The Modern Antiquarian. Ancient Sites, Stone Circles, Neolithic Monuments, Ancient Monuments, Prehistoric Sites, Megalithic Mysteries

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Russell's Cairn (Cairn(s)) — Fieldnotes

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.

Nine Stones Close (Stone Circle) — Images (click to view fullsize)

<b>Nine Stones Close</b>Posted by Hob<b>Nine Stones Close</b>Posted by Hob

Falera (Stone Row / Alignment) — Links

Parclamutta.net leaflet in English


A handy .pdf file in English, kindly provided by the 'Friends of The Parc La Mutta'. In a box by the car-park, there are laminated printouts of the file, which is nice.

Falera (Stone Row / Alignment) — Fieldnotes

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.

Falera (Stone Row / Alignment) — Images

<b>Falera</b>Posted by Hob

West Horton (Cup and Ring Marks / Rock Art) — Images

<b>West Horton</b>Posted by Hob

Russell's Cairn (Cairn(s)) — Images

<b>Russell's Cairn</b>Posted by Hob

Kettley Crag (Cup and Ring Marks / Rock Art) — Images

<b>Kettley Crag</b>Posted by Hob

Shillhope Law (Cairn(s)) — Fieldnotes

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 ;-)

Crap Carschenna (Cup and Ring Marks / Rock Art) — Images

<b>Crap Carschenna</b>Posted by Hob<b>Crap Carschenna</b>Posted by Hob<b>Crap Carschenna</b>Posted by Hob<b>Crap Carschenna</b>Posted by Hob<b>Crap Carschenna</b>Posted by Hob<b>Crap Carschenna</b>Posted by Hob

Crap Carschenna (Cup and Ring Marks / Rock Art) — Fieldnotes

"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.

Crap Carschenna (Cup and Ring Marks / Rock Art) — Miscellaneous

The prehistoric rock carvings at Crap Carschenna, situated high above the unpronounceable village of Sils im Domleschg, were first discovered in 1965 during tree clearing prior to the construction of electricity pylons. For those able to read German, the definitive paper is that by Urs Schwegler: Felszeichnungen in Graubuenden; Helvetia Archaeologica, 1997, 111/112 pp 76-147.

Crap Carschenna (Cup and Ring Marks / Rock Art) — Links

Erratiker.CH


Herr D. Reichmuth presents a whole website full of continental megalithic info, in German.

This link goes to the page listing sites in the Canton of Grabunden, with links to a set of pages detailing Carschenna found just under the word 'Schalensteine'.

Chatton (Cup and Ring Marks / Rock Art) — Images

<b>Chatton</b>Posted by Hob

Whitsunbank 2 (Cup and Ring Marks / Rock Art) — Images

<b>Whitsunbank 2</b>Posted by Hob

Chatton (Cup and Ring Marks / Rock Art) — Images

<b>Chatton</b>Posted by Hob

Townhead (Cup and Ring Marks / Rock Art) — Images

<b>Townhead</b>Posted by Hob

Roughting Linn (Cup and Ring Marks / Rock Art) — Images

<b>Roughting Linn</b>Posted by Hob

Kettley Crag (Cup and Ring Marks / Rock Art) — Images

<b>Kettley Crag</b>Posted by Hob

Lordenshaw (Cup and Ring Marks / Rock Art) — Images

<b>Lordenshaw</b>Posted by Hob<b>Lordenshaw</b>Posted by Hob

Lordenshaws Cairns (Cist) — Images

<b>Lordenshaws Cairns</b>Posted by Hob<b>Lordenshaws Cairns</b>Posted by Hob<b>Lordenshaws Cairns</b>Posted by Hob

Old Bewick (Cup and Ring Marks / Rock Art) — Images

<b>Old Bewick</b>Posted by Hob

Kettley Crag (Cup and Ring Marks / Rock Art) — Images

<b>Kettley Crag</b>Posted by Hob<b>Kettley Crag</b>Posted by Hob

Amerside 3 (Cup and Ring Marks / Rock Art) — Images

<b>Amerside 3</b>Posted by Hob

Amerside Law (Cup and Ring Marks / Rock Art) — Images

<b>Amerside Law</b>Posted by Hob

Chatton (Cup and Ring Marks / Rock Art) — Images

<b>Chatton</b>Posted by Hob

Coldmartin Loughs 1-2 (Cup and Ring Marks / Rock Art) — Images

<b>Coldmartin Loughs 1-2</b>Posted by Hob

Dod Law Main (Cup and Ring Marks / Rock Art) — Images

<b>Dod Law Main</b>Posted by Hob

Gled Law (Cup and Ring Marks / Rock Art) — Images

<b>Gled Law</b>Posted by Hob

Townhead (Cup and Ring Marks / Rock Art) — Images

<b>Townhead</b>Posted by Hob

Weetwood Moor (Cup and Ring Marks / Rock Art) — Images

<b>Weetwood Moor</b>Posted by Hob

Broomridge (Cup and Ring Marks / Rock Art) — Images

<b>Broomridge</b>Posted by Hob<b>Broomridge</b>Posted by Hob

Poltalloch (Cup and Ring Marks / Rock Art) — Images

<b>Poltalloch</b>Posted by Hob

Newgrange (Passage Grave) — Images

<b>Newgrange</b>Posted by Hob

Copt Howe (Cup and Ring Marks / Rock Art) — Images

<b>Copt Howe</b>Posted by Hob

Ballygowan (Cup and Ring Marks / Rock Art) — Images

<b>Ballygowan</b>Posted by Hob

Fowberry Enclosure 1&2 (Cup and Ring Marks / Rock Art) — Images

<b>Fowberry Enclosure 1&2</b>Posted by Hob

Barningham Moor (Cup and Ring Marks / Rock Art) — Images

<b>Barningham Moor</b>Posted by Hob

Weetwood Moor (Cup and Ring Marks / Rock Art) — Images

<b>Weetwood Moor</b>Posted by Hob
Previous 50 | Showing 51-100 of 1,570 posts. Most recent first | Next 50
I like the Prehistoric Rock Art of Northumberland:

Ketley Crag
Chatton
Weetwood Moor
Dod Law
Roughting Linn
Lordenshaw
Fowberry Cairn
Hunterheugh
Old Bewick
Morwick




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 :)

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