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Foel Frech (Round Cairn) — Fieldnotes

About half a mile south of Cerrigydrudion - yes, the village immortalized in song (well, in certain 'antiquarian' circles anyway) by Mr Cope back in 2007 - the B4501 leaves Thomas Telford's A5 to immediately cross the Afon Ceirw at Pont Moelfre, prior to cutting across the hills to Frongoch. Now, should the latter also sound familiar.... well, to be fair, it should. Since it was here that Michael Collins, among others, was interned in the aftermath of the farcically inept Easter Rising of 1916, no doubt busy laying the foundations of his public - albeit ultimately personally tragic - eventual triumph of the Anglo-Irish Treaty of 1921. The landscape here certainly echoes such lofty ideals and I'm verily captivated by the vivid colour contrast as the low early morning light periodically illuminates the flanks of the valley. Suffice to say the words to further elucidate such natural beauty will not come to me just yet. After all, to paraphrase Dave Gahan backstage at Pasadena in 1988, I ain't no Wordsworth.

So, there's serious history in them thar hills. However as momentous as such events may be I'm today mostly wearing my 'prehistoric hat'; and boy, does it need a wash. Speaking of which.... be careful what you wish for, my friends. Anyway, in due course a single track road at Nant-y-crytiau ventures northward across Cadair Benllyn, subsequently veering westward upon encountering a multi-gated cross roads beside an old chapel, to eventually terminate at the isolated farm of Blaen-y-cwm. As I negotiate the final livestock barrier I have the pleasure of making the acquaintance of, by all accounts, the smallholder, his initial countenance one of bemused bafflement at my very presence. He rather brusquely enquires whether I speak Welsh, presumably since (clearly) no tourist would venture here in a million years? Or thereabouts. As it happens I do not. Although in mitigation of such a heinous crime most Welsh people I know do not speak Welsh either. Including members of my own family. Nevertheless my explanation, to the effect of planning to go for a walk in the teeming rain to find an ancient burial cairn, strikes him as perfectly rational behaviour for an English gentleman. As long as I fasten the gate behind me, mind. Well, after all, one doesn't get much opportunity to venture forth in the midday sun. In North Wales.

At Blaen-y-cwm a green track-cum-bridleway makes it way in a south-westerly direction, ascending across the eastern flanks of Foel Frech to a gated bwlch (col). The track veers approx north-west to (eventually) meet a metalled road accessing the former medieval pilgrimage hub of Ysbyty Ifan astride the Afon Conwy; however, not requiring sanctuary at this time, I instead cut across the western aspect of Foel Frech to (eventually) locate the Bronze Age cairn marked upon the map. Sited overlooking the Nant Llan-gwrach a quite considerable distance below and to the north-west of the summit, the monument occupies - or at least did at the time of the visit - a position that may be plausibly described as, er, 'rather wet indeed'. To be honest this was always going to be the case given both the topography... and fast moving fronts of vicious, driving hail.

Now there are occasions when venturing out in seriously inclement weather - particularly upon the hills - can result in a veritable working over by Mother Nature for no real correspondingly tangible reward. Tell me about it. However it soon becomes apparent that here, set within the not insubstantial remnants of this cairn, we have the clear and rather copious remains of a large cist still extant. Furthermore, the intervals between hail fronts are denoted by the sweeping washes of golden light so prevalent earlier in the day. In such conditions, despite leaky boots overwhelmed by the sheer deluge of frozen precipitation ejected by the looming, at times overwhelming, cumulonimbus, this wild hill side is the place to be right here, right now. Well, for a Citizen Cairn'd, anyway.

Those interested in the technical detail should note that Coflein reckons the monument is:

"...circular in plan and measures approximately 6.5m in diameter by up to 0.4m high. It is well constructed with densely-packed stones and has a cist in the centre. The cist measures 1.4m long by 1m wide and 0.4m deep. It has a long vertical cist slab running along the southern side and a shorter slab on the eastern side. There is a further shorter slab that has been displaced and is sat on the northern edge of the cairn... " [P.J. Schofield, OA North, 16/9/2009].

As is usually the case, however, it is the landscape context which makes a visit here so worthwhile, the cairn's obscurity assuring a great, windswept upland vibe. However it is as a viewpoint that the site really excels since, arranged in serried rank to the west, sit the mountains of Northern Snowdonia in all their expansive glory, Moel Siabod standing vanguard to the fore. Well, at least in the welcome, brilliantly lit intermissions between hail storms, that is.

Now should there be, due to some currently unfathomable breech of the laws of physics and everything science holds dear, mountain gods inhabiting these regions, suffice to say they are a bunch of mischievous, nebulous rogues, so they are. Well, put it this way: I've lost count of the number of times when, a mere few hundred yards from reaching the sanctuary of the car nice n'dry... the heavens duly open. Such is the case today. Hey, if one didn't know better it's almost as if....
GLADMAN Posted by GLADMAN
8th December 2018ce
Edited 12th December 2018ce

Bryn Cau (Cairn(s)) — Miscellaneous

This arguably rather incongruous monument stands just above the minor, gated road traversing the Lliw valley... yet is, as far as I could tell, not visible from it. Not mentioned on the current OS maps, it is, nonetheless, subject to CADW scheduling. According to Coflein:

"Remains of a small cairn situated on a saddle between two local promontories on a NW-SE aligned ridge. The cairn is circular in shape and measures c. 4.2m in diameter. It is shallow in profile and measures c. 0.65m tall". (F.Foster/RCAHMW 02.10.2006)

Worth checking out in conjunction with the larger monument about a half mile to the NW below Foel Ystrodur Fawr.
GLADMAN Posted by GLADMAN
7th December 2018ce

Vespasian's Camp and Blick Mead (Hillfort) — News

Ancient platform 'damaged' during Stonehenge tunnel work


Archaeologists have accused Highways England of accidentally drilling a large hole through a 6,000-year-old structure near Stonehenge during preparatory work for a tunnel.

The drilling, which is alleged to have taken place at Blick Mead, around a mile and a half from the world-famous neolithic ring of stones, has enraged archaeologists, who say engineers have dug a three-metre-deep hole (10ft) through a man-made platform of flint and animal bone.

Highways England have said they are not aware of any damage to archaeological layers on the site caused by their work and will meet with the archaeological team on Thursday, led by David Jacques, a senior research fellow at the University of Buckingham.......



https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/dec/06/ancient-platform-damaged-during-stonehenge-tunnel-work
moss Posted by moss
7th December 2018ce

Clach Ossian (Natural Rock Feature) — Images (click to view fullsize)

<b>Clach Ossian</b>Posted by Howburn Digger Howburn Digger Posted by Howburn Digger
7th December 2018ce

Kilcrohane (Stone Row / Alignment) — Images

<b>Kilcrohane</b>Posted by Meic<b>Kilcrohane</b>Posted by Meic<b>Kilcrohane</b>Posted by Meic<b>Kilcrohane</b>Posted by Meic Meic Posted by Meic
3rd December 2018ce

Cradle Stone (Rocking Stone) — Images

<b>Cradle Stone</b>Posted by markj99<b>Cradle Stone</b>Posted by markj99 Posted by markj99
3rd December 2018ce

Cradle Stone (Rocking Stone) — Fieldnotes

Visited 01.12.18

I was staying in Crieff for a few (rainy) days so I visited the Knock of Crieff. The Cradle Stone is around 250 yards up the Knock Walk from the Lower Car Park, then 100 yards into the woods on the R. The OS Grid Reference is spot on. It is adjacent to a smaller boulder, also cleft in half, curiously.

There is a local belief that placing a coin in a crack in the Cradle Stone will make a wish come true. I invested 5p but I'm still waiting...
Posted by markj99
3rd December 2018ce

Concraig (Standing Stone / Menhir) — Images

<b>Concraig</b>Posted by markj99 Posted by markj99
3rd December 2018ce

Wemyss Caves - The Court Cave (Cave / Rock Shelter) — Links

The ancient symbols hidden in a cave


Latest news on the protection of these caves.
moss Posted by moss
3rd December 2018ce

Pen-Twyn Camp (Crucorney) (Hillfort) — Images

<b>Pen-Twyn Camp (Crucorney)</b>Posted by thesweetcheat<b>Pen-Twyn Camp (Crucorney)</b>Posted by thesweetcheat thesweetcheat Posted by thesweetcheat
2nd December 2018ce

Twyn y Gaer Camp (Crucorney) (Hillfort) — Images

<b>Twyn y Gaer Camp (Crucorney)</b>Posted by thesweetcheat thesweetcheat Posted by thesweetcheat
2nd December 2018ce

Hatterrall Hill (Promontory Fort) — Images

<b>Hatterrall Hill</b>Posted by thesweetcheat thesweetcheat Posted by thesweetcheat
2nd December 2018ce

Rhiw Arw (Cairn(s)) — Images

<b>Rhiw Arw</b>Posted by thesweetcheat thesweetcheat Posted by thesweetcheat
2nd December 2018ce

Cwm Bwchel, Black Mountains (Round Cairn) — Images

<b>Cwm Bwchel, Black Mountains</b>Posted by thesweetcheat thesweetcheat Posted by thesweetcheat
2nd December 2018ce

Mynydd Pen-y-Fal (Cairn(s)) — Images

<b>Mynydd Pen-y-Fal</b>Posted by thesweetcheat thesweetcheat Posted by thesweetcheat
2nd December 2018ce

Foel Ystrodur Fawr (Round Cairn) — Fieldnotes

Motorists travelling south upon the A470 between Trawsfynydd and Dolgellau may well find their gaze irrevocably drawn to the undulating, albeit somewhat serrated, skyline of Y Rhinogydd… prior to Cadair Idris, Snowdonia's last, emphatic hurrah before Pumlumon, seizing centre stage upon the wide screen. As a result none but the most inquisitive - or possibly pedantic? - tourists will consider heading east to penetrate the wild hinterland of the Afon Lliw sandwiched between the near 3,000ft heights of Arenig Fawr and Aran Fawddwy. Only traversed by a gated, single track mountain road, the paucity of traffic here is perhaps understandable, a cursory glance at the map highlighting many apparently more tasty fillings elsewhere. However there is much to be said for adopting a minimalistic approach once in a while, grasping the opportunity to cleanse the landscape palate, so to speak; to get off the beaten track.

Having said that, the start is not overly auspicious: the mock ski-chalet complex of Rhiw Goch suggestive of muppets in shiny new 4x4s enduring 'outdoor experiences' (the former ski centre having apparently now closed down). However all is forgiven when noting this is actually a recycled army training camp. Furthermore the nearby, excellent monolith of Llech Idris (him again) and Sarn Helen/Tomen y Mur stand (if a track can be said to 'stand', that is) mute testimony to the fact that folk have been passing this-a-way for millennia. Anyway... beyond the wooden cabins the minor road follows the course of the Afon Gain to a rather fine little stone bridge before climbing to the summit of Pen y Feidiog, subsequently descending to cross the fledgling Afon Lliw at the farming hamlet of Blaen Lliw.

I feel a sense of everything having a pragmatic reason to exist here... of there being nothing superfluous, nothing but sine qua non. Although, of course, that may well be just middle class fantasy on my part. What is (once again) beyond doubt, however, is the continuity of the human story here, the evidence for which lies above and beyond in the form of two obscure prehistoric cairns. Obscure? Well, neither are indicated upon either the latest 1:50k or 1:25k OS map, so thanks are due to the wondrous people at Coflein. The larger of the pair sits below and to the south east of the summit crags of Foel Ystrodur Fawr and according to CADW "is circular in shape and measures c. 5.5m in diameter. The cairn is shallow and rounded in profile, measuring c. 0.4m tall". [F.Foster/RCAHMW 04.10.2006]. A little to the east of Blaenlliw Isaf farm a livestock gate allows access beyond a drystone wall and proves the key to locating the monument upon its little terrace: once through it is possible to park within an old quarry(?) a short(ish) distance on the left.

Having donned boots and scrambled a little to the north the aforementioned wall will be discerned heading approx north, then, in plain wiry mode, north-east beneath the slightly higher of the rocky Foel Ystrodur twins to the Afon Erwent. Yeah, potential visitors should note that the official bridleway is not much use here, heading eastward. Contrary to my expectations the cairn sits to the north of the fence line; however a helpful stile eases progress in this respect, so no matter the slight faux pas.

OK, the cairn isn't that large, doesn't show signs of a former cist (that I could determine, anyway), nor kerb. In fact not much at all… yet it is immediately apparent that this monument occupies a special place in the landscape. The mighty Arenig Fawr rises, unseen within a mass of opaque vapour, to the immediate north-east, the shapely Moel Llyfnant - to approx north-west - proving a little more obliging by periodically slipping its clammy raiment from the shoulder to reveal a prominent summit (the peak is incidentally well worth an ascent from Blaen Lliw). To the south Dduallt is visible (head for Pont Aber-Geirw and Cwm yr Allt Lwyd for this one), although no doubt The Arans would dominate the horizon in better weather? The silence is absolute, the vibe consequently superb .... so much so that a Citizen Cairn'd can readily absolve the map makers of the oversight, appreciate why the OS passed this one by. Well, c'mon - the local farmer(s) aside - who but a loon 'off-piste' hill bagger would have reason to venture forth upon this wild hillside? Who indeed?

I decide to return to the car in a circuitous manner, via the second of the cairns (at SH81943306) a little to the south-east of the rocky outcrop Bryn Cau. This is a smaller, more ragged affair set upon a saddle just above the road. In other circumstances I might have been inclined to cite it as 'clearance'.... but here, upon this lonely moor devoid of any loose surface stone? I think not! With a superb vista of the Lliw Valley there for the taking just a little to the east, it is abundantly clear that this cairn was specifically sited NOT to overlook the course of the Afon Lliw now flowing toward Llanuwchllyn.

To be fair I have noted other instances of such apparent constructional pedantry elsewhere in the Welsh uplands - e.g the pair of cairns upon the Nantlle Ridge's Y Garn immediately spring to mind - where the act of negating a field of vision has appeared (to me) a conscious decision requiring not a little effort. Perhaps suggestive of local inclusion at the expense of peripheral passers by? Conjecture, of course. But it is a worthwhile exercise to have ventured here to contemplate such things.
GLADMAN Posted by GLADMAN
2nd December 2018ce
Edited 4th December 2018ce

Loxidge Tump, Black Mountains (Cairn(s)) — Images

<b>Loxidge Tump, Black Mountains</b>Posted by thesweetcheat thesweetcheat Posted by thesweetcheat
2nd December 2018ce

Cwm Bwchel, Black Mountains (Round Cairn) — Images

<b>Cwm Bwchel, Black Mountains</b>Posted by thesweetcheat<b>Cwm Bwchel, Black Mountains</b>Posted by thesweetcheat<b>Cwm Bwchel, Black Mountains</b>Posted by thesweetcheat<b>Cwm Bwchel, Black Mountains</b>Posted by thesweetcheat<b>Cwm Bwchel, Black Mountains</b>Posted by thesweetcheat<b>Cwm Bwchel, Black Mountains</b>Posted by thesweetcheat thesweetcheat Posted by thesweetcheat
2nd December 2018ce

Graig-ddu, Black Mountains (Round Cairn) — Images

<b>Graig-ddu, Black Mountains</b>Posted by thesweetcheat<b>Graig-ddu, Black Mountains</b>Posted by thesweetcheat<b>Graig-ddu, Black Mountains</b>Posted by thesweetcheat<b>Graig-ddu, Black Mountains</b>Posted by thesweetcheat<b>Graig-ddu, Black Mountains</b>Posted by thesweetcheat<b>Graig-ddu, Black Mountains</b>Posted by thesweetcheat<b>Graig-ddu, Black Mountains</b>Posted by thesweetcheat thesweetcheat Posted by thesweetcheat
2nd December 2018ce

Goseck (Enclosure) — Links

Official website (in German and English)


Nucleus Posted by Nucleus
2nd December 2018ce

Goseck circle @ Wikipedia


The Goseck circle (German: Sonnenobservatorium Goseck) is a Neolithic structure in Goseck in the Burgenlandkreis district in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany.
Nucleus Posted by Nucleus
2nd December 2018ce

Garn Wen (Cairn(s)) — Images

<b>Garn Wen</b>Posted by thesweetcheat<b>Garn Wen</b>Posted by thesweetcheat<b>Garn Wen</b>Posted by thesweetcheat<b>Garn Wen</b>Posted by thesweetcheat<b>Garn Wen</b>Posted by thesweetcheat<b>Garn Wen</b>Posted by thesweetcheat<b>Garn Wen</b>Posted by thesweetcheat thesweetcheat Posted by thesweetcheat
2nd December 2018ce

Cwm Bwchel, Black Mountains (Round Cairn) — Miscellaneous

Slightly longer description of the cairn and cist from GGAT, hinting that there may be a deliberately incised V in one of the cist slabs:
The cairn described by OS workers (1975 & 1979) is a partially destroyed round barrow cist situated in open heathland. The mound is circular in form, the N area is almost level whilst the SE area is more substantial in height. It would appear that the N-NW-W of the mound has been robbed away leaving a slight curved earthwork around the cairn's former boundary. To the central S area of the cairn is an impressive cist (diameter; 2m x 1.2m x height; 0.65m) of two long parallel flagstone slabs aligned NE-SW, with smaller slabs (0.4m) defining each open end. There is a linear incision mark (0.16m long) on the inside of the S cist slab that does not appear natural; the incision is 'V' shaped and may have been caused by prehistoric stone rubbing. To the S of the cist is the only area of exposed boulders.
Dimensions: diameter 15.5m; height 1.4m (max)
thesweetcheat Posted by thesweetcheat
2nd December 2018ce

Wiltshire — News

Hoards ... exhibition at Salisbury Museum


https://salisburymuseum.org.uk/whats-on/exhibitions/hoards-hidden-history-ancient-britain

In partnership with the British Museum
Hoards: a Hidden History of Ancient Britain.
Salisbury Museum - until Jan 5th 2019

"In partnership with the British Museum, this exhibition traces the story of hoarding from Bronze Age weapons discovered in the river Thames and the first Iron Age coin hoards, through to hoards buried after the collapse of Roman rule in Britain and in more recent times. It will showcase recent discoveries of hoards reported by finders and archaeologists through the Treasure Act and brings together objects from the British Museum and Salisbury Museum, including the spectacular Ipswich Iron Age gold torcs and new prehistoric and Roman finds from Wessex."

Why have ancient people placed precious objects underwater or in the ground? Were they accidentally lost or stolen, discarded as worthless, saved for recycling, hidden for safekeeping, or offered up to the gods? The archaeological evidence may point to different explanations for the burial of these hoards. Come and find out what careful study of these finds has revealed about the past."

- Saw this today, definitely worth a trip to the historic city of Salisbury.

See British Museum link below for other dates and venues later in 2019, including Ulster Museum, Buxton Museum, IoW and Peterborough.
https://www.britishmuseum.org/about_us/tours_and_loans/uk_loans_and_tours/current_tours_and_loans/hoards.aspx
tjj Posted by tjj
29th November 2018ce

Twyn y Gaer Camp (Crucorney) (Hillfort) — Images

<b>Twyn y Gaer Camp (Crucorney)</b>Posted by thesweetcheat thesweetcheat Posted by thesweetcheat
27th November 2018ce

Hatterrall Hill (Promontory Fort) — Images

<b>Hatterrall Hill</b>Posted by thesweetcheat thesweetcheat Posted by thesweetcheat
27th November 2018ce

Clifton Down Camp (Hillfort) — Images

<b>Clifton Down Camp</b>Posted by thesweetcheat<b>Clifton Down Camp</b>Posted by thesweetcheat thesweetcheat Posted by thesweetcheat
25th November 2018ce
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