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

Get the TMA Images feed
Vicster's Latest Posts

Latest Posts
Previous 50 | Showing 51-100 of 388 posts. Most recent first | Next 50

East Bennan (Chambered Cairn) — Images (click to view fullsize)

<b>East Bennan</b>Posted by Vicster

East Bennan (Chambered Cairn) — Fieldnotes

What a corker! I suppose it helped that the weather was stunning and the views across the water to Ailsa Craig were remarkable but this is also a real treat of a site. We spent a good deal of time wandering around and trying to guess how this would've once looked - it is an impressive size and the remains are much more intact than at Torrylin.

We also got to witness one of nature's most remarkable sights - that of 2 hares, boxing in the sun, a mere 20m away from us.....

Easy-ish to get to, although we missed the initial turning a couple of times and we parked by the driveway to what appears to be a holiday cottage.

Giants' Graves (Chambered Cairn) — Images

<b>Giants' Graves</b>Posted by Vicster<b>Giants' Graves</b>Posted by Vicster<b>Giants' Graves</b>Posted by Vicster<b>Giants' Graves</b>Posted by Vicster

Sannox (Standing Stone / Menhir) — Images

<b>Sannox</b>Posted by Vicster

Sannox (Standing Stone / Menhir) — Fieldnotes

I feel that this stone deserves it's own entry. Yep, it is similar in style and size to the stone at Dundarragh Cottage and they may well be linked (possibly moved from their original position?) but it is still a good 5 mins walk from one to the other!

This stone stands in a field next to the golf club. From the Dundarragh stone, turn right up the hill and past the golf club entrance. The stone is in the next field on the left, by a big, white house.

Another lovely stone......I like to think there is some connection between the 2.

Lots of hares bouncing around in the field and a cheeky red squirrel followed me, popping up every now and then, as I walked along the road! Lovely.

Mid Sannox (Standing Stones) — Fieldnotes

Driving north out of Sannox, you pass the old Sannox Congregational church on a right hand bend - turn into this small track and park by the old (and now closed) church.

Standing proudly in the gardens of Dundarragh Cottage at Sannox, this stone is a beaut. As the cottage is a holiday home and was unoccupied, we had a cheeky wander round. The stone which stands across the road (up past the golf club) is very similar - but some distance - so it is possible that one or both may have been moved? Or maybe they aren't linked? Who knows?

Giants' Graves (Chambered Cairn) — Fieldnotes

Firstly, I have to agree with others that this is a fairly steep climb but Vicky had assured me that it would be pleasant enough, walking up through the forested path; it was mid afternoon and starting to get quite warm. So off we went - only to find that ALL of the trees have been cut down!
On one hand, this was great news as the views were fabulous but on the other - not so great when you are huffing and puffing up a hill with NO shade in the blazing sun!
But......when you get to the site, it is more than worth the clamminess. The views from here across to Holy Island and across Arran are just spectacular.
I like the fact that you have to work to get here. Not really for casual observer, we had the place to ourselves and marvelled at the magnificence of this site.

Lower Heysham - Heysham Head (Natural Rock Feature) — Miscellaneous

Described as a "potentially important Mesolithic site" in The Archaeology of Lancashire (1996) it is agreed that further excavation of the area is needed to fully understand the significance of the finds so far discovered.

Lower Heysham - Heysham Head (Natural Rock Feature) — Images

<b>Lower Heysham - Heysham Head</b>Posted by Vicster<b>Lower Heysham - Heysham Head</b>Posted by Vicster<b>Lower Heysham - Heysham Head</b>Posted by Vicster

Lower Heysham - Heysham Head (Natural Rock Feature) — Fieldnotes

OK, I know that this general site was removed some time ago, but I think that was because of the copious notes and pictures of the Anglo-Saxon stone-cut graves. The reason I would like to re-instate this site is for the Mesolithic evidence that has been found here, which points towards it having been a temporary camp at some point. Surface flintwork has been excavated and these amazing rocks, complete with small caves and natural cup marks only add to the general sense that something was definitely a-foot around these parts during the middle-late Mesolithic.

To access the rocks, head towards The Barrows in Heysham Village but then turn into what looks like a "walled-garden" behind the vicarage. This is a wonderful, overgrown site, with quite a magical feel. Or, you can sit in the beer garden of The Royal and look up at this, in all it's glory!

I remember someone referring to these (on the old fieldnotes) as a mini-Rowter Rocks and if you get the chance to come and see them I think you will agree!

Culsh Souterrain — Fieldnotes

We didn't have a definite plan for today's itinerary, although I was keen to see Culsh Souterrain. As we headed off, we were once again astounded by the weather which was already hot and sunny. Culsh was my first (and, so far, only) souterrain so I was quite excited as we pulled up in a very small lay-by. The entrance gives no indication as to what lies within and we got our torches out, ready for a bit of investigation. Unfortunately for Vicky, who isn't best suited to dark, damp places the experience wasn't too pleasant, and she decided to give it a miss so I headed in alone, struggling to make sense of what I was (barely) seeing in the torch-light. I loved the red granite stone, which was easy to make out with the little light I had and I was pleased to have read before-hand about the cup marked stone in the entrance, otherwise I am sure I would've missed it!

Culsh Souterrain — Images

<b>Culsh Souterrain</b>Posted by Vicster<b>Culsh Souterrain</b>Posted by Vicster

Midmar Kirk (Stone Circle) — Images

<b>Midmar Kirk</b>Posted by Vicster

Midmar Kirk (Stone Circle) — Fieldnotes

When I first started dragging Mark around the country in search of stones, one of the first places we visited was Rudston Monolith; a site that took my breath away with the huge phallic stone stood alongside the wee church. Here at Midmar I again felt that thrill of seeing the ancient with the relatively new, side by side and seemingly in some kind of harmony. The grave stones are a little too close but this didn't seem too intrusive to me. I just marvel at the fact that any of this site remains.

Sunhoney (Stone Circle) — Images

<b>Sunhoney</b>Posted by Vicster

Sunhoney (Stone Circle) — Fieldnotes

From East Aquhorthies we planned to visit the most evocatively named stone circle and one we were both itching to see – Sunhoney. The name just drips from your tongue and conjures up golden images (well, it does to me) so I was almost gearing myself up to be disappointed; had I based too much on the coincidence of a lovely name? Well, the answer if very definitely "no". We parked by the rather broken down farm building with the "Stone Circle" sign and set off walking. We were really lucky with the weather, as it was warm and the skies remained blue and bright. The approach to the circle is lovely alongside lush fields, full of tweeting and twittering birds. Then we came upon the site – set amongst the most beautiful ring of trees with foxgloves and wild grasses bobbing gently in the breeze. After the manicured surrounds of East Aquhorthies and Loanhead of Daviot, this was as absolute treat. Vicky was beside herself, taking picture after picture of the cup-marked recumbent and I just pottered around the site, feeling slightly drunk with the whole place, in the late afternoon warmth. The surround of tress make it difficult to place this most wondrous of sites within the landscape but certainly add to the amazing atmosphere of the place.

Broomend of Crichie (Circle henge) — Images

<b>Broomend of Crichie</b>Posted by Vicster

Broomend of Crichie (Circle henge) — Fieldnotes

What, on first appearance, seems to be a grim and desolate spot, behind the petrol station and surrounded by industrial units, becomes a revelation upon closer inspection. There was still enough of this site left to make it utterly charming, if in need of a little TLC. We wandered around for much longer than we had anticipated and (as usual) talked a lot of drivel, wondering and the whys and wherefores of it all. Definitely worth the diversion and a site that sticks in my memory.

Easter Aquhorthies (Stone Circle) — Images

<b>Easter Aquhorthies</b>Posted by Vicster<b>Easter Aquhorthies</b>Posted by Vicster

Easter Aquhorthies (Stone Circle) — Fieldnotes

We arived at the carpark and it was still blazing sunshine and blue skies. The walk up the circle is just lovely, and we mused on the joys of living in such a lush and wonderful place, and did some very amatuer birdspotting! Upon arrival, we were both stopped in our tracks by the colours before us. The stones were just shimmering and the different shades of red were breathtaking.

We spent a long time here, we just could not bring ourselves to leave. We lay on the grass in silence, wandered round gabbling away and gazed at Bennachie in the distance, just blown away by it. I had wanted to come here for such a long time but had also been wary of the fact it is such a showsite, with all that implies;I was worried it would be too clinical but - oh my - this place was just magnificent.

Loanhead of Daviot (Stone Circle) — Fieldnotes

This site was relatively easy to find, being well-signed from the road. Lots of parking and a pleasant enough wall through a wee wooded area before emerging into bright sunshine and the realisation that it was school-trip day! The whole site was swarming with Aberdeenshire school-children who appeared to be undertaking some kind of mathematical experiment!

As this was the one site I had been least excited by the prospect of visiting, it wasn't too much of a downer and I quite liked the fact that they were engaging with their heritage. It did make getting decent pictures a bit of a 'mare though!

The situation is fabulous, with amazing views over the verdant countryside but, like others here, the reconstruction of this site made this a hard one to get too giddy about.

Browne's Hill (Portal Tomb) — Images

<b>Browne's Hill</b>Posted by Vicster

Skara Brae (Ancient Village / Settlement / Misc. Earthwork) — Images

<b>Skara Brae</b>Posted by Vicster

The Fairy Knowe (Chambered Cairn) — Images

<b>The Fairy Knowe</b>Posted by Vicster<b>The Fairy Knowe</b>Posted by Vicster

The Fairy Knowe (Chambered Cairn) — Fieldnotes

A short but steep-ish walk up the hill and we were there; then there was the obligatory crawl through the passage into PITCH BLACKNESS. We had a couple of torches but there was no real sense of the size of the place until we managed to get all 9 of us in there! There was lots of hilarity as we tried to work out what was there and I used my camera flash to illuminate the whole chamber a couple of times but this felt like the real thing.....discovering little side chambers and squeezing inside with just a pin prick of light from the torch was just incredible. Even better than Unstan which, with its helpful glass skylight at least allows you some perspective, Cuween leaves it up to you to find your bearings and create your own light. All 9 of us trying to talk at once, someone suddenly saying "oooh, there's a wee chamber here, give me some light" and constantly bumping into one another, I am not sure we gave this tomb the respect it deserved but we had a fabulous time and we all agreed that Cuween was the unexpected highlight of the trip. Emerging back out into the most beautiful, bright sunshine with 9 sets of muddy knees and bums, Alan pointed out places where other excavations had taken place and we pin-pointed the cairn on Wideford Hill opposite.

Skara Brae (Ancient Village / Settlement / Misc. Earthwork) — Fieldnotes

I feel like a bit of an old grump saying this but Skara Brae left me feeling a bit disappointed. My favourite part of it was the re-constructed house, which has been built with care and attention and you are allowed to go in and have a wee play.....but the site itself? I think I have just read too many books and seen too many programmes about it but it just didn't have the expected "wow" feeling. I know that Jane and Hob both suggested going after hours, which would probably have helped, but the officious little signs everywhere and the HS woman having a hissy fit because one of us dared to lean over a bit of grass (grass, for gawd's sake!) to get a photo just felt really rubbish. I only hung around for a few minutes then headed back up to the visitor centre to read a bit of George Mackay Brown and have a cuppa. Isn't that awful? This is such an amazing site that I should have been awestruck but I was more impressed with Barnhouse – it isn't the site itself but the way it is managed and I think I probably expected too much. I have since told myself off for being such a grumpy bugger and wish I had been a bit more interested in it all but it just didn't grab me on the day. Bah - and indeed - humbug.

Ring of Brodgar (Circle henge) — Fieldnotes

So, what to say about the Ring of Brodgar? It completely and utterly blew me away. I know, I know, I have said that sooooooo many time before but I could happily have stayed at this site all day. Other sites, that I have longed to see and then made the pilgrimage to, have sometimes had an anti-climatic feeling about them, but not here. As I approached the circle, I decided to take a slight detour and instead of heading straight to the stones, I turned away and walked towards the striking mound of Salt Knowe. I think I was just too overcome by the enormity of Brodgar and felt like I needed to get a different perspective of the stones and I am so glad I did. The view from here was just fabulous; looking towards the circle, you could really see the lie of the land and how the stones sit in the landscape. I finally headed towards the stones, skirting around them and then decided I still needed a different view, so headed straight towards the Comet Stone so see how the site looked from here. Again, a completely different perspective and from here you can see the whole circle against the horizon whereas from Salt Knowe you see the site within the landscape. The stones themselves are mighty beasts and almost too numerous to comprehend. Bloody hell, it is just awe-inspiring - this is a site that I need to return to and (hopefully) soon.

Broch of Gurness — Fieldnotes

Brochs are not my strong point, having only ever visited Carlway on Lewis previously, but Gurness was something to behold. The sheer amount of archaeological remains were stunning; evidence of buildings left, right and centre! I could see how the whole village worked, with the defensive structure (with possible kennels at the front doors!) surrounded by what appear to be domestic houses. Looking across the Eynhallow Sound to Rousay from Gurness, to the site of other brochs (and the location on Mid Howe) gave a real sense of perspective and we spent a good couple of hours mooching round the site. On the beach, Vicky even braved the elements and went for a paddle and we found what appeared to be cup marks in the natural stone shelves.

Salt Knowe (Round Barrow(s)) — Images

<b>Salt Knowe</b>Posted by Vicster<b>Salt Knowe</b>Posted by Vicster

Unstan (Cairn(s)) — Images

<b>Unstan</b>Posted by Vicster

The Standing Stones of Stenness (Circle henge) — Images

<b>The Standing Stones of Stenness</b>Posted by Vicster

Unstan (Cairn(s)) — Images

<b>Unstan</b>Posted by Vicster

Unstan (Cairn(s)) — Fieldnotes

When we reached Unstan the wind was really picking up a pace and standing on top of the mound was a feat in itself but the views back across the loch were stunning.

We dutifully crawled in to the passage and into the chamber, torches lighting the way. After the pomp and ceremony of visiting the "big" sites we had all dreamed of, Unstan was breathtaking and stole the show for me. This is how I like to see archaeology; on my knees with a torch in my hand and a slightly hysterical sensation coursing through my body! We all got a bit giddy again and kept bumping into each other and talking over each other – 9 of us crammed into the central chamber, just awe-struck by it all. The almost luminous green of the algae reminded me of the covered cairns at Cairnpapple. This was definitely my favourite site of the day.

Barnhouse Settlement (Ancient Village / Settlement / Misc. Earthwork) — Fieldnotes

Whilst we were "ooohing" and "aaaahhing" at the wonder of it all at Stenness, Alan had wandered off towards the Barnhouse site. For him, this was an incredibly personal journey, returning to Orkney for the first time since he worked on the excavations at Barnhouse in the late 1980s. Again, I was almost dumb-founded by the archaeological remains of this site; where else can you see such outstanding remains of what was clearly a domestic location, situated so close to monuments such as Stenness and Brodgar? One of the things that has always frustrated me when I have visited sites across the UK and Ireland is "where the bloody hell did they live?" Barnhouse goes some way to easing that frustration and gives an insight into the domestic lives of these monument builders. To me, this is as important and revealing a site as Skara Brae and yet we had the place to ourselves. No tourist buses, no visitor centre and no guides telling us what we can and can't do. Alan explained that the Loch had not existed during the Neolithic period and there was likely to be more archaeological remains under the water. We wandered around, stumbling upon large stones in the landscape and raised mounds, wondering at what it all meant. Fascinating.

The Standing Stones of Stenness (Circle henge) — Fieldnotes

It was a typical Orkney day in-so-much as the weather changed constantly and the wind was howling. Living where I do, I am used to REALLY windy weather but still found it exhilarating and was just amazed by how big the sky was. The flatness of the landscape and the ferocity of the wind was just fabulous. When we got to the stones, we were giddy with the sheer beauty of it all and ran round like a group of school children at playtime! Again, these are stones I have seen many times on TV and read about, so finally seeing them up close and personal was just amazing. I knew all about how slender some of the stones are; we have all seen pictures where they look like they are made out of balsa wood and are about to break in two, but was I was not aware of was how beautifully patterned the actual stone was. What must this have looked like when it was a complete circle, with 12 stones standing proud, instead of just the four that remain?

Maeshowe (Chambered Tomb) — Fieldnotes

I was surprised that we had to book in advance as it was hardly tourist season, but we dutifully turned up at 2.45pm and all got slightly hysterical! This was our first real site and there were 9 rather excitable amateur archaeologists just itching to get inside! The first disappointment was the "no photography" warning. Why do they do this? Is it so you will buy the guidebook at the end, so you can have pictures of the place? Grrr. It always really annoys me (having said that, the Historic Scotland "Maes Howe and the heart of Neolithic Orkney" guide book is rather good!)

Anyhoo, the 9 of us and 3 other visitors dutifully filed in and the first thing that struck me was how small it was! I have seen Maes Howe on TV many times and it always seemed so much bigger. When you see in on The Modern Antiquarian, it looks positively roomy - and Julian Cope isn't exactly small, is he? - but once in there with 12 other people, the place seemed really compact. The guide spent a lot of time talking about the inscriptions and less time about how and why it was built but it was generally an interesting visit. There was some discussion as to whether the internal stones had been part of a stone circle- or possible 4 Poster - and the burial mound built around it at some later date, which was thought-provoking and set us amateur archaeos off on one of our rambling debates (more of which to come later!).

Maes Howe is spectacular and interesting and worthy of more than a 20 minute tour - I just really wish they would let you have some time in these places to really get a feel for them. Lord only knows what it is like in high season when the tourist coaches are pulling in, one after the other but at least we had a fairly small group and no one else queuing to get in behind us.

Skara Brae (Ancient Village / Settlement / Misc. Earthwork) — Images

<b>Skara Brae</b>Posted by Vicster

Ring of Brodgar (Circle henge) — Images

<b>Ring of Brodgar</b>Posted by Vicster

Wideford Hill (Chambered Cairn) — Images

<b>Wideford Hill</b>Posted by Vicster


Unique Bronze Age cist burial uncovered in Perthshire

My friend Vicky was one of the lucky b*ggers who was there on the day this was uncovered. If you are in the area on 16th August, there is an open day - go and have a look and make me feel even more envious! It sounds absolutely magnificent.

Wicker Street (Cairn(s)) — Fieldnotes

Evidence of Bronze Age field systems can still be seen on this moor, although it took the trained eye of an archaeologist to point them out to me! Together with the cairns, circle and various tumuli this whole place makes for an interesting visit.
Previous 50 | Showing 51-100 of 388 posts. Most recent first | Next 50
A recent move to a bizarre coastal village which gets cut off by the tide twice daily has meant my stone-hunting has become less frequent and also necessitated us selling the VW campervan (boo!) but.....I am still attempting to discover everything within my natural hunting grounds (N Lancs/Cumbria) and I keep being drawn further north to Scotland.......a recent trip to Aberdeenshire has helped develop a healthy obsession with RSCs!

My TMA Content: