich Farm</b>Posted by BigSweetie<b>Auchingarrich Farm</b>Posted by BigSweetie<b>Auchingarrich Farm</b>Posted by BigSweetie<b>Auchingarrich Farm</b>Posted by BigSweetie<b>Auchingarrich Farm</b>Posted by BigSweetie

Dunruchan — Images

<b>Dunruchan</b>Posted by BigSweetie<b>Dunruchan</b>Posted by BigSweetie<b>Dunruchan</b>Posted by BigSweetie<b>Dunruchan</b>Posted by BigSweetie<b>Dunruchan</b>Posted by BigSweetie<b>Dunruchan</b>Posted by BigSweetie<b>Dunruchan</b>Posted by BigSweetie<b>Dunruchan</b>Posted by BigSweetie<b>Dunruchan</b>Posted by BigSweetie<b>Dunruchan</b>Posted by BigSweetie<b>Dunruchan</b>Posted by BigSweetie<b>Dunruchan</b>Posted by BigSweetie<b>Dunruchan</b>Posted by BigSweetie

BigSweetie Posted by BigSweetie
6th February 2006ce

The Cosmic Egg and the Ziggurat -Scratching the Surface in Sardinia Pt3.

The Cosmic Egg and the Ziggurat -Scratching the Surface in Sardinia Pt3.

Originally posted 4th September 2005ce

I accidentally deleted this weblog and those lovely Eds managed to recover it for me. Reposted 2nd February 2006ce
Thanks Eds.

Monte Accoddi

This site was on the top of my list of Sardinian sites to visit. Who could resist a site that has been described as 'one of the most puzzling and interesting monuments in Sardinia', 'the only Ziggurat in the Mediterranean' and 'an important monument to megalithic architecture unique to the western world'? A Ziggurat is defined as a "temple tower, either stepped in tiers or spiral, symbolizing the mountain peak where the gods dwelt and where the skies met with the earth." Ziggurats are thought to represent a cosmic axis, a bridge between heaven and earth.

To reach the site I once again had to drive across the top of the island. I managed to get through Porto Torres without losing my wing mirrors or enraging the locals and found myself heading towards Sassari. You know how it is when you're driving along the road and all of a sudden you pass the place you need to be? Well this is what happened to me. The site entrance is situated on the busy 131 dual carriageway, I had managed to find the site but I then spent 20 frustrating minutes trying to back-track on myself. I don't know how many Sardinian traffic laws I broke but after a period of frenzied driving, which took me into the outskirts of Sassari, I managed to get to finally get to the site.
There is a car park and a site reception/ticket office. Once you've purchased your ticket you walk along a long path to the site. I had driven for two and a half hours to reach Monte Accoddi; my level of anticipation was so high that I almost ran down the path to the site, definitely a case of 'mad dogs and Englishmen'. After passing through a set of gates you enter the site from the south and walk along the eastern side of the monument.
The man in the ticket office told me to report to the guide, so I headed down to the portacabins at the bottom of the site. When I arrived at the cabins the guide was showing an Italian couple around a small exhibition so I waited patiently and used the time to look at the surrounding landscape to see if I could spot any distinctive landmarks. The day I visited was extremely hot and the heat haze had reduced visibility. All I can really say about the surrounding landscape is that the monument is situated on a flat fertile plain with mountains in the far distance.
The guide finished with her Italian couple so I asked her if I could look around the site. Her English was quite poor but 100% better than my Italian. She managed to explain to me that I was welcome to walk around the site as I pleased but I couldn't walk up to the platform of the monument as there was work taking place. Nay problems!
The monument itself is stunning, although the site itself could do with a good tidying-up. Basically you have a rectangular platform of 36x30m aligned north-south and faced with a dry stone wall construction using large, un-worked, limestone rocks, this is then surmounted by a smaller, three stepped, platform faced with smaller, more closely packed stones also in a dry stone construction. There is a 30m long, trapeze-shaped, ramp that leads from the south to the first stage and then a set of 14 steps leads you to the top platform. The top platform is 9-10m higher than the surrounding land. The site faces north and I am told that on a good day you can see the coast and the Golfo Dell Ainara from the top.

My first impression of the monument when looking up from the base of the ramp was "bloody 'ell, it looks like a ziggurat", not that I'd ever seen one in the flesh.
My second impression was of the asymmetry of the structure, with the ramp leading up the right hand side. On closer examination I realised that the right hand side of the top platform had been destroyed.

When I first saw a picture of Monte Accoddi, I was stunned by the sight of a large, cup marked boulder. Having stood at the foot of the monument and taken in it's size I made a beeline for the boulder.

There are two boulders, one large, one small and both cup marked. The larger boulder. is cracked, two ideas immediately came to mind, an omphalos and the cosmic egg. I sort of discarded the omphalos idea due to the stones position in relation to the monument and the fact that there were two stones, I guess you can't really have two omphalos (what's the pleural of omphalos?) in the same place. The egg idea lingered. There are a number of creation myths around the world that feature the cosmic egg, the seed from which the world was born. Another idea that came to mind was that there were two stones here, one substantially larger than the other. The larger stone is a reddish colour the smaller one whitish grey. Could they represent the sun and the moon? I love days like this.

I eventually managed to tear myself away from the boulders to have a mooch around the rest of the site. A little further along the eastern side of the monument is an amazing large flat stone known as the sacrificial table. The stone has a number of perforations around it's margins which could only have been man- made. It is these perforations that have led people to suppose that they were used to tether the living sacrifices to the stone. I don't know whether any evidence of sacrifice has been found but the stone could certainly accommodate a fairly hefty victim, man or beast.
From the stone I carried on around the margins of the monument where there is ample evidence of other buildings in the form of low walls.
The rear of the monument is a good place to have a look at how the monument was constructed with most of the stonework still intact, there is also a small ramp.

However this is also the area that lets the site down badly. It is being used as a dump for construction materials and debris. Whilst I was looking at the small exhibition in the site cabins I noticed a picture and illustration of a carved stone that had been interpreted to be a crude carving of a female figure, possibly a goddess.">

I had presumed that this stone had been carted off to Sassari Museum for safe keeping. I was deeply shocked and saddened to find this stone lurking amongst a pile of large drainage pipes and site rubbish. The stone was cracked and chipped in two places and the cracks looked recent. I later mentioned this to the site guide but she just shrugged.
The western side also has evidence of structures surrounding the main monument and to balance the sacrificial stone, on the eastern side of the ramp, is a large standing stone. Whilst looking at the stone I was struck by the strange asymmetry of the monument and wondered if the standing stone, sacrificial table and 'egg' had some form of alignment or were just placed there with little or no thought of their symmetrical relationship to the ramp and the main monument. Perhaps this trio of stones predated the monument. The standing stone itself is beautiful, it is made of limestone and has a number of large holes caused by weathering, these holes have been occupied by snails who have secreted a sort of natural concrete which partially fills many of the smaller holes.

I conclude my circumnavigation of the site back at the base of the ramp. Unfortunately I wasn't allowed to walk up the ramp to the platform but to be honest with you I didn't mind. I didn't need to climb to the top of the platform to understand that this site was extremely special and unique. There are elements of the site that suggest that the early Sardinians may have been influenced by the cultures of the near and Middle East. If you are lucky enough to visit Sardinia I would recommend that place this site on the top of your list.
The discovery sort of the broken carved stone put a bit of a damper on my visit to Monte Accoddi. Monte Accoddi is a world class archaeological site, and from what I saw, it deserves to be treated with a lot more respect that it is currently receiving. Happily this is not the case with the other Sardinian sites I had visited. They had all been well cared for and many were manned by enthusiastic and helpful guides.
fitzcoraldo Posted by fitzcoraldo
3rd February 2006ce

Sleepless in Sligo

Sleepless in Sligo

Note: This Weblog is long, and has quite a few photos, though by the time you've read the boring bits the photos are sure to appear!

(To view larger versions of the photos in this weblog, click here and use the 'Next' button to move forward)

January has been a month of stops and starts, a few megalithic visitations snatched during the odd break in bad weather. A clear schedule and weather reports for the last weekend of the month meant a day or two to make the most of. There are a quite a few concentrated areas of the country which make for great weekends, The Burren in Clare, the rings of Cork and Kerry, the assorted wonders of the Sperrins in Tyrone, the almost foreboding monuments in Donegal etc. etc. but Sligo is surely the equivalent of Disneyworld in megalithic Ireland.

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'Tomb' 9, more likely a true stone circle

Just to prove this is true, a new motorway has been built from Dublin to Mullingar, bridging almost half the journey to Carrowmore, price of admission is a €2.50 toll which I reconciled as being great value for entrance to Sligo megalitho-wonderland. Sadly, the people that build roads in Ireland are probably unaware that there are any ancient remains in Sligo, or indeed under the motorway they have just finished, but I put that to the back of my mind as I actually broke the 100km/h barrier for the first time on a trip past every backwater village from east to west Ireland.

Arriving in Carrowmore at 4pm left an hour of lovely warm sunlight to wander the motley crew of Carrowmores remains, locating the two rings Burl suggests are true free standing stone circles and spying a few more remains over the hedges. It was an un-hurried stroll, just enjoying the twilight and silent remains. A cloudless sky is unfortunate in its lack of photogenic potential so instead I fed clumps of grass to the horses in the neighboring field and waited for nightfall.

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I elected to stay in Strandhill, on the other side of Knocknarea

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and used the last of the light to find the middens (massive deposits of domestic waste and discarded shellfish shells from the Neolithic/Bronze/Iron ages, metres deep and long) but didn't find any I could be certain of. The inlet here is amazingly peaceful considering this is the Atlantic coast and as the sun set I took a few photos of the coast the Carrowmore builders depended on for their livelihoods.

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After settling in to the 'Beach house' B&B (after a bizarre episode at what turned out to be a hostel) which had a fine view of Knocknarea from the back windows of my room, I returned to Carrowmore to try some long exposure night shots of Tomb 5. Some places are pretty creepy at night but Carrowmore seems welcoming for some odd reason. I had been expecting a cool blue glowing landscape and sky with stars streaking by but soon realised the light pollution from Sligo town and nearby hamlets would result in violent red skies and photos that look like a poster for Mission to Mars. Making the best of it I used shorter exposures than anticipated and an extreme wide angle to prevent star trails as much as possible.

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Tomb 5

A quick pint of the black stuff later, I retired to bed early to make the most of the sunrise in the morning. Unfortunately I didn't notice one of the windows in the room was still open and woke at 3am with my hair almost frozen onto my head and a beach party (yes, at 3am in subzero temperatures on the west coast of Ireland. Strandhill is overrun with surfers at any time of year) in full swing. After eventually getting an hour or two sleep I got up bleary eyed at 7.20am and had a quick breakfast with the outline of Knocknarea lit by the pre-sunrise glow just a field or two away. Worth the stay over in itself.

A short drive along the silent coast brought me back to Carrowmore just as the sun was breaking the horizon over the mountains to the south east

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Tomb 5

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Tomb 4 (foreground) and 5 (mid-horizon)

After scouting the two 'Stone Circles' the evening before I knew they would be at their best in the morning and with the crunchy, frosty grass, golden sun and Knocknarea hazy but lit in the background it was enough to take my mind off the lack of sleep and the fact that my fingers were becoming useless in the biting cold.

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Site 11

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Site 9

A few clouds would have added enormously to the photos but at the time it felt perfect.
The two circles are quite large, site 11 is the largest 5 stone circle in Ireland! Although there were almost certainly more stones here it does contrast amazingly to the small 5 stoners in Cork/Kerry. Site 9 has a lovely 'fairy tree' growing in its perimeter and abundant tyre tracks all through the centre could be a hint as to why it is now made up of widely spaced but very large boulders. Some are standing upright.

After Carrowmore it was a toss-up between Magheraghanrush and Tawnatruffaun but I opted for the former as I had not been before and it looks amazing in the photos. Its not quite as straightforward as I had imagined, I thought there would be a gap in the wall that winds around the plantation but you have to clamber over the wall and locate the track that runs backwards from the direction you have come and swings into the trees. On the way I encountered a fox with a badly mangled leg dangling loose which didn't seem to hamper his mobility in any way, then a massive bird of prey with an almost pig-like grunt but by far the most exciting sight was the decayed looking court stones of this massive spectacle of a tomb appearing ahead. The notice board drawing shows how magnificent this tomb would originally have been. The stones look like crumbling biscuits, the frosty ground adding an ethereal and magical atmosphere in the shaded but generous clearing. I wandered around and took in every angle, it's a site that's very difficult to photograph so you will just have to go there yourself!

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After an hour or so hunger finally got the better of me so I made my way back to the car, very soon after tiredness started taking its toll and since the cloudless skies offered no more potential for better photographs at Tawnatruffaun or The Labby Rock, I decided to make my way home. Unable to resist the scenic drive around Lough Arrow and half decided on visiting the Labby Rock anyway, I leisurely drove down the winding roads taking in the spectacular landscape.

The usual way to visit the Labby Rock (Carrickglass) is though the Cromlech Lodge, however the gates here were locked at the road side entrance. This means you have to travel south a few hundred metres and take a left, at the brow of the hill up this lane there is a farmhouse track on the left through which you can access the dolmen by following the Sligo Historical Trail signs.

On the way home I was even more glad of the new motorway but still bore a grudge for the arrogance of the extortionate tolls and mindless planning of the powers that be….
CianMcLiam Posted by CianMcLiam
30th January 2006ce

Orkney sites in local newspapers up to 1895

Orkney sites in local newspapers up to 1895

nothing down for 1895 - I double checked

excavation ; description of ongoing excavation
excavated ; description of finished or 'undated' excavation
A mention means only the name has been mentioned, referenced means a comparison of site and/or a respective location

Balfour Castle
January 10th 1863 "The Orcadian" subterranean building to SW mentioned

May 21st 1881 "The Orcadian" cloth-wrapped skeleton found in the moss

Bookan Tomb HY21SE 10
July 16th 1861 "The Orkney Herald" excavated
May 13th 1891 "The Orkney Herald" mentioned

Broch of Borwick HY21NW 1
April 1st 1882 "The Orcadian" excavation

Broch of Breckness HY20NW 9
September 25th 1866 "The Orcadian" one-line description

Broch of Burgar, Evie HY32NE 27
January 10th 1863 "The Orcadian" silver & amber hoard

Broch of Lingro HY40NW 1
July 9th 1870 "The Orcadian" excavation
July 16th 1870 "The Orcadian" excavations continue
July 19th 1870 "The Orkney Herald" excavations continue
August 6th 1870 "The Orcadian" excavations continue
August 13th 1870 "The Orcadian" excavations continue
August 31st 1870 "The Orkney Herald" excavations continue
November 12th 1870 "The Orcadian" excavations continue
November 26th 1870 "The Orcadian" excavations continue
December 10th 1870 "The Orcadian" reindeer horn & more Roman coins found
February 15th 1871 "The Orcadian" last mention of excavations
Lingrow Chambered Tomb
July 9th 1870 "The Orcadian" to be excavated
July 16th 1870 "The Orcadian" excavation
July 19th 1870 "The Orkney Herald" excavation

Brough of Deerness HY50NE 14
April 23rd 1867 "The Orcadian" huts and vallum

Brough of Warbuster HY40NW 42
January 23rd 1878 "The Orkney Herald" excavated

Brough of Bigging Fort HY21NW 7
November 7th 1888 "The Orkney Herald" as "knowst" of Bigging referenced

Burray Chambered Tomb ND49NE 1
February 21st 1863 "The Orcadian" & February 24th 1863 "The Orkney Herald" excavation
July 20th 1889 "The Orcadian" two-line description, levelled previously

Burrian Broch (Russland) HY21NE 29
July 10th 1866 "The Orcadian" excavation

Burrian Castle, North Ronaldsay HY75SE 3
October 5th 1870 "The Orkney Herald" broch excavation

Burrian, Wasbister township, Sandwick

May 11th 1892 "The Orkney Herald" rings-inscribed stone found some time ago

?? Calf of Eday, South East Tomb HY53NE 3
December 8th 1855 "The Orcadian" wall-lined and flagstoned hole with 16/18" entrance found near edge of ancient quarry

Calf of Eday ?HY53NE 40/41
January 10th 1863 "The Orcadian" subterranean chamber mentioned

Castle, Kirkwall HY41SW 17
May 16th 1855 "The Orcadian" finds
June 27th 1855 "The Orcadian" more finds

Cavit, Wyre
April 10th 1886 "The Orcadian" cist found on farm of Cavit few yards from where another found 40~50 years previous

Coliness, Sanday HY64SE 21
January 10th 1863 "The Orcadian" gold ring from graves mentioned

Comet Stone HY21SE 13
May 11th 1892 "The Orkney Herald" Ulie Stane 'oil stone'

Curquoy Chambered Tomb, Westray HY44NW 17
March 1st 1860 "The Orcadian" excavated
January 10th 1863 "The Orcadian" quartzite ball mentioned

Cuween Hill HY31SE 1
June 20th 1888 "The Orkney Herald" Picts House & chambered tomb excavation
June 23rd 1888 "The Orcadian" Picts House & chambered tomb excavation

Deerness, Mainland HY50NE 10
June 11th 1861 "The Orkney Herald" barrow & barrow with 11 cremation cists excavated on hill

Dingieshowe HY50SW 7
August 11th 1860 "The Orcadian" excavated
January 10th 1863 "The Orcadian" mentioned

Ditch Park Moss HY40NE 18
June 30th 1886 "The Orkney Herald" bronze dagger ("sword") from Tankerness

Dounby HY22SE 12
November 4th 1891 "The Orkney Herald" in 1840 grave with gneiss mallet-head

Dyke o'Sean HY21SE 68
May 11th 1892 "The Orkney Herald" Seean [sic] former causeway

East Broch of Burray ND49NE 2
July 7th 1855 "The Orcadian" comb and cup found
August 4th 1855 "The Orcadian" excavation
November 30th 1861 "The Orcadian" compared to Burroughston
January 10th 1863 "The Orcadian" mentioned
February 21st 1863 "The Orcadian" referenced
November 3rd 1886 "The Orkney Herald" described
July 20th 1889 "The Orcadian" the Hillock described

Eday Manse Chambered Tomb HY53SE 7
April 20th 1861 "The Orcadian" carved stone donated to Scottish Antiquarian Museum
August 3rd 1869 "The Orkney Herald" mentioned

Established Church Manse, South Ronaldsay
August 21st 1866 "The Orcadian" skeleton found under mound when digging office houses foundations

Eves Howe Broch HY50NW 14
May 30th 1883 "The Orkney Herald" excavated

Flaws, Harray
November 11th 1891 "The Orkney Herald" double cist with urn on natural mound excavated July 1890

? Fresh Knowe HY21SE 12
May 11th 1892 "The Orkney Herald" Farrer's Knowe mentioned

Galt Ness, Shapinsay HY42SE 3
November 30th 1861 "The Orcadian" sub-peat dykes radiating from "Wart"

Garth, Harray ? near HY31NW 56
June 23rd 1894 "The Orcadian" urn & 2 ?cists W of Garth house

Garth, Nettleter, Harray
November 8th 1893 "The Orkney Herald" underground structure excavated
July 12th 1894 "The Orkney Herald" clay contents analysed

Gornside, Cross & Burness ?HY64SE 29
August 23rd 1858 "The Orcadian" 1/2 cinerary urns discovered several years previously

Grain earthhouse HY41SW 19
August 3rd 1857 "The Orcadian" excavation

Grind, Tankerness ?HY50NW 20(burnt mound)
February 15th 1882 "The Orkney Herald" cist found in mound 300yds due east

Gueth, Knarston, Harray
November 16th 1891 "The Orkney Herald" cist with bone found in levelling mound

Gyron Hill HY21NW 9 & 10
March 14th 1885 "The Orcadian" excavated

Hamarscoo HY30NE 16
March 26th 1887 "The Orcadian" 2 cists found on land of Hemiscue [sic] belonging to Oback a short time before [etymology crag/stones projecting from hill]

Handest, Harray
November 4th 1891 "The Orkney Herald" cinerary urn & cinerary cist found, both w/o covers, ~ 300yds SE of Dounby School {same school as now?]

Heathery Howes HY40NE 8
April 10th 1886 "The Orcadian" bronze dagger ("spear head") from Toab
June 15th 1887 "The Orkney Herald" "spearhead" from Gill of Garth mentioned

Highbreck, Orphir HY30NE 17
February 11th 1891 "The Orkney Herald" short cist with burnt bones found then urn 10 paces away, located ENE [sic] of Highbreck & NW of Smoogro ~120yds [sic] from road
Highbreck 'fort', Orphir
February 11th 1891 "The Orkney Herald" circular building between HY30NE 17 and main road, finds previous year

Hillhead, St.Ola HY40NW 12
April 15th 1882 "The Orcadian" stone ball described

? Hill of Cruaday HY22SW 6
May 11th 1892 "The Orkney Herald" gifts deposited at Moadie's/Moodie's Pillar

The Hillock, Firth HY31SE 4
July 14th 1883 "The Orcadian" location

Hillock of Burroughston HY52SW 4
August 3rd 1861 "The Orcadian" & November 30th 1861 "The Orcadian" excavated
January 10th 1863 "The Orcadian" mentioned

Holm of Papa Westray
May 13th 1891 "The Orkney Herald" large chambered tomb mentioned

Holy Kirk HY22SW 16
May 11th 1892 "The Orkney Herald" Holy Kirks [sic] described

The Howans HY21NE 44
November 7th 1888 "The Orkney Herald" Howand Brae mentioned as at same place as Hurkisgarth

Howe of Hoxa ND49SW 1
January 10th 1863 "The Orcadian" broch mentioned
June 26th 1871 "The Orcadian" no trace of passage to Little Howe
Little Howe of Hoxa ND49SW 2
June 26th 1871 "The Orcadian" excavation
June 28th 1871 "The Orkney Herald" excavation

Hoy Churchyard
April 12th 1884 "The Orcadian" Ogham inscription from summer confirmed
April 19th 1884 "The Orcadian" claimed by Hoy man as his sickle sharpenings

Hurkisgarth HY21NE 43
November 7th 1888 "The Orkney Herald" at same place as Howand Brae and near Hooikeld/Howikeld well

Hurtiso Hood HY50NW 21
May 23rd 1863 "The Orkney Herald" found
December 5th 1877 "The Orkney Herald" two line description

Ingsay, Birsay
May 26th 1894 "The Orcadian" cloth-wrapped flexed skeleton in ? short cist

Ingshowe Broch HY31SE 5
August 3rd 1857 "The Orcadian" being dug
January 18th 1858 "The Orcadian" excavation
January 10th 1863 "The Orcadian" mentioned
May 30th 1883 "The Orkney Herald" location

Innertown, Stromness HY20NW 3
April 25th 1877 "The Orkney Herald" cist with bones between Kinghouse & Wester Leafea

Isbister, Rendall HY31NE 14
March 1st 1860 "The Orcadian" several cists excavated last summer
April 17th 1866 "The Orkney Herald" barrow with 3 cists

Ivar's Knowe HY74SW 10
October 31st 1894 "The Orkney Herald" one-line description

Kirkiebrae, South Ronaldsay ND49SW 8
June 26th 1871 "The Orcadian" Swartequoy excavation begun
June 28th 1871 "The Orkney Herald" excavation

Knocker Hill, Westray HY44NW 17
March 1st 1860 "The Orcadian" excavation

Knowe of Bosquoy HY31NW 30
June 5th 1860 "The Orkney Herald" & June 9th 1860 "The Orcadian" excavated
June 19th 1860 "The Orkney Herald" likened to Oxtro Broch
September 25th 1866 "The Orcadian" "near Manse of Harray" likened to Keiss Broch

Knowes of Broidgar, Stenness - various Brodgar mounds
September 16th 1879 "The Orkney Herald" some described
July 14th 1883 "The Orcadian" finds from 2 of
October 16th 1888 "The Orcadian" small one with bones excavated for first time

Knowes of Trotty HY31NW 42
March 29th 1858 "The Orcadian" Huntiscarth gold leaf found

Lamaness, Sanday HY63NW ?18/19
February 6th 1878 "The Orkney Herald" skeleton with grave goods found in slight elevation

Linnahowe Mound HY22SW 17
November 7th 1888 "The Orkney Herald" very early Christian place of worship near Linahowe Farm

Loch of Bosquoy
September 29th 1863 "The Orcadian" grave with skeleton on bank

Lea Shun, Sanday HY62SE 19
April 16th 1887 "The Orcadian" boat embedded in sand in SE [sic] corner of Loch of Leashon

Loch of Stenness HY21SE 43
September 23rd 1879 "The Orkney Herald" 2 gold rings found
October 21st 1879 "The Orkney Herald" rings go to Scottish Antiquarian Museum

Lower Hobbister, Orphir HY31SW 42
June 26th 1871 "The Orcadian" cinerary urn found

Lyking, Sandwick

May 11th 1892 "The Orkney Herald" stones from dyke-end used in Ring of Brodgar, 70 years previous stones on pillars still present

Lyradale Hill
May 17th 1882 "The Orkney Herald" & May 20th 1882 "The Orcadian" 2 skeletons found in peat on hill of Lyradale

Maes Howe HY31SW 1
July 9th 1861 "The Orkney Herald" under excavation
July 16th 1861 "The Orkney Herald" excavation
July 23rd 1861 "The Orkney Herald" excavated
July 14th 1883 "The Orcadian" one-line description
May 13th 1891 "The Orkney Herald" described

? Market Green, Firth HY31SE 9
June 20th 1888 "The Orkney Herald" 2 urns found in mound ~50yds W of the Old Stromness road
June 23rd 1888 "The Orcadian" urn found

Marygarth Manse HY64SE 22
May 25th 1880 "The Orkney Herald" broch excavated

? Mill Loch, Eday HY53NE 28
December 8th 1855 "The Orcadian" barrow with cremation cist found near ancient building in vicinity of standing stone

? Hillock Road, Shapinsay HY52SW 3
March 21st 1885 "The Orcadian" cist with skeleton ~300yds from shore near Ness

Newbigging, St.Ola HY40NW 4
July 7th 1855 "The Orcadian" cists excavated from barrows
March 1st 1860 "The Orcadian" likened to Isbister
January 10th 1863 "The Orcadian" one-line description
April 17th 1866 "The Orkney Herald" described

Noltland Castle HY44NW 1
October 23rd 1873 "The Orkney Herald" Civil War & (? Lady Kirk of Noltland) earlier graveyard skeletons excavations
July 15th 1874 "The Orkney Herald" skeletons excavated

? North Hill, Shapinsay ?HY52SW 5
March 21st 1885 "The Orcadian" large complete cinerary urn found rock ridge near farm of Whitclet, broke up

North Links, Westray [?Papa Westray]
July 15th 1874 "The Orkney Herald" subterranean chamber excavation

North Ronaldsay
November 8th 1879 "The Orcadian" finds from ruined tower including bell

North Town Moss, Burray ND49NE 5
May 18th 1889 "The Orcadian" hoard of fragmentary armlets and Anglo-Saxon coins in wooden 'dish'
August 3rd 1889 "The Orcadian" Muckle Wart hoard mentioned

Old Town Hall & Prison, Kirkwall HY41SW 142
November 12th 1890 "The Orkney Herald" builders discover tombstone fragment
December 17th 1890 "The Orkney Herald" large sandstone balls found
June 17th 1891 "The Orkney Herald" skeleton found

Oxtro Broch HY22NE 4
June 5th 1860 "The Orkney Herald" likened to Knowe of Bosquoy
June 19th 1860 "The Orkney Herald" excavated
January 10th 1863 "The Orcadian" mentioned
June 19th 1866 "The Orcadian" cists discovered
September 25th 1866 "The Orcadian" cists and broch

Papdale Burn
September 11th 1869 "The Orcadian" 11th century coins

Peterkirk Mound,Sanday HY74SW 7/14
October 31st 1894 "The Orkney Herald" partially excavated

Pickaquoy HY41SW 13
January 10th 1863 "The Orcadian" barrow mentioned
May 3rd 1864 "The Orcadian" one of carved stones donated to Scottish Antiquarian Museum

Pierowall Links HY44NW 13
May 3rd 1864 "The Orcadian" sandhill finds donated to Scottish Antiquarian Museum

Quanterness HY41SW 4
November 27th 1860 "The Orkney Herald" described
July 14th 1883 "The Orcadian" mentioned
May 13th 1891 "The Orkney Herald" mentioned

Quoynamoan, Stenness (NOT Quinni Moan,Sandwick) HY22SE 30 & 31
January 12th 1869 "The Orcadian" 3 barrows with cists, 1 with stone cairn, excavated

Quoyness Chambered Tomb HY63NE 1
May 13th 1891 "The Orkney Herald" mentioned

Redland Broch, Firth HY31NE 12
July 22nd 1862 "The Orkney Herald" being excavated

Ring of Bookan HY21SE 7
July 14th 1883 "The Orcadian" described
May 11th 1892 "The Orkney Herald" Rim/Ring of Bookan referenced

Ring of Brodgar HY21SE 1
July 16th 1861 "The Orkney Herald" described
July 23rd 1861 "The Orkney Herald" entrance 'tumuli' excavated
September 16th 1879 "The Orkney Herald" described
July 14th 1883 "The Orcadian" described
October 16th 1888 "The Orcadian" described
November 7th 1888 "The Orkney Herald" Howerstadgarth/ Stan Stanes/ Old Charlies part of road traced & causeway mentioned
May 11th 1892 "The Orkney Herald" expanding on road remains running from ~ 6 chains SE of ring to S slope of Vestrafiold, large beach stones from other parishes found, Lyking a standing stone source
Round Church, Orphir HY30SW 2
July 10th 1860 "The Orkney Herald" submitted to S.A.S. finds from "Girth House" & subterranean chamber near this
April 23rd 1867 "The Orcadian" circular holed stone in Scottish Antiquarian museum

Round Howe HY50NW 8
July 22nd 1862 "The Orkney Herald" being excavated

Saevar Howe HY22NW 5
July 10th 1866 "The Orcadian" Knowe of Laverock [sic] being excavated
November 8th 1879 "The Orcadian" bell from cist described
November 15th 1893 "The Orkney Herald" bell from cist discovered 1863 described

St.Bride's Chapel HY21NW 6
November 7th 1888 "The Orkney Herald" Britikirk/Brideskirk one of first churches

St.Magnus Cathedral HY41SW 10
December 12th 1877 "The Orkney Herald" plated copper vessels found

St.Nicholas Chapel, Holm HY50SW 14
March 24th 1893 "The Orkney Herald" found cross to be mounted

Saverock Souterrain, St.Ola HY41SW 5
January 10th 1863 "The Orcadian" subterranean chamber mentioned
May 30th 1883 "The Orkney Herald" still there

Skaill, Deerness HY50NE19
July 7th 1864 "The Orcadian" settlement excavation during road-cutting
July 28th 1864 "The Orcadian" excavations continue

Skaill hoard HY31NW 14
March 29th 1858 "The Orcadian" discovery

Skara Brae HY21NW 12
May 29th 1866 "The Orcadian" donations to Scottish Antiquarian Museum from 1863
September 25th 1866 "The Orcadian" excavation/excavated
April 15th 1882 "The Orcadian" 2 stone balls described

South Seatter Mound HY21NW 2
November 7th 1888 "The Orkney Herald" Tirlhowe and surrounding archaeology

Standing Stones Hotel HY31SW 24
June 4th 1891 "The Orkney Herald" excavation of chamber, two lateral chambers also inferred
November 8th 1893 "The Orkney Herald" chamber with passage excavated

Stone of Odin HY31SW 40
July 14th 1883 "The Orcadian" location

Stones of Stenness HY31SW 2
September 16th 1879 "The Orkney Herald" described along with stone avenue
July 14th 1883 "The Orcadian" described
May 11th 1892 "The Orkney Herald" tradition of being floated on rafts

Stove, Sanday
August 23rd 1858 "The Orcadian" 2 graves excavated near Whippiland [?Whupland]

July 28th 1864 "The Orcadian" 3 cists with urns destroyed a few years previous, malachite fragment collected

Toab Inscribed Stone HY50NW 22
August 10th 1880 "The Orkney Herald" stone footprint from Mine Howe etc. vicinity

Tofts Ness HY74NE 5
October 31st 1894 "The Orkney Herald" Picts' Houses mentioned

Towerhill HY40NE 2
January 10th 1863 "The Orcadian" grave mentioned
April 16th 1892 "The Orcadian" cist with bones & stone hammer excavated

Trettigar/Trittigar, Harray
August 9th 1893 "The Orkney Herald" underground chamber excavated last February
November 8th 1893 "The Orkney Herald" compared to Garth (Nettleter) structure

Unstan Chambered Tomb HY21SE 5
September 10th 1884 "The Orkney Herald" excavated
September 13th 1884 "The Orcadian" excavated
May 13th 1891 "The Orkney Herald" one-line description

Vestrafiold Quarry, Sandwick HY22SW 7
May 11th 1892 "The Orkney Herald" road to Stenness circles, bones and ashes from vicinity

Vinquoy Hill, Eday HY53NE 9
July 20th 1857 "The Orcadian" excavation (not "The Orkney Herald")

Warebeth HY20NW 11
August 28th 1866 "The Orkney Herald" finds in region
November 13th then November 13th 1889 "The Orkney Herald" where stones disposed from trenching for graveyard

Warebeth Broch HY20NW 17
September 25th 1866 "The Orcadian" broch brief description
May 3rd 1879 "The Orkney Herald" excavations of underground passages from graveyard towards 'monastery'

The Wart, South Ronaldsay ND49SW 4
June 28th 1871 "The Orkney Herald" excavated autumn

Wasdale, Firth
November 6th duplicated 13th 1880 "The Orcadian" cist & square grave found

Watch Stone HY31SW 11
September 16th 1879 "The Orkney Herald" one-line description
July 14th 1883 "The Orcadian" mentioned

West Broch of Burray ND49NE 1
February 21st 1863 "The Orcadian" referenced
July 21st 1863 "The Orcadian" excavation
November 3rd 1886 "The Orkney Herald" referenced
July 20th 1889 "The Orcadian" the Castle described

West Quoy, Orphir
December 11th 1866 "The Orkney Herald" grave discovered near mill of Orphir

Westray HY44NW 3 or 6
February 13th 1886 "The Orcadian" glass vessel from Mirlie Hen likened to one found in Westray cist
wideford Posted by wideford
29th January 2006ce
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