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Robin Fleming in her book 'Britain after Rome 400 to 1070' mentions that, this complex landscape of hillforts and Saxon royal palace was part of a ritual landscape. She goes on to say.....
"that Bede did not mention that the king's hall and other major structures were erected in a straight line between the stone circle and the barrow and that the layout of the 'modern' seventh-century complex was thus determined by these ancient and enigmatic monuments"
The Saxon complex seems to have had a 7 tiered theatre, and pits filled with ox heads, evidence of ritual use. The use of earlier prehistoric monuments such as barrows for instance were often used by these later settlements to add prestige to families and the small kingships that abounded at this time.
Found the following verse sometime back and wrote about it, Iolo Morgannwg was obviously an interesting character but fought shy of truthfulness....
As the sun, so shy, speeds on to hide behind the western hills
I stand within this
Ancient circle with its rugged stones
Pointing to the sky
Like the digits on the clock of time -
The time that has refused to move,
As if the keeper of this heather hearth has gone to bed
Remembering not to lift
The fallen weights of Time and Space.
The first verse of one of Iolo Morgannwg’s poem, some would call him a fantasist who created an idea or vision of a Celtic Druidic order in the 18th century.
His first meeting of the bards was on Primrose Hill in London, where he had erected twelve stones called the Great Circle and a central altar stone known as the Maen Llog, this was in 1792. It is said of Iolo that he constructed an “elaborate mystical philosophy which he claimed represented a direct continuation of ancient Druidic practice. His use of laudanum may have contributed to this fabrication, though many of his writings fall between a small truth and a large imaginative myth that he wrote!
In 1795, a gorsedd meeting took place at the Pontypridd Rocking Stone, near Eglwysilam in Glamorgan. This was a huge slab of natural slate stone (the Maen Chwyf), and this stone became a meeting place, though the circles were yet to be put up.
The word gorsedd, which in Welsh means throne, but is also loosely used as a coming together of bards. Julian Cope in his book The Modern Antiquarian says of this rocking stone ‘that it stands high on the ground overlooking the confluence of the two great sacred rivers Rhodda and Taff,’ and that this gorsedd stone must have had great significance in prehistoric times. The stone is surrounded by two circles plus an avenue but the circles are not prehistoric, and it now sits in a pleasant landscape next to a small cottage hospital.
This is truly miscellaneous, stones that no longer exist. But just to the east of Bitton Barrow, in between two fields called Mickle Mead and Holm Mead there are several stones following a line just above the River Avon.
So to record them for posterity the grid refs for Oldmap Uk are 367552,168907.
Well they maybe stones from a stone circle given their site near the river (and the fact that Stanton Drew is not too far away), this part of the world has a lot of Roman history as well, situated under North Stoke, in the hills above with its large 'spout' of water by its church and of course the church in Bitton also supposedly a 'heathen' temple..
The present site of the stones (which must have been moved in the 19th C probably for the road) is I believe a sewage plant!
Squinancywort (asperula Cynanchica)
"Every time a botanist journeyed from London to Bath, he was tempted to get down from his horse and climb Silbury, as Thomas Johnson had done in 1634, for in 1570 the Flemish botanist De l'Obel had written having been up the mound..this 'acclivem cretaceam et arridam montem arte militari aggestum'(this steep chalky hill dry hill raised by military art) as he called it.... On Silbury he found a plant blossoming in July and August which seems to have been Asperula Cynanchica, which he called Anglica Saxifraga, the first record for Gt.Britain.
Squinancy is the quinsy,sore throat and this waxy--flowered little perennial of the downs made an astringent gargle"
Taken from The Englishman's Flora by Geoffrey Grigson.
Note; Squinancywort is similer to sweet woodruff which you can find in woods, but I doubt Silbury still has Squinancy on its slope.
This is a place I have never been to, and it looks like no one else has either. Its another Chevaux de Frise, though not the same as the 'Bryn Cader Faner' cairn which is so striking.
According to N.P.Figgis (Prehistoric Preseli) the method employed in building these treacherous out pointing stones might have been the result of an itinerant architect, be that as it may Castell Henllys, which is close to Carn Alw, has similar defence methods in its ditch, now covered by a later bank.
Carn Alw though situated at the back of Carn Meini if my map reading skills are right, is defended by "a wide chevaux de frise, incorporating set and naturally grounded stones in roughly three bands" on the easily accessible south-east side."
Figgis goes on to speculate as to whether the elaborate entrance and boulder lined lane with a kink in its length has something to do with a stock enclosure, either for bulls or ponies, as the area defended is very small. Wild ponies still graze these moors, and they are very like the small ponies depicted on Iron Age coins......
The question as to whether the burial cairns had been used for 'walker cairns', or other purposes remain unanswered. But the following information does state that one of the cairns was excavated in the 19th century. It is also interesting about the extensive settlement pattern below the summit cairns.....
"Carneddau Estate - Moel Faban,
prehistoric houses, paddocks and fields;
The rounded hump of Moel Faban ("moel" in Welsh means bare or bald hill in this context)
dominates the village of Bethesda and on both its east and west sides is extensive evidence of prehistoric settlement.
The east side was surveyed by RCAHM (Wales) for part one of the Caernarfonshire Inventory published in the 1950s but further evidence of prehistoric land use has become more apparent recently, and a new survey as part of a more long-term and comprehensive survey of the hill was commissioned.
The summit has a series of Bronze Age cairns, one of which was excavated in the nineteenth-century from which a collared urn of the middle Bronze Age was removed (now in the British Museum).There is no clear relationship at all but it is thought that some of the dwellings within the field-system could also have Bronze Age origins, but by analogy with similar sites they would normally be thought later. None has been excavated so this earlier date has by no means been confirmed. As well as concrete evidence of cultivation, or at least controlled pasturage, this immediate area has other tantalising evidence of prehistoric life.
This includes Bezant Lowe called the "arrow stone", a massive boulder on the top of which is extensive evidence of the sharpening of blades. There is to the east of the hill fairly conclusive evidence of burnt mounds situated by the stream of the Ffryddlas where food was cooked by dropping heated stones into small constructed pools, a technique that has been proved to work, as anyone watching "Time Team" will know!"
The 'Arrow Stone' on Rockartuk
RCAHM(W) 1956 Carnarvonshire vol 1
Bezant Lowe,W. 1927 In the Heart of Northern Wales pp53 - 56
Griffiths,W.E.1959 Arch. Camb 101, pp44
The plundering of megalithic tombs by vikings,
"Amlaibh, Imhar and Auisle (Audgisl) three chieftains of the gaill; and Lorcan, son of Cathal, King of Meath, plundered the land of Flann (North Brega).
The cave of Achadh-Aldai (Newgrange); the cave of Cnoghba (Knowth); the cave of the grave of Bodan over Dubadh (Dowth); and the cave of the wife of Gobhan at Drochat-atha (Drogheda) were broken and plundered by these same gaill."
Taken from the Annals of Ulster
The viking raids on the great megalithic tombs of the Boyne valley in 863; by Olaf (Amlaibh) Ivar (Imhar) and Audgisl, probably carried out because after all the monastic raids that had been undertaken over the previous years, 'treasure' was by now getting hard to find.
Is it true you may ask yourself, well it was recorded, and though there is some dispute about Newgrange (according to Gordon), it is a fascinating fact. The book I found this information from goes on to speculate, that one of the 'gaills' Ivar might have been the son of Ragnar Lothbrok, who spent three days in Maes Knowe because of a storm raging violently outside, and left the following scrawled on the wall...
This mound was raised before Ragnar Lothbrok's...
His sons were brave, smooth-hide men though they were...
It was long ago that a great treasure was hidden here...
Happy is he that might find the great treasure...
Be that as it may, I expect there was'nt much treasure in the great tombs of the Boyne valley either.
Information gleaned from 'The Fury of the Northmen' by John Marsden.
Although the Kenward stone is considered natural there is another story attributed to it that may give it a prehistoric link. John Chandler has written about it in this Wiltshire Council link....
which states that the stone had been removed from a field in which other stones lay...
"about 1890, he reported, he had been told by two of Chute's oldest inhabitants that the stone had been moved there from a field where there were other big stones, some of which had been buried out of the way. But nobody by 1924 could remember where, and so part at least of the pseudo-Kenward stone's mystery remains."
This really is miscellaneous, but today someone sent me a photograph of a stone circle on the cliff top at Trefin Cove. It is probably a fairly modern one (though it looks real) but there is no literature for it. But some weeks ago, someone mentioned a circle in this area, so if you're on your way to Carreg Samson, stop off at Trefin Cove and look up to the cliffs, some information would be interesting as well.
a photo; http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/1332814
Prehistoric artwork has been discovered by an amateur archaeologist at a Perthshire mountain range.
The ancient carvings were discovered by rock art enthusiast George Currie at Ben Lawers, near Loch Tay.
Mr Currie discovered a piece of rock which has more than 90 cup marks, which are circular depressions in the stone.
Some of the cups have rings around them and a number of linear grooves can also be seen, with some still showing the individual blows of craftsmens' tools.
Similar discoveries have been made in the area, but it is unusual to find so many markings on the one stone.
The purpose of the artworks are still unknown.
Derek Alexander, archaeologist for the National Trust for Scotland, said: "This is an exciting find as it shows that there remains undiscovered prehistoric rock art to be found in the Scottish hills.
"More surprising are the quantity and variety of the symbols displayed on this boulder.
"Through both targeted research by professional archaeologists and the work of dedicated amateurs like George Currie we now know that Ben Lawers forms one of the major concentrations of cup and ring marks in the Highlands, which suggests it was a very significant landscape in prehistory."
Well as people find it difficult to get to, some information from Jody Lewis's 'The Neolithic of Northern Somerset'
She says that when she surveyed it in 1998 that they found over 30 stones, some standing, some recumbent, the stone following the long axis e/w.
Stones remaining seem to be a section of passage at the east end, a chamber opening off and a chamber at the end, and that around the end chamber, are many stones that have the appearance of fallen capstones. It looks like she is saying that quarrying took place as well, and stones put back in are field clearance......
four chestnut trees on the mound and a lot scrub around, so unfriendly farmers, and large trees on top!
There is a whole cluster of longbarrows in this area, ruined by farming mostly...
Big Tree; Orchardleigh; Giants Grave; Barrow Hill; Fromefield, and slightly further afield Brays Down, and Stoney Littleton which of course is the best preserved of the whole group here.
Several years later and wandering through the Welsh saint book, and my stone just might be part of a stone circle and not disputed ;)...
The church was named after Rhian - 5th or 6th century, a follower of St.David. He founded a church here, "probably a wattle and daub building behind an earth wall" Breverton goes on to say.."In Llanrian parish, not far from Tregynon, is Llain y Sibedau (Place of Whispers) a ruined stone circle"
The Book of Welsh Saints.
1849 - Llanrian
"Near the church are some Druidical remains, consisting of many large stones, most of them now broken: they were formerly erect, and, in their arrangement and general appearance, formed in miniature, according to Mr. Fenton, a tolerably correct representation of Stonehenge".
From: 'Llanrhychwyn - Llansawel', A Topographical Dictionary of Wales (1849), pp. 85-98. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=47856
Taken from the Cornish Ancient Site....
This is a reconstructed barrow in a class of monuments called entrance graves or chambered tombs. It consists of a circular kerb of stones with an entrance; Brane barrow is similar.
Approximate Neolithic dating 3000-2500 bc and has a diameter of 4.95 m and a height of 1.5.m approximately. It was excavated in 1984, when a primary deposit in a pot was discovered, it also had, interestingly enough, turf and topsoil in the chamber - ritual deposits?
Entrance passage was deliberately positioned to face the midwinter solstice sunrise (same as Brane Barrow).
Again Nicholas Thomas....but he is good on description.
"Battlesbury is irregular in shape, its defences following the contours of the hill. Its triple ramparts, double on the S.E. enclose 23.1/2 acres. There are entrances with outworks N.E. and N.W, Pits found within the fortifications contained late I/A pottery, the hub of a chariot wheel, an iron carpenter's saw and a latch-lifter for a hut door. These indicate permanent occupation and a date in the 1st C. That its inhabitants came to a violent end is indicated by the discovery of many graves containing men, women and children outside the N.W. entrance...It is not known whether roman legions put people to the sword, or whether this was the result of inter-tribal warfare before the roman conquest".
A Guide to Prehistoric England.
According To Nicholas Thomas (A guide to Prehistoric England) Rhiannon..he says this about Scratchbury;
"This superbly placed hillfort, looking across at Battlebury Camp, encloses 37 acres within a bank and ditch with a counterscarp bank. Its irregular four-sided shape follows the contour of a steep hill. There are two entrances on the E side, and possibly a third on the N.W.. Remains of a much smaller inner earthwork of much smaller size can be seen. This resembles the earlier enclosure at Yarnbury and has recently been dated 250 b.c...He goes on to say that there is a romano-british or later ditch, running E/W, and turning S, sharply at the SW corner of the hill-fort overlies the I/A eartworks. Main ramp[art must have been built in the 1st C. BC"
The following extract taken from Paul Ashbee's "Barrows, Cairns and a few imposters" highlights an interesting longbarrow with a mortuary enclosure. There seemed to be no evidence of any timber remains under the barrow itself amongst the flints when it was excavated, but that 'the flints remained in a roughly ridged form'.
The collapse of the barrow on itself, timbers decaying over time, had forced out 'stacked long bones'; skulls were also found in an 'exploded' condition. The barrows length was 135 feet.
"What did barrows look like when first raised? At Fussell's Lodge long barrow, near Salisbury, the discovery of post-holes in a lengthy, trapezoidal structure showed that initially there had been a structure resembling a Neolithic long house of the type found widely on the Continent. Subsequent long barrow excavations showed that this formula was widely followed. These surrogate long houses contained deposits of human bone that were added to and subtracted from, for more than a millennium, and rites pertaining to ancestors and fertility were no doubt performed. Long barrows, the long houses of the dead, should be regarded as shrines rather than mausolea."
The 'long houses of the dead' are explored by Richard Bradley in his book 'The Significance of Monuments'.
Further to Rhiannon's notes, (reference later) Garn Turne is one of three megaliths clustered around the hamlet of Colston, and apparently seem to be the end of the monuments that delineate the Myndd Preseli group....
It is an enormous capstone Nash says, one of the largest in Britain(weighing more than 60 tons,) now collapsed.
It had a 'v' shaped forecourt similar to Pentre Ifan and Irish court tombs, facing north-east toward the large rocky outcrop. Apparently it has a large, pointed sandstone conglomerate block within the centre of the forecourt (think Pentre Ifan started with one singular stone).
It's 'hidden' or at least merges into the stony outcrop that surrounds it, a feature of a lot of the cromlechs round here, and of course the siting near to a distinctive outcrop; the 'gorsedd' maybe of Julian Cope fame...
ref; Neolithic Sites of Cards, Carms, and Pembs. by Geo.Children and Geo. Nash
The "Kyber Pass".. Close to Clifton Suspension Bridge, 3 promontories have been fortified by earthworks, these three camps are within 800 yards of each other. Apparently all were identical in design, which could point to them being contemporary. Dated to 300bc to 100 ad, some use in medieval period.
Stokeleigh Camp faces Borough Walls across a short valley. Two bank and ditches, with additional banks on the N.W, and also at the S.E. overlooking Nightingal Valley. Entrance close to S.W. corner, area enclosed about 6 acres. Taken from....
Guide To Prehistoric England - Nicholas Thomas
Reverend Skinner had a theory that the Wansdyke might have been extended in this direction.
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