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

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Cold Kitchen Hill (Long Barrow) — Fieldnotes

Visited this substantial long barrow in deep Wiltshire near Warminster today. Almost at the top of Cold Kitchen Hill but not quite. Situated just below the brow of the hill - can be seen clearly on the walk up but not from the highest point of the hill. I think there have been discussions in the past on why it seems Neolithic people chose this position rather than the summit of the hill. Visuals perhaps.
A great walk from Longbridge Deverill (traveled by train to Westbury where met by walk friend) then along the ridge to Bidcombe Wood which was full of bluebells and wild garlic. All pretty wonderful.
Not posting a photo of long barrow as can't add anything to Gladman's marvelous sky/cloud photos.

Wiltshire — News

Weird Wiltshire Exhibition - featuring Julian Cope at Avebury


An art exhibition at the Richard Jefferies Museum, Marlborough Road, Swindon SN3 6AA features a portrait of Julian Cope by the Avebury Stones - artist as yet unknown.

Exhibition is called 'Weird Wiltshire' - celebrating the "myth, magic and mystery of Wiltshire" in art form.
http://swindonopenstudios.blogspot.co.uk/2017/04/weird-wiltshire-exhibition.html?spref=fb

From 1st - 29th April. Entry Free.
Opening times vary so, if planning a visit please call 01793-466571 or see web-site:
http://richardjefferiessociety.co.uk/RJmuseum.html

Sarsen Trail and Neolithic Marathon 2017 - cancelled


Wiltshire Wildlife Trust have made the following announcement:

"It is with much regret that we must cancel the 2017 Sarsen Trail and Neolithic Marathon.

Unfortunately there is now going to be a major military exercise on Salisbury Plain with live firing. As a result we will be unable to access the Plain or Old Carter Barracks at Bulford (the finish) on 30th April, the planned date of our Sarsen Trail and Neolithic Marathon.
We have overcome many challenges in the 29 years of running this event but after looking at alternatives including changing the date and route, none of these options are viable.

To find out more information, how to claim a refund or how to donate your entry fee please call 01380 829084."

Avebury (Stone Circle) — News

Changes to Sunday bus service to Avebury


As helpfully pointed out by thesweetcheat on TMA Forum, there have been some seemingly sudden changes to the 49 bus service from Swindon Bus Station to Avebury.

Anyone planning a bus trip to Avebury from Sunday 2nd April 2017, they now only run every two hours. Here are the times:
From Swindon Bus Station: 08.15, 10.15, 12.15, 14.15, 16.15, 18.15
Return from Avebury: 09.34, 11.34, 13.34, 15.34, 17.34, 19.34 (leaving Devizes at 11 minutes past the hour - every two hours).

Staffordshire — News

Detectorists strike gold in Staffordshire field


https://www.theguardian.com/science/2017/feb/28/detectorists-strike-iron-age-gold-staffordshire-field

"Two metal detecting friends have found a hoard of superb Iron Age gold jewellery after returning to a Staffordshire field where they previously found nothing and became so bored that they gave up the hobby and turned to fishing for 20 years.
The four Iron Age gold torcs – three collars and a bracelet-sized piece, including two made of twisted gold wire, two with trumpet shaped finials and one with beautiful Celtic ornament – are of international importance.
The pieces were made in present-day Germany or France, possibly in the third or fourth century BC and, according to Julia Farley of the British Museum, are some of the oldest examples of Iron Age gold, and of Celtic ornament, ever found in Britain. They could have arrived through trade or on the neck and arms of an extremely wealthy immigrant ...."

Marlborough Mound (Artificial Mound) — Links

New film about Marlborough Mound


This new 35-minute documentary explores the past, present and future of the Marlborough Mound. This film uncovers the history of the Mound, explaining its legacy to those unaware of its profound importance, and to those curious about the unknown.

Berkshire — Links

IA gold coins and staters in West Berkshire Museum


A hoard of Iron Age coins from Sulhamstead dating back more than 2,000 years has been acquired by West Berkshire Museum.
The Sulhamstead hoard comprises eight gold coins – seven gold staters and one quarter stater – from the late Iron Age.
Staters were used by the Celtic tribes throughout the Iron Age, such as the Atrebates who inhabited Berkshire, Hampshire and West Sussex.
Indeed, the quarter stater is a rare coin particular to East Wiltshire and Berkshire.
The hoard was unearthed by a metal detectorist from Great Shefford between 2013 and 2015 and a coroner later ruled that the coins were treasure.

West Berkshire Museum


Holds the Crow Down Hoard found in Lambourn near the Ridgeway consisting of five gold objects - possibly arm adornments. And the Yattendon Hoard consisting of 58 bronze objects - not all on display.

Yattendon Hoard


The Yattendon Hoard consists of 58 bronze objects - some of which are available to see in West Berkshire Museum, Newbury.

The Ridgeway (Ancient Trackway) — Links

The Crow Down Hoard


Can be seen in the West Berkshire Museum, Newbury

The Ridgeway (Ancient Trackway) — Miscellaneous

The Crow Down hoard consists of five gold items designed for personal adornment. Three of these are plain undecorated bracelets and two are more elaborately designed armlets. They date to the Bronze Age, around 1200 BC and they are the only prehistoric gold items found in Berkshire.

The more elaborate items demonstrate the skill of craftsmen at this time.
Found in Lambourn during a metal-detecting rally, the hoard was declared Treasure in 2005 and acquired by West Berkshire Museum with grant aid.

Objects of high status, including gold items of this type, would have been highly sought after. Their distribution shows trade links across northern Europe. Whilst it is not clear where these objects were made, the gold was probably sourced from Ireland.
Not far from the find spot is the Ridgeway, now recognised as a strategic route from prehistoric times onwards.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/ahistoryoftheworld/objects/PbAFHidgQVG6pLI8bcU95w

Avebury & the Marlborough Downs (Region) — Miscellaneous

A small tribute to the 49 bus between Swindon- Avebury-Devizes.

The 49 bus route from Swindon to Devizes via Avebury is my favourite bus journey. For quite a few years I only really went as far as Avebury, having joined the now defunct internet forum set up to discuss all aspects of Avebury. A disparate collection of people though we were, we often arranged ‘meets’ at Avebury, immersing ourselves in the WHS landscape. All good things come to an end and the Avebury Forum eventually folded but even now there is nothing better on a breezy day than a walk along the Avenue to Waden Hill - climbing up to see Silbury against the cloudscape of the day.
These days life has moved on and I now have a regular commitment in Devizes so make the return journey at least once a week, always sitting upstairs. When the bus climbs the hill out of Wroughton just south of Swindon, the landscape opens out into downland; on we go past the Hackpen White Horse at Broad Hinton. Sheep grazing, a buzzard or two sitting motionless in a ploughed field, very occasionally lapwings or fieldfares. Sometimes the downs are covered in layers of mist which is always beautiful to see. Then through Avebury, always people wandering about regardless of the weather – always a different view, depending on which side of the bus I sit. On past Silbury sitting enigmatic as always in the landscape, past the Adam and Eve stones and the Beckhampton long barrow. Then a long stretch of straight road between Beckhampton and Bishop Cannings. Bronze Age round barrows strung out at various points on either side of the road (a couple in the garden of a farmhouse). I believe there is also a long barrow out there somewhere though I’ve never been able to identify it. Travelling upstairs on the 49 bus is a great way to see a truly unique archaeological landscape and to see the way modern day farming practices intersect with it.

http://www.swindonbus.info/tts/049.htm

Must Farm Logboats — News

National BA Museum proposed for Peterborough


"A number of organisations, including Peterborough City Council, Vivacity, the British Museum and The University of Cambridge, are in discussions about how best to display the discoveries found at Must Farm and Flag Fen.
Last January the world’s media was amazed by the archeological dig at Must Farm, near Whittlesey, which saw ancient round houses preserved in the clay. The discovery has been described as ‘the Pompei of the Fens’ because of the way the finds had been preserved, and what they told archeologists about life in the Fens 3,000 years ago. Wooden roundhouses, which were destroyed by a fire thousands of years ago, where uncovered, as were tools, bones and even pots still containing food. Journalists and historians from across the world descended on the Must Farm Quarry to see the operation to recover the finds. A report looking at the possibility of creating a National Bronze Age museum for the city had been prepared in 2014, with the discoveries at Flag Fen being at the heart of the plans - but now the report is being looked at again, to take into account the new discoveries. "

Read more at: http://www.peterboroughtoday.co.uk/news/national-bronze-age-museum-could-be-built-in-city-1-7794984

Papa Westray — Folklore

Like other wells and springs in Orkney, it is likely that the traditions surrounding St Tredwell’s Loch had their roots in pagan custom – practices that were christianised when the site was taken over by the church.
Archaeological evidence shows that the chapel was built on top of a mound containing a complex of prehistoric buildings that may include an Iron Age broch and earth-house.
We know the significance of bodies of water to the prehistoric people of Orkney, so it seems likely that the original figure of veneration was a pagan goddess, or spirit, possibly associated with fertility or healing.
The long-established customs surrounding the loch and the island within were subsequently absorbed by the church, who then adapted to incorporate the figure of St Tredwell as the popularity of her cult grew and reached Orkney towards the end of the 12th century..
There is one strange snippet of folklore surrounding the loch that is particularly intriguing. It was said that the loch’s waters would turn blood red as a presage to a “disaster” befalling the “Royal family”.

There are numerous similar examples of “prophetic” wells throughout Scotland – with some turning to blood, others rising or simply making noises to signify a forthcoming event.

Regarding St Tredwell’s Loch, the significance of the “Royal family”, however, has been lost. But Rev Brand had no doubts:

“As for this Loch’s appearing like Blood, before any disasture befal the Royal Family, as some do report, we could find no ground to believe any such thing.”

http://www.orkneyjar.com/tradition/sacredwater/tredwell.htm

Orkney — Links

St Tredwell's Loch, Papay


Holm of Papa Westray (Chambered Tomb) — Miscellaneous

This passage taken from Amy Liptrot’s book The Outrun – is an account of her trip to the Holm of Papay with the farmer who is delivering a ram over to his sheep on the Holm. Amy herself was spending winter on Papay.

“There are no signs that the Holm has ever been inhabited yet it is where the ancient people brought their dead. There are three chambered tombs, the biggest of which, the South Cairn, well excavated and maintained, is now looked after by Historic Scotland. Due to its inaccessibility, it is Historic Scotland’s least visited site.
I see the cairn every day from Rose cottage and it is strange now to be standing on top of it, the low sun casting my shadow over the island. I lift a metal hatch and descend a ladder into the mound. I use the torch left for visitors to crawl through the long passageway and look into the ten small cells or enclosures leading off. There are carvings of what look like eyebrows on the stone similar to the ‘eyes’ of the Westray Wife.
A friend tells me that the cairn is - like the tomb of Maeshowe on the Orkney Mainland - aligned with the midwinter sun. At Maeshowe, on the solstice and a few days on either side, on the rare cloudless days at that time of year, the setting sun will shine directly down the entrance corridor. Webcams are set up there and one midwinter afternoon I watch over the internet as the golden light hits the end wall.
I had a reckless idea to get farmer Neil or fisherman Douglas to take me out to the Holm one day around midwinter and leave me overnight - for both sunset and sunrise - so I could investigate and find out if there is any sun alignment. I thought I was brave and had no superstitions to stop me spending a night in the tomb but now, after just a few minutes down there, I want to get out: it is cold, damp, dark and scary. There is no way I’m going to spend a night there.”

Stonehenge and its Environs — News

Salisbury by-pass considered as an alternative to tunnel


http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-wiltshire-35322444

Amesbury Museum and Heritage Trust posted the above news link on FB this morning with the following statement:

"Two years ago today, the government lost its credibility here when, in a moment of pre election spin it pledged that a tunnel should be ploughed through the Stonehenge landscape so that public can no longer slow traffic down to see them, so that people in the West Country will vote for them and reap huge! benefits from saving 30 mins traffic delays on a Friday afternoon, Saturday morning and Bank holidays and so that over the coming century arguably one of the most significant Mesolithic, Neolithic and Bronze Age landscape in Europe if not the World will be desecrated and our past consigned to the past. Once a concrete structure replaces a cubic kilometre of chalk there is no return, the chalk lands and natural aquifers will be altered, water flows will change and unless maintained for perpetuity, once the tunnel comes to the end of its 125yr life design, it will become the biggest man made headache for future generations to deal with. If by some pure act of vandalism the Government manage to continue to deliver this outrageous ill conceived scheme, they and those who support it will be named, published and go down in history as the vandals who destroyed Stonehenge and Britain's heritage.
The Trust will continue to support a southern bypass reroute that provides a sustainable long term solution for South Wiltshire, the living, as well as the dead. This alternative solution would do what the tunnel won't do and open up fully the Stonehenge Landscape without destroying it. We hope when a public consultation is eventually launched, common sense prevails and credibility is restored."

Iona — News

Prehistoric village found on Iona


It was a centre of Gaelic monasticism for four centuries and the home of St Columba. But now the site of what is believed to be a prehistoric village has been found on the island of Iona. The “exciting” discovery is close to the site of the isle’s primary school.
Pottery, flints and other prehistoric materials found during the archaeological dig could take its history back more than 2,500 years.
The items unearthed, and believed to be five times older than the settlement of St Columba’s time in 563 AD, were made during excavation works for the building of an extension to the island’s primary school.
The island is best known for its monastery founded by the monk Columba, also known as Colm Cille, who had been exiled from his native Ireland as a result of his involvement in the Battle of Cul Dreimhne. But now a new find on the holy island has excited archaeologists from across Scotland and throughout the world.
An archaeological team have discovered two different periods of building on top of the original village mound of more than 1,000 years, and a previously unknown extension to the medieval vallum, or wall, has all been found in a shallow ditch next to the school.
The extent of the wall may rewrite experts’ understanding of the way in which the community on the island in 600 and 700 AD worked together.
The archaeological work has been carried out by Dr Clare Ellis of Argyll Archaeology Ltd.
She said: ‘It seems very likely that the turf bank and ditch are early medieval in date, perhaps 7th or 8th century, and may represent the remains of an unknown monastic boundary, while the underlying soils appear likely to date from the late Bronze Age or Iron Age.
‘What is most exciting to me is that the lines of the property that exist now are very similar to the property lines that existed more than 2,000 years ago.”

https://www.pressandjournal.co.uk/fp/news/highlands/1002459/prehistoric-village-found-on-iona/

Malin More (Portal Tomb) — Images (click to view fullsize)

<b>Malin More</b>Posted by tjj

Uffington Castle (Hillfort) — Fieldnotes

Today (after the nation's collective bad weekend) I had the opportunity to walk up White Horse Hill at Uffington. Probably my favourite place, the place that represents home to me. The moment my feet start to walk up, peace descends and the turmoil of our current political situation fades, not into insignificance but certainly into proportion. This is my England, ancient and symbolic. A profusion of orchids and wild thyme growing on the banks of the hillfort. Sat on a wooden bench up there to have a snack, listening to the skylarks, watching red kite soar up from below and rise high into the thermals, in the distance the London train speeds by - looking almost toy-like from this height . The white horse is currently being re-chalked but paid my usual respects anyway. Then for a walk along the Ridgeway, more wild orchids. Didn't go as far as Wayland's Smithy today, just wanted to see, touch and hear my little bit of old England again. Feeling a better for it - for now anyway.

Uffington Castle (Hillfort) — Images

<b>Uffington Castle</b>Posted by tjj

Stonehenge (Stone Circle) — Images

<b>Stonehenge</b>Posted by tjj

Wiltshire — News

Wiltshire's Story in a 100 Objects - Wiltshire Museum, Devizes


http://www.wiltshiremuseum.org.uk/news/index.php?Action=8&id=174&page=0

I visited this exhibition in Devizes Museum yesterday - it wasn't an exhibition in the regular sense as, although the items were numbered, they were interspersed among the museum's excellent permanent collection. There were some surprises - a bowl from West Kennet Long Barrow, the Roundway Down Archer (neither of which I had seen before).

It seems to be a county wide project so worth checking the other museums too.

Kilbeg (Court Tomb) — Fieldnotes

My final stony entry from my memorable holiday in Donegal. This is thanks to my map reading, tomb hunting companion for the week. After visiting the Muckros peninsula, we found a rather breath taking megalithic tomb at Kilbeg on top of hill overlooking Teelin Bay and the Slieve League mountains. We had to climb over a fence and up a hill to see it - I must admit to being a little reticent but friend went up the hill first before urging me to follow. I did and it was so worth the climb to the top of the hill - siting a tomb in such a place of wild beauty makes so much sense when you are actually there. The tomb is basically what we would describe as ruined but still very recognisable as a court tomb.

Nearest town Kilcar, Map ref: OSI (Ireland) Discovery Series, No. 10, grid ref: 598755. This series of maps has all the megalithic tombs and other ancient monuments shown on it so an 'essential'.

Kilbeg (Court Tomb) — Images

<b>Kilbeg</b>Posted by tjj<b>Kilbeg</b>Posted by tjj<b>Kilbeg</b>Posted by tjj

Croaghbeg (Court Tomb) — Images

<b>Croaghbeg</b>Posted by tjj

Croaghbeg (Court Tomb) — Fieldnotes

Visit to what we thought Shalwy Court Tomb 23rd May 2016. Having read Gladman's field notes and studied the existing photos I think we may have found Croaghbeg so am transferring my original field notes from Shalwy to Croaghbeg. Both close to each other and both very difficult to access.

Tuesday dawned warm and sunny and in the morning we set off to find Shalwy /Croaghbeg Court Tomb (east of Kilcar: our ref - OSI 648753).
Using OSI map (my friend is pretty good at this) we parked car in layby on the main road out of Kilcar and walked down a steep single track road, turning right at the bottom. We then walked about a mile along a straight(ish) narrow road to the next right turn back uphill – the walk overlooked the sea which was sparkling that morning, early foxgloves had started to appear, a peat stream fell down the hillside and appeared from under the road on the other side to tumble down the rocks to the sea. Quite a few houses along this road, all well spaced out and beautifully maintained, some unoccupied, probably holiday homes. In fact we asked a woman who was painting her garden bench for directions and it was she who directed us back uphill to the spot where we could a large, newly built grey house on the side of the hill.
Walking back uphill again, we passed a well at the side of the overgrown track – this beautiful wild hillside now has individual houses appearing (something we noticed around Kilcar too) and we finally spotted the rather splendid court tomb - with a four stone chamber standing separately in the court area - at the bottom of the hill behind the houses we had walked past earlier and immediately below the new grey house, which didn’t appear to have anyone living in it (another holiday home perhaps). The court tomb was surrounded by nettles and brambles, the climb down very steep. My intrepid friend was up for it but I wasn’t – mindful of the fact there is often no mobile phone signal in Donegal (and there wasn’t here) I felt it wasn’t worth the risk of turning an ankle or otherwise injuring self so settled for taking a photo with my zoom. Yes, I admit to being a wimp but this wimp went on to have lunch in Killybegs before spending the afternoon exploring a narrow unspoilt peninsular known as St. John’s Head – which has a lighthouse at the end and a coral beach.

Malin More (Portal Tomb) — Images

<b>Malin More</b>Posted by tjj<b>Malin More</b>Posted by tjj<b>Malin More</b>Posted by tjj<b>Malin More</b>Posted by tjj<b>Malin More</b>Posted by tjj

Malin More (Portal Tomb) — Fieldnotes

We visited these on our second visit to Glencolmcille, after going back to Cloghanmore (and last full day of the wonderful week in Donegal) . Our first attempt had been unsuccessful as we weren’t able to find them. This time we asked in the visitors centre/gift shop and were given a little hand drawn map. Leaving Glencolmcille on the road to Malinbeg just over a bridge we turned right up a narrow road to some farms (a house on this turning had a rather impressive garden ornament in the shape of a small portal tomb). The six great portal tombs were not in such good condition – they span two narrow fields both of which had farm animals in them. The three in the first field had three nursing cows with their off-spring standing close by. The cows became agitated by our presence at the gate so we decided to not go in the field. All three of these enormous tombs were unrestored and partially fallen. The other three tombs were in a similar state although the largest one was partially restored with some supporting stonework – also partly in the garden of a nearby house. The second field had a ram and ewe standing guard – again we erred on the side of caution and didn’t enter the field.

This short passage is taken from “Gleancholmcille – A guide to 5000 years of history in stone” by Michael Herity:

“ … towards 2000BC, Gleancholmcille was lived in by a later group of stone age farms with a rather different style of tomb building. Their monuments are portal tombs. This type is well represented near Gleancholmcille – on the north side of the valley behind the school and again across the valley to the of Cloghanmore. At the west end of Malin More valley, six portal tombs arranged in a line are part of one huge, unusual monument, probably 90m long originally”

Edit: Have belatedly posted a photo of a beautiful white quartz stone which incorporated into the field wall by the Malin More tombs. Given the tombs are in a ruinous state I do wonder if this stone was taken from one of them?

Drumskinney (Stone Circle) — Fieldnotes

I had seen the sign for Drumskinny Stone Circle on the journey towards Donegal and made a mental note to try and visit on the way back as just over the border with Northern Ireland in County Fermanagh off the main road between Donegal Town and the village of Kesh. The monument consists of a stone circle, cairn and stone alignment and comes as something as a surprise as it seems to be in miniature. The peat bog has also been removed around the monument replaced by gravel. There is an information board by the gate into the site which verifies it authenticity - I've recorded it below as some will find the measurements a little odd. Could this be a place of 'the little people' I wonder :)

"Management History: Drumskinny Stone Circle first came under public management in 1934 when it was taken under the charge of the Ministry of Finance (MOF). Lying in shallow upland bog, poor drainage had caused recurring water-logging of the site. This was detrimental to the presentation of the monuments and inhibited inspection by visitors. In 1962 measures to improve the site’s amenities were implemented by the Ancient Monuments Branch of the MOF and involved the removal of peat down to the natural boulder clay and the laying of stone chippings in the area of the monument. As no previous examination of the monument had taken place, these works allowed for an archaeological excavation under the supervision of D.M. Waterman.

The Monuments: The archaeological monument at this site consists of a stone circle, a cairn, and alignment. The stone circle, although not geometrically accurate, maintains a fairly consistent diameter of 13.1m and includes three apparent gaps. Waterman’s excavation discovered 31 standing stones, an additional fallen stone lying adjacent to its socket and the former presence of seven more uprights (indicated by stone socket holes), suggesting an original minimum of 39 stones around the circumference. The stones vary in size and shape with the shortest only 38cm above ground level, while the tallest rises to almost 1.8m.
The circular cairn, lying one metre north-west of the stone circle, is carefully constructed of boulders and slabby stones. It has a regular diameter of 4 metres, and stands approximately 30cm in height at the edges, rising to 45 cm in the centre of the cairn. During excavation, no trace of burial or any other form of deposit was revealed.
The alignment directed towards the centre of the cairn consists of small stone uprights and extends to a distance of 15m towards the south. Of the original estimated 24 stones only 16 remained at the time of Waterman’s excavation. The highest stone still standing rises to 48 cm.

The Finds: during excavation, a small number of artefacts were discovered. A small piece of probable Neolithic potter was found in clay at the east of the stone circle. A hollow scraper was found under stone spread at the north-west side of the cairn. Six further flints were found in the area of the cairn, two them burnt."

Note: After our visit, on the drive back to the main road we noticed three large standing stones in a field opposite a small white church, not far from Drumskinny. Didn't have time to investigate as had to get down to Dublin. I'd very much like to know any information about these stones.

Drumskinney (Stone Circle) — Images

<b>Drumskinney</b>Posted by tjj<b>Drumskinney</b>Posted by tjj<b>Drumskinney</b>Posted by tjj<b>Drumskinney</b>Posted by tjj

Farranmacbride (Court Tomb) — Fieldnotes

This site was a complete surprise and ultimately far more satisfying to visit than the easy to find and well preserved Cloghanmore. Firstly, we weren't really aware of it except it was listed in Michael Herity's little book 'Gleancholmcille - A guide to 5000 years of history in stone' as one of the stations of the turas - number 9 in fact. His book was first published in 1998 (reprinted 2005) so some things may have changed. We had gone to Glencholmcille on the first full day of our week which happened to be a Sunday. Wandering around in the sunshine, partly to dry off from an early soaking while visiting Cloghanmore we noticed a large number of young people walking from turas to turas. We walked to a few of them out of curiosity as much as anything - gradually soaking in the ancient atmosphere of the place. Turas number 9 was an unremarkable mound of stones with a cross-pillar but no sign of a more ancient monument.

Just as we were about to leave Glencholmcille, my friend drove back to 'station 9', then while driving slowly uphill along a narrow road I spotted something in a field that looked like a portal tomb. We left the car and walked back downhill, really just following our feet and came to a narrow gate into a field. Still following our feet we walked uphill to another gate into a stone walled enclosure. Here were two what looked like very fine portal tombs - now for the surprise. Next to this stone walled enclosure was another enclosure with a separate gate - here, completely out of sight to the casual observer, was an unreconstructed court tomb facing towards the two portal tombs. The front court still very much intact. All facing down from their hillside towards the rocky hills surrounding Glencolmcille.
This must have been where it all started in this area, with early Christians following in the footsteps of people far more ancient. I was moved in way that just didn't happen at Cloghanmore - here, amid all the early Christian cross slabs and history was something far, far older.
The atmosphere at this site was wonderful, it felt as though the day, which had got off to an inauspicious start, had suddenly given us a gift. I really didn't want to leave.

Farranmacbride (Court Tomb) — Images

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Cloghanmore (Court Tomb) — Fieldnotes

Visited Cloghanmore Court Tomb on the first day of my week in Donegal. The sky opened and we experienced that Donegal phenomenon 'four seasons in one day' just as we reached the tomb. We stayed quite a while though in truth were preoccupied with trying to get some shelter from the torrential shower. My friend had left car in the carpark at the Gleancholmcille Woollen Mill about 100 metres from Cloghanmore's own small car park but eventually decided to go ad get it while I waited huddled by one of the chambers. It felt a bit eerie standing alone in the rain in what is probably Donegal's largest court tomb.
Paid a return visit on the Friday, this time it was warm and sunny. There were a couple of people already there so I went and sat on some higher ground slightly above the tomb until they had finished taking photos etc. This turned out to be a useful thing as this very large court tomb probably seen better in its entirety from above.

See Gladman's excellent fieldnote for a full description of the tomb.

Cloghanmore (Court Tomb) — Images

<b>Cloghanmore</b>Posted by tjj<b>Cloghanmore</b>Posted by tjj

Beltany (Stone Circle) — Images

<b>Beltany</b>Posted by tjj
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Passionate about:
Nature; stone circles and all ancient sites that involve walking through unspoilt countryside/being near the sea; islands around the the British Isles, especially those with ancient monuments.

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