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Saturday, 24 December 2011

Bedd Arthur





I thought this might be of interest.  It's Bedd Arthur (the grave of King Arthur), near the tor called Carn Bica and not very far from Carn Meini.  It's often referred to as a stone circle or even a stone oval -- but it's not really either of those.  The standing stones of which it's built are very small, not much above knee height, and all of them seem to lean in towards the middle.  I have always thought of it as a destroyed long barrow which might at one time have held a cromlech or burial chamber at its heart.  I think those stones have been entirely removed -- unless they are buried beneath the turf.  I think the remaining standing stones might have rested on the surface of the now-removed mound.

I'm not aware that this site has ever been excavated.  It's not far from the "Neolithic tomb" excavated by TD and GW last summer, which was widely flagged up as having held the remains of the splendid fellow who drew up the plans for Stonehenge......

61 comments:

The Stonehenge Enigma said...

Brian

Its a classic Long Barrow - as seen by its boat shape. The small stones would have been placed along the mound - don't know the site, but look for large stone holes in the rear (stern) of the monument/boat and two ditches either side of the mound that represents water.

The Monument is a representation to the voyage to the afterlife as seen my the cro-magnon cousins the vikings some 4000 years later.

RJL

BRIAN JOHN said...

So there we are then -- another tentative suggestion from Robert.....

Anonymous said...

What's he on?
It's clearly an elliptical stone circle!
Catweazle

Tony H said...

What we actually could do with is an objective opinion from SOMEONE who has thoroughly studied long barrows as well as stone circles e.g. Professor Josh Pollard of Southampton Uni.(the Neolithic specialist who is sensible and young enough not to be lured into the whirlpool of Wainwrightian & Darvillian romance). I have, for instance his handy, pocket-sized book on Neolithic Britain, which is excellent.

Brian may claim it is too late to save this new Professor Josh from being dragged towards the whirlpool I mention, since he partook of the alleged Elixeer of Life this summer whilst (again) in the company of old Stonehenge Riverside Project compatriot MPP at Carn Saeson in Preseli, for the "orthostat quarry" hunt. This may yet prove to be a wild goose chase.

Josh CAN save himself, provided only that he retains his independent turn of mind and his sense of proportion - but the academic archaeology world is a small, somewhat incestuous one. Good luck, Josh, and I hope you read this. There is still time to do the right thing. Leave the megalomaniacs of Bornemouth etc to their own machinations.

Anonymous said...

Catweazle

A stone elliptical? - that's either a new discovery or a contradiction.

RJL

'as seen my the' - slow down man you speaking too fast. 'as also seen by the' is better.

A.N.Other

BRIAN JOHN said...

Or a circular ellipse maybe?

The Stonehenge Enigma said...

Well Tony H thank you for your support!

The fact that you have a book of 'Neolithic Long Barrows' shows that the prehistory of this country is in bad need of serious revising.

Long Barrows are Mesolithic - Round Barrows are Neolithic.

Simple proof of this fact is that other Long Barrows in Northern Europe have been more accurately dated - such as Tumulus of St. Michel which has a date of 6850BC some 3,000 years before our Long Barrows (according to your book) were built - which is clearly ridiculous.

This was the same civilisation as they must have spoke the same language, for the population was so small, about 2500 in the UK and only 250,000 in Europe as a whole, according to DNA research.

They must have also constructed Carnac and Avebury as both sites are just 500 kilometres away from each other (same distance as Avebury to Sunderland).

Remembering the English channel (in 7000BC) did not exist, but was just a large easily crossed river about the size of the Bristol channel between the two sites.

RJL

Anonymous said...

A.N.OTHER
You've not heard of elliptical stone circle then?
Brian's description as a circular ellipse is probably better.

TONY H
Careful now - you seem to reiterating speedy's remarks that we are all "untalented amateurs" on here!
Catweazle

Anonymous said...

Catweazle

ah... there's the rub.

Is either a circle or an ellipse - can't be both my smelly friend!

A.N.Other

Geo Cur said...

It is similar to some of the Scandanavian /Baltic B.A. boat shaped burials . Just before the Darvill/Wainwright dig I posted a comment on Mike Pitts site http://mikepitts.wordpress.com/2011/09/14/bluehenge/#comments about how it was an ellipse and aligned on the solstice , just as the shape was being claimed for Bluestonehenge ,which also may have been aligned on the solstice if the ellipse was true and provided the axis .Within a couple of days the bait was taken and it was being reported as a possible connection . No credit given to who actually mentioned it though .Needless to say no intentionality is suggested from my perspective .

Geo Cur said...

RJL ,You seem to have a problem with dating Long barrows and the Mesolithic .The earliest British Long Barrow ,Ascott-under -Wychwood was built 3760 3895 cal BC near the start of the Neolithic here .We don't have accurate dates for the build of St Michel but we do know that Bougon a passage grave was built 4700 BC and closer to home Les Fouaillages Guernsey 4500 BC .While there are Neolithic Round barrows they tend to be associatedd with the Bronze Age .

BRIAN JOHN said...

No end to the possibilities here -- squared circle, circular square, wobbly straight lines, and even -- dare I say it -- aproximate alignments which are more approximate than aligned......

Geo Cur said...

What approximate alignments are you referring to Brian , why not say it rather than "dare to say it" ?

BRIAN JOHN said...

See my posts about the book called "Bluestone Magic"......

Geo Cur said...

I was the only person to mention alignments on this post so I imagine that it was in reference to my post ,rather than Bluestone Magic which may or may not have approximations , I dare you to say actual fugures .

The Stonehenge Enigma said...

Geo

As always just like Stonehenge car park post holes when proof of occupation does not fit into your narrow academic 'strightjacket' perception you dismiss it - well shame on you!

Evidence:
Mane-Miguel series, Carnac, Morbihan Charcoal from small cists in interior of huge mound of Mane-
Miguel (Mont-Saint-Michel), Carnac, Morbihan (47° 35' N Lat, 3° 05' W Long). Coll. 1900-1906 by Z. Le Rouzic; subm. by P. R. Giot.

Gsy-90. Mane-Miguel Z 8800 +/- 300 - 6850 B.C. (the exact same date as Stonehenge post hole WA9580)

Only human activity could have placed such a piece of charcoal in the INTERIOR of the Long Barrow - which means the Long Barrow was built BEFORE this date - or shall we pretend it was yet another 'totem' pole buried really deep by accident and had nothing to do with the Long Barrow?

RJL

BRIAN JOHN said...

Geo -- I'm not going to get sucked into a sterile debate on your evidence v my evidence here. But from my reading of all the standard texts (Cunliffe and Renfrew, Chippindale, Johnson, Burl etc) it seems to me that there is a great deal of debate over the ideas of Hawkins, Thom and others. Much of that debate relates to whether their assumed alignments were correct or simply assumed to be correct and meaningful. I'm not qualified to analyse everything Clive Ruggles says -- disagree with him if you like!

Anonymous said...

This is a great site Brian, must be the premier blog for info primarily about the megaliths of Stonehenge and you must be complimented for providing this forum and allowing this debate to be brought together and into the public domain.

Yet for a site with a number of anonymous 'ologists' as regular posters the knowledge base seems remarkably thin on the classification of stone circles, which we need to consider as a generic term as with the Stonehenge 'bluetones'. About a third of stone circles are not circular and can be elliptical, flattened, egg-shaped or compound rings.

The debate here on this blog is about the Stonehenge bluestones which, in the inner horseshoe setting are by classification an elliptical stone circle. The ellipse is easily constructed by a similar method to scribing a circle on the ground with a peg and rope but in this case with two centres (foci) which permits control of the length of the perimeter to obtain integer values. Of course the advantage of the ellipse is that it provides an orientation without need for an outlier stone. The elliptical stone circle is more common in Wales than Wessex; the significance of the relationship of Bedd Arthur to the Stonehenge Bluestone Horseshoe, both classified as elliptical stone circles, is obvious.

Unfortunately one or two anonymous posters are more concerned with point scoring rather than contributing something worthwhile to the debate. I've only been commenting on here a shortwhile but already I'm referred to as "my smelly friend" which quite frankly I find offensive and totally unnecessary. You can assure A.N.OTHER I am neither.
Catweazle

Geo Cur said...

Brian ,hardly a sterile debate you have said nothing except a wee snide remark with no detail . That is exactly what you complain of when archaeologists make claims outwith their discipline . The only author qualified to talk about archaeoastronomy you mentioned was Ruggles but it doesn't look like you have read him .The others are not archaeoastronmomers although Burl might calim to be so . Because there are problems with Thom and particularly Hawkins does that mean you can then comment on others and something you clearly don't understand .What did I say that Ruggles would disagreee with ?

The Stonehenge Enigma said...

Brian

Your Long Barrow is aligned with the river below the hill its built upon (it was much larger in the past).

If Geo was right, they would have built it a few hundreds of metres away ON TOP of the hill not on the side.

The fact is that archaeologists don't have a clue on LB alignments as they point various directions - the reality is that they are built 'side on' to a river, as they were used are a navigational marker for boats - and that's why they are built on the side and never on top of a hill (easier to see from a distance).

RJL

BRIAN JOHN said...

Geo -- not sure why you are getting uptight here. All I said was this:

"No end to the possibilities here -- squared circle, circular square, wobbly straight lines, and even -- dare I say it -- aproximate alignments which are more approximate than aligned......"

All tongue in cheek, and not throwing stones at anybody. Relax, my dear fellow.

BRIAN JOHN said...

Anon -- thanks for the comments. I agree that we have had occasional lapses from decorum on this site. But I don't encourage it, and I will block anything that is too personal or too abusive. Thank God we don't have the sort of crude abuse that appears all the time on YouTube, for example.....

But people do get a bit worked up occasionally, and we all have our bad days now and then. For the most part, we eventually feel better again and beg for forgiveness.....

Geo Cur said...

Not stones Brian but maybe mud and it sticks . It is easy to do .Just mention a couple of daft ideas and slip in one like axe factories that is clearly not daft but the mud sticks .At no point was the data considered merely a knee jerk reaction based on a little learning .I don't come away with stuff like "dodgy geomorphologists ideas " and not back it up and if I did I'm sure you wouldn't see it as tongue in cheek .

BRIAN JOHN said...

RJL -- haven't got a clue what you are on about here. Aligned with a river? What river?

BRIAN JOHN said...

Geo -- are we on to axe factories now? As it happens, I don't have a problem with axes being created at Stonehenge -- and I have always said that that is a reasonable explanation for all the chips and other debris lying around. Elsewhere -- for example in the case of the "Preselite axe factory" in Eastern Preseli -- show me the evidence, and I might believe it.

Geo Cur said...

RJL , you said “
Long Barrows are Mesolithic - Round Barrows are Neolithic.
Simple proof of this fact is that other Long Barrows in Northern Europe have been more accurately dated - such as Tumulus of St. Michel which has a date of 6850BC some 3,000 years before our Long Barrows . “
I have given the dates for the earliest UK Long Barrow , which is nothing like 3,000 years later than the Bougnon .The RC date for Mane Miguel is from 1958-1963 is not accepterd as being reliable today and at the time the comment from the lab was “But Gsy-90 is very extraordinary, and can only be explained
by the use of sub-fossil wood from a peat-bog for some ritual fire.
Compare with date Sa-96 from central funeral vault of same monument,
a date rather older than could be expected: 5840 ± 300 .” The pesent thinking is that the Grand Tumulus monuments were built in the 4th millennium BC
even if the date was right it wouldn’t be “the exact same date “ as WA 9580

Geo Cur said...

RJL ,as I replied to you on this subject months ago see http://brian-mountainman.blogspot.com/2011/09/architectural-similarities-and.html.
Like it or not ,intentional or not it as aligned on the solstice sunrise and not on the sun set ,a concept you find difficult to understand iirc .The whole point of the exercise was to see if the archaeos bought it , they did and Bluestonehenge was a possible icing on the cake . I believe the whole point went over your heads , despite me flagging it up i.e “ bait taken “ .

Geo Cur said...

Brian , no I was meaning the tactic of guilt by association whereby you list some daft ideas then slip in one that is clearly not daft but not to your liking e.g. UFO'S , Ley lines , crystal healing , glacial movement of bluestones .

BRIAN JOHN said...

I wasn't talking about daft ideas (although I am personally quite taken by the idea of Unidentified Flying Objects -- which are of course unidentified until somebody comes along and identifies them) but about the convoluted and imprecise use of English. Am I the only one who is amused by the idea of an elliptical circle or an alignment on which many of the stones are not on the line?

Geo Cur said...

Stonehenge is circular yet has a clear alignment , it's the axis of the monument .

Anonymous said...

Calm down, dears, it's only an exchange of views! Pass the mulled wine.

BRAGG OF RADIO 4

BRIAN JOHN said...

Thank you Melvyn. Quite right you are. Now then -- a quiet drink before supper.....

The Stonehenge Enigma said...

Geo

You now sound like Kostas who claimed the 8000 boat found in the Solent, was driftwood worked by medieval carpenters.

You are suggesting a piece of prehistoric peat wood that laid rotting away in the ground for 4,000 years was found and burnt on a fire - as clearly, they did not have any normal decent wood growning in the ample nearby woods.

I can picture Tony Robinson now.... I have a cunning plan Lord Black Adder, lets use this old piece of rotten peat wood (once its dried out) to burn, as its give out a unusual colour and smell... LOL!!

You remind me of those 'intelligent design' prophets who actually have complete belief in the dribble they are preaching, as the religious indoctrination process they've experienced, was a comprehensive and successful brain washing of the individual.

Nice people with no rational thinking or original thoughts, you've clearly gone through the same process at the university of 'ask no questions' - reading archaeology.

RJL

Anonymous said...

Catweazle

Sorry to cause offence but clearly you do not know the character you are claiming to represent.

"The series featured Geoffrey Bayldon as the title character, an eccentric, dishevelled and smelly (but lovable) old 11th century wizard" from wikipedia

Lets hope your analysis of 'Stone circles' is more accurate than your pseudonymous name.

Ann Other

The Stonehenge Enigma said...

Geo

You alignments didn't take off let alone go 'over my head' - it was so daft that I just couldn't be bothered to answer.

There are 12 Long Barrows around Stonehenge - only 3 have a NE/SW orientation, no doubt the 'other' orientations were due to ceremonial factors.

RJL

BRIAN JOHN said...

Leaving aside the issue of ancient bits of boats, and how to date them, it's worth remembering that the roof of the nave in St David's Cathedral is partly made of Irish bog oak -- used in the Middle Ages in a contemporary building project, but probably dated (by C14 dating and dendrochronology) to more than 6,000 years old.......

The oak was used because it was very beautiful, very hard and had interesting colours.

Geo Cur said...

RJL , as is often the case you have misunderstood .Just as you did with not understanding how one alignment can be towards the solstice and one in the opposite direction not necessarily towards the other sosltice . The over your heads , note the plural was a general term for everyone here who didn’t appear to see that the archaeos desperate for any sort of confirmatory evidence for their ideas had risen to the bait . Possibly ,like Brian , you should read some archaeoastronomy before commenting on it and a also read what I had written concerning intentionality . There are countless examples of buildings aligned on solstices , or important astro events it doesn’t mean that builders intended them to be so .My house is aligned on the equinox ,a natural consequence of being south facing it doesn’t mean the builders intended the alignment, it is epiphenomenal .

Geo Cur said...

RJL , your ignorance knows no bounds . I have forgotten how many times here you have mentioned some "fact " that has been shown to be wrong with minimal effort .Rather than resort to bluster why don’t you respond to the explanation which shows your “thinking “ about the Mesolithic Long Barrows and Neolithic Round Barrows (sic ) and subsequent dating is all wrong . Just as the claims from the Gif –Sur –Yvettte RC dates are no longer acceptable and were even considered dodgy at the time .By all means question but don’t make things up when you don’t understand and why bother guessing about others knowledge and experience does it decrease the chip on the shopulder ?

BRIAN JOHN said...

Geo -- kindly give me some credit for reading quite a bit of the archaeoastronomy literature before commenting on it. I can read it without necessarily finding all of it completely convincing.

Geo Cur said...

Brian , all in jest old chap , chill , have a pipe ,relax .
Judging by your comments and the authors quoted ,all archaeos , none archaeoastronomers you havn’t read the literature and merely getting a superficial view .I am often accused of knocking Thom but it’s a nice change to be able to say that he knew more about the subject than all the lot you mentioned together who merely regurgitated half understood Ruggles .
Perhaps you should have given me the credit of coming up with something that might be of interest and accurate rather than resorting to an ill understood evidence free knee jerk reaction not dissimilar to “ nutcase glaciation theories about Stonehnege “

Chris johnson said...

Geo Cur, I don't know much about Baltic boat shaped burials. Can you point me to a good source?

Bedd Arthur is a curious anomaly. It is a long way from the sea and the orientation is more inland. There are also plentiful sources of stone lying around - the Stone River is close by as is Carn Meini itself. Going in other directions there are plenty of odd stones too. Why someone should go the extra mile to vandalize an ancient monument is beyond me. In recent times the closest roads are a 45 minute walk over rough ground so the "gate post" theory seems unlikely.

It is a shame that this area is not better investigated while so much effort is expended on the bluestone quarry theory. The amount of peat and soil build-up leaves us wondering about the many bumps and hollows and odd stones sticking up. The entire area has never been ploughed so much might be revealed under the turf. Even Gors fawr has not been investigated as far as I know, while its stones continue to struggle against total immersion in the bog.

Anyone being so sure about Bedd Arthur is much smarter than me.

Geo Cur said...

Chris , here's some links http://www.megalithic.co.uk/article.php?sid=10162
http://www.megalithic.co.uk/article.php?sid=12185
http://www.themodernantiquarian.com/site/12358/askeberga.html
http://www.panoramio.com/photo/8474877

Alex Gee said...

Brian
You should start a whole new blog. How did the remains of King Arthur get from Bedd Arthur to Glastonbury Abbey?.
Glacial entrainment by some as yet unknown late stage glaciation, or human transport?.

Do you know if TD or GW have found the architects drawing board yet?

BRIAN JOHN said...

Alex -- Heaven forbid! Got enough trouble, as it is, trying to control this disreputable bunch!

Thinking of the drawing board, I'm sure the profs are hunting high and low, as we speak...

Geo Cur said...

Alex , or in the spirit of evidence free new age woo year greetings , how about glaciation from Preseli extended to Salisbury Plain ?

BRIAN JOHN said...

---- or even, if we want to become totally crazy, the idea of human involvement in moving lots of bluestones from West Wales to Salisbury Plain?

Geo Cur said...

At this , speedy rate , of listing the evidence free we should arrive at Kostas "idea " by the summer , unless RJL has something under his hat that even tops that .Boxgrove the first Olympic village ? Red "Lady " of Paviland - a U.P. Santa ?

BRIAN JOHN said...

Ah yes -- the Red Lady of Paviland -- was he a transvestite? Now there's an interesting archaeological problem.

Alex Gee said...

Happy NewYear Brian/Geo and all.

Funny you should mention evidence free!. Some of us Mendip Troglodytes, have been busy taking a closer look at the stream sediments in our Hobbit Holes.

Some of the clasts I formerly thought to be local sedimentary rock types, appear to be rhyolites, basalts and other erratics?

As an example: from brief visual examination and experience, I initially dismissed the dense,hard, shiny black coloured clasts as Carboniferous Chert. But on closer testing and visual examination they appear to be a Basalt?.

Care to suggest how they got there??.

The problem is that these rock types don't exist upstream of the cave passages we're excavating.
(Although there are Basalt Quarries 16 km to the east and exposures near Weston-Super-Mud).

I know it probably doesn't seem like it. But I appreciate the hard work required, and the value of the data obtained by Archeological field work. (we've been digging our cave for 20 years).

I just have a problem with the ridiculous interpretations proposed in the Archeological literature. Some mght find it offensive, but I feel quite justified in taking the Piss.

Reading the literature on the purpose of Stonehenge, is like listening to a room full of lunatics debating what colour faeries are or the dimensions of flying saucers!!.

BRIAN JOHN said...

Any chance of getting some thin sections made, Alex?

Alex Gee said...

That is the intention Brian.
perhaps Dr Speedy or someone else would care to give a more qualified opinion on the observed characteristics of the supposed Chert/basalt?

The rock appears black or extremely dark in colour, its hard enough to cut glass and mark steel, No sparks were produced when the rock was used to continuously strike steel/iron(as one might expect with flint or chert.

No reaction was observed when the rock was submerged in dilute Hydrochloric acid (not a carbonate)

The rock is fine grained, no crystals are observable when using a hand microscope at 60-100X magnification.

The rock structure appears to be homogenous, there appears to be no layering or stratification.

There appears to be some yellow coloured randomly oriented bands or intrusions.

When heated on an oven ring for a considerable period no apparent reaction or fracturing occurred(as one might expect from moisture laden flint or chert)

These are the findings of my amateur efforts.

Geo Cur said...

Alex , I suggest not reading books about the purpose of Stonehenge , it is in the nature of the beast that they will induce bouts of piss taking , anyone who has ever solved a cross word puzzle ,read the London Underground map , or understood a couple of axioms thinks they have some understanding about the “purpose “ of Stonehenge /rock art/ Pictish symbols /pyramids etc . If the title has an enigma , puzzle , solved , mysterious , ancient , wisdom etc in it then it is more than likely best avoided (publishers not authors are really to blame but they know their market and some do get unfortunate titles despite being non nutty ,I’m thinking in particular of Anthony Johnson’s “ Solving Stonehenge sub titles A new key to an Ancient Enigma “ which has four BS warnings yet is not at all daft ) , all you discover is their little obsessions and nothing about the monument , this problem does extend into the mainstream e.g. the recent nonsense about the undated ,unsighted , Cursus pits and Heel Stone “alignments “ and subsequent due south midday procession to the centre of monument from Brum Uni ( it took me less than half an hour and without the accurate grid refs for the pits ,to show it was simply wrong , this at least was falsifiable ) ) sadly anything worthwhile which will almost certainly come out of their work will be tainted by this petty sound bite stuff . Alternatively there are regular articles and papers that actually inform us about recent studies some of which are exemplary . In the last year we have had the David Field and Trevor Pearson “Survey Report “ the Bevins and Ixer papers oft noted here , even the MPP et al papers are full of info , just excise the interpretation .
The "Purpose of Stonehenge " belongs on the same shelf as " Why Hitler was right " ," Live 'til 120 on Light and Yoghurt " " Find the untapped 135% of your brain power " " Civilisation before civilistion ,the truth about Slough "

Chris johnson said...

Geo Cur, thanks for the links. I can appreciate why you see the connection.

Bedd Arthur is a little thing by comparison but perhaps the Viking crews were far from home and in a hurry. Could even be that they rearranged a pre-existing circle to make their boat.....

Reluctant to fantasize too much on this blog given the high scientific standards.

Geo Cur said...

Chris , I should point out that I was merely saying that it looked similar , no connection other than visual suggested .

BRIAN JOHN said...

RJL comment deleted -- no personal abuse please...

Catherine Perigo said...

I shall be visiting for the first time next week. I have read that the blue stone oval at SH is very much the same as that at Bedd Arthur and that the two must be very closely connected if not the work of the same people?

BRIAN JOHN said...

Ah, it depends on whose views you are reading about. Personally, I can see no connection whatsoever between Bedd Arthur and Stonehenge -- apart, maybe, from the fact that they both involve vaguely elliptical shapes. But many other stone setting share that characteristic as well.

Catherine Perigo said...

I am intrigued...looking forward to seeing it for myself. Thanks Brian.

Geo Cur said...

Catherine , what is common to Bedd Arthur and the Blustone oval and possibly Bluestonehenge is that they are aligned on on the summer solstice sunrise (in the case of the Stonehnege monument there is a very good argument for intentionality but not necessarily for B.A. and BSH ).Their shapes are not that similar and typologically and chronologically they might differ considerably .

Anonymous said...

Wow!! A male bitch fest haha....great entertainment.

BRIAN JOHN said...

Oh, it's all good fun. Not necessarily all male -- some of our anonymous contributors might be female, for all I know....

And none of it actually MATTERS anyway...