The new recumbent monolith at Waun Mawn. A fallen standing stone, or just a lump of glacially emplaced unspotted dolerite? We shall see......
This is the second brief report on what is now visible to passing ramblers and lost circle hunters, following the conclusion of the 2021 digging season by MPP and his "Stones of Stonehenge" team. The first report is here:
To continue:3. The Waun Mawn "lost circle"
This year, the team implied (in its application for consent) that only a small area would be excavated, with highly targetted small excavation pits opened up with a view to answering quite specific research questions. On the map submitted only four small areas were identified for excavation trenches:
To me, this looks like around 50 sq m of excavations. When I walked over the site yesterday, I was staggered to find that there were at least eight new excavations (some of them very large) and several "revisits" to previously excavated areas, where old turves have been lifted and then re-laid.
Let's assume that the vast expansion of the digging area in 2021, over and above what was in the original project plan, was done in close cooperation with the National Park and NRC. If this was all done without authorisation, we have a problem. Or rather, MPP has a problem.
So no big stone has been found at the "circle centre" and the only substantial stone unearthed is in the SW quadrant. To me, that looks like a glacially emplaced boulder, but the diggers will no doubt have hunted beneath it to see if there are any dateable organic remains. Watch this space.........
One further point regarding rock types -- I have again spent a fair amount of time looking at rock fragments and boulders, and have seen no trace of any spotted dolerites. So I am as certain as anybody can be that nothing from Carn Goedog has been used here, and that any large stones set into the ground have been locally derived unspotted dolerites. The basic and frequently occurring rock types are Abermawr shale, meta-mudstones and meta-shales altered by igneous activity, rhyolites, volcanic ashes and unspotted dolerite of several types. There may be some sandstone fragments too. I have not seen anything that looks as if it might have come from Rhosyfelin.
So how do we explain this sixteen-fold increase in the size of the 2021 digging area, as compared with what was planned? Well, it looks as if nothing of much interest was found -- if that assumption is wrong, I will correct it when I get more feedback from MPP's brewery talk on 14 September. We already know about interpretative inflation -- I think what we have here is a classic case of "excavation exasperation" in which the diggers, having initially not found what they were looking for, just kept on digging till they all ran out of steam. They were so desperate to find something -- anything -- that would provide validation or confirmation for the "lost circle" hypothesis that they forgot all about their original research design and went for broke. That's the way I see it.
For the time being, or until some evidence appears from somewhere, let's just refer to this one as the "desperation dig".