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Wednesday, 13 July 2016

The Pensarn Treasure Hunt site? (revised)

This is the field near Pensarn (near Crosswell) where the digging action might be concentrated this year in September, when MPP and all the other boys and girls roll up for the annual Pembrokeshire dig.   At least, we think this might be the field, if several little birds have tweeted the right info towards us, and if Hugh is right.  The grid reference is SN 123359.

Not sure whether all those things we can see are bales of straw, animals or boulders -- must get over there one of these days and take a look.  Maybe Hugh can enlighten us?  Apart from these prominent features on the photo, there do not seem to be any traces of patterns in cropmarks, parchmarks or subtle shadows showing raised surface features or hollows.  All very intriguing.

Modification with extra images:

The blobs on the image clearly were animals! 

Thanks to Simon K for alerting us to the much better definition on Bing Maps.  Here are two images from the Bing web site.

Two further images of the same field.  On the top image, with the sun in the south, a more or less circular mound can be seen to the east of the tree with a shadow, with a slight shadow on its north flank.  It is approx 25 m across.  On the lower (oblique) image, with the sun low in the west, the mound shows up even more clearly, just at the tip of the elongated tree shadow.  Courtesy:  Bing Maps.  

Now this starts to get interesting -- not at all what I expected.  Round mounds like this are normally from the Bronze Age;  the earlier Neolithic mounds (mostly stripped away in Pembrokeshire to expose the dolmens or passage graves that were partly within them) were generally elongated.  They would be called "long barrows" in Wiltshire.

So what might this feature, of probable Bronze Age origin, have to do with Stonehenge and Rhosyfelin?  We can be pretty certain what the working hypothesis for the September dig will be, from some of the things said by Prof MPP and others.

It'll be on these lines:

1.  Stones were taken from the supposed quarry at Rhosyfelin, hauled up out of the Brynberian Valley via the little cwm to the east of the rocky spur, and then across country for about a kilometre to the slight rise near Pensarn, to be put up as a bluestone circle with a diameter of c 25m.  Date:  probably around 5,500 yrs BP.

2.  The circle (which also included stones from Carn Goedog) became greatly revered as a sacred site -- maybe cremated bones were placed into stone sockets prior to the placement of the monoliths, as in some of the Aubrey Holes at Stonehenge.

3.  The bluestone circle was dismantled and hauled off to Stonehenge, still during the Neolithic.

4.  Later, in the Bronze Age, the sacredness of the site at Pensarn was confirmed by the building of a round barrow or burial cairn, which is still in place although greatly denuded over the passing of the millennia.

We can but hope that this will be treated as a working hypothesis rather than a ruling hypothesis;  given the track record of this particular group of researchers, I am not very confident on that score............. 

Needless to say, a huge amount of hard evidence would have to fall into place if this hypothesis is to have any chance of standing up to scrutiny.  Ever more intriguing.......


TonyH said...

Use of the LIDAR imaging technique may have revealed subtle effects otherwise indiscernible by previously state - of - the art techniques. As, for example, revealed within the woodlands of the South Downs National Park and presented in the media yesterday: extensive prehistoric [Bronze Age] field systems.

Or could it be the technique used in the Stonehenge Hidden Landscapes Survey, which found the probability of large stones within the Durringto Walls Henge?

Simon K said...

If you have a look at the field on Bing Maps there appears to be a mound lower centre.

BRIAN JOHN said...

Well spotted, Simon! Fantastic clarity on those images, and the light is just right to show up the mound. Will add it to the post -- thank you very much.

chris johnson said...

Can you give OS reference?

BRIAN JOHN said...

Now added, Chris.

chris johnson said...

On my personal OS map I marked a standing stone a few hundred yards to the North. Presumably still there?

BRIAN JOHN said...

Don't know that one, Chris. Does it have a name? Grid reference?

chris johnson said...

I marked the stone roughly at 125361. I was prospecting for potential sites, parked by a farm gate on the B4329 near Crosswell and walked into the field which was sloping upwards - a bit dome like I thought. The stone is visible quite quickly, standing on its own I thought. It must be close to Pensarn. I remember it looked promising because of the excellent view of the horizons - my hobby horse as you know.