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

Pool Farm Cist

Cup and Ring Marks / Rock Art


I was delighted to find out that it was my favourite, LV Grinsell, together with a CS Taylor, who discovered the carvings on the cist slab. They spotted them in 1956, and the slab was immediately transferred to Bristol Museum.

Although I previously thought this was a bit awful, it's probably been the best place for it considering the history of the site.

The mound was one of maybe hundreds that used to be clustered on the north heights of the Mendip ridge. It had just been made a Scheduled Monument in 1927 when the farmer on whose land it was requested permission to remove it. 'It interfered with his farming' apparently. As you'd expect (?), permission was duly given as long as it could be excavated first. The original excavator found 53 stones laid 'crazy paving' style in the centre of the cist, but missed the carvings completely. In 1931 Clutton District Council removed the bulk of the earth for use in road widening.

The cist itself was left in situ, unprotected from the weather. Grinsell and Taylor noticed the carvings on the inside of the SW slab (some were below floor level). The slab itself is very rough shelly-fossilled stone which has been ground down. One corner looks like it's been reground. There are many cupmarks in addition to the carved feet shapes. You can divide the feet into large and small sizes - and then maybe it's tempting to romantically link these with the cremated remains that were found in the cist - of two people, one a 30-40 year old adult and the other a 3-8 year old child. The bones were dated to 1920-1735BC.

(info from 'A Bronze Age Decorated Cist from Pool Farm, West Harptree: new analyses' - Coles, Gestsdottir, Minnitt. Som. Arch Nat Hist 2000 v144)
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
11th February 2004ce
Edited 11th February 2004ce

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