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

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The Countless Stones (Dolmen / Quoit / Cromlech) — Fieldnotes

A place I've visited loads throughout my life - back in the 70's when there were trees growing in the middle, and the stones really were difficult to count - up to current times.

In the early 1990's one of the large stones was taken from the site - on the left side as you face the stones when entering - you can see the scratched and grazed mark on the remaining stone where it used to rest. I know this as it happened during a time when I visited the site regularly. One week it was there, the next it was gone, along with a large portion of the circular fence (which was eventually replaced) and heavy JCB type track marks running from the stones to the exit on the Aylesford side of the field.

I wrote letters of concern to Kent County Council, English Heritage, Maidstone Borough Council - but got no reply.

In the late 90's, I happened to be driving past the stones and noticed a large sarsen stone with a house name freshly carved into it had been erected in a driveway on the opposite side of the road a little way down towards Aylesford - strange that. Of course this couldnt be the same stone now ... could it?

White Horse Stone (Standing Stone / Menhir) — Fieldnotes

I visited the White Horse Stone this week - the first time for a VERY long time as I live in a different part of Kent these days. They have re-opened the pilgrims way now that the CTRL is finished, meaning that I didnt have to take the long walk through piles of old carpets, washing machines and building rubble that litters the pilgrims way from the bottom of Boxley hill.

The site seemed dreary and miserable to me ... once a place full of mysticism and excitement for me, now utterly grey - with the thunderous roar of the high-speed trains just increasing the feeling of melancholy.

The surrounding trees and scrub were littered with beer cans, empty cheap vodka bottles, fag ends and old plastic bags. I tidied up as much as I could fit into my pockets, set up my tripod and took one shot then left feeling utterly despondent.

This place once defined the spiritual revelations and explorations of the 20-something years for me and my friends ... now it seems to have died.


Coldrum (Long Barrow) — Fieldnotes

I too am (fairly) local and have been visiting the coldrum for many years. I love the place dearly and can not stop myself from going back time after time. The best time of day is dawn as the view of the sunrise across the valley in front (from behind the collapsed chamber stones) is breathtaking. Sunrise around March 21st is almost in line with the chamber.

I experienced my first Summer Solstice here and find it the best place to go for this - always well attended but not rowdy - although the occasional appearance of the local bobby does nothing to enhance the experience.

See you all there in June then!

On a final note - if anyone knows who the pricks are that have spray painted KEV and other shite all over the stones, kindly stove their heads in for me - IDIOTS.

The Fairy Knowe (Chambered Cairn) — Fieldnotes

I went to cuween in may 2000 and was completey blown away. This seems to be the most genuine and untouched of the orkney sites (that isn't to detract from the enourmous awe inspiring nature of the whole orkney landscape).

Whilst in the chamber, I was crawling on my knees, feeling around and my hand came across what felt like small twig wedged between the lower slabs of stone and the floor. Without thought, I picked it up and continued to experience the mood.

Once outside, I looked at the twig and saw that it was a thin small bone with a sharpened end opposite a knuckle end- "probably from somebody's piece of cold chicken" I thought and chucked it away feeling annoyed that someone could have left litter in such an amazing place.

the next day I was in the Skara Brae visitors centre and saw the bone awls found there - thin bones with one sharp end opposite a knuckle end probably used to make holes in hides and leather ................... doh.

Devil's Den (Dolmen / Quoit / Cromlech) — Fieldnotes

I visited here for the first time on my 30th Birthday (end of October 2001). I have been to avebury area at least once a year since my 21st and it has become a bit of a pilgrimage but, until buying the Modern Antiquarian, I had never even known of the existence of this amazing dolmen - thanks Julien.

The short walk from the A4 was hazardous due to deep puddles (well - lakes almost) to negotiate whilst holding on to my partners arm (she never has been able to trust her own sense of balance) and I was desperately hoping for better surroundings for the Dolmen - I had pictures to take for a forthcoming Exhibition.

The weather was perfect - large storm clouds drifiting across a bright blue sky with typical long autumnal shadows and things seemed to get better and better as we rounded the corner in the path by the barn - the puddles dissapeared and the soft roll of the downs came into view.

As soon as the Dolmen was visible, I was speachless (unusual for me). I could not have wished or hoped for a more perfect setting for such a magical place. I spent about 20 minutes walking round, looking in and just absorbing this beautiful place. My partner sat on the large sarsens in the undergrowth at the edge of the newly ploughed field (part of the original structure or just field clearance? - the former and latter I expect) while I spent well over an hour setting up and photographing - desperately trying to capture the atmosphere and mood of the time and place.

The field was strewn with flint litter and I found several waste flakes while walking the short distance between the fence and Dolmen - one to remember for field walking if the farmer is in agreement.

Unfortunately I used poorly cleaned equipment to develop the negatives and have all but ruined my shots (perhaps the site punishing me for daring to begin to think I could do it justice with such modernity and technology) - I dont care though because I have found the most impressive place to visit in the Avebury environs and will spend many a peaceful birthday there in the years to come.

Wayland's Smithy (Long Barrow) — Fieldnotes

I spend a lot of time visiting sites, seeking out the unvisited and unheard of but there is something about Wayland's Smithy that keeps calling me back. Apart form this year, I have spent every beltain of my adult life at this barrow. It is so homely, beautiful and comforting. It as also worth a visit for the Summer Solstice as there are always other people there and a real sense of festival is in the air all night. One year a horse and cart turned up for the night and it was difficult to find somewhere to put your sleeping bag - that was a great night.

White Horse Stone (Standing Stone / Menhir) — Fieldnotes

This single stone known as the White Horse Stone or Western Sphynx, just off bluebell hill nr Maidstone, Kent, can now be only reached by taking the long walk from the bottom of Boxley hill (Nr Bredhurst) and following the path of the Pilgrims Way in the opposite direction of the steep hill of Boxley. It is a recumbent stone, probably the back stone of a long barrow similar to Kits Coty (the opposite side of Bluebell Hill) and Coldrum.
During the past 10 years or so, a group of friends and I have spent many a mellow evening at this site - with a small fire, bottle of wine and lots of good conversation. The stone is now overshadowed by the entrance to a huge tunnel as part of the Channel Tunnel Rail Link (which has systematicaly raped the kentish countryside). With the current drone of plant machinery and the impending thunder of high speed trains, I fear there will never be another mellow evening to be had - well , there goes 6,000 years of peace!
It's still worth a visit though. In the pre- CTRL works archaeology digs, a Neolithic long house and undefined bronze age timber circle plus a late bronze/ early iron age settlement were found in the field opposite (now under the train tracks)

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