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Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Neolithic things near Rhosyfelin?


I'll hazard a guess that this year's quarryman's dig might well be at Pensarn Junction, the location of which is shown on the satellite image above.  The position of a small foliated rhyolite standing stone (about 1.5 m high) is shown in the middle of the field, with Chris for scale, and if I was an archaeologist desperate to find something interesting, that might well be where I would open up a pit. 

There may be other stone sockets in the vicinity, and although the chances are that everything man-made beneath the turf is Bronze Age, maybe -- just maybe -- something older will be found as well. Anything will do -- and of course anything dateable to the Neolithic will be flagged up as a big story, confirming to the archaeologists that Rhosyfelin was a Neolithic quarry from which standing stones were taken for local use.  Not exactly Proto-Stonehenge, but what the hell -- when you are in a spot of bother, anything will do.........

If you are a rational human being, of course, one or more rhyolite standing stones in this area does nothing at all to confirm the quarrying hypothesis -- it simply means that (as was the case all over Pembrokeshire) some old fellows found elongated stones lying around and thought they would look nicer if they were standing.  Occam's Razor applies.

Watch this space.....




8 comments:

TonyH said...

I notice in David Field's new book on Prehistoric Wiltshire that he observes (page 59) that at Arn Hill, further west from Boles Barrow, its long barrow had a standing stone set within.

"Although we have no radiocarbon date, this is probably the earliest evidence of the erection of a standing stone in Wiltshire."

It was dug long ago, I think in antiquarian days. I will check further.

David Field also surmises that long barrows at Knook, not far from either barrow just mentioned, may have utilised pre - existing standing stones. William Cunnington (he of the 'foreign stone' at Boles Barrow) described stones incorporated into the cairns as 'man - made stones'.

Evergreen said...

As I wrote in an earlier post, I can't find a reference to this stone in MegPortal or Cadw. (or even TMA).
I think it may have been put there as a rubbing stone.

PeteG said...

I read a letter in Wiltshire Notes & Queries from a Warminster man who lamented that local youths had rolled the Holed Stone at Winklebury hill fort down a steep hill and it broke into many pieces at the bottom.
PeteG

BRIAN JOHN said...

You may well be right, Evergreen. I have wondered about that myself -- in fact I wonder about this every time I look at a standing stone!! Maybe if the diggers do check this one out, all will be revealed....

BRIAN JOHN said...

Tony -- thank you. Interesting point re old standing stones incorporated into long barrows -- presumably around 5,500 years ago. I wonder just how many of these there are?

TonyH said...

Brian, might be worth your contacting David Field via email about that, since he worked hereabouts in the field for English Heritage etc for many years. (he's currently on holiday abroad, however). One of his reasons for writing that new prehistoric Wiltshire book he says was to re - balance the emphasis so that Avebury & Stonehenge don't get too much space in proportion to other interesting but overlooked areas of Wiltshire.

TonyH said...

The ARN HILL long barrow is on a downland spur overlooking the Wyle River, as are a few others. But there are several long barrows on or almost on the alluvium of the Wylye River. Thet have somehow escaped the ravages of agricultural "improvement", enclosure, etc.

I will read through more of Grinsell's section on long barrows in his "Archaeology of Wessex" (1958) to see if he mentions any presumed standing stones within Neolithic barrows.

Dave Maynard said...

Fascinating article about a patch of snow in Scotland

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/sep/18/scotlands-sphinx-snow-patch-is-in-its-throes-in-pictures