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

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Circle 275 (Stone Circle) — Images (click to view fullsize)

<b>Circle 275</b>Posted by treaclechops<b>Circle 275</b>Posted by treaclechops

Hwylfa'r Ceirw (Stone Row / Alignment) — Images

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Llety'r Filiast (Burial Chamber) — Images

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Hendre Waelod (Dolmen / Quoit / Cromlech) — Images

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Capel Garmon (Chambered Cairn) — Images

<b>Capel Garmon</b>Posted by treaclechops<b>Capel Garmon</b>Posted by treaclechops<b>Capel Garmon</b>Posted by treaclechops<b>Capel Garmon</b>Posted by treaclechops<b>Capel Garmon</b>Posted by treaclechops<b>Capel Garmon</b>Posted by treaclechops<b>Capel Garmon</b>Posted by treaclechops<b>Capel Garmon</b>Posted by treaclechops

Cerrig Pryfaid (Stone Circle) — Fieldnotes

One of these stones in the wide-spaced ring had fallen – Jane and I resurrected it, appropriately enough, on Easter Saturday. The method we used might not have been the same as that of the ancients, and was definitely not approved by the HSE. Jane lifted the stone from between her legs, as I shoved it from behind, until it was virtually up her fundament. Interesting interpretation of phallic rocks. We packed its base with smaller stones, and left it balancing.

Cae Coch (Standing Stone / Menhir) — Fieldnotes

In contrast to Ffon y fawr, this monolith is very solid, stocky and rounded. Could there be an allusion to male and female within the landscape due to the placing of this pair of stones? No time, and too tired to walk up to it to discover more.

Ffon-y-Cawr (Standing Stone / Menhir) — Fieldnotes

This stone points in very phallic style towards the Conwy valley. There wasn't time to get much closer than a squint from the wall side, due to the weather conditions, but thinking about it now, I would like to see how it lines up with Cae Coch, which is very different.

Rhiw Burial Chamber — Fieldnotes

After the arresting Kate and I had visited Maen-y-Bardd last year, I was a tad frustrated to discover there had been much more to see in this spectacular setting. Most importantly, I was keen to discover the 'Greyhound Kennel' (many North Walian tombs are given this title), or Rhiw Burial Chamber on this visit. The night before, a careful note of the OS grid reference had been made in order we could find it speedily. Great idea, but somehow on the day I left it in the car in my excitement to see all these wonderful sites.

After nearly bursting several blood vessels going the wrong way up the hill, I thought to get the Gwynedd guide out. Frances Lynch's comprehensive notes gave us guidance, and shortly after, Moth expertly spotted it next to a blasted hawthorn.

This was lovely also – much of the mound is intact, and there is a beautifully preserved row of ceremonial stones leading up to the chamber. This is reminiscent of Arthur's Stone in the south Walian Borders. The chamber itself appears to be set into the hillside, rather than part of a man-made mound, but as Kate pointed out later, it might well be the case that the hillside has evolved round it – it is 5,500yrs or so old, after all. Erosion may have engulfed it somewhat. It is a cracking chamber, not obvious from the road, but a fun one to discover.

Maen-y-Bardd (Dolmen / Quoit / Cromlech) — Fieldnotes

Despite the dense cloud promising rain at any time, I was relieved when Jane agreed to meander down the Roman road which cuts through the Rowen complex of megalithic structures. Moth walked along the raised field bank, and it was delightful to hear them both cry out in unison as they spotted Maen-y-Bardd. It has that effect; I challenge anyone not to say "Oh wow!" or just "Oh!" upon seeing it for the first time. Tired, and totally fed up with walking, Jane immediately nested inside it, and was promptly re-energised. Not surprising. The Iced Gem of Dolmens looked just as gorgeous and magical, irrespective of the rapidly lowering skies. Moth and I took lots of photos, before seeking out Rhiw Burial Chamber

Y Meini Hirion (Stone Circle) — Fieldnotes

We arrived at the Druid's Circle to find Jane looking cold and fed up, sheltering next to the largest stone. The walk had pushed her to the limits of her endurance, so she sucked on a Camel to recover, and be better able to take in the magnificent setting. Moth was blown away by the place, and I was a little disappointed the weather was so overcast; I had very much wanted to see it in sunshine. Just as we left, my wish was granted – sunshine broke warmly through, transforming the setting, and helpfully illuminating Great Orme into the bargain. By this time, Jane had steeled herself for the ramble back to the car, so didn't return, as Moth and I did, to make use of the precious sunlight. That was a shame, because when the sun lights the whole of the coastline and the stones, it's an inspiring sight.

We also took a swift peek at Circle 278 and ?Monument 280.

Circle 275 (Stone Circle) — Fieldnotes

Jane plodded on as Moth and I took photos of this ever-so-cute tiny stone circle. A gang of luridly-clad mountain-bikers tore down from the Druid's Circle and halted next to us while waiting for a straggler. They passed comment that we were much like train spotters in our hobby. Not unlike like mountain-bikers then, Moth sagely observed, as the straggler caught up, and the fluorescent numpties pedalled away furiously.

Hwylfa'r Ceirw (Stone Row / Alignment) — Fieldnotes

As our initial searching had been confounded by many erratics, the general consensus was that this might not be a very spectacular site. After hoping for something reasonably impressive, I was beginning to think this would be a few short, squat, piddly stones running in a line for 10-20 feet.

Thankfully, this wasn't the case – Moth finally located approximately 100yds of Bronze Age handiwork, made from substantial stones, leading towards the Irish Sea. What a treat for a stone row virgin.

As we took photos and generally prepared for lunch, a hale and hearty woman approached, enquiring as to whether this was the stone row. We informed her it was, and she asked if we were students of archaeology. I replied that we were Modern Antiquarians, so in effect students of archaeology, but really just megalithic enthusiasts. She explained that she was an ex-midwife who led walking parties, and was walking Great Orme to suss out a new route, with places of interest like the Roman well by the roadside above the stone row. We suggested she check out Lletty'r Filiast.

Amongst all the erratics, the uniformity of the stone row was very clear, and picnicking above them, I wondered what their purpose had been. Interestingly, they faced north-ish, so presumably the setting sun would not have been visible at their end. Could they have been a ceremonial route, or something connected with shipping? Moth said they reminded him very much of Dartmoor stone rows, and on our return to the car, we had an interesting discussion about the possibility of Cornish tin miners being drafted in to work the Copper Mines, bringing with them new customs and traditions.

Llety'r Filiast (Burial Chamber) — Fieldnotes

'The Lair of the Greyhound Bitch'. Appropriately enough, the house next door had a yard full of dog shit and a pack of hounds who barked long and loud on our arrival. In addition, the throb of bitchin' rap emanated forth - rather distracting in the otherwise secluded and peaceful setting of this small dolmen.

Unfortunately, the diminutive chamber is crumbling slowly away, much like a piece of Cheshire cheese. Enough remains to reveal what a charming structure it was, and happily, it is obviously looked after, as a helpful tourist information board is stationed nearby. The puddingy stone put me in mind of Carreg Samson, although there was no variation in the stones used here.

With its capstone in place, it would probably have appeared more dramatic, but sadly this broke in three or four pieces a while ago, and the chunks now lie where they fell. Remarkably, although access is very easy via the solid purpose built ladder at the foot of 'Cromlech Road' (big help, that), the site is very clean and tidy. I expected it to be 'The Lair of the Burberry Chavs', but there was not an empty bottle of White Lightening in sight.

Moth and Jane reckon that in its hey-day, Lletty'r Filiast would have been a similar size to Hetty Peglar's Tump, which mean it would have been a seriously important site. Its position so close to the Copper Mines (just a few hundred yards above), is also interesting. It wasn't as dramatic as I had hoped, but pleasant. At least Jane was bewitched, finding herself reluctant to leave.

Hendre Waelod (Dolmen / Quoit / Cromlech) — Fieldnotes

Follow the footpath up to the right from the gate hole, turn right into a brambly snicket, then left, and stay against the hedgerow until passing into a small wood. There are footpath markers to assist. You will be able to see this intriguing chamber silhouetted against the sky-line. In your eagerness to get up close to the monument, which forms the edge of two raggedy barbed-wire fences, take two seconds to locate the kissing gate 50 feet up to the right at the edge of the wood; using it is infinitely easier than scrabbling through tetanus-loaded wire.

This secret, compact dolmen – the only one of the Conwy valley's portal dolmens sporting the customary high portal stones – looks down a tranquil bend in the Conwy valley, towards Llandudno and Great Orme. Although compact, it is deceptively huge from a distance, resulting in the viewer feeling a little surprised on arrival. What is most certainly huge, however, is the capstone. It is utterly gigantic. Despite the fact it has slipped down on the northern side, enough space remains to see the interior of the chamber. It is possible to wriggle inside, which I thought of doing until noticing how the capstone is held in place. (See pictures). Frances Lynch in CADW's publication Gwynedd says this is not for the squeamish. Quite right she is too – I didn't fancy the idea of being crushed by a ten-ton capstone, albeit an appropriate way for a Modern Antiquarian to perish. With my wide beam-end, the dislodging of rocks one way or another was sure to occur. When the arresting Kate saw the pictures the next day, she said "Well, at least it would give you an idea of how it feels to be a grain of wheat under a quern stone."

Although I was initially a tad disappointed in this site, it has stuck in my mind, and on reflection, I enjoyed it very much. It does have something about it which lingers in the psyche. I liked the remaining portal uprights, and the solidity of the site. I imagine if there are bluebells in the wood, it will look most agreeable throughout May. We would have stayed longer – Jane could have made a fab painting of the river vista – but a chilly wind chased us away to the next site.

Capel Garmon (Chambered Cairn) — Fieldnotes

Another effective method the arresting Kate employed to seduce me. She brought me here on a glorious blue, russet, and gold autumn day, and blew me away. This place is so beautiful, peaceful and completely breathtaking.

When Jane, Moth and I visited, a misty, slightly overcast sky greeted us, and lifted as we left – typically. Nonetheless, a superb view of Snowdonia was afforded which demonstrated beautifully why the ancestors chose this site. As ever, the placing of a Severn-Cotswold long barrow in the heart of North Wales fascinated me. Who were the builders? Were they a group of people who moved up from the south? Were they a tribe who had taken on different belief systems to the others prevalent in the vicinity? Were they traders? There are no such barrows anywhere else up here, so I assume this must be the case. Or could it have been the last one to have been built before that set of beliefs changed? Or is the only one that has survived?

Whatever the reasons, this is a fabulous structure, definitely worth a visit. The remaining capstone (on the western chamber), is awesome, and it is easy to imagine how the thing must have looked when originally built. The post and panel work inside the chambers is a joy to behold, and even though it has been extensively restored, remains of the original dry walling can be seen in the lower courses of the eastern chamber. 5,000 year old dry walling. Cool.

We enjoyed a good half hour here, joined briefly by two other visitors, and watched by many fluffy sheep.

Hengistbury Head (Ancient Village / Settlement / Misc. Earthwork) — Fieldnotes

I remember visiting Hengistbury Head many years ago whilst accompanying my grandmother on a weekend break away from home. As I recall, there is some variety of motorised train ( several carriages hitched to the back of a tractor/land rover) which takes one round the promontory. The whole thing is home to masses of heathland flowers and wildlife; I recall Grandma saying that there was lots of ling growing there. It was very cold and windy, and for some reason I kept thinking about Willan & Searle's '1066 And All That' in which they claimed that it was the spot Hengist and Horsa landed, then started agriculture - or something. Those of you who have read it will know what I'm on about. Good views though.


'The Mysterious Bog People' - Exhibition in Manchester

Whilst at a Cheshire garden centre of all places - not far from Lindow Moss - I stumbled across a flyer for The Museum Of Science & Industry In Manchester's 'The Mysterious Bog People - Ritual & Sacrifice in Ancient Europe exhibition, running from 05 February - 08 May 2005.

It looks like a stunning show, and the website tells us:

"This ground-breaking exhibition charts over 14,000 years of cultural history and contains over 400 artefacts found in the bogs or swamps of northwestern Europe. For the first time, significant archaeological finds from northwestern Europe are brought together in an impressive collection of artefacts, including the oldest known boat in the world, jewellery, coins and musical instruments."

This is the ONLY showing in the UK, so don't miss out!

See the website at:

Tyfos (Kerbed Cairn) — Images

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Tyfos (Kerbed Cairn) — Fieldnotes

This circle of recumbent stones is quite lovely, and lies right next to a smart farmhouse (how is it these Welsh folk get to have such antiquities in their gardens?! See Fairy Oak Round Barrow). Some of the stones have been robbed, but nonetheless, an idea of the commanding nature of the place remains. Fab mountain views are to be had on all sides. Pretty.

Branas Uchaf (Chambered Tomb) — Images

<b>Branas Uchaf</b>Posted by treaclechops<b>Branas Uchaf</b>Posted by treaclechops<b>Branas Uchaf</b>Posted by treaclechops<b>Branas Uchaf</b>Posted by treaclechops<b>Branas Uchaf</b>Posted by treaclechops<b>Branas Uchaf</b>Posted by treaclechops
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"Out of the strong came forth sweetness"
Treaclechops died on 4 January 2007 after a three-month battle with cancer. She was 38.

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