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

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Bathampton and Claverton Downs (Standing Stones) — Fieldnotes

The standing stones on the north face of the down facing Sols Hill were reputedly accompanied by a stone avenue. Some stones remain in a rough square formation but their origin/purpose is unknown. Nearby are Romano British field sytems. The site has been so disrupted by Roman/Medieval/C18th quarrying etc it's difficult to make any sense of it.

I understand the 'caves' were actually created through mining and are now railed off to protect bat populations. Apparently a modern hermit used to live in one of them (just south of the tv mast) and collect cameras from the local camera shops in the city. When he died many were recovered from his cave - probably the most recent ritual activity to take place here...

Bronze Age burial mounds on either side of the summit imply that the hillside was clear of forest in antiquity.

Walk down Sham Castle Lane and you can here water from the springs coursing under the ground. This lane was the route taken to transport stone from the quarry for the building of Roman Bath. When you come to a crossroads you're on the site where the stone carving of the 3 Sulevae (3 mothers) was discovered - Romano British but maybe marking an ancient shrine to Sul?

Towards Claverton Down there was a field with more standing stones that were unf cleared by a farmer in the last century, before NT acquired the site.

The present stones on C Down were put up for a race course in C18th and by the present day pony club. In the C19th a large oval enclosure thought to be Bronze Age was also discovered, now marked by a very faint rampart.

Stantonbury (Hillfort) — Fieldnotes

I parked at Stanton Prior and approached the hillfort on a blazing August day. The pathway form the hamlet to the top of the hill is not signed (surprised?) but you can make out the pathway through the middle of a large cornfield. I was amazed to see a hare pop out from a hedge and scarper into the bushes ahead, was this some sort of Boudiccan omen i wondered... Just continue through another field after this and bear right to find the pathway disappearing into the trees that surround the hilltop. The top of the hill is cultivated and would have commanded extensive views on both sides of the ridgeway. unf the view is now screened by the woodland that surrounds it creating a peaceful if not desolate spot. It's worth a trek to anyone who would like to see what Solsbury Hill might look like if it had not been kept up by the National Trust.

Its hard not to think of the nearby conical Winsbury Hill as being a religious focus for the people who used the fort. I once spoke to local archaelogist Bob Whittacker about Winsbury, apparently it was excavated but was found to be clear of any prehistoric archaeology. The fort and nearby Winsbury hill are prominant features on the Bath skyline, it would be interesting to know what relationship if any they had to Solsbury and the springs of Sul.
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