Despite doing a degree in History, my niece, Danielle, had never visited a prehistoric site before – I was about to put that right!
An obvious, nice and easy, post Christmas site to choose was the famous Tinkinswood burial chamber.
I was keen to re-visit this site following the excavation work carried out in October.
I brought along a spare pair of wellies which was just as well as the area near the kissing gate was not much more that a quagmire. Things improved as we approached the Long Barrow although, as ever, the inside was under water.
One thing I did notice (which I don't remember from previous visits) was the number of ribbons tied to a nearby tree. 'Offering's no doubt.
In my non-expert sort of way I explained to Danielle all about Long Barrows, how they were constructed, when built, what would have been placed inside and why it looks the way it does now etc. She was most impressed – not by me no doubt but the site itself! 'That's amazing' was a phrase she often repeated!
The bushes, brambles etc had all been cut back from around the tomb and viewing the site was even easier than before.
On one side of the Long Barrow appears to be an excavated side chamber but I can find no reference to this is the site report. Perhaps it is not a side chamber but something else? It certainly looks like a side chamber!
On my last visit I mentioned the large stones I had spotted in the trees/bushes near the burial chamber. I am pleased to see that this area has now been investigated with the following conclusion (it is referred to as the 'quarry site'):
'The test pits in the possible quarry have produced no evidence at all that slabs were cut from the outcrop to make the capstone for Tinkinswood chambered cairn.'
The pile of stones near the 'quarry site' which does indeed look like a fallen cromlech has been proven to be just field clearance. The team report 'The pile of stones and large slabs sit on top of a layer of soil that lies directly over a bedrock outcrop. We found a piece of metal that looks like it originated from a tractor below one of the larger stones. We now think that the stones were cleared from the local field, by machine, sometime in the 19th C'.
The team exploring the site should be congratulated for not only clearing scrub from around Tinkinswood and confirming the position regarding the other possible sites but for also enabling much easier access to the 'quarry site' and 'fallen cromlech'. The bushes/trees have been removed, a new wooden stile built and a fence surrounding the site constructed. All in all a top job which allows the visitor to appreciate this site even more.
Posted by CARL
3rd January 2012ce