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Avebury & the Marlborough Downs (Region) — Miscellaneous

I recently came across a collection of essays about Wiltshire by John Chandler called The Day Returns - Excursions in Wiltshire's History (published 1998). This one is from a previous publication called 'Life in the Bus Lane'. The bus in question no longer runs on the route described.

The Source of the Kennet
It is a crisp March Monday and we are sitting on a bus in Marlborough High Street facing the college, and waiting for 9.35. It is that time in the morning which is common to all small towns, when those who have to be there have arrived and are at work; those who don’t aren’t, or if they, they can still drift along the capacious street to find a parking space.
While we are waiting I should tell you one thing that any intending bus passenger must understand. Buses (and I mean the ordinary country buses which we all used before we bought cars) – buses like this do not take you from A to B. They take you from A to Z, via B, C and D, not to mention W, X, and Y. This bus may say it is going to Swindon, if we persevere with it and have plenty of time. But Swindon is merely a by-product of the journey.
Let’s face it. If anyone is desperate to go from Marlborough to Swindon and they have a car, they will be there in 15 minutes. This bus takes over an hour. And one reason for the discrepancy becomes apparent as soon as we set off. We are going the wrong way! Swindon is due north and we are heading west. We are, in fact, embarking on a trip to the source of the Kennet, and on the way we shall call on most of the sixteen villages which grew up alongside the meagre waters of its upper reaches.
First above Marlborough is Preshute, its church hiding beyond the trees of the college. But Preshute is really part of Marlborough. The first real upper Kennet village is Manton, and here we leave the main road to make acquaintance with the river itself. It is lively here, eager to resume its old job of splashing over the millwheel, a teeming artery of winter rain surging bankful among its meadows.
In front of us are some six miles of Kennet valley and seven more villages before we reach Avebury. We cross and re-cross the river to visit them all. This is the land of the sarsens, the alien stones, the Saracens. At Piggledene and Lockeridge Dene they masquerade as drab sheep and lie asleep in flocks. From West Kennet to Avebury they march along upright like soldiers. In the villages they have been tamed and squared to serve as walls - incomparable walls of mottled silver, pink, and greenish-grey. And in Fyfield churchyard lie the men of the Free family, who tamed them and squared them, and who died prematurely from their dust.
The bus climbs from Lockeridge to West Overton, and at the crest of the hill a fine view is revealed. In the foreground Overton church, dressed in sarsen, looks down on a field of village earthworks. To our left the view is to Tan Hill, the highest place in Wiltshire; to our right the barrows on Overton Hill mark the line of the Great Ridgeway. And between them, in the far distance, we glimpse the Lansdowne monument above Cherhill. The bus winds down into Overton, slowing for an old border collie who is sauntering deafly along the road.
Now to East Kennet, where I have often admired the sarsen garden walls. But only from upstairs on the bus is their secret revealed, that behind them is hidden a swimming pool. On sultry summer afternoons, I daydream, some bronzed bodies laze by the water, and reach discreetly for their towels when the double decker trundles by. But no time now for daydreaming. The Kennet’s proudest moment is about to be revealed. We are back on the main road and approaching Silbury Hill. After a wet February the river has collected every drop it can muster from its downland springs and streams, to form a silver moat around the hill. It is a spectacle purely for the locals which the Kennet never repeats for the summer tourist trade.
At Beckhampton Roundabout we must give up this self-indulgence, and do our duty at last and go to Swindon. The northward turn up to Avebury Trusloe is surprisingly hard work for a bus. I glance across to Adam and Eve, the two solitary sarsens behind the stables. But I am thinking of breakfast. I heard a man interviewed on the radio, a manufacturer I think, about marmalade. He was talking about customer’s preferences. “Thick cut marmalade”, he said, as if had just thought of it, “Is essentially a male preserve.”
Avebury’s present appearance owes a great deal to marmalade – far more than it owes to the National Trust. It was Scottish marmalade that enabled Alexander Keiller, heir to family business to indulge a passion for archaeological excavation, first in the twenties at Windmill Hill nearby, and then during the thirties in Avebury itself. He drew on his wealth to buy much of the village and as building within the circle became vacant he demolished them, displacing the villagers to new house at Avebury Trusloe. He excavated the ditch, re-erected the fallen stones, and established a museum which still exists. He died in 1955.
Beyond Avebury we settle into a different landscape. The bus is heading north now, so the Marlborough Downs are to our right. They have formed themselves into a steep escarpment which rises green to sky. Here and there ribbons of white climb the hill, remnants in sunless holloways of last week’s snow. Against the snow the grubby chalk horse on Hackpen is a miserable creature. To our left now there is no corresponding hillside, just undulating farmland which teeters to the edge of a second escarpment unseen from here, then suddenly down to the clay. Above Silbury the Kennet loses its vigour and has not the strength to form a valley. It has become seasonal, gratefully receiving whatever normally dry tributaries can offer, and flowing only after winter rain – a true winterbourne.

John Chandler ends his passage (which I haven't reproduced in its entirety) with a quote from Richard Jefferies’ book ‘The Story of my Heart’ and the observation “Such a man would never have understood a bus timetable.”

‘It is eternity now. I am in the midst of it. It is about me in the sunshine; I am in it, as the butterfly floats in the light laden air. Nothing has to come; it is now. Now is eternity; now is the immortal life …. For artificial purpose time is mutually agreed on, but there is really no such thing. The shadow goes on upon the dial. The index moves round upon the clock, and what is the difference, none whatever. If the clock had been never set going, what would have been the difference? There may be time for the clock, the clock may make time for itself: there is none for me' (Richard Jefferies)

Wiltshire — News

Bush Barrow dagger studs - gold analysis


https://www.wiltshiremuseum.org.uk/2019/11/18/bush-barrow-dagger-studs-gold-analysis/?fbclid=IwAR1GLNV8PO8NeavNneSH01aG5p1Ca9Zjtk1CCty2GNkhjtC_Ck4ee16n1eU

The results are now in! Did the Bronze Age gold, found in a burial close to Stonehenge, came from Britain, Ireland or Brittany.
Located close to Stonehenge, Bush Barrow is Britain's richest Bronze Age burial. The most remarkable discovery was a gold-studded dagger pommel, set with thousands of microscopic gold studs thinner than a human hair. Using a recently developed scientific technique, Dr Chris Standish of Southampton University, has identified the most likely source of the gold used to make this amazing object - answering a question that has puzzled archaeologists for decades?

Dr Standish has developed a metallurgical technique that analyses the proportions of different isotopes within the lead impurities in the gold. These proportions were compared with information about gold from known sources in Ireland, Cornwall, Wales and Brittany. A single gold stud was used for the analysis using X-ray Fluorescence - a non-destructive technique.
The blade of the Bush Barrow dagger is of a type found in both Brittany and Britain and gold-studded pommels have been found on both sides of the English Channel. Some archaeologists have thought that the dagger pommel was made in Brittany as more have been found in Brittany but the craft skills needed to make the dagger pommel are higher than used in any other goldwork in either Britain or France at this early date.

The dagger was buried with a Chieftain who died in about 1950BC at a time when Stonehenge was at the centre of an internationally important ceremonial landscape - the sarsen stone trilithons were erected in about 2,500BC and the bluestones from Wales were placed in their final positions at the site in about 1,600BC before Stonehenge finally went out of use in about 1,500BC.

Analysis undertaken 30 years ago of gold objects from burials in the Stonehenge landscape suggested that the gold used came from Ireland. Analysis by Dr Standish of gold objects found in Ireland has shown that many are made of gold from Cornwall (see this article in the Independent by David Keys) and gold from Cornwall was also used in the famous Nebra Sky Disk found in Germany and displayed at the State Museum of Prehistory in Halle (see this article about the analysis of the Sky Disk).

Alta Rock Art (Cup and Ring Marks / Rock Art) — Miscellaneous

Robert Macfarlane's excellent book 'Underland' has a chapter on Red Dancers. In the opening passages he talks about the rarity of northern latitude painted cave art but goes to makes specific mention of the astonishing concentration of work in Alta, northern Norway.
Quote:
"The main reason for this scarcity of painted art at higher latitudes is that much of this landscape was buried under glaciers until the end of the last Ice Age. 20,000 years ago, when the seventeen-foot long red aurochs was being painted in the Hall of the Bulls at Lascaux, in what is now the Dordogne, all of Scandinavia and most of Britain and Ireland was still glaciated. As the ice slowly retreated, it left behind a shattered landscape scoured of life. Northwards human colonization of this barren terrain happened only slowly.
Geology also has a role to play in the rarity of surviving northern-latitude painted cave art. Cave chambers form the most secure gallery sites for such art, and such chambers form most naturally in limestone: Lascaux, Chauvet, Altamira, - all of the most celebrated prehistoric art works were made in and on limestone. Limestone has the added curatorial power of often running a film of transparent calcium carbonate over wall paintings, which then sets and acts as a preservative varnish mitigating degradation of the pigments. Northern Europe is sparser in limestone than Spain and France, though, and richer in igneous and metamorphic rocks. Where caves or overhangs form in such rock types, they do so by the erosive forces of ice or sea water and as such tend to be shallower and rougher-sided. Their interiors lack the inviting canvasses of water-smoothed limestone. A jagged granite cavity does not offer the same pictorial possibilities as a limestone chamber pillared with stalactites. Artic-latitude prehistoric rock does exist in Europe, including the astonishing concentration of work at Alta in far northern Norway, where more than 6,000 images – predominantly petroglyphs – depicting reindeers, bears, humans, hunting scenes and the aurora borealis where made between c. 7,000 and 2,000 years ago on glacier-polished rock. But painted art – far more vulnerable to damage and weathering than incised imagery – is scant."

Carreg Coetan Arthur (Dolmen / Quoit / Cromlech) — Images (click to view fullsize)

<b>Carreg Coetan Arthur</b>Posted by tjj

Coetan Arthur (Chambered Tomb) — Images

<b>Coetan Arthur</b>Posted by tjj<b>Coetan Arthur</b>Posted by tjj

Pentre Ifan (Dolmen / Quoit / Cromlech) — Images

<b>Pentre Ifan</b>Posted by tjj<b>Pentre Ifan</b>Posted by tjj

West Kennet (Long Barrow) — News

"Extinction Rebellion" graffiti condemned


https://www.swindonadvertiser.co.uk/news/17723559.swindon-extinction-rebellion-condemn-logo-graffiti-on-west-kennet-long-barrow/?fbclid=IwAR3mtk5yO2QtQaa00czwA7-XDN3OEg4scOhryKd1NhSAoMKXF-Z-S675E9o

Recent graffiti depicting the Extinction Rebellion logo which has appeared in West Kennet Long Barrow has been condemned by the Swindon Branch of ER.

Torhousekie (Stone Circle) — Fieldnotes

Visited Saturday 18th May 2019: On a different sort of day, one of light and shadow perhaps, this would be a great site to visit. As it was we went there on a dull overcast day more or less filling in time until we went to catch our ferry to N.I. Having said that it was a planned visit. The previous evening we found Cairn Holy by accident and had an almost transcendental experience. I feared Torhouse would be an anti-climax but that is unfair.

Very easy to find from Wigtown, one of the friendly people in their little Saturday Market gave us clear directions. Near a road though suspect mainly farm traffic. Probably Bronze Age, this 'dumpy' stone circle is comprised of 19 outer stones, 3 central stones (the central one being smaller than the other two). There is a set of 3 stones in a nearby field on the other side of the road set on higher ground than the circle. The is also a single stone nearby. From the positioning of the central stones it is easy to imagine sun or moon alignments. The information board said the most likely one was midwinter sunrise. Also that these type of stone circles are most common in N.E. Scotland and Ireland. It suggested that Torhouse may represent movement of migrants or at least ideas.

On a non-archaeo note, this was the only place we heard a cuckoo on this trip.

Torhousekie (Stone Circle) — Images

<b>Torhousekie</b>Posted by tjj<b>Torhousekie</b>Posted by tjj<b>Torhousekie</b>Posted by tjj

Ossian's Grave (Court Tomb) — Fieldnotes

I must start this field note by acknowledging "Monu-mental About Prehistoric Antrim" by Tom Fourwinds
(ISBN: 9781845889210). The archaeology of Antrim seems is much harder to find than anywhere I've been before so this publication was invaluable.
Visited Monday 20/5/19:
A very good day, visited Glenariff in the Glens of Antrim in the morning.
The clouds cleared after lunch so headed for Cushendall in search of Ossian's Grave. We had identified it from the OS map where it is shown by name. No signposts but following the map we walked up a steep track where eventually we came to a small gate. Amazing views towards the strangely shaped Hill of Tievarah on the way up. The grave itself seemed to have been almost wilfully neglected and has fallen into disrepair. What is most stunning about this site is the views on clear day - especially towards the Hill of Tievarah.

Ossian's Grave (Court Tomb) — Images

<b>Ossian's Grave</b>Posted by tjj<b>Ossian's Grave</b>Posted by tjj<b>Ossian's Grave</b>Posted by tjj

Magheraboy (Passage Grave) — Fieldnotes

Tuesday 21/5/19: I loved this little tomb - perhaps because it reminded me of a smaller version of Devil's Den back home. It is mentioned on an information board at White Park Bay which can be seen as you walk uphill to this site. The information board calls it Druid's Altar and informs us that the bones of three epi-palaeolithic (post glacial hunter gathers) women were excavated there - thought to be aged 16, 20 and an adult.

The site is marked on the OSNI map though not named so the lane leading to it is easy enough to find. A rather magnificent view to be had down to White Park Bay. It took three attempts and a lot of determination to find this site. after the second attempt we asked a local horse rider if he knew of it, he didn't but made a quick phone call - confirmed it existed and gave us some basic directions. So we clambered uphill from the lane again - this time braving our way through the gorse bushes. There was some evidence of people having walked through the gorse before us. My companion fortunately is quite a bit taller than me so spotted the capstone just about at the same level as the gorse.

It was very satisfying indeed to find this site after being disappointed at the first two attempts.

Magheraboy (Passage Grave) — Images

<b>Magheraboy</b>Posted by tjj<b>Magheraboy</b>Posted by tjj<b>Magheraboy</b>Posted by tjj

Cairnholy (Chambered Cairn) — Fieldnotes

Friday 17/5/19: A rather pleasant early evening, after several gruelling hours on M6 we were heading towards Newton Stewart for an overnight stay before catching ferry to Northern Island. Spotted a brown heritage sign pointing towards Cairn Holy and pulled into a lovely woodland parking area. Started to walk the half mile uphill - the woodland was full of spring flowers, the birds were singing, we passed some cairn like stone in a field and a clear flowing spring. Then something happened - the earth tilted ever so slightly, the clouds parted and everything became infused with golden light. We rounded the curve in the lane not really knowing what to expect - before us stood a very fine neolithic chambered tomb, the grassy mound of which was covered in daisies.
The was a solitary man standing by the quite tall stones of the tomb. Initially we thought he was performing some sort of ritual but he was in fact doing some calculations. He came over and introduced himself as Joseph and it turned out he was very knowledgeable about Cairn Holy. He happily pointed out the various solar alignments for different times of the year. And that the low front stone appeared to mimic the distant Isle of Man. We left him for a bit and walked up to Cairn Holy II about 150 metres at a higher point up the lane. Another magnificent chambered tomb though slightly smaller than the first one. The notice board here mentioned spiral rock art so we went back to Joseph who showed one example of a very eroded spiral.
That evening this was one of the most peaceful places I have ever been to, as we reluctantly left to continue our journey it felt as if the ancient gods were smiling on us.

Cairnholy (Chambered Cairn) — Images

<b>Cairnholy</b>Posted by tjj<b>Cairnholy</b>Posted by tjj<b>Cairnholy</b>Posted by tjj<b>Cairnholy</b>Posted by tjj<b>Cairnholy</b>Posted by tjj<b>Cairnholy</b>Posted by tjj<b>Cairnholy</b>Posted by tjj

Eire — News

Sixty Bronze Age bodies found on land owned by former Taoiseach


https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/news/sixty-bodies-from-bronze-age-found-on-taoiseach-liam-cosgraves-former-land-37770727.html?fbclid=IwAR3IALIxE1XruFkHw4-BeQ3g_7d67fTdssUvkBGw2s38pQ2N3r7XW9FayQw

"The bodies of an estimated 60 people from the Bronze Age have been found during an archaeological dig on land in Templeogue where former Taoiseach Liam Cosgrave lived.
The land, which is earmarked for housing development, is also believed to have evidence of Iron Age occupation and a ring fort and is being looked on as a very significant historical find.
Last week Independent.ie reported how the excavations being carried out on the land were a mystery to locals since work began last October.
South Dublin County Council would not comment on the dig, and local councillors could not get answers to their questions on the project.
But sources have now revealed that the site, on the Scholarstown Road close to Knocklyon, is of major significance.
“It is believed this was a Bronze Age burial site, and that people from the Iron Age used the site as a shrine or place of some sort of place of gathering,” the source said.
Evidence of a ring fort was also uncovered by archaeologists, the source added.
The Bronze Age in Ireland lasted from about 2000BC to 500BC. The Iron Age followed, lasting until around 400AD.Former Fine Gael leader and Taoiseach Liam Cosgrave lived in a humble bungalow called Beech Park on the 16 acres of prime residential zoned land until his death in 2017 at the age of 97 .... "

Tilshead Lodge Longbarrow (Long Barrow) — Fieldnotes

Visited 25/1/19:
Walked over to this enormous barrow immediately after visiting the White Barrow. It looks rather unimpressive from a distance as is currently covered in metal chain-link. I learnt that the National Trust undertook badger exclusion work on White Barrow back in 1998 by covering the barrow with chain link so I imagine this is a similar exercise . There is a notice up warning visitors to stay off. Also 'no digging' symbols (I think) on posts around the barrow and nearby the Great Ditch.

Both Tilshead and White Barrows can be accessed from the layby near an army water tower just past the village of Tilshead.

Tilshead Lodge Longbarrow (Long Barrow) — Images

<b>Tilshead Lodge Longbarrow</b>Posted by tjj<b>Tilshead Lodge Longbarrow</b>Posted by tjj<b>Tilshead Lodge Longbarrow</b>Posted by tjj

White Barrow (Long Barrow) — Fieldnotes

Visited 25/1/19:
One of those rare January days that make you think of Spring. Set off from the lay-by just past Tilshead by army water tower. Lots of tracks criss-crossing the landscape, many of them tank tracks (take OS, track to White Barrow clearly marked).
The White Barrow was the first ancient monument to be purchased by the National Trust and has never been fully excavated. Pleased to see sign by the stile into the site enclosure forbidding metal detectorists (site monitored in collaboration with army).
In 1998 Badger Exclusion work took place after the NT obtained a badger exclusion licence. A family of seven badgers lured out of setts and relocated. The nearby Tilshead Barrow is now covered with chain link which is probably badger exclusion work too.
Finds from badger spoil include Neolithic and Bronze Age pottery, struck flints, and red deer antler.
The barrow is 77.5m long and 47m wide including ditch. Wild flowers and rare bees found there in summer.

White Barrow (Long Barrow) — Images

<b>White Barrow</b>Posted by tjj<b>White Barrow</b>Posted by tjj

Chauvet Cave (Cave / Rock Shelter) — Miscellaneous

Extract taken from a superb novel by Edward Docx 'Let Go My Hand'.

We can see nothing – absolutely nothing. So black is the darkness that I swear I can hear the shape of the walls, taste the taste stone, smell the water that has passed through from the Earth from above.
‘Now’, he says. ‘Now look with your eyes. Friends, look!’
Gradually, gradually, a light grows. Like a hallucination. Like a red shape behind our eyelids. So that we think we’re mad. Or reborn from the womb. But it widens and it spreads so that the opposite wall starts to shape itself, the light growing sharper and brighter, sharper and brighter. We see ochre hand prints; the human mark. We see strange red patterns and dots; human signs. We begin to see the outlines of animals – the beasts. The human mind, the human imagination, the human signature. And now the light starts flood the wall and we see that these animals crouch and creep and crawl this way and that all around us – lions, hyenas, panthers, cave bears. The light brightens still further. There is an owl daubed in white paint. We sense the finger that smeared the surface of the wall on that day thirty thousand years ago. There is rhino notched and scored in black. We see the artist has chosen a certain place on the wall where the shape of the rock serves his purposes. We see a heavy-haunched bison painted in sweeping flowing lines. We sense the human being standing back and admiring his artistry in a flicker of his torchlight. We see the curved flourish of the antlers of a reindeer. We see head after head of black-drawn horses, each on the other’s shoulder, as if caught in the instant of the herd’s fierce gallop, their black eyes somehow still alive.
We are silent. Dad’s voice is full of wonder: ‘I’ve wanted to see this all my life’, he says.
I get this feeling the opposite of sickness – the feeling that these paintings are being sucked inside me and that they will somehow live there for ever and ornament my soul.
‘This is it,’ Dad says. ‘The beginning’. His voice has the hushed tone of long yearning met – as though he has been trying to get to this moment ever since he was born. As though now that he apprehends the beginning, he might understand the ending. ‘This is the best we can know it, boys. The dawn of a distinctly human kind of consciousness.

Wiltshire — News

Hoards ... exhibition at Salisbury Museum


https://salisburymuseum.org.uk/whats-on/exhibitions/hoards-hidden-history-ancient-britain

In partnership with the British Museum
Hoards: a Hidden History of Ancient Britain.
Salisbury Museum - until Jan 5th 2019

"In partnership with the British Museum, this exhibition traces the story of hoarding from Bronze Age weapons discovered in the river Thames and the first Iron Age coin hoards, through to hoards buried after the collapse of Roman rule in Britain and in more recent times. It will showcase recent discoveries of hoards reported by finders and archaeologists through the Treasure Act and brings together objects from the British Museum and Salisbury Museum, including the spectacular Ipswich Iron Age gold torcs and new prehistoric and Roman finds from Wessex."

Why have ancient people placed precious objects underwater or in the ground? Were they accidentally lost or stolen, discarded as worthless, saved for recycling, hidden for safekeeping, or offered up to the gods? The archaeological evidence may point to different explanations for the burial of these hoards. Come and find out what careful study of these finds has revealed about the past."

- Saw this today, definitely worth a trip to the historic city of Salisbury.

See British Museum link below for other dates and venues later in 2019, including Ulster Museum, Buxton Museum, IoW and Peterborough.
https://www.britishmuseum.org/about_us/tours_and_loans/uk_loans_and_tours/current_tours_and_loans/hoards.aspx

The Longstone of Mottistone (Standing Stone / Menhir) — Fieldnotes

As this is the only remaining neolithic long barrow on the IoW it was a must to visit whilst spending a few days there earlier in the week. We accessed it by taking an uphill, woodland hollow-way track from the back entrance to the small old church (also worth a visit for the wildlife churchyard). Road on a blind bend so cross with care.

The now faded interpretation board told us it is 6,000 years old and that the stones had been moved from their original position by the end of the 1800s. The long barrow remained intact until the 1700s when it was disturbed by quarrying and later by excavations in 1850 and 1956.

The Longstone of Mottistone (Standing Stone / Menhir) — Images

<b>The Longstone of Mottistone</b>Posted by tjj<b>The Longstone of Mottistone</b>Posted by tjj

The Burren — News

Bear skull from Aillwee Cave over 10,000yrs old


https://www.rte.ie/news/2018/0704/976284-bear-skull/
"New analysis of the skull of a brown bear discovered in Aillwee Cave in Co Clare over four decades ago has found that it is more than 10,400 years old.
The study by researchers at IT Sligo also made the surprising finding that a collection of other bones found with the bear skull include those of a second bear dated to the late Neolithic period, 4,600 years ago.
The discovery was made using radiocarbon dating during the re-analysis of more than 450 bones originally collected from the cave system in Co Clare.
The Early Mesolithic or Stone Age bones were first found when the cave was being developed as a tourist attraction in 1976.
The research was led by Dr Marion Dowd, Lecturer in Prehistoric Archaeology at the Centre of Environmental Research Innovation and Sustainability (CERIS), at IT Sligo.

Eire — News

History of Ireland in 100 0bjects on postage stamps


http://100objects.ie/stamps/

An Post’s Ninth Definitive Stamp Series, A History of Ireland in 100 Objects, a selection, began life as an original series by Fintan O’Toole of The Irish Times. Over time, the stamp series will feature many of the objects from the fully illustrated hardback book of the series, A History of Ireland in 100 Objects. Starting with the issue of the first 12 stamps and continuing over five years to when the final stamps are issued, you’ll discover more and more about our island’s long history from c.5000BC to the early 21st century.

Leana (Cl. 68) (Wedge Tomb) — Fieldnotes

Visited 22/5/18: Having just visited Parknabinnia we spotted a small group of people at what appeared to be another wedge tomb on a high point on the other side of the narrow road. It was a beautiful morning so a pleasure to make our way slowly towards them looking at all the wild flowers (mostly orchids) on the way.

I think we were sort of hoping the group would have moved on by the time we reached the wedge tomb but they were engrossed in drawing and measuring the tomb. We could also see it was the same small group we had had a happy chance encounter with the previous day - an archaeologist named Ros and three American students. As with the day before, Ros was helpful and generous with the information he gave us - am very grateful, as our two encounters enhanced our own visits tremendously.

Leana (Cl. 68) (Wedge Tomb) — Images

<b>Leana (Cl. 68)</b>Posted by tjj

Parknabinnia (Cl. 67) (Wedge Tomb) — Fieldnotes

Visited 22/5/18: Following on from previous day when we had a happy chance encounter with Ros, an archaeologist, and his three archaeology students, who had told us about Parknabinnia wedge tomb we made our way out there this morning full of anticipation. Close to the village of Kilnaboy, what a wonderful site - easily accessed as well sign-posted near to the narrow road which is part of the Burren Way. The wedge tomb is still in reasonable condition and set inside a stony circular area.
We could see some people on the other side of the road at what appeared to be another wedge tomb on a high point. We slowly made our way towards them taking in the wonderful displays of wild orchids on the way. The people turned out to be Ros and his students again. Ros generously spent some time talking to us telling us where we might find other wedge tombs further back in the fields behind Parknabinnia around a large area of hazel scrub.

We thanked him for his help, went off to examine another collapsed wedge tomb before going back to Parknabinnia. The field behind Parknabinnia turned out to be a bit hazardous as the spongy moss concealed not just limestones but lots of holes too. Although the OS map shows many red dots representing megalithic tombs we decided we wouldn't risk twisting an ankle (or worse) and were unsuccessful in finding any more.

Parknabinnia (Cl. 67) (Wedge Tomb) — Images

<b>Parknabinnia (Cl. 67)</b>Posted by tjj<b>Parknabinnia (Cl. 67)</b>Posted by tjj

Teergonean (Court Tomb) — Fieldnotes

Visited Monday 21/5/18: A perfect antidote to the Cliffs of Moher - not that they are anything but breathtaking and spectacular. Dispiriting in the same way visiting Stonehenge is - pay at the carpark for the 'Cliffs of Moher Experience', Visitor's Centre and shops built into the hillside, limestone paved walkways ... and hundreds of people.

To find Teergonean Court Tomb we headed to the seaside village of Doolin and eventually found the right road out towards the sea (road signposted to Roadford House restaurant). Drove along this narrow road until it stopped and then climbed over a small stone stile. In front of us lay limestone slabs, lots of gorse and to our delight quite a few bloody crane'sbill (a lovely deep pink flower, common throughout the Burren but not commonly found elsewhere). We spotted a small group of people by the court tomb and headed towards them. They turned out to be a friendly, knowledgeable archaeologist and three American's doing a course in archaeology. The archaeologist was explaining to them the court tomb was probably of great significance because it was at a crossing point to the Aran Islands. He seemed happy for us to join in and ask questions and went on to tell us about the wedge tombs at Parknabinnia near Kilnaboy.
This encounter made cheered me up no end as felt the Burren was now starting to give up its secrets. Tomorrow Parknabinnia.
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Passionate about:
Nature; stone circles and all ancient sites that involve walking through unspoilt countryside/being near the sea; islands around the the British Isles, especially those with ancient monuments.

My TMA Content: