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

Get the TMA Images feed
Mustard's Latest Posts

Latest Posts

The Longstone Cove (Standing Stones) — Fieldnotes

Access now seems semi "official". A stile has been erected for crossing into the field.

Castleruddery (Stone Circle) — Images (click to view fullsize)

<b>Castleruddery</b>Posted by Mustard

Hetty Pegler's Tump (Long Barrow) — Images

<b>Hetty Pegler's Tump</b>Posted by Mustard<b>Hetty Pegler's Tump</b>Posted by Mustard<b>Hetty Pegler's Tump</b>Posted by Mustard<b>Hetty Pegler's Tump</b>Posted by Mustard

L'Hotié de Viviane (Burial Chamber) — Images

<b>L'Hotié de Viviane</b>Posted by Mustard

Dolmen de Kergavat (Dolmen / Quoit / Cromlech) — Images

<b>Dolmen de Kergavat</b>Posted by Mustard

Priddy Circles (Henge) — News

Priddy Circles case delayed

Sentencing of the man responsible for the destruction of one of the Priddy Circles, an ancient monument high on the Mendip hills has been delayed.

Roger Penny, of Litton, pleaded guilty to permitting the execution of works affecting a scheduled monument at Priddy between April and October 2011 contrary to the Ancient Monuments Archaeological Areas Act 1979 and the case was sent to crown court for sentence. He is now listed to appear before the court on July 6.

Somerset man charged with damaging Priddy Circles

A man from Somerset is to appear in court charged with damaging a prehistoric monument near Wells.

Damage was done to a section of the Priddy Circles, which is made up of four large Neolithic circular henges, at some point in May or June last year.

English Heritage said it is a criminal offence to intentionally or recklessly destroy or damage a scheduled monument without lawful excuse.

The man is due at South Somerset and Mendip Magistrates' Court on 19 April.

The Grey Mare & Her Colts (Long Barrow) — Images

<b>The Grey Mare & Her Colts</b>Posted by Mustard

Wearyall Hill (Sacred Hill) — News

Glastonbury holy thorn destroyed

"People of Glastonbury are in a state of shock after a Holy Thorn site was attacked last night.

The crown of the iconic Holy Thorn tree on Wearyall Hill has been lopped off and dumped – leaving just a 6ft stump protected by an iron cage.

However, it appears attempts were made to remove the cage, implying the vandals wanted the entire tree.

If the tree survives without its crown, it should grow a new supply of thorn.

Police officers are on site this morning (Thursday) and conducting door-to-door enquiries to find any witnesses."

Glastonbury Tor (Sacred Hill) — News

Glastonbury Tor to get new hedges and trees

Two thousand trees are going to be planted on the bottom slopes of Glastonbury Tor, in a hark back to the area's traditional roots.

On Saturday, 20 November, volunteers and staff at the National Trust will begin the three-week project in one of the southern fields.

Organisers hope the mass-planting will "be an eye-catching reminder of yesteryear".

The new hedges will follow the "remnant lines of ancient field systems", helping the Tor to resemble its former look two centuries ago.

Then, there was a tradition of many small fields in the ownership of local people in Glastonbury.

The share cropping system allowed rural dwellers to supplement their income from the land.

It is also helped that the trees will have a positive impact on local wildlife, while helping the natural environment.

The trees will not only create food and shelter for birds and insects, but each year the hedges will grow by capturing carbon from the atmosphere.

There are plans to create four small paddocks with the new hedgerows, which will help the National Trust to set up a sustainable grazing regime using sheep.

"This is an exciting project," said Rob Holden from the National Trust.

"[It] will not only help to capture the traditions of this legendary site but will provide valuable habitat for wildlife and have a long term benefit for the wider natural environment.

"We're really looking forward to the first day and working with so many dedicated volunteers."

Local volunteer group, the Glastonbury Conservation Society is also supporting the project.

The society has been so active in restoring hedgerows around the area that supporters are now nearing their 50,000th tree.

Gors Fawr (Stone Circle) — Images

<b>Gors Fawr</b>Posted by Mustard

Rhos Fach Standing Stones — Images

<b>Rhos Fach Standing Stones</b>Posted by Mustard

Cairnholy (Chambered Cairn) — Images

<b>Cairnholy</b>Posted by Mustard

Gunnerkeld (Stone Circle) — Fieldnotes

Visited this site at the mid-point of an epic drive back from the Isle of Lewis to Somerset. I'd been in two minds about stopping, but when the sun broke through the clouds it seemed like a sign, so off I trundled to take a nosey.

Glad to say, friendly farmer is still in residence. We drove through the gate as their was nowhere obvious to park (I wasn't entirely comfortable approaching so close to the farm in the car, but nothing to be done about it...) As I got out of the car, the farmer was walking over. I asked in a friendly fashion if it was ok to visit his stones please, to which he responded jovially "of course it is!", and pointed us in the right direction, whilst his beautiful collie was molesting us. I have to say, I think it's incredibly tolerant of him considering how intrusive visitors must inevitably be, with the trek to the stones leading right past his front window.

On they way to the stones, we were again molested by animals... this time, young sheep! I've never seen sheep be so friendly. This lot practically mobbed us, running up and nuzzling us with their noses.

The site itself is fantastic. It really shouldn't be, with the M6 running so close, but it certainly has a magical feel to it. I was oddly unperturbed by the passing cars. I guess that there's just something about people in fields that makes drivers want to honk, because I was also beeped by a couple of motorists.

On the way back to the car, I tried to find the farmer to thank him. Sadly, he wasn't to be seen, so I left a bottle of wine on his doorstep as a small token of my appreciation. I strongly suggest other visitors do similar, because this guy really is welcoming above and beyond the call of duty, and his attitude is a breath of fresh air and absolutely made my day.

Chateau Bû (Cairn(s)) — Images

<b>Chateau Bû</b>Posted by Mustard

Chateau Bû (Cairn(s)) — Fieldnotes

Fortunately, some enterprising soul has slighly vandalised the chainlink fence next to the locked gate opposite the chamber entrance. There's now enough room to shove a camera lens through, or for those individuals with slightly less respect for authority, it might be possible to utilise the damaged areas of fence as footholds for climbing over the top. Obviously, I'd never recommend anything so foolhardy, but a little leprachaun told me that it's a very easy climb and well worth the effort.

Stalldown Stone Row (Stone Row / Alignment) — Images

<b>Stalldown Stone Row</b>Posted by Mustard<b>Stalldown Stone Row</b>Posted by Mustard

Stall Moor Stone Circle — Links

Dartmoor Walks

Handy notes and photographs illustrating much of the route.

Stall Moor Stone Circle — Fieldnotes

I have to agree with the earlier posts - this is a rough walk, and not for the faint hearted. Taking in Stalldown Row, this was a four-hour round trip on a pleasant (if windy) day. The ground is sometimes difficult, there are boggy areas obstructing travel, and the terrain is very exposed. Having said all that, if you're reasonably fit and comfortable with a bit of exertion, this shouldn't pose any challenge. Just exercise some caution where the weather is concerned, because you don't want to get stuck out here in adverse conditions. Watch the forecast and take sensible precautions.

Warnings aside, this is a fantastic site. I'm inclined to agree with Gladman when he says Stall Moor may be more remote than White Moor (which is really saying something). The moors are desolate and beautiful around this site, and I spent the entire afternoon without seeing another living soul.

On the approach, I parked at New Waste (obvious parking spaces just through the first gate), then followed the path to the north. Once through the tree-lined area, I broke out across open country and ascended the hill to the north east. If you head for the top, you can't really miss Stalldown stone row - which is an absolute stunner, and worth a visit in its own right.

I headed north from the end of the row, descending the slope and plotting a course towards the river. The terrain was very awkward underfoot during this section. Eventually, after crossing a gulley and a stream, the ground climbs ahead, and the circle can be found on top of this rise. Just keep the river to your right and keep heading up-hill and keep your eyes peeled.

The return journey was somewhat easier. I headed downhill to the south east, intersecting with the river. I followed along the edge of the river's course until arriving at the weir. The ground was mostly reasonable underfoot, but I did need to navigate around some very boggy patches. After the weir, a solid track leads all the way back (I'd guess maybe two miles) to New Waste.

It's up against some stiff competition, but I'd say that this was my favourite Dartmoor walk to date. The views are magnificent, and there's a wonderful mix of scenery along the course of the journey. Bleak moors, rolling hills and valleys, streams, a river, woods... this walk has it all. I can't wait to get back in the summer.

Devil's Quoits (Circle henge) — Images

<b>Devil's Quoits</b>Posted by Mustard<b>Devil's Quoits</b>Posted by Mustard<b>Devil's Quoits</b>Posted by Mustard<b>Devil's Quoits</b>Posted by Mustard<b>Devil's Quoits</b>Posted by Mustard<b>Devil's Quoits</b>Posted by Mustard

Devil's Quoits (Circle henge) — Fieldnotes

What a spectacular site. What struck me the most is how quickly you forget that this is a reconstruction. It really doesn't seem to matter. I'd expected the experience to be tempered by the knowledge that the site isn't original or 'genuine', but frankly, it just looks so stunning that all such thoughts are driven from the mind.

I was also surprised at how little the surrounding tip impacts upon the site. And when it does, it almost enriches it in a strange way. The fact that such a unique and stunning location can exist in such against such an incongruous backdrop is somehow rewarding in its own right. Perhaps it helps that the site is reconstructed rather than original, because it feels as though something has been miraculously salvaged where there might otherwise be nothing at all.

When entering the tip, I wasn't at all clear where to park, so I ended up parking in the wrong place (of which more later). Basically, there's a small parking area just to your left as you pass the public recycling area (with a "congregation point" sign, but no parking sign and no sign for the quoits). Once parked, there, there's an obvious public footpath leading to the stones.

The one thing that marred the experience for me was the horrible little jobsworth oink who took an attitude with me for parking in the wrong place. It wasn't clear where to park, there was nobody visible to ask, and my car was tucked well out of the way of passing trucks, but this bloke still had the demeanour of personal affront that only ever seems to grace small-minded little men who've been waiting years to exercise the slight modicum of power that's fallen into their sad little laps. There were threats of locked gates and rude reprimands for missed signposts - where a simple smile and an indication of the correct place to park would have sufficed. It's a shame, because the company that own the site have obviously put a huge amount of effort into supporting the reconstruction, and it would be nice if their staff could show a little more enthusiasm for the project - or at least a little less belligerence.

West Kennet (Long Barrow) — Images

<b>West Kennet</b>Posted by Mustard

Silbury Hill (Artificial Mound) — Images

<b>Silbury Hill</b>Posted by Mustard

Stony Littleton (Long Barrow) — Images

<b>Stony Littleton</b>Posted by Mustard<b>Stony Littleton</b>Posted by Mustard


Stonehenge on 'most threatened' world wonders list

The traffic-choked roads still roaring past Stonehenge in Wiltshire have earned the world's most famous prehistoric monument a place on a list of the world's most threatened sites.

The government's decision to abandon, on cost grounds, a plan to bury roads around Stonehenge in a tunnel underground and the consequent collapse of the plans for a new visitor centre, have put the site on the Threatened Wonders list of Wanderlust magazine, along with the 4x4-scarred Wadi Rum in Jordan, and the tourist-eroded paths and steps of the great Inca site at Machu Picchu in Peru.

Lyn Hughes, editor in chief of Wanderlust, said the A303 and A344 junctions near Stonehenge meant the site was "brutally divorced from its context". She said: "Seeing it without its surrounding landscape is to experience only a fraction of this historical wonder. The fact that the government and various planning bodies cannot agree on implementing a radical solution to this problem is a national disgrace."

The first great earth banks and ditches of the monument date back 5,000 years, and it was then repeatedly remodelled, with the addition of the circle of sarsen stones the size of doubledecker buses, and smaller bluestones brought from west Wales, and said to have healing powers.

Hughes was echoing the words 21 years ago of the parliamentary public accounts committee, which in 1989 damned the presentation of the site and the facilities for tourists as "a national disgrace".

Since then millions have been spent on alternative road plans and architectural designs for the visitor centre, on exhibitions, consultations and public inquiries, without a sod of earth being turned.

Argument about how to care for the site raged throughout the 20th century: the circle itself is in the guardianship of English Heritage, while the National Trust owns thousands of acres of surrounding countryside, studded with hundreds more henges, barrows and other prehistoric monuments.

At the moment the best hope is that a much simpler and cheaper visitor centre can still be created, two kilometres from the site, in time for London's hosting of the 2012 Olympics.

Wanderlust has also named three places that need more visitors and their spending power: Zimbabwe, north-east Thailand and Madagascar.

Harold's Stones (Standing Stones) — Images

<b>Harold's Stones</b>Posted by Mustard

My TMA Content: