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Saturday, 5 November 2016

The Carn Enoch grooves -- for sharpening axes?

 On several occasions we have discussed the origins of those strange rock grooves at Carn Enoch, a tor high up on the mountain above Dinas Cross.  This is one previous post:

http://brian-mountainman.blogspot.co.uk/2010/05/strange-marks-at-carn-enoch.html

and I have published this photo before:


Well, today I found this photo on Twitter, with no mention of its location:


It's labelled as a site where the sharpening and smoothing of Neolithic stone axes has occurred.  Sounds reasonable to me.  Any observations?

25 comments:

Evergreen said...

The polisher ('polissoir' if you are trying desperately to impress) at fyfield (2nd pic) is one of a few polishing stones in the Avebury area.
The grooves and polishing area are as smooth as marble.

The small grooves in the 1st photo seem much cruder, different in shape and width. They look to me to be the result of a natural process. Why are you certain they are man-made?

BRIAN JOHN said...

No, I am not certain! I am just rather attracted by the idea, because although bthere may be some influence from the fabric of the rock, those deeply picked out grooves are extremely rare. In fact, I don't recall seeing anything similar anywhere else in Pembs, on any of the rock surfaces I have looked at over the years....... Also, the grooves are on a rock face that was once the back edge of a semi-circular enclosure too small to be an animal enclosure and just the right size to be a Neolithic or Bronze Age shelter, on the lee side of the tor. The ruinous rocky wall is still visible.

PeteG said...

actualy besides the polissoir there are 148 stones in the Avebury area with polishing marks on them.
The top photo doesn't look like any of them to me.
PeteG

TonyH said...

I wonder if Myris's Doctor friend (forget his name, Doctor.......who??) can cast any geological + archaeological light on your Carn Enoch grooves?

That good Doctor was associated with the S.P.A.C.E.S. boys who trawled through Northern Pembrokeshire for several Seasons. They included Geoff Wainwright and Tim Darvill.

TonyH said...

Some of the megaliths at Avebury have been used as axe sharpening stones i.e. within the circles. Hardly any of the multitude of visitors to Avebury from far and wide will be aware of them. I had them pointed out by Dr Nick Snashall, National Trust archaeologist, whose Blog relating also to Stonehenge has had several mentions here.

Evergreen said...

Ok. The reason I asked is because in the link provided you say they are "clearly man-made", so was simply wondering how you could be so sure!

They are certainly very interesting, but on the evidence of that photo I can't see any meaningful connection with the polisher. Have you got any better photos of the grooves in the 1st pic?

BRIAN JOHN said...

Always open to rational debate! I did once ask Dyfed Archaeo Trust about this little dilemma, but they never bothered to reply.....

cysgodycastell said...

I am often up on Garn Fawr and have puzzled over these marks on Carn Enoch and the enclosure they sit above. I am not unconvinced that they could be a rough variant of Ogham scratced out by a one time occupant during the course of a few wet winters.

BRIAN JOHN said...

Quite possibly -- a bit of innocent rock-bashing or doodling to pass away a rainy day? Neolithic graffiti perhaps?

TonyH said...

Them Enoch grooves nothing to do with Enoch Powell in the 1960s? Personal Tutor, Geography Department, Dr Brian John set his Tutor Group essays on Enoch's Rivers of Blood speech and no, it wasn't Halloween, not as I recall.

The Stonehenge Visitor Centre retails a neat little illustrated book on British rock carving which I bought last year. Gave it to my brother who lives near St David's, and don't recall the title or author.

Perhaps those marks in the rock are tooth marks left by that Monster Brian likes to say lived somewhere up on Preseli, if so we have the solution.

PeteG said...

the marks on the stone could have been used by shepherds to sharpen knives on.
Some you the people here really needs to go farming! :)

Evergreen said...

Pete, 148?!
I'm aware of several in WKLB, some on the avenue, as well as some smoothed areas of some of the circle stones, but I am extremely surprised at that number.

Tylwyth Teg said...

If you look closely there are twenty five grooves, it's obviously an advent calendar.

Myris said...

Sorry lads I think the smart money is on a natural origin.
The grooves are along the fabric of the lithology look at the row of feint grooves above the deeper ones.
They have a passing, but only passing, resemblance to sigmoidal tension gashes.

But please remember identification from photographs is a mug's game.

Is it certain that the lithology is dolerite? Brian's dolerite is a highly ecumenical church.

Was Enoch a sanguine OT prophet?

Still PLOUGHING through Tolstoy's 600+ SH mystery pages. I had not realised there is so much media-evil Welsh nonsense -more journeys than X-factor.

M

BRIAN JOHN said...

Must go back and take another look at those grooves. Tolstoy's book? Don't think I'll bother.......

MoA said...

No it is really one for media-evilists and is very repetitious. Lots of (non discerning?)scholarship but I am not really much clearer about the role of Stonehenge. It is def one to label wood for the trees. Only a third through it and am often totally lost in the thicket of footnotes. But working on my navel puns.
M

TonyH said...

Stay groovey, and check out Madonna's official video and lyrics for her Mega - hit..... "Into the Groove (you've got to prove....) for a full New - Age - logic explanation for Carn Enoch.

Peter Dunn said...

Look now I have got some of those sigmondfroidal tension gashes, what in heaven’s name this is all about!
Who is Enoch Tolstoy? why is he evil ? what has he written about Stonehenge in welsh? Is it about trees or navels? has he been on the X factor? and what the hell has it to do with Madonna?
I feel so stupid I can’t work it out. Please stop this nonsense or explain!

BRIAN JOHN said...

You are not alone, Peter. Nobody else can work it out either. Mystical Myris likes to speak in riddles........

Peter Dunn said...

Thank God for that, I am not alone.
But now it isn’t just MoA, what is the relevance of you being Enoch Powell’s (who bore a passing resemblance to my uncle Frank) personal Tutor In the 1960’s before he gave that bloody speech on Halloween at the Stonehenge visitor centre and then turning into a huge monster, made those grooves in the rock with his teeth and started following you around the hills.
Sounds like Dinsdale Piranha and that enormous hedgehog Spiny Norman.
Have I got this wrong too?

BRIAN JOHN said...

Heaven forbid that I should ever be accused of having anything to do with Enoch Powell. Thoroughly nasty piece of work. But I was indeed Tony's tutor in Durham University, long long ago........ as for monsters and dragons with sharp teeth, all I can say is that some of the contributors to this blog love a rattling good yarn. And if you have problems with all these esoteric folk music references, they go way over my head too. Give me a good Shostakovich symphony any day.

TonyH said...

It's not just the contributors who love a rattling good yarn....what about the Angelic Blogmeister?!

TonyH said...

To avoid falling foul to Wild Goose Tales spread by Geologists at Aberystwyth tomorrow (and in other places and times), it is best to remain loose as a goose**.....one man's Shostakovich is another man's Paul Simon, after all, pop - pickers, as we all know.

** "Oh, baby, that's what I like!"

chris johnson said...

Peter gives the clue - the Afanc was ere.

BRIAN JOHN said...

No -- that is a wild speculation. The afanc is a water creature that likes to live in deep pools in the river, or under bridges. Doubt very much that the Brynberian afanc would have gone all the way up to Carn Enoch just the sharpen his claws.......