West Kennet Long Barrow: MPBW sign

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West Kennet Long Barrow © Patrick Taylor

The West Kennet long barrow was placed on the 1882 Schedule of Ancient Monuments. It now lies within the Avebury World Heritage Site. The scientific excavation took place in 1955–56.

Radiocarbon dates suggest that the monument was constructed in the period 3,700–3,600 BC, more than a millennium earlier than was thought in the 1960s.

Lanyon Quoit

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Lanyon Quoit © David Gill

Lanyon Quoit is located near to Madron in Penwith. The remains formed part of a neolithic chambered tomb.

The stones were re-erected in 1824.

Ding Dong Mine sits on the skyline. This forms part of the UNESCO Cornwall & West Devon Mining Landscape World Heritage Site.

St Breock Downs Monolith

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© Patrick Taylor

This monolith stands at about the highest point to the south-west of Wadebridge in Cornwall.  It was re-erected in 1956 and placed in State Guardianship in 1965 when it was provided with an MPBW sign (now replaced). Note that the original name was longstone rather than monolith.

Note that the stone is now dated from the Late Neolithic to the mid-Bronze Age, i.e. c. 2500–1500 BC; this contrasts with the view in the 1960s as used on the sign, 1800–600 BC.

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St Breock Down Monolith © David Gill

The site is now managed by the Cornwall Heritage Trust.

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St Breock Down Monolith © David Gill

Guidebook: Stanton Drew Circles

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Revised 1969

The series of stone circles at Stanton Drew in Bath and Avon (formerly Somerset) were placed under the protection of the Ancient Monuments Protection Act (1882). For an overview of the site see English Heritage.

The guide was prepared by L.V. Grinsell (who also wrote the guide for Hetty Pegler’s Tump). It consists of 7 pages (the back page is blank) and contains a plan of the three circles in the centre pages. There is a short history of the site (noting the date to between 2000 and 1400 BC) and then descriptions of the Great Circle and Avenue, the North-eastern Circle, the South-western Circle, the Cove, and Hautville’s Quoit. In addition there is a section on Stanton Drew in Folk Tradition, and a review of the literature from John Aubrey (1664) and William Stukeley (1776).

Nether Largie South Cairn

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Nether Largie South Cairn © David Gill

Nether Largie South Cairn is part of the prehistoric landscape at Kilmartin. It was excavated by Canon Greenwell in 1864. Its first phase appears to belong to the early Neolithic. Two cists were cut into the outer part of the cairn, probably ion the Early Bronze Age.

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Nether Largie Cairns, Kimartin © David Gill

 

Mottistone: Neolithic long barrow

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Mottistone © David Gill

The long stone on the down above Mottistone originally formed part of the entrance to a Neolithic long barrow [National Trust].  The mound was excavated by Jacquetta Hawkes in 1956 (and published in Antiquity).

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Mottistone © David Gill

 

 

Grime’s Graves: Young People’s Guide

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1964

The neolithic mines at Grime’s Graves are in the care of English Heritage. Barbara Green prepared the Young People’s Guide to Grime’s Graves (1964), in parallel to the souvenir guide to the site. The cover is by Alan Sorrell, and the guide was printed by Brown Knight & Truscott Ltd., London and Tonbridge.

The guide poses a two questions before addressing wider questions:

  • why were the mines dug?
  • what was the flint used for?
  • mining at Grime’s Graves
  • Exploring the mines (‘… it is often necessary to wriggle on one’s stomach’).

There is little in the text to make it more accessible for the younger visitor.

Inside the cover is a note: ‘Visitors wishing to crawl along the galleries are advised to wear old clothes and take an electric torch’. Those galleries are now closed to the public.

My copy was a handwritten note of the opening times on the back cover. The site was open until 7.00 pm from May to September (5.30 pm, March, April, October; 4.00 pm, November – February).

Grime’s Graves: Canon Greenwell’s Pit to open

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Canon Greenwell’s Pit, Grime’s Graves © David Gill

English Heritage has announced that it will opening up Canon Greenwell’s Pit at Grime’s Graves. A short video is available from the BBC (“Neolithic flint mine to open to public for the first time“, BBC News 11 March 2017). Access will be by guided tour. Pit 1 will continue to be open.

Canon William Greenwell (1820-1918) excavated at Grime’s Graves in 1868, following earlier work at the flint mines at Cissbury in Sussex.

Carreg Coetan Arthur Burial Chamber

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Carreg Coetan Arthur © David Gill

The burial chamber of Carreg Coetan Arthur lies on the east side of Newport in Pembrokeshire. The monument is in the care of Cadw. It was excavated in 1979 and 1980.

A Cadw guide was prepared by J.B. Hilling (1992). This is omitted from the earlier list of Cadw guides to burial chambers in Wales.

Guidebooks for Skara Brae

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1983

I have noted before the official guidebook for Skara Brae on Orkney. The original edition by V. Gordon Childe dated to 1933, and the guide was revised in 1983 (D.V. Clarke with [the late] V. Gordon Childe). This 1983 edition was fully illustrated (in black and white), with sections on The site revealed; the best in northern Europe; the village and its inhabitants; a guided tour. This guide was published by HMSO.

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1989

The guidebooks is sponsored and supported by Gateway supermarkets.

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1989

This was replaced by the Historic Scotland Guide prepared by David Clarke and Patrick Maguire. It is subtitled ‘Northern Europe’s Best Preserved Prehistoric Village’. It starts with a ‘Guided Tour’ and then a series of sections on the settlement: ‘The preservation of Skara Brae’, ‘About the houses’, ‘In the midden’, ‘The workshop’, ‘The way of life at Skara Brae’, and completes with ‘How the story came to light’. There is a note ‘About this booklet’ that explains the difference between ‘undoubted fact’ and ‘speculation’. The guide is completed with ‘Some commonly asked questions’.

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2012

David Clarke is the author of the Historic Scotland guide (2012). This is fully illustrated, in colour, and includes plans and reconstructions. There are three main sections: guided tour; life at Skara Brae; understanding Skara Brae. The guide includes a section on the local wildlife.