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

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Ty Newydd (Standing Stone / Menhir) — Images (click to view fullsize)

<b>Ty Newydd</b>Posted by tuesday<b>Ty Newydd</b>Posted by tuesday

Ty Newydd (Standing Stone / Menhir) — Fieldnotes

Set within small cairn (3m in diameter and 0.3m high) this beautiful massive stone stands quietly under trees keeping itself (and its secrets) to its self. It is marked on no maps

2.6m(h),3.2m(w), 0.7m(d)

Crugiau Merched (Cairn(s)) — Images

<b>Crugiau Merched</b>Posted by tuesday<b>Crugiau Merched</b>Posted by tuesday<b>Crugiau Merched</b>Posted by tuesday

Maen Hir (Standing Stone / Menhir) — Images

<b>Maen Hir</b>Posted by tuesday

Crugiau Merched (Cairn(s)) — Images

<b>Crugiau Merched</b>Posted by tuesday

Crugiau Merched (Cairn(s)) — Fieldnotes

Two large cairns set 100m part sited on natural rises on a ridge at the highest point of Mynydd Mallaen (459m). Both are highly visible from the south. Cairn A (the western) is mainly intact apart from channel cut through it for observation by the OS. Cairn B (the eastern) was excavated 'without profit' in 1930 and is now occassionally used as a sheep shelter.

These are two strange sisters indeed. Perched spookily above a natural ampitheatre, with Maen Bach and Maen Hir, they form a mysterious prehistoric complex high on this lonely plateau.

Note: The cairns are further than they seem if you are walking from the standing stones. Follow the faint track - the direct route is boggy with hidden dips.

A 25m(diameter), 3.0m(h)
B 25m(diameter), 4.0m(h)

Maen Bach (Standing Stone / Menhir) — Images

<b>Maen Bach</b>Posted by tuesday

Maen Hir (Standing Stone / Menhir) — Images

<b>Maen Hir</b>Posted by tuesday

Maen Hir (Standing Stone / Menhir) — Fieldnotes

Another isolated, splintered slate slab surmounting a small cairn of packing stones on the mountain. It is intervisible with Maen Bach and the Crugiau Merched cairns and is the most prominent of this ritual complex.

1.4m(h), 0.3m(w),0.4mm(d)

Maen Bach (Standing Stone / Menhir) — Images

<b>Maen Bach</b>Posted by tuesday<b>Maen Bach</b>Posted by tuesday

Maen Bach (Standing Stone / Menhir) — Fieldnotes

This is a strange pointed triangular sandstone slab surmounting a cairn 6.0m in diameter and 0.2m high which marks the community / county boundary. It is on the summit of a ridge and orientated north - south. Although relatively small (1.3m(h) 1.3 - 0.4m(w),0.2m(d)), it is visible from long distances and several directions. and is intervisible with Maen Hir and the Crugiau Merched cairns.

1.3m(h), 1.3 - 0.4m(w),0.2m(d)

Sunkenkirk (Stone Circle) — Fieldnotes

This remains my favourite circle in these islands and as mysterious as any. It really is impossible to know why they sited them where they did doesn't it? Yes, there are landscape features, yes there are views and alignments and such, but why precisely here? Infuriating and wonderful to never be able to know. Perhaps the road was always here, perhaps somebody important died here. Perhaps the dowsers and wierd energy geeks are right. Is it a telephone box to communicate with those at other circles?

There are some serious stones in the fields as you approach so it's easy to conjecture an avenue or something no longer apparent - and the entrance points down to the river - for me there is a parallel here with Stanton Drew - more than with Castle Rigg or Rollright. When will they dig here? Surely so much to be uncovered?

Holy Well (Sacred Well) — Fieldnotes

this lovely to find on a hot day - but different than the well we always knew as the holy well - or the wizard's well - slightly further to the west:

"drink of this and take thy fill, for the water falls by the wizard's will"

Woodhenge (Timber Circle) — Fieldnotes

I came here first when I was a kid - and, apart from the colour-coding of the concrete posts, it's exactly the same - that is, disappointing and somewhat pointless.

I presume these days that archaeology / archaeobotany or whatever is cool enough to give an idea of how high the original wooden posts would have been - so why not make the modern markers a similar height? - at least that way there would be some sort of feeling of wandering through the cosmic grove or whatever it was...

London Stone (Standing Stone / Menhir) — News

London Stone Moving to Museum of London

The Evening Standard ran a story yesterday to confirm that the stone will finally be moving - to the Museum of London. The building in which it is presently housed is being demolished (thankfully).

I suppose it doesn't really matter - it has been moved several times from it's original supposed location and at least it will be well and informatively housed in the museum.

What's more interestingn is the whearabouts of the rest of it under the road outside the station.....

London Stone (Standing Stone / Menhir) — Miscellaneous

Jean Hall of the Museum of London provided me with the following notes. They only talk of the stone as a Roman / Saxon Artefact - but it provides background information. Perhaps this stone should be regarded as 'debatable' on this basis. It does not ruled out a pre-historic origin - there just isn't much evidence to support that at the moment.

A clue might be in the limestone but there aren't many other London prehistoric remains to make a judgement

"The London Stone

Description of surviving fragment:
0.53m wide
0.42m high
0.305m thick
Artificially rounded corners at top. Back and front faces of stone are fairly flat and featureless, but the top has two grooves running parallel with its longer axis.

In 1967, a sample of the stone was identified by the Geological Museum as limestone, possibly Clipsham limestone from the Inferior Oolite zone extending from Dorset to the Wash. This is used in both the Roman and late Saxon periods and there is much re-use of Roman building material in later periods. It was clearly part of a much larger monolith.

The Romans created the first major urban settlement on the site of the City of London. The Roman town began no earlier than about AD47, some few years after the Claudian conquest of AD43. There is no evidence of either for a lineal predecessor or for a pre-urban settlement on the site of Londinium and none at all for London being the site of the legendary Trinovantum, a suggestion put forward by early historians in an attempt to reconstruct their past.

Much discussion has gone on over the centuries as to the origin of the London Stone. It may have originated in the Roman period and been part of the front entrance to the so-called governor's palace, a large public administrative building on the waterfront where it originally stood on the line of the central axis of the building. If the building had had a large gateway fronting on the Roman street, the stone would have stood at its centre or more probably immediately in front of its central point beside the main Roman road. This would be precisely where an important Roman monument might have been placed. The suggestion has been made that it was the central milestone, from which all others were measured in the province, though it will never be known whether it served as a milestone and measuring point or was merely commemorative.

It is possible that the lower part still remains under Cannon Street, although antiquarian reports suggest that it was all removed. J E Price in 1870 quotes the following :'In 1742, as part of a road-widening scheme […] the stone was beheaded and that part of it that had protruded above road-level was placed by the wall of St Swithin's Church.' Its most likely position would have been under the existing road and as Victorian metropolitan improvements included constructing sewers and the underground railway (which was built in this area by the cut-and-cover method rather than tunneling), this would indicate that the remaining portion of Stone was all that survived.

It has also been suggested that it may have been an Anglo-Saxon wayside marker or cross but there is no evidence for this. In the medieval period it was regarded as the very heart of the City of London. It was a venerated antiquity but its original purpose was already forgotten by the 12th century when it was called 'Londenstane'. According to John Stow, it was deep-rooted in the ground. He states that it was mentioned in a Gospel book given by King Athelstan to Christ's Church, Canterbury.

In the 16th century William Camden believed that it was a Roman milestone, the central milestone from which all distances were measured in the province. In the 17th century Christopher Wren saw foundations below it during the rebuilding after the Great Fire and was convinced it was not a mere pillar but something more elaborate, which he suspected was connected with the mosaic pavements and walls of the Roman building seen to the south.

In 1742, it was moved to the north side of Cannon Street (which would now be in the middle of the widened road). It was again moved in 1798 when the small portion of the London Stone was incorporated in the south wall of St Swithin's Church until 1960. It is now preserved in a niche in the front of a building in Cannon Street (111 Cannon Street).

A Roman origin?
The surviving apex of the London Stone is likely to have had a Roman origin but it could also be later in date as Clipsham limestone was in general use throughout the early periods. Perhaps the origin of its veneration in London history is due to its having had a special significance in the Roman city but as yet its purpose is unknown.

Future display plans
The building is now due for redevelopment and discussions are in hand about the future re-display of the London Stone. It is not part of the Museum of London collections and responsibility and ownership for the London Stone remains with the Corporation of London.

Clark, John, 1981, 'Trinovantum – the evolution of the legend' J Medieval Hist 7, 135-51
Kissan, B W, 1938, 'An early list of London properties' Trans London & Middlesex Archaeol Soc n.s. 8, 57-69
Marsden P, 'Excavation of a Roman Palace site in London 1961-1972' Trans London & Middlesex Archaeol Soc 26 (1975) 63-64
Merrifield R, 1965, The Roman City of London, 123-4 and Gazetteer
Merrifield R, 1983, London City of the Romans, 75-77
Price, J E, 1870, A Description of the Roman Tessellated Pavement Found in Bucklersbury, London
Royal Commission on Historical Monuments, 1928, Vol 3, Roman London
Stow, Survey of London 1 (Kingsford edition, 221)
Wren, Parentalia, 265ff"

London Stone (Standing Stone / Menhir) — Fieldnotes

I visited the Stone again on Saturday. The ex Bank of China is now virtually derelict - although with a sign saying "To Let'. The ground floor is presently - and hopefully, temporarily - occupied by a cut-price sports shoe retailer - so presumably in the week it is possible to go in and see the side of the stone not visible from the street.

It truly is a bizarre, sad - and telling - sight to see one of London's only significant megalithic remains caged in an ugly box under a giant NIKE sign....

The planning application for the redevelopment of the site and the Stone's relocation has been approved although there is no news of any pending activity.

What also struck me this time is that the mooted original site of the Stone - outside the entrance to Cannon Street Station - would have placed it on the banks of the hidden river Walbrook - a waterway also sacred to the Romans (witness the now also relocated Temple of Mithras).

The vicissitudes of highway management and commerce will never see the remaining fragment restored to its original supposed location so the best that can be hoped for now is that it is removed from its present dismal setting and properly housed in the Museum of London.
Previous 50 | Showing 51-71 of 71 posts. Most recent first
"So, here are the dead fathers. Their spirit is entombed in the stone. It lies upon the land with the same weight and the same ubiquity. For whoever makes a shelter of reeds and hides has joined his spirit to the common destiny of creatures and he will subside back into the primal mud with scarcely a cry. But he who builds in stone seeks to alter the structure of the universe and so it was with these masons however primitive their works may seem to us"

That is the wonderful Cormac McCarthy writing on the context of one culture colliding with a predecessor and eloquently summing up my intuition of the prehistoric imagination.


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