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Eupen Barchien (Round Cairn)

Eupen Barchien

Visited: July 12, 2-14

On the outskirts of the Drenthe village of Havelte, better known for its two hunebedden, lies Eupen Barchien, a Middle Bronze Age (ca. 1400 BCE) burial mound. It ilies to the east of the road connecting Havelte with the village of Uffelte to its northeast. The mound was originally raised as the burial place of an important member of the community, and it continued in use other family members in later years.

The mound was thoroughly investigated by archaeologist A E van Giffen in 1946. During his excavations, the remains of two bodies were found, lying on the original ground level, and covered by sand and turf. Further burials, lying in wooden kists, were located in the flanks of the hill, around which was an incomplete ring of stones marking the boundary of the grave. In addition, a bronze chisel was found. Following the excavation, the mound was restored.

In mediaeval times, local legend claimed that the mound was haunted, and although there was allegedly buried treasure within it, no-one ever dared to dig into it.

I visited Eupen Barchien as an addendum to an expedition to the two Havelte hunebedden, D53 and D54. It proved rather tricky to find, even though I knew almost exactly where it lay: just south of a farmhouse, within a 50 metre wide belt of trees to the east of Uffelterkerkweg and Havelte Golf Course.

I was anticipating a significant mound: something not easily missed. But for quite a while I searched for it in vain. Your best guide is the obvious dirt road serving the farm, which heads into the trees (blue marker in the map below).


I finally came across it, almost by chance, lying just to the right of this track, some 30-40 metres along it (red marker). The appearance of Eupen Barchien is of a broad, grassy clearing between the trees—almost insignificant, and rising to little more than one metre at its centre. The only indication of its presence is a short wooden pillar bearing a plate stating that it is a grave mound and an archaeological monument. There is no name board stating 'Eupen Barchien', nor any direction sign towards it.

The grave lies a little outside Havelte. To get there, follow the red line on the map below, which starts at the 'Centrum' bus stop, and guides you to the dirt road mentioned previously, which starts at the blue marker (the distance there and back is 5.5 kilometres). The upper map zooms in to show detail of the immediate environs of Eupen Barchien and the nearby farmhouse.
LesHamilton Posted by LesHamilton
16th July 2014ce

Raheen (Standing Stones)

I had tried to get to this stone a couple of times before, giving up because of the necessity (as I understood then) of traversing much private property. However, there is an ancient sunken lane that passes along the side of one of the bungalows and up to an old farmstead and behind this to the right is the monument.

On the day I visited there was livestock in the field, but except for one cow, they mostly just ignored me. The blocky stone is large, well above average in height, girth and bulk. There are about 14 cup-marks on the southern end of the western face. Even though it's in a pasture field, it's still pretty wild around here – the ground rising to the east towards untamed moorland. Another Dublin megalith, south of Verschoyles Hill.
ryaner Posted by ryaner
16th July 2014ce

Loughane East (Standing Stone / Menhir)

Having had poor luck finding the standing stones south-west of here (they're mostly destroyed), I hadn't much hope heading back into Cork down this road. Unawares, I had already passed one stone and a massive rath and had half decided to give up when on glancing into a football field on my right I spotted this, admittedly hard to miss, giant.

There was a man jogging laps of the pitch, and a couple of kids hanging out around the truck container changing rooms, and there was me, snapping away, completely enchanted by the incongruous siting of this stone (of course it's not the stone that's out of place – it was here first). The man stopped his exertions to ask me if I knew what I was photographing – a standing stone says I, a gallán said he.

This almost triangular stone was once one of a pair (see below) and towers over 3 metres tall, almost tapering to a point as it rises. There is one cup-mark high up on its eastern face. Quite a strange prospect, standing there on the touch-line, waiting for its game.
ryaner Posted by ryaner
16th July 2014ce

Blessington Demesne 2 (Round Barrow(s))

Not dissimilar to its near neighbour, but now isolated in a pasture field on the other side of the local authority housing estate. The SMR record says that this is only visible on aerial photographs, but this is most definitely incorrect. It's there alright, robbed-out mound, bank, fossse, the whole shebang, nestling above a gully on its southern edge, and overgrown with nettles at this time of year.

I scouted around a while, attempting to get a half-decent shot of the monument, and failing dismally. I might drop back in the winter as access is extremely easy at the west end of Blessington town.
ryaner Posted by ryaner
16th July 2014ce

Kiltalawn (Standing Stone / Menhir)

OK, so a confession first – I've visited this site about 5 times before, and photographed it each time. I've never posted it as I'm not convinced of its provenance. It is marked on the SMR at archaeology.ie and this chap http://www.megalithicmonumentsofireland.com/COUNTIES/DUBLIN/Kiltalown_StandingStone.html is convinced, so here it is.

It's deeply embedded in the soil and has been used very recently as a fairly permanent memorial. I get the feeling that when it was pushed over, an attempt was made to smash and bury it. One for the completist only, but I'm glad to record it.
ryaner Posted by ryaner
16th July 2014ce

Blessington Demesne 1 (Round Barrow(s))

This site is actually visible from the N81, down on the right-hand side as you enter the town of Blessington from the north, opposite the Topaz garage and behind the Aldi.

When I stumbled upon it and saw its current situation beside a childrens' playground I laughed out loud. I climbed the tallest climbing frame to take a few snaps, explaining to the mother and her child about the 3,000 year old burial mound.

Absolutely fascinating that this is still here – they even diverted the road around it. It's quite overgrown at the moment, rose-bay willow herb colonising the southern end, but the fosse and bank are still very visible, with the centre of the mound quite flat, either robbed of some of its material or designed like that. (A lot of the barrows hereabouts have similar problems)

This one is a survivor, lying there as the hustle and bustle of a busy town goes on around it, bang in front of your face and invisible. Great.
ryaner Posted by ryaner
16th July 2014ce

Kilbeg standing stone (Standing Stone / Menhir)

4 or 500 metres beyond the entrance to the field with the 6 basin Kilbeg bullaun stone is a small hill-walking track, Pound Lane. It has its own signpost and is an Agreed Access hillwalkers pathway. It leads up Black Hill and in a broad loop back over to the parking place directly south of Sorrel Hill.

Not long after moving above the last enclosed field, it passes through an area called Whelp Rock – this is where the standing stone is. Were it not precisely marked on the archaeology.ie map browser I would never have found it.

From the west the stone has a triangular aspect – this face is also quartz encrusted. The lone axis is NNW-SSE and points directly at the passage grave on Lugnagun.

There are many, many stones scattered about the hillside here, with some old booleying sites, and there is that ancient feeling about the place that makes one feel that it could bear more serious investigation.
ryaner Posted by ryaner
16th July 2014ce

Kyleoag (Chambered Cairn)

13/05/2014 - Kyleoag chambered cairn is, for me, the pick of the cairns in this area just north of Spinningdale. A visit here combined with any of the other cairns nearby makes for a lovely walk but if short of time there are a few passing places a car can be parked near the cairn. A signposted path leads from the road to climb uphill by a stream to the site. As we approached from the south the first sight of the cairn was impressive through the trees. Great chamber with lintel over the passageway and a small cell towards the back. It really is a fantastic site and well worth a visit. thelonious Posted by thelonious
15th July 2014ce

Ledmore Wood (Chambered Cairn)

13/07/2014 - First of four chambered cairns we visited on a lovely walk near Spinningdale. This was the one I wanted to visit the most due to its location on the hill overlooking the Dornoch Firth. Starting from Spinningdale we took the track going west up to the summit of A'Chraisg. From the top the cairn can be seen a further 500m or so west. A little bash through the heather and we reached the cairn. Canmore states that it measures 55ft in diameter and about 6ft in height. Well worth the walk up the hill and whoever built it picked a fantastic location for this one. thelonious Posted by thelonious
15th July 2014ce

Camore Wood (Chambered Cairn)

12/07/2014 - Easy access from the parking area to the SW. This chambered cairn is in a lovely wood and protected by a fantastic esker just to the north. Very overgrown but the size can be made out and the odd stone. Great upright slab containing quartz is visible. I like this one a lot and the walk through the wood containing many hut circles is lovely. Don't be put off by the undergrowth. thelonious Posted by thelonious
15th July 2014ce

Camore Wood settlement (Ancient Village / Settlement / Misc. Earthwork)

12/07/2014 - I know these are ten a penny but I love hut circles. The main draw to this wood is the chambered cairn but these hut circles are everywhere here and well worth keeping an eye out for on the walk to the cairn. thelonious Posted by thelonious
15th July 2014ce

Skelbo Wood (Long Cairn)

14/07/2014 - This cairn is just a short walk east from the broch in the same wood. It is a fair-size at over 30m long. Not much to actually see of the stones as it is completely overgrown. Still the vibe is great in the clearing and we had a nice time strolling around the cairn. thelonious Posted by thelonious
15th July 2014ce

Skelbo Wood (Broch)

14/07/2014 - It's sites like this that make me wonder about how few people go to these places. The wood has a good car park and waymarked walks. The broch is marked and it has a nice notice board near it. But the gate leading to the broch was near impossible to open and so few people must visit that the path was overgrown with trees. A little sad as it's a nice site with a lovely view north over Loch Fleet. Very overgrown but worth a look. thelonious Posted by thelonious
15th July 2014ce

High Nunton (Cup and Ring Marks / Rock Art)

A previously unrecorded marked rock , pics don't do justice to the markings . Must return in good winter light to get a clearer image . tiompan Posted by tiompan
15th July 2014ce

Galtway (Cup and Ring Marks / Rock Art)

Two previously unrecorded cup and single rings sites from the field immediately to the north of Galtway Hill . tiompan Posted by tiompan
15th July 2014ce

Townhead (Cup and Ring Marks / Rock Art)

A new find from a couple of weeks ago . It was only when I got home that I realised that it hadn't been recorded (Surprising as it is not that far from the farm and relatively obvious ), hence the duff pics .Didn't spend too much time getting good pics or recording .
If anyone is in the area I can give give directions & 10 figure grid ref and hopefully they can get some pics to give the markings justice .
tiompan Posted by tiompan
15th July 2014ce

Embo Street (Cairn(s))

11/07/2014 - Getting to this cairn looked pretty easy on the map via the old railway line from either Embo or Dornoch. Once there though, getting from the path to the cairn was hard work with barded wire fences to cross. Maybe better access from the west. Reading canmore this cairn, situated next to a stream, sounded pretty good but it's so overgrown it was hard to see anything through the gorse and broom. Nice walk though. thelonious Posted by thelonious
15th July 2014ce

Merkland (Cist)

Back To The Old House

Back over on Arran and back in the old cottage at Merkland.

Left the OH and the Young Digger knocking balls around Bilsland's Crazy Golf on the front at Brodick. I coaxed Old Piney into fourth gear and trundled out past Cladach and the stinky old harbour below Brodick Castle. Two seals were basking out on the rocks at Merkland Point. Piney reversed into the the layby/ boat ramp almost by herself and even thoughtfully stalled as soon as she was tucked in position.

I'd had a fair old struggle locating this cist until a few years back and I've still never seen any sign of anyone else having visited the place. It is incredibly close to the road and I decided to time myself getting to the cist from closing the car door.

The old Merkland cart track which also serves as a part-time burn was even more overgrown than last year (and the year before). Long trailing Brambles and sprouting Hogweed conspired with ankle deep slimy mud and curtains of Willow to obstruct my progress. But only 2 minutes and 45 seconds after slamming the car door shut and setting out, I was gazing down at the mossy old cist of Merkland Wood. I heard two cyclists on the road chatting as they pedalled by (this site is THAT close to the road).

The moss looked deeper than before, with little seedlings of the Willow and Rhododendron sprouting on the thick, moist green carpet on the capstone. The erosion below the cist (just above the burn) has slightly worsened but the earth and bank immediately around the cist seem fairly well consolidated.

The deep undergrowth does mean a very high midge count even during the hottest and sunniest of days. After a few minutes taking in the quiet of this site I'd fired off enough photos and lost enough blood to the skeeters - I fled and staggered back down through the mud and thorns.

Old Piney grumbled into fourth gear and trundled the couple of miles back into Brodick. Young Digger and his mum were only on the 10th hole. I'd been away for a bit less than 30 minutes - but they weren't your regular minutes I don't think.
Howburn Digger Posted by Howburn Digger
14th July 2014ce

Carn-y-Pigwn (Round Cairn)

Visited 11.7.14

This is a real ‘pig of a place’ to visit – an O/S map is definitely required.

Upon reaching the former mining village of Ferndale (on the A4233), I eventually found the correct minor road heading north, then east out across Cefn Gwyngul. I shortly arrived at a small parking place which is (optimistically) marked as a ‘viewing point’ on the O/S map. I decided to leave the car here and continue on foot along the road until I reached the track on the left which leads to the aerial transmitter. It is in fact possible to park at the gated entrance to this track.

Although the sign on the gate states vehicular traffic is prohibited, there was no mention of walkers/public, so in I went. My O/S map shows this as a track running through forestry so I was looking forward to a pleasant walk through the trees. Unfortunately, since the map was printed the trees have been ‘harvested’ and the area is now one of destruction. Although to be fair the whole area has been re-planted with conifer saplings, so in time it will recover.

The track is well made and fairly flat, it takes about 20 minutes to reach the end of the track where a second gate blocks the way. This information sign on this gate is a little more interesting. It warns that when the red flag is flying clay shooting is in progress and you must keep to the path. I of course wanted to go off-path and there were not one but two red flags flying! However, judging by the state of the flags it looked to me that they were left flying at all times. Also, there was no one about so I decided to take a chance and go through the gate and head off-path and up hill.

At this point I had the choice of heading up hill either to the left or right of the barbed wire fence. I chose the left side (mistake) and it was a long, difficult walk through the spiky grass. Luckily the weather had been fine recently and although the ground was spongy it was pretty dry. In wet weather it would have been a complete bog. As I rose higher it became increasingly difficult to make my way through the grass / gorse. Towards the summit I came to another barbed wire fence which I had to carefully climb over. At this point I could see the trig and I headed directly for it as the O/S map shows it has been built directly on top of the cairn.

The weather was hot and the sky blue. I was hot/bothered/sweaty by the time I arrived at my destination and was grateful to sit down with my back resting against the trig. I must have smelt a bit at this stage judging by the number of flies taking an interest in me!

As for the cairn itself, there is very little to say. A very low stony mound mostly covered in spiky grass. It is one of those places that you would walk right past if you didn’t know it was here. COFLEIN state: ‘A plough damaged cairn, 11.3m in diameter and 0.6m high, structural features have been suggested’. This short description pretty much sums the site up. The only other thing to add is the view.
To the south, the valley scarred by both old industry (mining) and new industry (wind turbines) The view to the north however is far more pleasant. There are good views out across the valleys and the distant Brecon Beacons beyond.

After eating my well earned banana it was time to head back to the car. As it was such a difficult walk up the hill I decided to walk down the hill on the other side of the fence. This proved much easier as there was a ‘path’ most of the way and I didn’t have to climb back over the barbed wire fence. Again, in wet weather, this would have been a complete nightmare as it would have been no more than a bog.

I quickly reached the proper track and headed back to the car. I then made my biggest mistake. Instead of continuing the way I came I decided to come off track and head directly through the newly planted trees to the car, which I could see far below me. At first all was fine but as I approached the car the dreaded gorse was much more in evidence and I then walked into a bog. Knee height in black, stinking water! It was too late now so I squelched my way through and, after climbing over another barbed wire fence, reached the safety of the road. It was a nightmare. I had to drive home in completely soaked, stinking boots. Just as well this was the ‘last hurrah’ for the boots as I was planning on buying a new pair before my Scottish adventures next week anyway. When I arrived home I stopped the car, took them off, and chucked them in the bin!

Why do we do what we do? Was it worth it? 50 mile round trip, 2 barbed wire fences, up to my knees in bog water and all to see – well, very little at all as it turned out. Still, I am sure I will feel a lot more upbeat when I am heading to Scotland on Saturday!

Carn-Y-Pigwn is not one to recommend, unless you are an obsessive and/or a masochist or TSC!.
Posted by CARL
14th July 2014ce

St Breock Downs Menhir (Standing Stone / Menhir)

Despite the fact that the wind farm windmills have gone (maybe only temporarily) the field is still surrounded by a barbed wire fence. Posted by RoyReed
13th July 2014ce

Men Gurta (Standing Stone / Menhir)

I visited here a couple of weeks ago and there is now a signpost marked 'St Breock Downs Monolith' (no idea why they don't use its Celtic name), but as Men Gurta is only about 15 metres from the track of the Saint's Way it's probably easier just to follow those signs once you're on St Breock Downs.

The stone itself is still kept free of gorse, and there is a new Cornish Heritage Trust information panel near the stone.

The previously mentioned wind farm windmills aren't there at the moment, but there are still some huts and portacabins which make it look like they will be erecting some new ones in the not too distant future.
Posted by RoyReed
13th July 2014ce

Stanydale Temple (Stone Circle)

Visited 11th May 2014

This was near the top of my list of must visit places on Shetland, and with the sun making an appearance through the clouds, bringing some warmth to the day, and our time left on Shetland fast diminishing, we headed for Shetland’s ‘wild west’ and the enigmatic Stanydale.

On what felt like a road to nowhere a sign and parking spot soon makes itself visible, and we squeeze the car into the layby. It feels remote here, and is one of the few places on Shetland where we’re not able to see the sea.

Setting off across the slightly squelchy moorland it’s not long before we arrive at the Neolithic house not far from the temple. Like Carl before us we sit in the remains of this ancient dwelling, and just take in the atmosphere. Cracking open the Thermos we have a cup of tea, drinking in the peace and quiet as much as the PG Tips, and wondering what the venerable farmer who constructed this place would have thought about a pair of visitors supping tea in his house some four millennia later?

As we press on for the temple, shadows from the clouds and ever changing light play across the heath and with only the lonely cries of birds as a soundtrack we feel as if we’ve stepped into another world. Soon the structure of the ‘temple’ is visible, the small wooden gate guarding the entrance opening into a well-kept interior, the grass mown to a standard that wouldn’t look out of place on the greens of a championship golf course.

It’s certainly an unusual place. Thick stone walls delineate a horseshoe shaped building, which apparently, according to the conclusions of an excavation in 1949, was similar in size and plan to temples found on Malta, hence leading to Stanydale’s ‘temple’ epithet. Inside the enclosure the large stones which make up the walls are chunky blocks, rare in this vicinity, and so again according to the 1949 dig, must have been brought some distance, a lot of trouble to go to if it was purely meant as a domestic structure perhaps, as there are plenty of suitable other types of stone for building nearby. Looking closely at the large upright stones as well I’m struck by the natural patterns on them, different coloured shapes on the stone caused by lichens giving a mosaic like effect. There are also two large postholes inside, from which charred spruce was found, the nearest source of which in Neolithic times would have been Scandinavia, unless of course they were found as driftwood?

I have a wander around the exterior, taking in the standing stones which are dotted around the perimeter of the temple. There appears to be a defined arc of stones to the south, perhaps the structure was once surrounded by them, but now it’s difficult to make out the overall layout of the stones.

Sitting back inside Stanydale to write my notes I’m struck but what a strange and unique place it is. It seems much more than just a grand dwelling, or even a fancy ‘village hall’ type of meeting place, something about its layout, the exterior stones, and three fire hearths (which again according to the excavations were not typical of domestic settings). It strikes me that I’m reminded of the main structure at Barnhouse, near Stenness on Orkney, where I was sitting only a week ago. Although the design of the two structures are very different, something about them feels the same, and I’m convinced this place had a ritual function, an old cliché I know, and based on little more than my own ‘feelings’ of the place and some sketchy evidence (no wonder I never got that Archaeology degree!)

What I can say with certainty is that Stanydale is most certainly a great place to visit. It feels both remote and welcoming, certainly unique, and a perfect place to spend some time, sheltered here from the wind, with the sun overhead, we just don’t want to leave. Magical.
Ravenfeather Posted by Ravenfeather
12th July 2014ce

Stone of Setter (Standing Stone / Menhir)

Visited 17th May 2014

I’ve heard the Stone of Setter described as the finest standing stone in Orkney, now that’s certainly some claim given the lovely menhirs I’ve seen around the islands, so I was eager to put the claim to the test and hang out with the stone on my visit to Eday.

Anticipation built when the distant form of the stone appeared on the horizon as I walked north up the island’s main (well only really) road. The watery expanse of Mill loch borders the stone to one side, whilst the xanthous gorse filled slopes of the high ground of Vinquoy hill provide it with a suitably dramatic backdrop. The stone itself sits on a small saddle of land, raised and distinct from the surrounding landscape, and almost like a marker delineating the sacred area of tombs clustered at Eday’s high northern end, perhaps in a way analogous to the Watchstone on Mainland marking out the start of the Ness of Brodgar?

It’s always exhilarating when a place is in sight, and as the stone grows ever closer, I reach the Eday community shop, and stopping only to fuss a very cute cat hanging around outside, I turn left and follow the road by the loch. A sign pointing toward the stone indicated the start of the path for the Eday heritage trail, and this close up the scale of the Stone of Setter becomes clear. A great block of ruddy red sandstone standing fifteen feet tall rearing up before you, huge weathered grooves eroded into the top of the stone which is enshrouded with Orkney’s familiar lichens. It is both dramatic and beautiful.

I sit down at the base of the stone, so happy to be here, and tired after the walk. The sun is out, but with plenty of clouds about threatening to encroach on the day. I write my fieldnotes and eat my packed lunch, before embarking on the photographs. The stone takes on a different shape from each aspect. From the front on it seems to resemble a giant hand emerging from the earth ordering you to halt before it, whilst from the side it appears like a figure staring out over the loch.

Nearby are the low outlined remains of a handful of structures that the nearby information board ominously refers to as ‘de-fleshing’ chambers which may possibly have been used in rituals associated with the stone (ah the old ‘ritual use’ explanation again!) . It gets me wondering whether this was an excarnation site, similar to that postulated at the Tomb of the Eagles (although I know there is some debate as to whether excarnation did actually take place there). Given the proximity to the tombs which are scattered about Vinquoy hill, (indeed one of them, Braeside, is directly aligned with the stone) it doesn’t seem beyond the realms of possibility that the stone symbolised a transformative place where the dead were turned from their earthly fleshy form to the stone-like bones of their skeletal remains, then to be placed amongst the ancestors watching over them.

This is one of the things I love about visiting our ancient and enigmatic monuments, thinking about what role they may have played in the lives of our forbearers and their place amongst the landscape, it’s fun to speculate. If it was once the marker for a place of the dead there’s certainly no sinister atmosphere here, quite the opposite in fact though, it feels more of a joyful, transformational place.

So the best standing stone in Orkney? At present it’s indubitably the Stone of Setter, but I won’t take that as being set in stone!
Ravenfeather Posted by Ravenfeather
12th July 2014ce

Kilbronoge (Wedge Tomb)

I parked at N51 32 09.7 W9 29 18.0, from here it is about 300m to the tomb.

Follow the forrest track straight north, after 100m it seems that the track ends, but keep moving, as the track continues after some meters.

The wedge tomb is heavily overgrown, but nevertheless it is a nice little tomb. Due to the surrounding trees, there are no noteworthy views, which would add to the atmosphere.

Visited June 2014
Nucleus Posted by Nucleus
12th July 2014ce

Gortdonaghmore (Standing Stone / Menhir)

I had a couple of hours break from an event in Ballincollig and headed into the rolling hills north-west of Cork city near Model Village above the Shournagh river. There's a concentration of standing stones marked on the OS map just off a very straight north-west/south-east road that leaves the village. Alas, most of these are gone, with the simple single word 'Removed' on the SMR database (I should have checked before I left). I think I found one the 'removed' stones in the neighbouring Kileen (Muskerry East By.) townland, knocked over, smashed and dumped in a ditch. Most of the others in the locality probably met a similar fate. However, this is a survivor.

It's about 1.5 metres tall but leaning to the east. The longer axis is NNE-SSW according to the SMR (I had no compass with me). It was a small triumph for me to find this after the earlier disappointment, though it's not that difficult to locate, about 150 metres into a pasture field down a side road off the aforementioned very straight road. I don't know what type the stone is, but it's very slate-like and an almost dark lavender in colour.
ryaner Posted by ryaner
12th July 2014ce
Edited 13th July 2014ce
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