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The top of Cartington Hill boasts three bronze age cairns, in a line more or less north to south, couple of hundred metres apart.
The hill has very nice 360° views, with the border ridge to the west, Simonside very prominent to the south, The Cheviots to the north, and the edge of Rimside Moor to the east. The deeply worn (like 2-3 m deep) drove roads clearly visible up the little secluded (and 99% deserted) Debdon valley hint at very old routeways.
There are a whole boatload of prehistoric sites intervisible as a result of this, but the one that stuck out in my mind was the Five Kings over on Dues Hill to the south west. I'd always thought Dues Hill must have been given it's name by the Vikings, as it has such a similarity to the Duergar, an allegedly Viking name for the sprites of Simonside. But seeing it leaping out of the murky horizon from Cartington Hill, I wondered it it was possibly of roman origin, as Dues Hill is very clearly twin-peaked.
Anyway, enough of the view. The southern cairn I just managed to yomp to, take a pic, post to TMA, then leg it back to Rothbury in time for tea, is not fantastically accessible, but is worth the fairly short hop through the waist deep heather. It's been mucked about with over the years, and the sangar is just big enough to provide shelter, but hasn't disturbed the kerb. It's quite a size. EH's listing says it's 17.5m in diameter and 1.8m high. Sounds about right to me. It's got an odd remnant of some modern activity in the form of a very weathered wooden stump with some very rusted thick steel cable afixed to it, just poking out from the bottom of the sangar.
Just south, halfway up the hill, are some lovely big expanses of flat eroded outcrops that screamed 'We probably had cup and ring marks but if we did, they've wethered away!' at me.
Next time, I shall return in better weather, and go see the middle cairn, which has an exposed cist, and the northern cairn, which is totally undisturbed but covered with heather.
I'll say one thing for the folks who built this monument. They knew how to pick a spot in the landscape.
It's not instantly noticeable when you're at the site, but on my most recent visit, I'd decided to tromp off from the dreaded centre Parcs just at the top of Leacet Hill, and go to lightpaint Brougham castle a few miles away. As it turned out, the castle was locked up tight, so I decided to head back via Leacet. Now bearing in mind it was a full moon, there was some light, but it was still the middle of the night, and I had no map, and was wandering cross country. But it was dead easy to find the place. It made me wonder that part of the reason for placing it here was that if you know where it is, it's fairly straightforward to find it again by reference to the various bits of the landscape around it.
There was still no sign of the ghostly apparition, so I made one by waving a torch at the stones.
The Cateran Hole is described as being very difficult to find. So how chuffed with myself was I to find it with no problem at all, straight there, in knee deep snow, without a gps? Very. The snow made descending a bit precarious, it's enough of a drop that you'd damage yourself if you fell in.
It's re-working in medieval times would presumably have destroyed any traces of prehistoric activity, but I was intrigued by the pile of largish (2-3ft across) boulders that are piled up about 10m to the SW of the entrance.
My plans to find the end of the cave went awry as the meltwater from the ridiculous amounts of snow meant that after about 20m, it would have required diving gear to keep going. So any hopes that there may be faint carvings to be found went unrealised.
I have to get back here in drier conditions and have a good mooch about.
I'm astounded by this place. I know it's not a monument as such, but by The Lord Harry it's a remarkable spot. No wonder it was chosen for cup and ring stuff. It has a sense of place that just oozes from the rocks, from the soil, from the vegetation, from the gaps in between the rocks even.
The re-working done by the modern folk hasn't detracted anything from the Genius Loci. If anything it's just added to it.
I had originally planned to visit after dark, but was advised by a wise fella that this might be a good way to injure myself. Having seen the holes in the ground and the precipitous drops, grasping brambles and slidey mud bits, I can now see why. Having said that, I'm going back after dark at some point. It would be rude not to.
The cup and ring marks are faint, and the quarrying evident all over the place does make you wonder what may have been lost (despite what I wrote there about the genius loci). The main ones are on the SW side of the outcrop, below the carved armchair. If you take the path up from the pub, this puts them at the other end of the outcrop, past the carved steps leading to the armchair, and down to your left as you're looking at the chair. A nice unique little motif with flower petal things, iirc, the boulder with the smaller concentric motifs is just below this.
Thanks to Rhiannon for putting the folklore here, it slowly galvanised me to finally get my sorry carcass 'Up The Gyle' and pay a visit to this far-flung edge of two countries.
There's not much to say about the cairn that you wouldn't be able to determine from the photo. It's been used as a trig point and has the usual beacon sangar, unsurprising, given the spectacular views.
What did strike me about it was the variation of different kinds of stone represented in the cobbles and boulders. Were they brought from afar, were they brought in the bronze age, or have they been added by walkers on the last stretch of the Pennine Way? I've no idea.
I expected this place to be quiet, and was thus surprised to find I waited for over an hour before getting the place all to myself. The majority of other visitors were following the border line, some of them having completed the whole Pennine way. Kudos unto them. If you're doing the Pennine way, you can't really miss the thing. But if you're coming from the east, it's quite a decent walk up from Barrowburn, and on the path between Barrowburn and Murder Cleugh at about NT866118, there appears to be the remains of a prehistoric boundary in the form of the grounding stones of a cross dyke. I'd like to think it's BA, there are quite a few of those hereabouts. As it's not been recorded anywhere I've been able to find (Must get around to informing the CA about it), I can't be sure. I also took no photos, nor did I gps the location. Lazy me.
It'd be easy to be so taken by the view from it's place on top of Windy Gyle, that you'd assume the view was the reason for the choice of location for the cairn, and the handful of satellite cairns nearby. But I reckon the exact location on The Gyle is possibly influenced by the Routin Well and the strange chasm of Scotchman's Ford. It would be redundant to list intervisible monuments, as there the extensive view means you could probably see half of the hill top cairns in Northumberland, and an equal number of the ones in what is now Scotland. Excellent views of Cheviot and Simonside for those who like a nice bit of 'Sacred Hill'.
I had a quick skank about for the stone that used to be listed on the county SMR as a standing stone, in the area marked on the map as 'Split the Deil' (A peculiar name for a place where there's nothing in particular, which no-one seems to be able to agree upon the etymology of). I found zilch, but it made for a nice excuse to hop about in the heather.
My return route was down what looks like a drove road, following the path amrked on the map down the western side of Wardlaw Burn, which comes out at Rowhope. I reckon this would be the sensible place to park a car for those who drove up this way. For those of a cycling bent, the Border County ride passes within spitting distance.
Easily walkable from the village of Laax (albeit uphill), the stone alignments here are also known as the 'Parc La Mutta'. Having heard that there are supposed to be astronomically aligned prehistoric rock carvings, I had to try and check this place out, as such things are like unicorn droppings*.
The claims of astronomical alignments are rather complex and defeated my paltry astro-awareness, so I'll take their accuracy on good faith. The church that's been plonked onto the crest of the hill presumably makes this also a 'Christianised Site'.
I didn't venture into the BA settlement in the trees, having spent too long wandering about in the stygian depths of the trees below, searching for some of the alleged astronomically aligned carvings. I wasn't convinced, but was impressed by the strange vibes from the ridiculously deep fissures in the bedrock. Echos of the underworld.
The carvings are highly suspect in my opinion. The one definite carving is a portable on top of the foundations of the church wall. As such, it's obviously not in situ, and looks like a medieval cross to me. Any claims regarding it's alignment are thus to be taken with a sackful of salt, as it would be very easy to simply turn it around to create the alignment of your choice. The one nearby which is meant to be a crescent and arrow seemed more like natural features to me. The rock is too composite/brecia-like to make for a carvable surface, and there is so much natural texure, it was possible to invent possible motifs with ease. Having said that, the light was quite strong and vertical, so mebbe it needs the right lighting to make the carvings visible. Possibly.
The other carvings are just as suspect, with one seeming to be a discarded millstone roughout. As I didn't get into the trees, I can't vouch for the one that is supposed to have a face, but to be honest, I was so disappointed with the others, I wasn't all that bothered to miss it.
There are a few bits of outcrop that had things that could well be cup marks on them, though these are mostly overlooked by those who promote the astronomical claims. They are recorded as 'Schaelsteinen' by some Swiss Archaeologists though, so I'm hopefully not just imagining cup marks.
Overall, the stones of Falera are interesting nough to merit a visit if you're in the area, it's in a spectacular location, but don't believe the hype would be my reccomendation. Prehistoric? yes. Astronomically aligned? maybe. Astronomically aligned carvings? Meh. Nah. Not really.
* As it turned out, exactly like unicorn droppings, i.e. mythical.
There are quite a few hills in upper Coquetdale, but not many have proper big old BA burial cairns on them. Shillhope manages to qualify presumably because of the 360° view, which is superb. Cheviot and Hedgehope are nicely silhouetted to the north, with Windy Gyle and Russel's Cairn to the west, whilst the eastern aspect stretches as far as the mouth of the Coquet, with a nicely silhouetted Simonside just to the south east.
The cairn itself isn't in as bad a condition as I'd imagined it would be. The beacon sangar that has been constructed from the cairn material is clearly visible on the sat images and this usually means everything has been so disturbed it's going to be hard to tell if you're looking at a genuine prehistoric burial monument or not, even before the disturbance resulting from the addition of the inevitable concrete trig pillar. The ones on top of Simonside particularly suffer like this. But Shillhope's cairn is in comparitively OK nick, having a clear kerb around it, best preverved to the NE side.
It's a bit strenuous in places, but the easiest ascent is from the path just behind Barrowburn camping barn, which is also a cracking good place to use as a base if spending a couple of days exploring the area. Somewhere on the route between Barrowburn and the top of Shillhope is the telephoto lens I dropped, so if you're up that way, keep an eye out ;-)
"Rock art that's on the edge of a cliff". To be a bit more precise: "Quality rock art, that's right on the edge of a whopping great cliff". The trees do get in the way of the view and there's the constant buzzing of the high voltage electricity cables directly overhead, but don't let that put you off It's a superb bit of prehistoric rock carving, or 'Felzeichnungen' or 'Felsbilder', or 'Petroglif' or whatever you want to call them.
Mrs H and I went on foot up the old path, which took about an hour and a half from Thusis. It's probably about an hours walk from the train station of Sils im Domleschg and maybe half an hour from the carpark at Campi. The old route we took veers off from the main path to take the shorter, but more awkward route from the road, going over the Via Plana. This has now been superceded by a more accessible route from the car park, but is still shown on some of the older maps given out from tourist info offices, the newer, easier to follow route is shown on the signpost in Sils (See image above).
The carvings are profuse, and spread over a number of outcrops. The majority are in the Atlantic seaboard 'Cup & Ring' style usually found in Britain, Ireland and Spain, with a smattering of the more figurative 'Rupestran' motifs associated with the southern side of the Alps and Spain. The figurative motifs have been interpreted as representing beast of burden, which makes a lot of sense when you're sitting looking at them, having just lugged yourself up 300m or so of Swiss mountainside.
There are a number of similarities with Northern British and Scots rock art, the 'whaleback' nature of the main carved panel was very reminiscent of Roughting Linn, especially the distribution of carvings being around the big natural basins. The rock itself seems to be some kind of schisty, metamorphised limestone, which makes the detail of the peck marks look similar to the carvings of Kilmartin. The largest motif on the whaleback has 8 rings and radial grooves that would look quite at home in either Northumberland or Scotland. But whoever carved it must have been quite agile, it's right on the edge of a 10m drop. Mind you, that pales into insignificance compared to some of the carvings further along the path, which whilst not quite so close to the edge, are closer to a 100m drop, after which there would be a short bounce, then another similar drop. I couldn't help but think that the view would have been more open back in the days when these motifs were made, as the view is simply astounding.
Which leads to the usual question of 'Why here?'. This is an especially valid question at Carschenna, as it seems a tad out-of-place. It's quite a distance from the Atlantic seaboard, and there's not much in the style of cup and ring marks between here and Spain.* No-one can ever say for sure of course, but my list of influencing factors include the proximity to both the source of the Rhine and the Viamla Gorge, the combination of the two making Carschenna a point on a sensible route for prehistoric folks to have used whilst engaging in travel/trade from one side of the Alps to the other. Then there's the unusual natural ramparts around the Carschenna plateau forming what would have been, and from the looks of things still is, a very good campsite, sheltered, but also with the excellent viewshed usually associated with CnR rock art in other areas. Then there's another possible factor that also links back to the Kilmartin rock art. Carschenna seems to have a greater than average abundance of quartz, the path up from Sils is dripping with the stuff. So much so that there are signs reminding visitors not to pinch bits (a massive, road destroying rockfall on the western side stands as testament to what can happen if you go chipping too much out of the side of the mountain). The veins of quartz protruding from the outcrop next to some of the carvings, may have influenced the choice of rock to decorate, but the thing that reminded me of Kilmartin was the little bits of quartz that seemed to be wedged into the cracks at th edge of the main whaleback. This is the same thing described by the excavations at Torbhlaren (at least I think it was there...). Havings seen the astounding quality of some of the local quartz in the form of a knapped blade in the raetian musum in the nearby town of Chur, I can imagine it would have been a desirable comodity back in the days before metals. The blade in the museum looked like knapped glass, totally translucent, and what in megalithic times could have been easily described as 'Dead Posh'. The same museum is well worth a visit, the artefacts found whilst digging in Chur itself, (apparently boasting continuous occupation since the mesolithic) being exceptionally well preserved. In particular, some excellent examples of enamelled jewellery and bronze swords. There's also a portable schalenstein that could easily be mistaken for a Irish bullaun stone.
Carschenna. It's not crap. It's the Alpine Achnabreck. Gets a 9 out of 10 from me.
*It was a Very Strange Thing that in the main street of Thusis, there's a shop with a signpost to Santiago de Compostella. Seems that Thusis is one end of a medeival Pilgramage route to Galicia. Given the unlikely fact that both these places also have rock art, makes me wonder if the actual route taken is considerably older.
Visited here on 13th Jan 2009. There's not all that much to see at the moment, as someone has added to the clearance heap, so now a pile of angular blocks obscure the motifs.
It didn't look as if the block dumping had damaged any of the motifs, though as stated, it's difficult to see them all. I'm assuming this outcrop isn't managed by the same folks who own and manage Fowberry Park, as they are well aware of the carvings on their land, and would seem unlikely to treat a marked outcrop so carelessly.
Observations after a long overdue revisit in August 2008:-
After recently managing to see a sunset and a sunrise here, I found enough time to linger for long enough for some good pondering about this lovely lump of prehistoric stuff. It struck me that whilst the main panel has no views of the Cheviots (which it would have if the carvings had been on the outcrop on top of the hill), it's actually one of the subset of Northumbrian prehistoric sites that may have been placed with some reference to the hill of Simonside. You can't see Simonside when you're standing at ground level, but if you step up to the natural shelf on the south east side (which you can do without compromising the carvings, as the shelf has turf), you can see the distinctive profile of Simonside quite clearly.
Now this could be overactive associative neuronal stuff in my head, but even if that is the case, I'll claim that if you visit here, you can picture this stone as a nice spot for a bit of 'ritual activity' by some prehistoric spirit botherer, using the water from the natural basin for libatory purposes over the ancestral carvings, making invocations to some sky thingy or other as it descended to the sacred hill on the horizon. All the while casting a good dramatic silhouette to the audience on the pallisade of the strange double hillfort a few yards away.
Despite some effort, I can't manage to suss out any connection with the mysterious Cateran Hole on nearby Cateran Hill. Not even a very tenuous one. Obviously some more exploration of the bleaker bits of Bewick Moor are called for in order to evoke some imagination stimluation.
I don't know who was responsible for the recent alterations, but well done whoever you are. The removal of the dodgy old sign did make me slightly wistful, as even though it was a bit of a vile old relic, it had a certain gravitas that seemed appropriate.
The removal of the fence and trees has improved the site in my opinion. Access is easier, there is now no impediment to getting to the outcrop from the road, and the removal of the tree has taken away the possibility of damage from it's roots. It also makes it possible to see the whole whaleback in one go, so visually, it's an unqualified success. It would be even better if the view had been restored, but the rest of the trees ain't doing no harm, if anything, they probably provide a bit of protection against the scouring effects of the Northumbrian Climate. The carvings have only been exposed for about 150 years, as Canon Greenwell reported removing 9 inches of turf, so it's probably for the best if the surrounding trees are left to do their own thing.
Nice views of Cheviot, and before the trees, it would have been probably intervisible with Roughting Linn. Good access (we managed to get a 3 wheeler buggy up there, but a wheelchair wouldn't work) with public footpaths making it quite easy to get to from Roughting Linn, via Goatscrag.
The outcrops known as 1 and 2 are fairly easy to spot if the bracken isn't too high. I didn't get to panel 3, but there is only one conspicuous outcrop in the right area, so it's probably not too tricky either. In direct mid-day sun, the motifs of both 1 and 2 are almost invisible. I'd say anyone wanting to see the carvings would be well advised to time their visit to early morning or late evening, preferably earlier in the year when the bracken won't be a problem.
The carvings are quite eroded, and I found it tricky to reconcile what I saw with the complexity of the drawings by Beckensall, Tate and Bruce.
The ideal spot for a rock shelter. South facing, with the ridge as a great barrier to the north winds, with a nice platform to lean logs against the cliff, could have made this a des-res in the days when rockshelters were the height of fashion. It's also got the obligatory excellent views of Cheviot and I think it would have been intervisible with the goings on at Roughting Linn. Though the carving of the outcrop at Roughting Linn most likely occurred a good while after Goatscrag was being used, there's a strong chance that the Roughting Linn outcrop had significance for long before it was chosen as a rock that needed to be marked with cups and rings.
One other interesting feature of the outcrop is the way that the dep fissures which are home to nesting birds channels the sound of hungry chicks, so that you can stand in one spot, moving your head from side to side, and whilst leaning left, silence, then when leaning to the right, loud chirruping. It gave me quite a start when walking past, there was a sudden blast of noise that vanished in a second. It probably hints at this having once been a good spot to go hunting for extra protein in the form of hidden eggy comestibles.
The deer carvings are so basic, and so anomalous. there have been doubts about their antiquity, but the crudity, and the definite weathering do give them a high likelihood of ancientness. Their anomalous nature, being one of the rare examples of representative rock carvings in not just Northumberland (where they are the only example of such), but in Britain and Ireland also, makes this a significant place. It's possible that the orientation of the cliff face which makes it so sheltered, it the reason why the carvings may have survived. it's equally possible that other similar surfaces once bore similar marks, but that the more exposed surfaces have long since been sandblasted by the elements, so that no trace of carvings remains. There are a few patches on the vertical surfaces of the Bowden Doors that would be good candidates for such unprovable claims.
Another thing that makes me lean towards the idea of the Goatscrag deer being prehistoric is the nature of the more standard abstract carvings on the outcrop above the shelter. The small cups with their horseshoe linking arcs remind me of Australian Aborigine motifs which are said to represent humans sitting in camps. It's a highly tenuous link, and it's supposed to be bad form to make anthropological comparison across space and time (for many good reasons), but hey, the pondering of improbables is a large part of the fun of going to look at ancient carvings.
The carvings are on the very southernmost chunk of the ridge of outcrop. It's pretty easy to find, just off to the left of the path from the road. The trees have been thinned so it's not too difficult to get there, though it's steep when you get to the actual utcrop, so not suitable for anything with wheels, or those unsteady on the feet.
I got the distinct impression that the people who added the runes may have slightly enhanced the cup and ring, as the inner parts of the grooves look to have traces of metal tooling. I think they may have added the hotizontal line bistecting the motif, as it's very thin, doesn't look picked out, and seems to be an enhancement of a natural features on the surface of the rock. It's also unlike anything in any other RA in this part of the world.
It was nice to bump into the landowner who chatted for a couple of minutes explaining his awareness an interest in the carving, and he seemed quite chuffed to hear that it's the only one with runes next to it. Not quite a rosetta stone, but as close as we get.
The last time I visited here, it was a very short visit, as it's tantalisingly close to a very picturesque parking spot on the road from Alnwick to Edlingham, and the short hop up to the outcrop only takes a minute or two, up the trackway past the remains of bell pits. It's not the best track in the world, a pushbike could make it, or a 3-wheeled buggy, but not a wheelchair. The incline isn't steep, but there is a need for hitching through or over a low wire fence, as the gate between the track and the outcrop seemed to be fixed shut.
The rock art is rather sub-standard, but the rock shelter and the outcrop itself are quite nice. The position in the landscape is unarguably the best aspect of the site. The view is very good.
I'm not sure what to make of the line pecked into the floor of the shelter. It's definitely pecked out, and looks very much like the kind of thing you'd see emerging from a cup and ring. Stan Beckensall has it as emerging from a 'shallow basin'. I'm not 100% with the basin idea. The presence of iron tool marks in the basin, combined with the fact that it's not convex, and is on a slope would make it a poor basin. It'd not hold water. There is a chance that the basin like area is the remains of a patch where the original surface has been removed. This raises the possibility that there was once a more cup and ring like motif here, removed in later years by whoever carved the rudimentary chair and the post slots under the overhang.
Between the shelter and the lovely view of Cheviot, is the standing stone. At first glance, I was a bit dismissive, as it's not overlarge, and there are larger boulderrs nearby that are just as upright. But closer inspection shows that it's out of place, and has a much higher than usual amount of quartz in it, making it look to me as it it could have been chosen as a suitably snazzy stone, then lugged here to mark the site as somewhere special.
The thing on the top of the outcrop does look like rock art, being one of those 'enhanced natural features' that can be so perplexing. But it must be an artificial groove around the basin. I did wonder why this basin was chosen for enhancement, when there are a couple of others that look like they'd do the job (whatever that is...) just as well. Maybe it's because of the direction of the natural groove, pointing down into the valley below. This valley looks intriguing. It's a bit reminiscent of the rockforms at Ketley Crag, full of jaggedy anthropomorphic outcrops, festooned with tumbled boulders, with many nooks and crannies that could easily be gateways to the underworld.
It's a very minor pair of bits of rock art, but worthy of mention for a couple of points.
One is the dumbbell motif, unusual, especially on a portable. Similar to the one on outcrop at Fowberry cairn.
Also, the old boundary earthwork (linear, definitely a post roman feature) appears to run right through the remains of a bronze Age cairn. There's a lot more stone in the earthwork the closer to the RA you get, sort of implying that the cairn was stripped to provide building material.
Thus, it's reasonable to assume that the marked rocks came from the cairn, as is quite common. So maybe there were/are more still in hiding?
It's no very big (about 3 ft tall, tops), but there are a good few smaller things in Northumberland that have been recorded quite firmly, and even scheduled.
I reckon the fluted grooves are much what you'd see on a BA orthostat in these parts, so I'm claiming it to be the genuine I-am.
(But if the TMA Eds should decide otherwise, please do slap a Dubious Antiquity tag on it. I'll not get too upset...)
Another possible fact in it's favour is the presence, about 3m away, of some definite Cup and Ring carvings, and it's in what used to be a cairnfield, fitting a general pattern of Northumbrian sites.
Managed to find these elusive carvings last week. It was decided that the choice of Feb 29th was auspicious, as it proved to be.
A bit of research via Google Earth showed a patch that looked to be in shadow, implying the existence of a clearing. A bit of tricknology with a gps device converted the GE co-ordinates into a gps friendly point at which to leave the path and follow the furrows made when planting the trees.
The trees have recently been thinned slightly in the southern part of the plantation, so access wasn't as much of a problem as it could have been. Working out where the carvings are was, and we initially walked right past the spot where the carvings later showed up. This led to an hour or so of hands-and-knees crawling through some dense and highly resistant coniferous gloom.
A combination of the satellite images, Stan Beckensall's sketched map and a bit of tree-stump observation eventually led to the conclusion that they were buried under a 25 yr old annoyingly deep and tangled pile of pine branches and needles. (It took much effort to shift the heap).
It was still a very sludgy bit of rock art, as the decades of decomposition had left an unpleasant slime mixed with pine needles over the surface of the outcrop. Hence a return visit today, this time armed with a (soft) brush and some water.
The carvings are very worn, but quite complex in composition. I couldn't help but think it looked like a panel that had been added to over time, possibly starting out as a set of simple cups, elaborated upon at a later date.
If you take the trees away, there's a great view, showing significant hills such as Ros Castle, Simonside and the Cheviot.
I can't say exactly how many cups there are on this stone as I lost count (got bored counting) after 30 or so. They seem like the real deal, though in the 4 years since I saw it in the real, I've not been able to find any information about it.
The stone looks like it could have once stood up, though now it's propped on top of four small stones making a strange kind of not-dolmen.
It sits just at the Syddyssen end of the bridge between the Maelkebotten and Syddyssen areas of the strange and semi-autonomous hippy/radgey commune of Christiania, in an old military barracks on the seaward edge of Copenhagen.
I've listed this site as a Taula as that's probably the main attraction for most folk. The taula is missing it's cap, but does have an interesting hole in it, in the manner of the Stone of Odin.
I was quite chuffed to find this out, as it seemed very difficult to get any information regarding the site, it's existence only being marked in a very vague fashion on one of the Menorcan Megalithic tourist maps.
Thankfully, there were some helpful folks at the farm, one of whom was quite happy to guide me to the right area. This is just as well, as it would have been nigh on impossible to find without exact directions.
The poblat is still quite in evidence, though it's been co-opted for agricultural purposes, and it seems as if some of the original structures have been rebuilt over the centuries. Like little circular drystone structures which my guide explained were alleged to be made from the stones of the dwellings in the ancient village.
There are also a couple of interesting anomalies in the poblat zone, namely a line of large orthostats which seemed reminiscent of the facade of something or other, and a patch of outcrop bearing large stonecut basins, some circular, some irregular almost head-and-torso shaped.
These parts are reasonably accessible, as the grove in which they sit is grazed by livestock. The livestock are prevented from getting into the Taula sanctuary/Talaoit by a substantial wall.
On the other side of this wall, it is very overgrown. The trees and bushes are virtually impenetrable. it's a bit of a scramble to get to the holed Taula, around which can be made out a good few other orthostats poking up from the very uneven undergrowth/cobbles mixture that is underfoot. Some of these orthostats also have holes, some of which looked natural, as if the stones had been chosen specifically because of the holes.
The talaoit is not easy to get up, I found myself wriggling under branches and through nettles to circumnavigate it to find if there was one of those little cave things built into the side, which there is. It was very disorientating, but I think the cave thing points roughly in the direction of El Toro.
It's a bit of a mad and gnarly old site, but if you like your prehistoric sites raw, unexcavated and untended, this is a very untidy and atmospheric example of exactly those qualities.
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I like the Prehistoric Rock Art of Northumberland:
Currently obsessed with waving torches at things, often including rocks, as a prelude to some serious waving of torches at rocks that will inevitably appear here on tma at some point :)