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Wednesday, 1 January 2014

The Garn Turne Dolmen / Cromlech


On looking at the Current Archaeology web site, I came across a reference to another article (in issue 286) by persons unnamed.  Here is the info:

HOW TO BUILD A DOLMEN
Exploring Neolithic construction at Garn Turne
Dolmens are an iconic form of chambered tomb. But with capstones weighing over 100 tonnes, how were these monuments created 6,000 years ago?

http://www.archaeology.co.uk/issues/current-archaeology-286-on-sale-now.htm

If any reader of that august journal wants to share the findings of the authors, feel free to let me have the info.

6 comments:

geocur said...

Haven’t seen it but it sounds like it may well be part of the Vicki Cummings and Colin Richards "Building the great Dolmens "project . From excavation at Garn Turne they have suggest a pit is dug adjacent to an outcrop ,the bottom of the capstone is then worked to form a flat profile ,the capstone is then believed to be raised gradually by chock stones which are then replaced by the various side, back and portal stones .

BRIAN JOHN said...

Thanks Geo -- that all makes good sense, and it's the way I lift big stones when we are on holiday in Sweden. Levers and chocks -- I reckon I can shift a boulder weighing over a tonne single-handed...... but I would probably need a bit of help to build a cromlech!

Looks as if Colin and his colleagues have abandoned the idea that the big stone was dragged from the hill summit -- and they now accept that it was used where found. Common sense prevails.

geocur said...


Brian , most of it is based on results from excavation the chocking can't be proved but it's a likely method .I have mentioned here a few times the examples of capstones of portal tombs that were believed to have been lifted directly from the where they were found .It was suggested by Whittle and Richards long before the recent excavation at Garn Turne .Pentre Ifan was the most obvious one .I can't think of any archaeo who has ever suggested that any portal tomb capstone was moved more than 500 metres probably less .

TonyH said...

The CA article was indeed penned by Colin Richards [ a professor in world prehistory, no less, at Manchester University] and Vicki Cummings [a reader in archaeology at the University of Central Lancashire].

BRIAN JOHN said...

Ah yes -- from the quarry hunter extraordinaire...... I have been having another look at the Ring of Brodgar and the Vestra Fiold "quarry" - of which more anon. But to his credit he does seem to have abandoned the idea that the Carn Turne capstone was dragged from a quarry up at the top of the slope.

TonyH said...

Colin and Mike Parker Pearson are, of course, old pals in Northern Scotland, Orkney, as well as the formidable Stonehenge Riverside Project. These boys have abandoned Micro - archaeology and these days prefer Macro. Neil Oliver (on BBC 3 tonight) can only raise a quivering eyebrow in sheer admiration [ no sarcasm intended, an attempt at Simon Hoggard - style wit].