The boneyard of the bizarre that rewrites our Celtic past to include hybrid-animal monster myths
Ancient Mediterranean cultures thought nothing of splicing different animals together to form fantastical mythical beasts, such as the half-lion, half-goat chimera or the half-lion, half-eagle griffin.
Until now, however, ancient Britons were not credited with such imagination... continues...
The south Dorset Ridgeway project was launched in Portesham village hall. The three year project aims to protect historic monuments affected by erosion over the last forty years. The cash comes from the heritage lottery fund.
An Iron Age boat found when Poole Harbour was dredged in the 1960s is nearly ready for display after extensive conservation work overseen by York Archaeological Trust. You can visit it when the Poole Museum reopens in June. From the Manchester Evening News website.
On our way back home to South Wales we made a quick stop-off to have a look at the Valley of Stones.
There is room for one car to park next to the sign post directing you to the valley. There is an information board giving an overview of the valley and how it was formed.
I was hoping to see a 'river of stones' flowing down the valley. I was hoping to use this to help explain to Dafydd and Sophie how the Ice Age helped shape the landscape etc. Unfortunately from our lofty perch we couldn't see any stones! No doubt had we had the time to have walked down the valley we would have seen plenty! However, I was still able to use the landscape to help aid my talk. At least Dafydd found it a bit interesting. Sophie was more interested in the four horses we had passed and was desperate to try to smooth them!
When visiting the Kingston Russel stone circle you simply must take the short detour off the bridleway to visit this ruined, but nevertheless impressive burial chamber.
Despite the cold wind myself and Dafydd spent a fair bit of time here looking over the stones. Needless to say we had the place to ourselves. I think you would be quite unlucky to find someone else here the same time as you.
To be honest I think this is a better preserved more interesting site than its more famous nearby stone circle. I note that it was nearly two years to the day since my last visit. A lot of water has passed under the bridge in that time! Although these sites are a bit out of the way (O/S map recommended) they are well worth the effort.
Whoo-hooo.......... Found it! How I managed to NOT find it on my last visit is now a bit of a mystery!
Park in the small lay-by just before the cattle grid leading to Gorwell Farm (room for two cars). All you then need to do is follow the signposted bridleway, remembering to go through the wooden gate in front of you as the graveled track bends round to the right. Stay on the bridleway (starts a bit rough but eventually flattens out) and it will take you straight to the stone circle. (In a signposted field on your right)
I am sooooo pleased to have finally got here. This has been something of a 'monkey on my back' for the last two years and something I have wanted to put right. The late afternoon weather had a very late autumn/early winter feel about it. Grey overcast clouds, with a cold, biting wind. It took me 25 minutes to walk from the car to the circle.
As for the stone circle itself, I counted 18 stones of various size and shape. I have no idea if these are 18 different stones or represent fragmented parts of fewer stones? In all honesty the circle itself isn't a 'classic' by any means but at least it is still with us and it does occupy a 'classic' stone circle location - a level area in a prominent position. If the nearby trees and hedges were removed there would be decent 360 degree over the surrounding countryside.
That's another English Heritage site ticked off the list - only 119 to go! It also feels good to get rid of that monkey................ :)
(SY58389109. Sited from auth 1 and OS 1000 1975)
The Sarsen Stone Survey (a) of 1974-5 prompted a search for the site of Hangman's Rocks, noted by both Aubrey and Hutchins, and shown on the 1765 Bedford Estate Map as 3 stones. A thorough search revealed one sarsen 3m long by 1m wide lying in a hedge bank, doubtless the remains of the Hangman's Rock group. (1)
[SY 57259149] MONOLITH [OE] (1) "Standing stone." (2) A rough block 6 1/2 ft high. 9 ft long and 2 1/2 ft wide. A standing stone (3) "Monolith" (4). (3-4) STANDING STONE [OE] (5) Scheluled Ancient Monument. (6)
This sarsen stands in a ploughed field. It is 2.2m high, 2.7m long at the base, and 0.5m thick. From the base it tapers to the top, assuming a triangular outline. The stone leans slightly to the S. There are no soil marks or indications of any other stone in the vicinity. (7)
(SY579912. Cursus sited from auth 1 and OS 1:10000 1975). A possible cursus has been recorded S.W of Kingston Farm. A sarsen stone 1.5m long, 0.85m wide and 0.35m thick was located in a chalk cut pit at SY57979118. Although it may be a natural stone removed during field clearence, its possible significance in relation to local prehistoric activity cannot be ruled out. (1) (illustration card 1, 'x')
Cropmarks of a possible cursus just southwest of the village of Kingston Russell. The feature appears on the north side of the A35 as a single ditch running parallel with the road before curving round towards and meeting the road. No cropmarks have yet been noted south of the road. Neither have any yet been observed east of the the road from Kingston Russell to the A35. However, the line of the possible cursus west of the Kingston Russel road is continued by the line of the pre-turnpike road, as marked on 1765 estate maps. This road was replaced circa 1776 by the new, turnpike, road immediately to the south on the line of the A35. A machine-cut section through the line of the cropmark found no trace of a ditch, which would appear to strengthen the possibility that the cropmark feature is not a cursus, although this leaves the terminal-like curve at the northwestern end to be explained. Another small trench excavated near the one noted above, but this time wholly "inside" the suggested cursus found a pit containing a large sarsen. Burial of an obstruction to cultivation appears the most likely explanation, although the proximity of a range of definite and possible prehistoric monuments appears to have given the sarsen greater significance than it might otherwise have attracted (see for example the standing stone SY 59 SE 30; the possible stone circle SY 59 SE 70; sarsens at SY 59 SE 87; as well as the various bank barrows and other cursus (see associated monuments). (1-2)
(centred SY 57818776) Stones (NAT) (Three shown). (1) There is no apparent archaeological significance in these stones. The only surviving conglomerate is the most westerly one, a sarsen 1.2m long, 0.7m wide and 0.3m thick. It is just possible that the stone had some connection with the stone circle to the NW but this seems doubtful. (2) Like the stones of the circle, the remaining stone is prostrate. It is too far from the hedge to be the result of field clearing. (3)
Two stones of a similar kind to those comprising Kingston Russell Stone Circle (SY 58 NE 6) "from whence they seem to have been displaced", lie by the side of an adjoining fence. (4)