Some of the ideas discussed in this blog are published in my new book called "The Stonehenge Bluestones" -- due for publication on June 1st 2018. After that, it will be available by post and through good bookshops everywhere. Bad bookshops might not have it....
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Wednesday, 23 May 2012

The Gelligaer Stone

This standing stone is on Gelligaer Common, near Merthyr.  I have put it up because it relates to our earlier discussions about the fragility of long thin stones, and the capacity of such stones to survive either long-distance transport by man or by glacier ice.  This one is very fragile -- although there are other photos which show the flat face rather better. 

Not too much is known about this stone -- to me, it looks like a genuine bronze Age feature, later commandeered for Early Christian purposes as a monument.  Does anyody know more?


This stone can be found on Gelligaer common near Merthyr, It is a roughly squared pillar which when erect would have stood 8 ft high. It stands near a old roman road which lends weight to the theory that the stone marks the site of a christian burial roadside graves being a common Roman custom. The stone is a short walk from the nearby road in fact you can see it on the horizon as you apprach from the north. The stone originally bore an inscription DEFROIHI or REFSOIHI . This was partially defaced before 1862 leaving just IHI visible. Unfortunately this too was vandalised by a group of miners at the beginning of the century leaving the stone bare.
The Stone was recorded in the last century as being at the head of an enclosure which contained a burial.  The ground around the stone is lower than the surrounding land and you can still see the outlines of what could be the enclosure (see photo below) . There is a local story that treasure is buried beneath the stone. This led a local farmer to try and dig the stone out -- fortunately he was driven off in true legendary style by a fierce thunderstorm. This may account for tilt in the stone today.


Anonymous said...

It has possible cup marks, may be dressed, age Pnk forgotten what that means! might be Prehistoric not known
see. Page62


BAR 558 2012: A Gazetteer of Prehistoric Standing Stones in Great Britain by Olaf Swarbrick. ISBN 9781407309606. £25.00. iv+101 pages; illustrated throughout in colour and black and white.

A Gazetteer representing practical field observations of most of the prehistoric Standing Stones in Great Britain and some ‘Other Stones’ which post-date AD 1. The list also includes 34 prehistoric Standing Stones known to be extant but which the author was unable to visit, a list of Standing Stones of unknown provenance, and of interesting ‘Other Stones’. The motivation for this work was the Wimblestone (Somerset, ST434585) which is an extant prehistoric Standing Stone close to the author’ childhood home and which started his interest in these monuments. In September 1996 the author set out to find, visit and sketch the prehistoric Standing Stones in Great Britain and soon discovered that there was no readily available, and comprehensive list or lists of Standing Stones and their exact locations. Therefore, with numerous Standing Stones unknown to the author and others which were very difficult to find, the author decided to attempt to produce a readily usable gazetteer of as many as possible of the prehistoric Standing Stones in Great Britain (with the National Grid reference number for each) together with colour sketches, photographs, field records and relevant information gathered from various sources; deliberately excluded were stone circles, long stone rows, burial chambers and dolmens. Some Standing Stones were not visited because they were inaccessible for various reasons and these are separately listed. These and the other Standing Stones and some other stone monuments which postdate AD 1 are recorded in the gazetteers but are excluded from the analysis. Apparently unrecorded Standing Stones continue to be found, making the production of a totally comprehensive gazetteer of all the prehistoric Standing Stones in Great Britain the work of many lifetimes.

Olof was a big animal vet now helping celestial animals. He ided just before this came to press.
I am reviewing it I hope kindly but I must say using it just now was not as easy as I thought.

Geo Cur said...

There wasa recent find of a single cup on a slab of sandstone on Gelligaer common .

Tony Hinchliffe said...

Mick Sharp is probably the photographer par excellence of prehistoric sites and megaliths, e.g "A Land of Gods & Giants", with foreward by Christopher Chippindale. I recommend his books of evocative photographs wholeheartedly to anyone who hasn't come across his work. He is frequently used by archaeologists in their illustrations.

The Romans often sited their roads close to pre-existing prehistoric stones and other prehistoric constructions e.g. henges, so the Gelligaer Stone may be a similar feature pre-dating the Roman road, even if it was opportunistically later used to mark a Christian era burial.

Dave Walters said...

the gelligaer common standing stone
still has the inscription on it,
It also has Latin words on its South East face(STAF8YM)=Baculus/Baculum, and (DATUAR)=to give/offer/convey/donate or furnish, There are many other words on the stone to see them you need to photograph the stone from an acute angle at Sun set, I have several photo graphs in my collection. I call the stone the Dubricius after a translation by Edward Llwyd in 1793.