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Tuesday 6 March 2018

More on the Blessing Stone, St Dogmaels

In a previous post on this rather splendid glacial erratic near the shore of the Teifi estuary, I gave the standard interpretation of it, as given in assorted guidebooks and information display panels.

Wy wife and I went to have a look at it today, and I must say it is rather impressive.  It's very well abraded and weathered -- and the sides are so smooth and moss- and  lichen-covered that it's rather difficult to see what it's made of.  It's certainly igneous, but it doesn't look like spotted dolerite.  The rock colour is dark blue-grey, but there is a reddish tinge here and there.  I reckon it weighs at least 15 tonnes.  It's a strange shape too -- like a blunted three-bladed propellor or triskell.  Very different from the standard rectangular shape which we see on most erratics and cromlech capstones.  It has a nice little walled enclosure around it, which uis reputed to echo when you shout -- or even whisper -- when seated on the stone.

The nearby information panel tells us that the Blessing Stone was once the capstone of a destroyed cromlech -- the story is that the three boulders on the top of the  bank about 30m away are the fallen supporting stones. As far as I know, there has been no excavation here, and so there is no evidence of burials or other use.   The bottom photo in the sequence shows the situation -- the Blessing Stone is located about 6m below the grassy bank, directly behind the picnic bench. 

If there ever was a cromlech here, and the capstone fell off  it accidentally or through a deliberate act of destruction, it would have slipped down the bank directly, at the left edge of the photo.  

My own theory is that our heroic ancestors planned to build a cromlech here, put the supporting stones in place, and then tried to get the massive Blessing Stone up the bank made of till so that they could raise it into position.  But I think the task was beyond them -- the stone was just too heavy -- and so the cromlech was never completed. 

Another monument in which the aspirations of the builders were far in excess of their ability to finish the job.  Sounds familiar?


ND Wiseman said...

Hi Brian. Great shots of the stones and the misses.

Quote: "Another monument in which the aspirations of the builders were far in excess of their ability to finish the job. Sounds familiar?"

Lemme see now ... except for two sarsen uprights for which evidence of placement is admittedly tenuous, the remainder of Stonehenge was almost certainly completed.
The Trilithons are all there - easily the most difficult of tasks. More, if we include pesky circle stones -17 & -18 there's still only five of the big boys missing, and evidence for the remaining three is virtually incontrovertible.

So it wasn't a case of reach exceeding grasp, and certainly not "far in excess of their ability ..."


PS: Let's see if this comment posts, as quite a few of mine and other's have not.

ND Wiseman said...

I love/hate technology too!
Thanks for digging into the slush pile my friend.