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


Long Barrow


Paul Ashbee has expressed doubts over the length of the monument as it stands - the kerbstones could have been pulled together to free up more field space to the West. With that in mind, I walked the field today, and must say the distribution of stone chips and flint is more pronounced in a line between the kerbstones outside the fence. Following suggestions and after studying plans of the site I was able to look more closely at the slighting caused by removal of the end of the chamber and the capstone[s], and to recreate the site as was in my mind. The chamber ends are uneven, which with square slabs, is an anomaly - they are over 6" out of line, suggesting there were more stones and a longer chamber. The stones are there, identifiable as squarish slabs, at the foot of the slope. [But as Mr Ashbee says, they could have been brought from elsewhere!]

This makes the chamber at least another 7' long - evidenced by the amount of deposits found in the spoil on the eastern slope - and, with a facade [there were two standing stones on the lower ground level in the right alignment to complete the edging on the north east corner, one still stands, the other is beneath the hedge] and, therefore, two levels of building - the facade being at least 12' lower than the side kerbs.

Extending the chamber creates its own problem. The chamber would still be considerably higher than the ground level, and wet chalk to climb up does not makes sense with a monument aligned ESE [ie, winter solstice sunrise]. Therefore, at some stage, there would need to be steps to get to the high chamber. Of course, the chamber itself could have been on two levels, the 'front' chamber stones being 15' tall to match the height of the rear stones when planted and buried in the soil.

Unfortunately the whole monument has been attacked at least twice over the years, with religious fervour responsible in the 13th C, and the demand for chalk [of all things] making the eastern and northern banks into a small quarry 300 years later. This has led to stones being buried or removed [though not so many as elsewhere] and unearthed, to be arbitrarily placed along the kerb. Some of the kerbstones look like they could have been a capstone, dragged back across the chamber rather than risking injury by tipping it off the edge. Thankfully, its isolated position in the landscape and its inaccessibility due to it being surrounded by springs and therefore mud, has protected it from being noticed for many years. Once overthrown and overgrown, nobody would know what was there.
slumpystones Posted by slumpystones
24th March 2007ce
Edited 24th March 2007ce

Comments (0)

You must be logged in to add a comment