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

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Wiltshire — News

Long Barrow business rates for storage

You couldn't really make this up.

Clach Ossian (Natural Rock Feature) — Images (click to view fullsize)

<b>Clach Ossian</b>Posted by Howburn Digger

Newlaw Hill 1 (Cup and Ring Marks / Rock Art) — Images

<b>Newlaw Hill 1</b>Posted by Howburn Digger<b>Newlaw Hill 1</b>Posted by Howburn Digger

High Banks (Cup and Ring Marks / Rock Art) — Images

<b>High Banks</b>Posted by Howburn Digger<b>High Banks</b>Posted by Howburn Digger<b>High Banks</b>Posted by Howburn Digger<b>High Banks</b>Posted by Howburn Digger

Raeburnfoot (Bank Barrow) — Fieldnotes

A return visit to this huge, long structure bedded into its peaty hillside on a massive area of reedy marshy upland unimproved hill grazing.
I found some notes from my last visit which I am reproducing below.
Although three months earlier in the season than my last visit in December 2013, I was hardly five minutes from the car when a squall of freezing September rain came down in sheets utterly soaking me. The bitter rain had elements of hail and was driven by a chill wind. Be prepared. Eskdalemuir can be bleak even in September. By the time I summited the terminus cairn on the bank barrow it was sunny again. My lovely camera refused to work or even switch on despite the batteries being fully charged. I took some pitiful pictures with a steam-powered mobile which do not do the site justice. Another visit beckons... low Winter sun methinks.
The monument is long (currently estimated at 650 metres) and the terminus cairn is around 5 feet high. You cannot see the bottom from the top! Even walking down to where the North East rampart of the Roman Camp cuts across... the lower end of the bank barrow is nowhere to be seen. The scale starts to kinda sink in.
Rebecca Jones notes the deliberate siting of the North East "Stracathro Gate" atop the raised ground of the bank barrow and it is hard to interpret it in any other way. It was kinda cool to see this diagonal bank and ditch cutting out from the Roman ramparts... this site has the only known upstanding examples of this type of gate in the world. The general consensus is that the "Stracathro Gated" Roman Camps (they are only found in Scotland) date from the Agricolan Period and given this camp's location it is likely to date from the first couple of years of the campaign (79 - 80 AD).
There is another mighty Roman presence nearby with a big permanent Antonine fort's huge earthworks sited between Raeburnfoot Farm and the White Esk. Along the short stretch of farm road there are also the earthworks of two substantial settlements and aside from the bank barrow, the Lamb Knowe hill has a number of tantalising enclosures as well. With the Girdlestanes and Loupin' Stanes just a stone's throw away plus an enviable array of forts, settlements and earthworks across Castle O'er and Bessie's Hill this is a wee corner which could take years to explore properly.

Raeburnfoot 16.12.13

It was a straightforward scoot down the old A77 from Crawford zigzagging under the modern M77. Exit at Beattock heading for Moffat. The low winter sun was at its highest and I wanted to try and photograph some shadows on the lengthy earthwork to try and get some definition before the valley lost the light in the mid-afternoon.
I pulled into Eskdalemuir just in time for the rain to start. Take the little turn off marked B7060 to Jedburgh and as soon as you cross the bridge over the White Esk take a left and cross the Clerkhill Burn pull off the road into the farm track on the left signposted “Raeburnfoot”. Drive on and turn sharp left (steep uphill) at the first farmhouse. The road deteriorates after this and it might be advisable for those without 4 wheel drives to park at the side of the road. My wee VW Polo managed okay (just!) but be warned there are large potholes and the sharpness of the camber scraped my undercarriage/ sump a few times. This stretch of farm road is about three quarters of a mile long and brings you to Raeburnfoot Farm where the road forks in two.
There are plenty of places to leave a car here without getting in the way of farm vehicles. This is the point to park if you want to take in the Roman Fort en route to the Bank Barrow. The fort defences are in great shape and still present a challenge to get across. At the far side of the fort the ground starts to slope up and the start of the bank barrow can be seen in the centre of the slope in the short pasture.
If you want to avoid the Romans altogether there is a more direct route to the bank barrow. Instead of parking up... keep going and take the right hand road at the fork and continue through a gate which bars the road (be sure and close it after you). There are a few little areas on the left after the gate where it is quite safe to pull in and park out of the way. You will see a wee burn flowing under the road at the gate. Follow it upstream keeping in to its left bank. Five or ten minutes of proper striding and you will view the terminus cairn on the skyline and then crest the hill.
During my visit the driving rain turned to sleet when I got to the top of the hill. The site is on rough hill pasture with long grass and heather masking out a lot of the definition of this enormous structure. By following the Bank Barrow downhill for a few hundred yards you can get more of a perspective (though at no point can you see the whole monument) and the sheer scale kinda hits you! It is enormous!

Raeburnfoot (Bank Barrow) — Images

<b>Raeburnfoot</b>Posted by Howburn Digger<b>Raeburnfoot</b>Posted by Howburn Digger<b>Raeburnfoot</b>Posted by Howburn Digger<b>Raeburnfoot</b>Posted by Howburn Digger

North Sannox (Cairn(s)) — Images

<b>North Sannox</b>Posted by Howburn Digger

North Sannox 2 (Chambered Cairn) — Fieldnotes

This site has been clear-felled. Though I should stress the ground is NOT clear. It is an almost un-navigable wastleand of treestumps, holes, deep tyre-ruts and such-like. The cairns where I have been able to locate them, have ALL been respected by the plantation fellers. However the ground surrounding the cairn resembles The Somme in 1917. Here is the current state of North Sannox 2 which I was completely unable to locate last year despite the clear-felling. It was just too much of a wild jumble...

Canmore's photo perfectly shows the same orientation in my first "forested" photo of the chamber back in July 2012 when it was deep in Spruce Plantation.

South Ayrshire — News

Council celebrates staffing cuts by building a "Stonehenge" style monument on a roundabout

Couldn't make it up.

Perth and Kinross — News

Big Nosed Pict found at the A9/ A85 Interchange

Big Nosed Pict found at the A9/ A85 Interchange

The Great X of Kilmartin (Stone Row / Alignment) — Images

<b>The Great X of Kilmartin</b>Posted by Howburn Digger

Slaterich (Cist) — Links

Slaterich Cists


Slaterich (Cist) — Images

<b>Slaterich</b>Posted by Howburn Digger

Orkney — News

"The IKEA of Neolithic sites"

Skara Brae made Number Nine in The Daily Record's top ten of Trip Advizer scathing reviews of Scottish Tourist Attractions.


Creag Dhubh (Hillfort) — Images

<b>Creag Dhubh</b>Posted by Howburn Digger<b>Creag Dhubh</b>Posted by Howburn Digger<b>Creag Dhubh</b>Posted by Howburn Digger

Allt Carn Bhain (Chambered Cairn) — Images

<b>Allt Carn Bhain</b>Posted by Howburn Digger<b>Allt Carn Bhain</b>Posted by Howburn Digger<b>Allt Carn Bhain</b>Posted by Howburn Digger

Allt Carn Bhain (Chambered Cairn) — Fieldnotes

Site visit 13 July 2017

I always find myself at North Sannox for a few hours each year. My OH does a pony trek up Glen Sannox each year when we visit Arran... so I have a little free time on my hands. The reference on Canmore to a chambered cairn on the slope below the fort on Torr Reamhar was intriguing. No-one noticed what it was till the 1990's? Well, new old things are turning up all the time on Arran... I was leg-knackered from conquering Goatfell the day before so this was going to be a gentle strool and an appropriately sedate pace.
I struck uphill from the farm at North Sannox staying on the improved pasture side of the wire fence. The fields have a few sheep and are used for grazing ponies and horses too. Once at the level of the Communications Mast (just a couple of hundred feet up) strike out across the side of the hill staying on the contour line. You cross a stream and the wee path carries you directly across the hillside to a large pile of stones. This isn't the cairn you are looking for - but a mighty cairn it certainly is (even if Canmore and OS haven't noticed it yet).
Keep going acroos the side of the hill. A few hundred feet above on the skyline, the steep sided rocky stump which is topped by Torr An T' Sean Chaisteil looks over the North Sannox Valley (it is a marvellous hillfort site and a beautiful viewpoint but there was no time on this outing).
The Allt Carn Bhain cairn comes into view a little below and just on the other side of an old field boundary. It is an easy stroll down and across.
The cairn is quite substantial though it has been ripped-oot at some point. The bleached white bones of a sheep lie at the East End in a deep scoop. The West End of the cairn is marked by a massive triangular conglomerate boulder jutting out of the small hillside terrace like a tooth. Among the granite stones and boulders lie out-of-place and odd-looking river and beach rolled stones. Within the cairn material a few upright slabs can be made out and there is what appears to be a partial chamber in a hollow on the North side.
I ate a sandwich and had some juice while perched on the big triangular conglomerate boulder, peering down at the Lochranza Road. I watched two Golden Eagles fly in from the crooked corrie of The Devil's Punchbowl at the end of the Goatfell Ridge and then made my way down to the the old ruins of the clearance township at the bottom of the hill. I walked out along to North Sannox Farm to wait for my OH returning from her pony trek. While I sat I got chatting to a woman now living in Vancouver, who, it turned out, half a centuiry ago grew up three streets away from me in a town in Ayrshire and went to school with my late brother. I didn't dare tell her that by a pure fluke I had a Canadian Flag in the boot of my car. Small world.

Allt Carn Bhain (Chambered Cairn) — Images

<b>Allt Carn Bhain</b>Posted by Howburn Digger

Giant's Graves (Chambered Cairn) — Images

<b>Giant's Graves</b>Posted by Howburn Digger

Newgrange (Passage Grave) — Images

<b>Newgrange</b>Posted by Howburn Digger

England (Country) — News

Uffington White Duck

Those zany National Truss People really had me going then.

Bratton Castle & Westbury White Horse (Hillfort) — Images

<b>Bratton Castle & Westbury White Horse</b>Posted by Howburn Digger

Stonehenge (Stone Circle) — Images

<b>Stonehenge</b>Posted by Howburn Digger<b>Stonehenge</b>Posted by Howburn Digger

Baildon Moor — News

Rock Art on Baildon Moor (carved into a 4,000 year old stone!)

N AMATEUR archaeologist believes he has stumbled across Yorkshire’s first selfie, carved into a 4,000-year-old stone on Baildon Moor.

Gordon Holmes, from Shipley, first became interested in carved cup and ring stones on the district’s moors when his father pointed one out to him when he was about 12.

Now aged 64, retired design engineer and IT technician Mr Holmes has dedicated his life to studying the weathered ancient carvings which he believes could date to the late Stone Age.

But he says it had dawned on him recently that one carving he had been studying was of the artist himself.

“I realised that I was looking at a Stone Age selfie,” he said.

“There are many cup and ring stones around the moors, carved into millstone grit, but there are at least five such rocks with carvings representing aspects of the night sky which are on Baildon Moor.

“It seems that only Baildon Moor carvings correlated to patterns of star constellations. The other moors of Ilkley, Rivock Edge, Harden and Bingley only have the odd example of astronomical significance.

“What’s more, these five appear to have a particular style, a bit like handwriting, and I am convinced they are by the same artist.

“My father said to me all those years ago that no-one knew what the markings were, so I made it a mission to find out. I discovered the carvings showed the Pole Star, Cassiopeia, Hyades and Pleiades.

“One particular stone shows Cassiopeia, distinctive in the night sky because it forms a clear ‘W’ shape.

“It also shows a stick figure, which I presume is the artist, sitting or standing in the local landscape or round a fire with almost like a speech bubble above their head showing Cassiopeia above him. It is as if he has carved a selfie of himself,” said Mr Holmes.

“I know there could be earlier interpretations of selfies, such as those drawn in hieroglyphics by the Ancient Egyptians, but this stone carving selfie on Baildon Moor may well be the earliest example in Yorkshire.”

Mr Holmes is also interested in astronomy and has taught the subject at Bradford College.

He is also known for his search for the Loch Ness monster. In 2007 he filmed a large moving object in the loch. Almost a decade later, US-based software firm DreamFactory was able to analyse the footage and confirmed Mr Holmes’s suspicions that he had filmed a giant eel swimming in the loch.

Orkney — News

Orkney BBC Series - "Not weird enough"

This is lovely.

Tinto (Cairn(s)) — Images

<b>Tinto</b>Posted by Howburn Digger

Kerrera — Images

<b>Kerrera</b>Posted by Howburn Digger

Clach na Carraig (Standing Stone / Menhir) — Images

<b>Clach na Carraig</b>Posted by Howburn Digger

Strontoiller 1 (Kerbed Cairn) — Images

<b>Strontoiller 1</b>Posted by Howburn Digger

Clach na Carraig (Standing Stone / Menhir) — Images

<b>Clach na Carraig</b>Posted by Howburn Digger

Gualachulain, Loch Etive (Round Cairn) — Fieldnotes

Site visit 21.10.16

My cycling days are over so I sent OH and the Teenage HD on down the barely surfaced road from Kingshouse to Gualachulain. My loudly complaining exhaust disturbed a rock band who were shooting a video in front of Stob Dearg. Sorry guys.
About 15km of bad road later and I pulled up at the wee car park. I'd seen the cairn as I passed it a few hundred yards back. Bright white and shining in the autumn light.
The drop-dead rugged scenery and pristine surroundings would normally attract huge numbers of tourists to views like this, but the sump-rupturing pot-holes and uneven road surface seems to put all but the usual idiots like myself off. I'd passed the other two thirds of my family throwing sangwidges at the Red Deer a mile or two back so I figured I'd have a little mosey over to the cairn near the cottage at Gualachulain. It would give my hissing engine a little time to cool and rest that clattering exhaust in preparation for the return up the glen.

The clear-felling of the small patch of surrounding forestry has been instrumental in exposing the cairn but thankfully there has been no manicuring of the landscape around the cairn. The only concession to visitors has been the erection of a fine four-step stile (with a top resting platform) over the top of the Deer Fence. This allows easy access and a grand elevated view of the site. The bark, twigs and tree-stumps are gradually being consumed by Nature's decomposers and munchers.
The cairn is constructed from white river-rounded stones. It stands to a fine height. There is a lot of it left. A fine curiously veined boulder tops the cairn. The loamy peat has been washed off a lot of the cairn mound now and exposes most of the stones. They gleam a bright white with just a couple of rounded stones being of a rosey-pink.

The nearby cottage garden on the other side of the Deer Fence does not intrude at all on the site's atmosphere. From atop this lovely cairn I watched the sun sweep amber rays across the foot of the mountains on the far side of Loch Etive. I heard the sound of screeching brakes and a voice shouted "Hi Dad! I think Mum'll be about ten minutes." I headed back over to the stile. Time to go.
Ten minutes later we were heading back up the glen, exhaust spluttering, engine hissing, two bikes slung on the back of the otherwise uncomplaining Golf. Oban Fish Bar beckoned with its blonde, pony-tailed waitresses and the finest fish and chips available anywhere.

Gualachulain, Loch Etive (Round Cairn) — Images

<b>Gualachulain, Loch Etive</b>Posted by Howburn Digger<b>Gualachulain, Loch Etive</b>Posted by Howburn Digger<b>Gualachulain, Loch Etive</b>Posted by Howburn Digger<b>Gualachulain, Loch Etive</b>Posted by Howburn Digger<b>Gualachulain, Loch Etive</b>Posted by Howburn Digger

Tre'r Ceiri (Hillfort) — Fieldnotes

A walk to the City of the Giants. 25 September 2016

A spur of the moment decision to pop down to North Wales and see Auntie Betty and the family turned into a marvellous weekend of stormy seaside strolls, some good dining (with a few beers) and a Sunday Afternoon walk to the City of the Giants. A few years back when myself, my OH and son were en-route to a wedding at Nant Gwrtheyrn, I’d seen the signpost for the footpath and promised a walk up to Tre’r Ceiri next time we were down. Cousin Gavin had described the place to me and I’d checked it out on Google and Bing Maps. I had since seen the photos on TMA from postman, GLADMAN and thesweetcheat. On Saturday Night last, at dinner in Pwllheli, Gavin suggested a stroll to the City of the Giants on Sunday afternoon. We had spent Saturday watching kite-surfers riding a frothing cauldron and getting airborne at Hell’s Mouth, so I was a little uncertain as to what the weather would bring on Sunday, but a plan was made.
Sunday dawned bright and fair. Gavin and June brought the Gavmobile round to pick us up and we headed off. From Pwllheli you just head out on the A499 towards Caernafon and turn off to the left down a wee narrow street at Llanaelhaearn and head round the foot of the hills between Tre’r Ceiri and Mynydd Carnguwch. There is a great wee pull in spot here.
The footpath begins right across the road. A little steep at the start, then up over a stile at the top of the field, a little to the left around the big rocky crag of Caergribin and then it is a fairly level walk across the moorland to the foot of the crag which is the City of the Giant’s perch. I was genuinely floored with amazement as the bright sunlight picked out the faces of the massive stone walls. The flat tops of the mighty defences looked wide enough to drive a car around. My son ran ahead and I watched him dart up the steep entrance while I sweated it out on the heather flanks below. We were less than 30 minutes from the Gavmobile and hadn’t been forcing any kind of hard pace. This is a fairly easy walk and boy does it pay every easy stride back in spadefuls!
I’ll let everyone’s photos of this historical wonder do most of the talking here. There is an awful lot of stone meeting the eye. It is hard to take in the scale of the construction at Tre’r Ceiri. All around are the stoney, scree-strewn peaks of Yr Eifl, Moel-Pen-Llechog and the lower (yet strikingly beautiful) peaks which unfold down the length of the Llyn Peninsula towards Nefyn. But standing straight across from the City of the Giants is the mighty upright cairn of Mynydd Carnguwch, time and again I found my eye was dragged back to look at its profile. The Welsh sun shone all afternoon. We could have stayed all day.
The preservation is exceptional, the walls are a wonder, the simple areas of restoration are easy to spot (with their little drill holes). This is the most amazingly preserved, mightiest, most grandest, finest, panoramically stupefying-est, weirdly intoxicating hillfort I have ever been in. If you are in North Wales and can walk for half an hour or so on fairly easy terrain, get yourself up to Tre’r Ceiri, the City of the Giants. It’s a monster!

Mynydd Carnguwch (Round Barrow(s)) — Images

<b>Mynydd Carnguwch</b>Posted by Howburn Digger
Showing 1-50 of 473 posts. Most recent first | Next 50
I live in Scotland with my other half and my twelve year old son.
I grew up looking across the Firth of Clyde to Arran. I first visited the island in 1980. I've gone back a few times every year since.

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