The Modern Antiquarian. Stone Circles, Ancient Sites, Neolithic Monuments, Ancient Monuments, Prehistoric Sites, Megalithic MysteriesThe Modern Antiquarian

Long Meg & Her Daughters

Stone Circle


I’d only planned a quick visit to Long Meg this time but ended up staying far too long. The circle is a real grower and every visit seems to turn up something I haven’t noticed before, perhaps it’s the way that it’s difficult to see the whole circle at any one time, the gentle slope and the trees near to the track always seem to obscure some of the stones. The small size of the field makes trying to get a wider perspective of the site impossible too. Two things struck me this time, the first was the sheer size of some of the stones, they seems much larger than I’d remembered them. The other thing was that Long Meg is offset from the entrance stones, again I’d not really noticed that before. Burl suggests the stone was here before the circle based on the fact that the flat face with the carvings is 20 degrees off from the perpendicular of the axis through the centre of the circle. My own feeling, not based on any evidence, is that it may be the other way round, the circle was already here when an existing expanse of carvings were quarried out of bedrock (or even a boulder like Copt Howe) and brought to the site as Long Meg, some of the carving seem to run off the edge of the stone and the whole design looks like it should be rotated 90 degrees. The carvings themselves which are on just one side seem to be arranged in 3 groups. Those at the bottom consist of a spiral, an unfinished spiral or set of rings and above that a semi-circle of rings. The middle section is clearer and has a prominent set of concentric circles and a spiral below and to the right as well as some other fainter rings and grooves. The mid-upper section is faint but has a spiral and worn or shallow rings – there are also quite a few straight and curved grooves that may form an unrecognised design but natural marks over the whole of the surface add to the confusion. There don’t appear to be any marks on the top section of the rock.
Stan Beckensall mentions other marks on some of the stones in the circle but he’s not quite clear where they are. He talks about stones to the west of the road and as the road passes through both sides of the circle this could be either side. From his illustrations I think he means the side closest to the farmhouse with the marked stones being numbers 5, 6 and 7 counting west from the road, I can’t be sure as I couldn’t see any definite marks on any of them.
Chris Collyer Posted by Chris Collyer
21st August 2003ce
Edited 21st August 2003ce

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