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

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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 (click to view fullsize)

<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.

Teergonean (Court Tomb) — Images

<b>Teergonean</b>Posted by tjj<b>Teergonean</b>Posted by tjj

Poulnabrone (Portal Tomb) — Fieldnotes

Visited today Sunday 20/5/18 - am in County Clare exploring the Burren, this trip mainly focusing on the flora and geology. This being the west coast of Ireland, however, while the rest of the British Isles has clear skies and sunshine, it was overcast and windy this morning on the Burren. The weather cannot detract from this amazing landscape though - wild flowers out in profusion. Orchids, violets, primroses are everywhere, also gentian and large patches of mountain avens. Two delicate quite rare alpine flowers I've personally never seen before.

At the car parking area there is a man selling trinkets and another one playing Danny Boy on a tin whistle whilst sitting in a plastic tent. A film crew seem to be there with cameras and a drone. There are lots of people wandering over the the limestone slabs, including a botany group from Germany who managed to find the tiny gentian flowers.

The information board tells me Poulnabrone is a portal tomb situated in a karst limestone plateau 150 metres above sea level. The tomb was constructed from great slabs of lime stone over 5,000 years ago. Archaeologists have discovered the remains of 30 people at this ancient site.

The Burren is an amazing landscape - have only just scratched the surface of what it has to offer but here for the rest of the week. At the moment of writing this the rain is coming down in stair rods ...

Poulnabrone (Portal Tomb) — Images

<b>Poulnabrone</b>Posted by tjj<b>Poulnabrone</b>Posted by tjj<b>Poulnabrone</b>Posted by tjj

East Kennett (Long Barrow) — Images

<b>East Kennett</b>Posted by tjj

Adam's Grave (Long Barrow) — Images

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

Knap Hill (Causewayed Enclosure) — Images

<b>Knap Hill</b>Posted by tjj

Jersey — News

Jersey calls for return of dolmen


This news item appeared in Saturday's Times and was passed to me today. Regret Times online link is only available by subscription so will have to make do with this one.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5116637/Jersey-calls-return-dolmen-stones-Oxfordshire.html
Jersey calls for the return of its 'Elgin Marbles' monument that was taken and rebuilt in Oxfordshire as a governor's retirement gift
- The dolmen stones were discovered in 1785 near the Jersey capital St Helier
- Monument was uprooted and taken to Oxfordshire estate of retiring governor
- Templecombe House in Henley-on-Thames which is on the market for £7million
- It has given the residents of Jersey a new hope that they could buy back the stones and return them to the island

One local man named Neil Holmes is planning to raise £8million through an online crowdfunder in a bid to purchase the estate.
He said: 'The aim of this is to buy the property that the neolithic Jersey dolmen currently resides on, repatriate the dolmen, then resell the estate.'

The stones were one of dozens of dolmens placed across the island which were shrouded in legend and thought to be 'the home of sprites and fairies'.
But many were broken up for building materials in the 17th and 18th century amid waning interest in the mythology surrounding the stunning monuments, according to local history experts.
General Conway was persuaded by his cousin - author Horace Walpole - to pay for the transport of his gift.
Note: There have been several previous attempts to reclaim the dolmen and the issue was raised in the House of Commons as far back as 1928.

Dunadd (Sacred Hill) — Folklore

Old chestnuts, the Stone of Destiny and Scotia, came up as they often do. We have a little history to work with and a bit of archaeology to go on . . .
The foundation stone or rock of faith is the point where ascension takes place in Christianity and Islam. They routinely have a footstep in them.
However, this is much older - Scotia is a personification of the Cailleach, properly translated as the Veiled One. We find her at Callanish in 2,600 BC and Callanish was part of the ancient Orcadian civilisation at Ness of Brodgar. Brodgar is built from stones brought from all the islands in the manner of a Moot Hill where stones or soil were carried by nobles to medieval coronations such as Robert I's.
The community or land is brought together/ assembled, then it is built up . . . all of which connects to early Scottish sovereignty where the people and the land are considered indivisible. The king marries the land at coronation in an act of epiphany wedding the community together and building upon that through the road to Damascus connect . . . the laying down of a pillow/ stone which in early translations becomes pillows using the same platform and ladder/ tree metaphors as in the biblical tale.
So we have an original Scottish Stone of Destiny in place at Dunadd and an earlier model of the same concepts going much further back. Consequently, we can consider the Stone of Destiny, (in it's Christianised form Foundation Stone or Rock of Faith), as largely an investiture in a system of understandings and beliefs, a philosophy. This investiture is expressed in the actions of bringing together 'the land' or assembling 'stones' to form a Stone of Destiny, which can then be stacked/ raised upwards.

From Scottish Media Lab.

The Hurlers (Stone Circle) — Images

<b>The Hurlers</b>Posted by tjj

Trethevy Quoit (Dolmen / Quoit / Cromlech) — Fieldnotes

Visited: 10 Oct 2017

Visited after our trip to the Hurlers. As expected down a narrow single (almost) track road to a small 'island'. From here Trethevy Quoit is well signposted to a field gate. What initially surprises about this ancient monument is its proximity to some nearby houses and to the field entrance. I had read quite a bit about damage being done to the base of the monument by cattle and farm vehicles though could see no evidence of animals or any recent damage on this occasion.

It is an enormous monument which can't help but impress. Oddly though, I was strangely unmoved by it - perhaps I missed viewing it from a distance on the skyline first as with other monuments of this nature I have visited. Didn't have to walk through a bog, or jump a stream, or circumnavigate farm animals. Perhaps it was just too easy.

Very glad to have seen it though.

Trethevy Quoit (Dolmen / Quoit / Cromlech) — Images

<b>Trethevy Quoit</b>Posted by tjj<b>Trethevy Quoit</b>Posted by tjj<b>Trethevy Quoit</b>Posted by tjj

The Hurlers (Stone Circle) — Fieldnotes

Visited: 10 Oct 2017.
Part of an 'archaeology day' while visiting east Cornwall for a few days last week (also on same day walked by Golitha Falls, took in an early Christian stone cross, Trethevy Quoit and an ancient well).

We were turned away from the first car park as you drive into Minions as it had been taken over by a film crew for filming "The Kid Who Would Be King" (to be released 2018). So we parked at the second car park which had a horse transporter lorry carrying stunt horses parked up in it. We walked across the moorland towards the Hurlers and spotted a large fake trilithon, about the same height at Stonehenge. it did seem surreal especially when a friendly man in a high viz jacket told me not to take photos. I'm not very good at doing as I'm told these days.

It was a bit of a grey day with mist hanging low threatening to turn into rain and the whole experience seemed to be coloured by the bizarre nature of the background activity though I wouldn't go as far as to say it distracted from my first impression of the Hurlers. We wandered over to the Pipers - two comparatively large lichen covered stones, then had to choose between walking over to the Cheesewring or going to have a cream tea in a friendly looking cafe at Minions. The cream tea won.

A bit later we watched some of the filming taking place on the other side of Minions and perhaps more dramatically one wild pony chase another off into the distance then gallop back again across the road. Heart in mouth while watching.

The Hurlers (Stone Circle) — Images

<b>The Hurlers</b>Posted by tjj<b>The Hurlers</b>Posted by tjj<b>The Hurlers</b>Posted by tjj<b>The Hurlers</b>Posted by tjj

The Pipers (St Cleer) (Standing Stones) — Images

<b>The Pipers (St Cleer)</b>Posted by tjj

Duloe (Stone Circle) — Fieldnotes

Visited: 9 October 2017.
Last week spent a lovely few Cornish days based in Fowey. Took a slight detour on route to visit Duloe stone circle. Not that easy to find using a road atlas and we were almost in Looe before we realised we had gone too far. Find it we did though as I have wanted visit Duloe since first reading Julian Cope's impressions in the TMA book.

Dated 2000BC, it is unique for being Cornwall's smallest stone circle with the largest stones. There is a (now much faded by the elements) information board which gives quite a lot of information if you able to read it. The circle is less than 12 metres in diameter and consists of eight quartz rich stones which contain ankerite. This suggests they were obtained from Herodsfoot mine, although similar stones are found at Tregartland Tor, Morval.

A nearby farm is recorded as being named Stonedown as far back as 1329 but the circle was not officially discovered until 1801, probably because it was bisected by a hedge and stood half in an orchard and half in a field. The bisecting hedge was removed in 1858 by Rev T.A. Bewes of Plymouth and 1861 the fallen stones were set up although the one broken in the process now lies prostrate. At the same time an urn said to be full of bones was discovered at the base of the largest stone but broken accidentally by the workmen and now lost. In light of this it is thought be a bronze age burial mound.

Duloe (Stone Circle) — Images

<b>Duloe</b>Posted by tjj<b>Duloe</b>Posted by tjj

County Kerry — News

Illuminating discovery at megalithic tomb in Kerry


https://www.rte.ie/news/munster/2017/0925/907390-megalithic/

A hillwalker in west Kerry has made a stunning discovery which connects a 4,000-year-old tomb with the equinox. The megalithic tomb, known as the Giant’s Grave, is situated in the valley of Loch an Dúin on the eastern side of the Conor Pass.
Ancient rock art can be found within the tomb, including a cup and circle near the head of the tomb.
For the past 14 years Daithí Ó Conaill, a retired school principal, has visited the site during the winter and summer solstice hoping to make a connection between the tomb and the sun.
He has now discovered that the wedge tomb is actually aligned to the setting sun of the equinox, which last occurred on Friday 22 September.

As the sun sets directly into a 'V' shaped valley in the distant Brandon mountain range, a shaft of light enters the wedge tomb, illuminating the chamber and the rock art at the head of the tomb. The event can be witnessed at sunset for a number of days either side of the equinox.
Archaeologist Míchéal Ó Coiléain who has carried out extensive surveys in Loch an Dúin said it was a stunning discovery, providing a fine example of the engineering brilliance demonstrated by the people who constructed it.

"Daithí's discovery is wonderful and it goes to show that people living 4000 years ago are aware of movements of the sun. They are agricultural communities, so to know when the longest days of the year, the shortest, and when the equinoxes fall is so important. To construct such a perfectly positioned monument required remarkable expertise and knowledge."

The Equinox occurs twice a year when the plane of the Earth’s equator passes directly through the centre of the Sun’s disc. During an equinox, night and day are approximately the same duration.

Kendrick's Cave (Cave / Rock Shelter) — Images

<b>Kendrick's Cave</b>Posted by tjj

Llety'r Filiast (Burial Chamber) — Images

<b>Llety'r Filiast</b>Posted by tjj<b>Llety'r Filiast</b>Posted by tjj
Showing 1-50 of 824 posts. Most recent first | Next 50
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: