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This year’s Summer Competition, courtesy of the PicToBrick  software which turns any photo into a Lego® mosaic, seems to have foxed many of you. I did say that it would be either remarkably easy, or incredibly difficult – it seems the latter was closer to the mark. One commentator on our Facebook page even failed to recognise three sites which we’ve visited together in the past!

As a reminder, we showed you 9 photos, each 48×32 Lego® studs in size, and asked you to name the monument. I think pretty much everyone got the first one correct due to its distinctive shape, but after that it got tricky, and no-one has yet come forward with a full set of answers. So without further ado, here are the answers in full:

1. Devil’s Den, Wiltshire

2 mosaic

2. Carreg Coetan Arthur, Pembrokeshire

1 mosaicOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

3. Kit’s Coty House, Kent

3 mosaic

4. Chun Quoit, Cornwall

Chun

5. Gwal-y-Filiast, St Lythans, South Glamorgan

5 mosaicOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

6. Whispering Knights, Oxfordshire

6 mosaicOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

7. Mulfra Quoit, Cornwall

7 mosaicMulfra

8. Pentre Ifan, Pembrokeshire

9 mosaicOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

9. Lanyon Quoit, Cornwall

8 mosaicLanyon

Don’t forget, if you’d like to try making any of these mosaics out of Lego® for yourself, we can provide full instructions on request, or you could download the software and make your own mosaic! But be warned: at around 6p for a single 1×1 brick, at 48×32 resolution each mosaic would cost around £100 to make, including the base plate!

I’ve heard it said that “once is an accident, twice is a habit, and a third time makes a tradition”. With that in mind, as we approach the end of Spring and another Bank Holiday weekend, it’s time for our now ‘traditional’ Summer Competition.

In the past we have featured stone circles and hillforts in our Summer competition. This year it’s the turn of Burial Chambers, Dolmens, Cromlechs, Quoits and the like from across England and Wales. Courtesy of the PicToBrick software, which turns any photo into a Lego® mosaic, we have 9 pictures for you to identify.

Each photo is 48×32 Lego® studs in size, and if anyone is mad enough to want a copy of the instructions for making their own mosaic from the bricks, we can provide. But be warned: at around 6p for a single 1×1 brick, each picture would cost around £100 to make, including a base plate!

Now this is either going to be remarkably easy, or incredibly difficult. A little hint; partially close/squint your eyes and defocus and the details should become clearer. We’ll start you off with an easy one…

1.

2 mosaic

2.

1 mosaic

3.

3 mosaic

4.

4 mosaic (2)

5.

5 mosaic

6.

6 mosaic

7.

7 mosaic

8.

9 mosaic

9.

8 mosaic

Once again, no other clues, no prizes, this is just a bit of Summer fun! How many can you get right? Answers to follow in a few days.

standing

PRESS RELEASE – THE SUSTAINABLE TRUST CARWYNNEN QUOIT

A LEG UP FOR THE GIANTS QUOIT!

Despite appalling weather, our relentless volunteer diggers arrived on Monday morning to start working the site at Carwynnen Quoit, prior to the restoration of the first stone. An eleven day community dig will expose the socket for the stone, and further investigate the area to the rear of the monument. A new trench is being opened further up the field. The excavation will be carried out in the same manner as the autumn 2012 dig, with a small Historic Environment team leading the volunteer team.

We have an official open day on Sunday 27th October, between 10.30 and 4pm where you can engage in a free guided tour, and see an exhibition of the work so far. There will be demonstrations of ancient technology and experimental archaeology with Sally Herriett. She looks forward to introducing you to her unusual world, and sharing her passion for all things Prehistoric, presenting artifacts and demonstrating Flint Knapping. At 2pm she will be describing her work especially for children.

We are trying to preserve the grass in the field for as long as possible, so it would be appreciated if you would park in the campsite next door, or walk over from Treslothan Church (15 mins). If you remember Carwynnen Quoit before or after it fell in 1966, come and share your memories with us. The film on our giantsquoit.org homepage made use of some recordings we made during the last phase of the project. A second film is in production and we welcome your contribution to our collection of local memories. On 31st, at around 10.30am, at Samhain or All Hallows Eve, we intend to restore the first upright stone and you are welcome to come and watch.  In Spring we will continue the restoration. A time capsule will be buried. If you have any suggestions for its contents, let us know!

Pip Richards –  pip.sustrust@gmail.com

Press Release 15TH OCTOBER 2013:

After three years of fundraising, the Sustainable Trust, owners of the field formerly known as Cromlech Parc or Frying Pan Field, have finally found the required level of funding to restore this Scheduled Ancient Monument to standards required by English Heritage.

Carwynnen: The capstone and uprights laid out, ready for reconstruction.

The current situation: the capstone and uprights laid out, ready for reconstruction.

.

As it was in 1905

As it was in 1905

The Sita Cornwall Trust are funding the excavations and restoration, and the Heritage Lottery Fund are funding the education and outreach side of the project.

The Sustainable Trust are also grateful to the Tanner Trust, Cornwall Heritage Trust, The Council of British Archaeology and Cornwall Archaeological Society. Support has also come from our Patron Charles Thomas, the Federation of Old Cornwall Societies & Camborne Old Cornwall Society. Without this diverse interest, the larger bids would not have been forthcoming.

Our volunteers have been helpful too, pledging to carry on the good work after the successful phase of archaeological investigations last year. A film will be made, a bi-lingual ballad will be commissioned and an App will be built. Several exhibitions and talks will be held along with education days for schools.

The final excavations will take place between the 21st and 31st of October with an open day on Sunday 27th. Weather permitting we anticipate the erection of the first support stone, or orthostat, during the morning of 31st October.

Pip Richards, Director of the Sustainable Trust said “We are delighted with this long awaited news and are looking forward to fulfilling our ambition to restore this unusual iconic monument. Bringing Neolithic history into focus through what was once considered just a pile of old stones, and giving the local community something to be proud of, makes us happy to undertake the work. So much good feeling and encouragement was engendered during the last phase of the project, it makes it all worthwhile”.

I have recently returned from another of my regular trips to Cornwall, which as usual, involved several visits to heritage sites. What follows is a short description of one such visit, which coincided with an Open Day (actually an Open Weekend, but I only attended for part of the second day) at Frying Pan Field, the site of Carwynnen Quoit

The weekend of 6-7th April 2013 saw ‘Quest for the Quoit’ a neolithic exhibition of crafts and an archaeological test pit dig at the Frying Pan field near Troon. Also included in the weekend were geocaching, poetry, and various walks and talks.

I arrived at the site in good time on a bitterly cold Sunday morning, and was greeted by Pip Richards, Project Director, who I’d met when visiting the site last year. I had specifically come on this occasion to hear Jacky Nowakowski, Senior Archaeologist at Cornwall Heritage Environmemnt Service, talk about the quoit, its history and last year’s dig findings, but as her talk wasn’t scheduled to start for a while, I took a look at the four test pits that had been started the previous day, and some of the finds that had come from them.

One pit was much more interesting than the others as some stones had been uncovered. Possibly nothing, but also possibly part of a wall or other structure. More investigation will be required here in future. Many of the finds from the four pits were of pottery, from C18th dinner plate fragments and a rather nice medieval piece of pot edge, back through to Iron Age. Several flints were also found.

Test Pit, showing the stone structure uncovered.

Test Pit, showing the stone structure uncovered.

At this point I noticed a crowd gathering uphill at the gazebo tent constructed to provide some shelter, and joined the 30 or so other hardy souls for the start of the talks. Pip introduced Jacky, and the talk was under way. Jacky gave us some highlights of the history of the quoit. Those I noted included:

  • First recorded by Edward Lhuyd Welsh antiquarian, who visited Cornwall in 1700.
  • First illustrated in 1750 by William Borlase.
  • Collapsed in 1830s and reconstructed.
  • Collapsed again in 1967, possibly due to a minor earth tremor.
  • The Sustainable Trust purchased the field in 2009 with the aim of restoring it to its former glory and for use as a community resource.
  • Test pits in July 2012 gave a picture around the collapsed stones, allowing planning for a larger excavation in September. Stones were recorded and moved to one side ready for the excavation.
  • Three uprights of 2 tons each and the capstone at just under 10 tons make up the main components of the monument.
  • Excavation in September 2012 uncovered the footprint of the tomb and socket holes, and an unexpected stone pavement.

Jacky made the point that the ground under the monument was much better preserved than expected, given the 1830s restoration. Many artefacts were found during the excavation, dating to the early Neolithic period – pottery, burnt flint, greenstone pestle etc. Radiocarbon dates are eagerly awaited for some organic material retrieved from one of the post holes. It was felt that the way the monument collapsed actually aided the preservation, as the ground was covered by the large stones, thus blocking access to treasure hunters etc.

The group then moved down to the test pits, where some of the more recent finds were handed around the audience and the preliminary results of the weekend’s dig were discussed. The well received lecture ended at the stones themselves, with Jacky battling a strong wind to display various plans and photographs from the top of the capstone, which made a handy platform for the latter part of her talk.

Jacky addressing the remains of the crowd from the capstone, at the end of her talk.

Jacky addressing the remains of the crowd from the capstone, at the end of her talk.

With Jacky running slightly over time, those of us still around were advised of the next talk about to commence up at the gazebo, which involved discussion of the use of fungi to transport fire in the Neolithic. I didn’t attend this, which I assumed would cover similar ground to a recent Ray Mears TV program, but Sally Herriet had a small area outside the gazebo and was telling people about her attempts at preparing hides, using prehistoric techniques and materials for different uses, and I was drawn in to listen to her.

I found Sally’s experiments very interesting, including the use of various parts of the carcass, including brains, to prepare and soften the hide. She also had some samples of hides prepared in different ways – some were soft as a car chamois leather, others were stiff as a board, and possible uses for this could have included defense in battle, as shield, though some of the samples felt as if they may shatter if hit too hard!

The commencement of a botanical talk and fieldwalk to find various wild flowers drew away much of Sally’s audience, and the rest of the day was scheduled to include a storytelling session, and a ramble around the neighbouring woods, at which point I took my leave.

In summary, a very entertaining and educational day, which could have been better attended – the wind was bitingly cold – but those 40-50 people I saw while I was there all obviously enjoyed the event. The Sustainable Trust are working very hard to make the project as inclusive as possible, and there is a lot of local interest, as well as a growing interest from further afield, for which the Trust are to be applauded. I look forward to returning once again in the near future to see what progress has been made toward a full restoration. Check out the latest news on their dedicated web site at http://www.giantsquoit.org.

It was three years ago that we last wrote about Carwynnen Quoit, and the attempt by the Sustainable Trust to get it restored. Carwynnen Quoit is one of many quoits in the west of Cornwall, and is thought to date from the late Neolithic or early Bronze Age.

20120520-172331.jpg

So what’s happened in the meantime? When I last visited the site a few years ago, all I saw was a pile of stones in the middle of a field. Physically, not much has changed on the ground in the intervening time.

However, the Trust now own the site and there is now a gated entrance to the field, with an information board showing a little of the history of the site, and the attempts to restore it to its former glory and setting. Although it had originally been hoped to be able to restore the quoit by 2013, the economic downturn has hit fundraising attempts hard, and there has had to be a rethink about the project.

20120520-172546.jpg

Andy Norfolk, of the Sustainable Trust, said in a recent interview: “After a year’s fundraising in a difficult time, we’ve decided just to work on the archaeological side of the project for now and leave the restoration for another year, though we do intend to eventually put it back up.” As part of this archaeological approach, permission has recently been granted by English Heritage for an excavation at the site. A bid has been submitted by the Trust to the Heritage Lottery Fund for cash to fund a one-year project. This would pay for free courses and events, plus a film about sites in the vicinity of the quoit. It is hoped that a decision on funding will be delivered in June.

An education pack in PDF format about the quoit is available from the Trust web site. We wish them well in their continuing endeavours to restore the quoit.

by Chris Brooks, Heritage Action

Credit and © C. Brooks

I visited this gorgeous little cromlech in May 2010 during my 3 day tour of South West Wales. It’s a dramatic part of the country, with both mountainous regions and spectacular coastlines. It also just happens to have a concentration of prehistory equal to anywhere in the country. A burial chamber called Gwal-y-Filiast or ‘The Grayhound’s Kennel’ is one such place and a fine example to boot!

I parked in a lay-by on the Login road at 51 54 09.22N & 4 38 43.73W which is off another minor road between Llanglydwen and Cefn-y-Pant. At the time of writing the lay-by had plenty of room for parking but had been partially covered in builders’ rubble, presumably to stop large numbers of travellers from parking there.  This could be a problem for subsequent visitors if the whole lay-by is covered in the future. There may be other places to park further up the road if this becomes the case.

Walking back from the lay-by (away from the junction with the other minor road) for about 250m you will find a track on your right. There was a little wooden sign when I was here last but it was difficult to read. With the right sort of vehicle you could probably drive down the track but I wasn’t going to risk it in my car and so off I trotted.

In May everything is coming to life and turning green. The birds are flitting to and fro through the trees and bushes, busy with their nests. Although a little overcast the weather was warm and it wasn’t long before I was down to my t-shirt. At this point the track falls gently down and curves around to the left.

 

Credit and © C. Brooks

After a short distance you arrive at a little community of buildings where there is a lovely, and I assume natural, pond and a tree with a beautifully huge fungus growing from it. Just stand for a while by the wooden gate, a little way in front of you there is a giant mushroom carved from a tree on the right hand side of the track.

Go through the gate and carry on down the lane. The higher land on the left is pasture but on the right the land drops away steeply towards the Afon Taf which can be heard faintly amongst the twittering birds and wind rush in the trees. At this point there seems to be a lot of fallen trees and branches obstructing the path, not deliberately placed there and very easily negotiated.

The track steepens even further and the river can be clearly seen and heard down to the right and the track continues to bend to the left. As we approach another gate, this time metal, the ground becomes much more boggy. In the winter months I would imagine this to be much worse and could be quite slippery so care needs to be taken. The walk back up will be hard going too so bring a stick or cane. As it happened I found a really straight fallen branch that served the purpose.

I reckon the walk so far had been about a kilometre or so and just after the metal gate the track splits in two. A quick check of my map suggested that the left hand fork (which rises back up hill slightly) is the one to take and this is confirmed as the little cromlech comes into view nestled on the slopes of this lovely place.

Image credit and © C. Brooks

The cromlech is quite small, I would say no more than 2m at best. The cap stone sits atop of what was probably six small uprights (but could have been five) with now only four still in situ. Those at the front are slightly taller (about chest height) than those at the rear but because the chamber looks out over the river valley the cap stone remains relatively level. There is also room to sit in the chamber even for a slight oversized person such as myself. It also seems to be surrounded by a number of outliers which almost form a circle around the burial chamber. One large one in particular sits only a few meters away and I can not imagine it doesn’t have anything to do with it but I suppose the others could be natural.

Image credit and © C. Brooks

In this tree covered area everything is covered in moss and so quite often the hard face of these sort of places has been softened into an almost dreamy world. You can almost imagine the woodland animals and mythical creatures coming out to play when the humans have gone! I spent some time just being there and really didn’t want to leave. I am not one for feeling energies and all that stuff but I just like being there.

I took so many pictures (and a video) as I wanted to capture as much as I could to take it home with me. I always love the way the shape of these monuments change as you walk around them. Sometimes, looking back at the photographs now, it is hard to believe you are looking at a single place. Such a lovely site, highly recommended and worth the slog back up the hill to the car… just don’t forget your stick and your wellies.

Lanyon Quoit ‘Awen’, Cornwall
Image credit AlanS

 
Carreg Samson, Pembrokeshire, South Wales
Image credit and © Littlestone
 
Access to Carreg Samson is via the farm lane from the main road, part of the farmyard and then a path alongside the field where the cromlech is situated. There is a large grass verge at the junction of the main road and farm lane where parking is possible. The site is rather uncared for, has no information board, and livestock are allowed access up to and even into the structure.
 
Administrative authority: CADW ( http://www.cadw.wales.gov.uk/ ).
Heritage Action Cared for Rating * (out of 5).
 
Suggested improvements: Better sign from the main road indicating location. Onsite information board. Landscaped area and barrier between monument and livestock. Signs instructing visitors not to climb on the stones.
 
See also moss’ feature on Three Cromlechs in Pembrokeshire here –http://www.themodernantiquarian.com/post/90264/weblog/three_cromlechs_in_pembrokeshire.html

 
Carreg Coetan Arthur, Pembrokeshire, South Wales
Image credit Littlestone
 
Access to Carreg Coetan Arthur is via the Carreg Coetan culs-de-sac off the Pembrokeshire National Park Road out of Newport. Park on the main road and walk the few metres back along the culs-de-sac. The cromlech is in a well-cared for, fenced off area with an information board next to the end bungalow on the right.
 
 
Administrative authority: CADW ( http://www.cadw.wales.gov.uk/ ).
Heritage Action Cared for Rating **** (out of 5).
 

Suggested improvements: Sign from the main road indicating location. Signs instructing visitors not to climb on the stones.

See also moss’ feature on Three Cromlechs in Pembrokeshire here –http://www.themodernantiquarian.com/post/90264/weblog/three_cromlechs_in_pembrokeshire.html

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