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Monday, 16 March 2015

A Carnmeini Pinnacle Orthostat?

I was rather intrigued to read, the other day, in NP Figgis's book "Prehistoric Preseli", as follows:  "A recent study of human environments suggests that the highest stone in the Carn Meini bluestone outcrop was deliberately set there to enhance the significance of the site; in short, that this bluestone was moved, albeit not very far, for a non-functional purpose." (p 50)

I don't think I have ever encountered that idea before.  Where it came from I have no idea.......  does anybody know?

I know the rock outcrops at Carnmeini pretty well, and I have never had any suspicion that any of the highest stones on the rock outcrops are anything but entirely natural.  Another example of archaeological fantasising?


chris johnson said...

I sent you a photo a while back of a face in the rock on Carn Menyn that looked very convincing - as if someone had improved on nature.

Interesting idea from Figgis.

TonyH said...

Are you referring to Figgis' revised 2010 edition of his "Prehistoric Preseli"? I bought this a couple of years ago, updating his 2001 first edition.

I note he doesn't specify which published study he is referring to.

Figgis goes on to state:

"The same study considers the possible significance of the polishing of stone, and the special rocks and boulders on which the tools were polished (both active and passive participants in the same activity), as having super - functional connotations; and in 1986 a possible polishing - stone was recorded at Carn Meini."

Have you located this suggested polishing stone within the landscape, Brian? Figgis illustrates a corrugated earthfast stone at Carn Meini (page 50). I have seen the axe- grinding stone, or polissoir on the Downs east - north - east of Avebury.

BRIAN JOHN said...

No, I'm not aware of any study which mentions either the "pinnacle stone" or the "polishing stone" to which she refers.....

Hugh Thomas said...

I believe I spotted a pinnacle stone ( well two) in the area , if I knew how to post an image I would .
If you find the outcrops immediately nearest the chambered tomb at the top of Rhestr Cerrig, then view from the north or the south there does indeed appear to be an upright that stands out, on top of this first outcrop. Another possibility is the upright on top of Carn Gwyr (about 500 yards away to the north west)but this looks purely natural to me, even if part of it has fallen or been levered off maybe to make it more prominent ..

BRIAN JOHN said...

There are "pinnacle stones" on many of the tors in the area -- but they have all looked entirely natural to me.

Hugh Thomas said...

Have been going through my photos of the area, the pinnacle rocks indeed do look natural, could it be though they may have had a little help to make them "appear" more prominent?
There is a standing stone within the outcrops I had overlooked, it is on the western slope in a grassy clearing between two outcrops,it is about four feet high but it is by no means the "highest stone" around here..
There is a surprising theory revolving around this stone, involving virility and giant figures on the landscape...