Solving the myriad mysteries of archipelago's sunken landscape
Why are there ten times as many ancient entrance graves on the Isles of Scilly as there are in the whole of the Cornish mainland and what treasures are still to be found in the waters around the archipelago?
These and a host of other puzzles will be under discussion as part of a six-year research programme looking into every aspect of ... continues...
We pitch'd upon a hill where there are many of these barrows, and, as the common story goes, giants were buried, with a design to search them; and on Wednesday, June the third, 1752, having hired some soldiers, proceeded to open them. [...]
In the afternoon it rained excessively hard, so that we could not proceed in our inquiries. The wind blew, and about mid-night it was the most violent storm, while it lasted, I ever knew.
You that are curious will think very innocently of our searching these repositories of the dead for the satisfaction of the living, but will you not be surprised if I tell you it appeared in a very different light to the poor people of Scilly? The story may make you smile.
Thursday morning [...] I met a person who soon began to talk about the weather, and to complain of the bitterness of the last night's hurricane, that it had almost ruined him and many of his neighbours, that their potatoes and corn were blasted, their grass burnt quite black, and their pease utterly destroyed. I little suspected what the man drove at, but believing him to be in distress, pitied and endeavoured to comfort him, then went [to a house where he was going to stay].
[On making polite conversation with the landlady] she told me that a few days before they were in hopes of a plentiful crop, paying their rent, and providing meat and clothes for themselves and children, but that the last night's storm was very outrageous; then asked me whether we had not been digging up the Giants' Graves the day before, and smiling with great good humour, as if she forgave our curiosity though she suffered for it, asked whether I did not think that we had disturbed the giants; and said that many good people of the islands were of opinion that the giants were offended, and had really raised that storm[...]
An extract from Borlase's 'Antiquities of Cornwall', that I found quoted in 'Rambles in Western Cornwall' by J O Halliwell-Phillipps (1861). He himself says, The appearance of the barrows which now remain gives the idea that most of them have been ransacked at some period, most likely in the hope of discovering treasure. The country people still believe that valuables are hidden under some of them, and one was recently destroyed clandestinely, in consequence of a man dreaming there was gold in it.
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Halangy Down (Ancient Village / Settlement / Misc. Earthwork) — Fieldnotes
You cant go to Bants Carn without having at least a quick look at the ancient village, with time all run out we had a whirlwind tour, stopping only to photograph the best bits. I can well see how someone could spend all day on this hillside, but we only have two minutes.
The stones used in some places are big ones, standing as tall as me, the houses are easily picked out from the many various stones, it mostly reminded of Chysauster.
But mostly it was just a very pretty place to be, like most of St Mary's.
I've fallen for Scilly a bit, can't tell though can you ?
Sadly this is the last of the trio of "show" sites that I've got time for today, and even sadder is that I've got the least time to spend at one of them. But, it was quite easy to tear myself away from this little beauty because a noisy family had set up camp for the day no more than twenty feet from the chamber. Strangely there would be no one at all at the Halangy down settlement down the hill.
But my ten minutes with the stones were very productive, that's not the right word, rather, this place is about three hundred miles from my house but I'd prefer to be here for just ten minutes than at home all day watching crap on TV. A very worthwhile ten minutes, I found the place to be very beautiful, the light on the water, the distant beaches, the pinky red heather, the green grass, of course grass is green, but right now, it's, just more. Even the gorse has shed it's new sweary name.
The burial chamber is now my new lost love, we had just ten minutes together, a brief encounter to be sure, but not on a stinky railway station but on a pretty sunlit island, a ten minute rendezvous that i'll always remember. She was beautiful, showing more naked stone than the other two sites I fancied, check out those capstones, you can see it all. Inside the tomb was light, airy and a cool place to be.
From outside the tomb looked like a spaceship to me, Cylon maybe, or the attack UFO's from Independence day.
But is she beautiful? can a burial chamber, which is after all, an arrangement of stones, be beautiful?
Naturally speaking, shouldn't only the opposite sex be beautiful, why rainbows, why a tiger, a diamond, a car, are they all linked, why do we find so many things to be lovely ?
Answers on a postcard to.........