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Long Meg & Her Daughters

Stone Circle


Long Meg geophysics survey discovers possible missing twin.

Front page news from The Cumberland & Westmorland Herald 24/03/07

Unlocking Mysteries of Ancient Stone Circle

An Eden student is leading the way in unlocking the mysteries of a 'forgotten' ancient stone circle, Long Meg and her Daughters, near Little Salkeld.

Sarah Potter, of Yanwath, who is in the third year of a degree in archaeology at the University of Manchester, carried out the first complete geophysics survey of the stone circle over a three day period last week.

Long Meg is the third largest stone circle in Britain, following Avebury outer stone circle and Stanton Drew, in Somerset. The circle consists of 68 stones, of which 27 are still standing, and an outlier stone called Long Meg.

After being granted permission by English Heritage, Sarah used modern resistivity equipment to conduct the field work which will form the basis of a 12,000 word dissertation. Her findings will also be published in an archaeological journal next year. The Long Meg pillar, which is made of local red sandstone, is believed to have come from the source of the nearby River Eden, and all of the other stones are glacial erratics. Four of the stones are made of quartz, also known as crystal stones.

"There has never been any excavational work done on the site," said Sarah. "It seems to have been forgotten about. There is not enough money in Cumbria for excavational work other than rescue excavation."

But, she said, now there were some good results which would point experts in the right direction as to where to look for further clues. An excavation would enable a date to be pinpointed for the stone circle. At present it is believed that the stones were collected and erected during the Neolithic period (4000-2250 BC) – when the introduction of farming and the domestication of animals began.

The resistivity equipment which she used sends a current of electricity into the ground to receive back different readings. Dry areas, such as stone, send a different reading to moist ditch deposits.

Sarah, the daughter of Helen and Malcolm Potter, was helped by her friend, Leon Williams, from Cork, Southern Ireland, to carry out the work. She said ground conditions were perfect. "I now believe that Long Meg is no longer an outlier stone, but in fact was one of a pair of stones which flanked the entrance to the circle," said Sarah, who is a former Ullswater Community College and Clifton Primary School pupil.

Another interesting finding which Sarah made is that there might have been a large bank which encircled the stones. Other anomalies were also found under the ground which only excavational work will be able to fully explain.

"I want to raise awareness of the vast Cumbrian prehistoric landscape which is unique to England and is comparable to the area around Stonehenge," said Sarah
Creyr Posted by Creyr
3rd April 2007ce

Comments (8)

I too am interested in our distant Cumbrian history. Is it known where the stones in Meg's circle originated?. Would "Time Team" be allowed to take a look, if they could be persuaded. Posted by sol
3rd March 2008ce
Great to see more input into the investigation of these circles.
Recommend people check out the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society Transactions 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2005 for more information on Long Meg, Castlerigg and Swinside stone circles.
Posted by Taliesin
8th January 2010ce
I'd be very interested to know if the results of the geophysics survey were ever made available. I have searched to no avail. Posted by zaphod north
20th May 2010ce
Last night I was at a talk given by Robert Farrah author of "A Guide to the Stone Circles of Cumbria"
He showed some images of the long meg geophys. Very interesting. I dont think they are widely available, so to see them you would have to contact him or Sarah Potter directly.
Creyr Posted by Creyr
30th September 2010ce
More geofizz and 3D imaging going on at Long Meg currently - keep an eye on this site
for reports...
Creyr Posted by Creyr
20th March 2013ce
I'm interested in the no money aspect to excavate these sites. Am I to understand if the monies could be found, that excavations would be allowed? Posted by timlaz
6th April 2014ce
file:///C:/Users/Timlaz/Documents/Archaeology/Altogether%20archaeology/AA%202014%20outline%20programme.pdf Posted by timlaz
15th August 2014ce

18-26th October. LONG MEG STONE CIRCLE.
Following our comprehensive topographic and geophysical survey project last year, we intend to
return to Long Meg to undertake a small-scale excavation in partnership with Durham University.
This has been programmed for autumn as the cattle that graze the site during the summer will be
back indoors from mid-October. This enigmatic and exceptionally important scheduled ancient
monument has never previously been excavated; the proposed AA project has the potential to tell
us much about Neolithic life not just in this part of the Eden Valley, but throughout northern
England. Potentially one of the most exciting tasks yet attempted by the AA project!

Posted by timlaz
15th August 2014ce
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