Magical birds of Welsh tradition , belonging to Drudwas ap Tryffin , often equated with griffins. They were given to him by his wife , a fairy woman , and could understand human speech ; they would also perform all that he commanded .

In a contest with Arthur , Drudwas ordered the birds to kill the first fighter to enter the battlefield .  When Arthur himself was delayed from entering the fray, the birds attacked Drudwas himself  the first to arrive, tearing his flesh to pieces.

In the poetry of the late medieval Beirdd yr Uchelwyr , the phrase Adar llwch Gwin was a synonym for hawks or falcons and a metaphor for strong, brave men.


The hall is guarded by  Glewlwyd Gafaelfawr , Arthur's porter , and Culhwch has difficulty gaining entrance due to the special laws that restrict entry once a feast has begun.

Though there is no description of the place the implications of the story are of great wealth and splendour.

The story describes Arthur's warriors at the court in depth and says that :

"From here, one of his Warband, Drem, could see a gnat as far away as Scotland ; while another , Medyr , could shoot an arrow through the legs of a wren in Ireland!"
Some of the Trioedd Ynys Prydein , or Welsh Triads mention Arthur and


The  NOBLE and  JOYOUS  HISTORY OF KING ARTHUR.

MORTE D’ARTHUR.


THE BOOK OF  MERLIN  AND OF UTHER PENDRAGON  AND HIS  SON ARTHUR

It  befell in the days of the noble Uther Pendragon , when he was King of England , and so reigned , there was a mighty and a noble duke in Cornwall,  that held long time war against him ;

and the duke was named the Duke of Tintagil.

And so by means King Uther sent for this duke, charging him to bring his wife with him, for she was called a right fair lady, and a passing wise, and Igraine was her name. So when the duke and his wife were come to the king, by the means of great lords, they were both accorded, and the king liked and loved this lady well, and made her great cheer out of measure, and desired to have lain by her. But she was a passing good woman, and would not assent to the king.

And then she told the duke, her husband, and said, “ I suppose that we were sent for that I should be dishonoured ;

wherefore, husband, I counsel you that we depart from hence suddenly, that we may ride all night to our own castle.

” And like as she had said, so they departed, that neither the king, nor none of his council, were aware of their departing.

As soon as King Uther knew of their departing so suddenly, he was wonderful wroth ; then he called to him his privy council, and told them of the sudden departing of the duke and his wife. Then they advised the king to send for the duke and his wife, by a great charge: “And, if he will not,” said they, “come at your commandment, then may ye do your best, for then have you a cause to make mighty war upon him.” So that was done, and the messengers had their answers, and that was this, shortly, “That neither he nor his wife would not come at him.” Then Neolithic, Beaker and “ Food Vessel : sherds from Rowberrow Cavern will be described later, were near it. With the pottery was a service of Hint implements wrought by shallow scaling, including part of a polished tool and barbed stone arrowheads. But undoubtedly the important feature of the industry here found was the presence of , pygmy flints ;

though not quite the same as the earlier pygmies from King Arthur’s Cave they are probably derived from the Arthursian industry.

They suggest that the indwellers in Rowberrow Cavern were the descendants of men who dwelt in Britain . They in turn perhaps were derived from the cave men of Old Stone Age.
 Cheddar , Aas also produced an association of round bottomed Neolithic pottery, sherds of Beaker-ware, finely scaled flint implements and small fragments of a polished axe. Soldier’s Hole in Cheddar Gorge has so far given us a set of stone implements including a polished axe and a chipped stone spear-head.
The most significant Neolithic site in this district was found by the Somerset Archaeological Society under an overhanging rock in. Chelm’s Combe, Cheddar, where round bottomed bowls and the bones of the men who used them had survived. One of the bowls is of a Spanish type. The Neolithic men who dwelt in these seven caves had domestic beasts, but they hunted freely to augment their food stocks. Neolithic Man.
The description of the Palaeolithic man of Aveline’s Hole and Gough’s Cave could be used for the men from the Gloucestershire and Somersetshire long barrows and from Chelm’s Combe without much amending. Perhaps the main difference is that the long-barrow men had narrower faces than the cave men.  Judging by the skeletons we have there is no reason to suppose that the long-barrow men were other than the descendants of the cave men. But this is a theory that needs testing by research in transitional stations. A skull was taken from Bisley long-barrow upon which the dangerous and delicate surgical operation of trepanning had been successfully performed. 

It has been asserted that the Megalithic culture was carried across Europe by traders from the Near East who were in quest of gold, amber and pearls. They were dark broad-heads, and are known as Prospectors. Professor Fleure has discovered in Pembroke and South Cardigan, where Megaliths are numerous, numbers of men who may be their descendants. Never the less, no oriental Neolithic objects have appeared in the West of England and, moreover, the skeletons from the long-barrows all appear to belong to the distinctive native type. At this period it is probable that work began on the gold bearing gravel of Wicklow. For centuries this was the most important gold-field in Europe and this may account for the enormous number of flint axes and early bronze implements found in Ireland. But there are few signs of the gold trade in these parts. Trade there was: no one can walk across a ploughed field on Mendip without discovering a flint implement or flake. No flint is found naturally in the district, therefore, the presence of such enormous quantities on the land is testimony of settled conditions and an interchange of commodities in the New Stone and Bronze Ages. Die Megalithie stage certainly lasted into the early Bronze Age; the occurrence of Beaker-ware with Neolithic pottery is good evidence of that. Stonehenge itself was raised after the close of the New Stone Age. It is now well-known that the inner circle of blue stones was brought thence from Pembrokeshire. Perhaps they were ferried across the Severn estuary to Uphill or Worlehury and toiled along Mendip to the Wiltshire Downs by devout herdsmen.



ST. GERMANS

Augustinian was the seat of a bishop in early times.

The bishops of the Celtic churches were not hke those of the English; their sphere influence was not defined in the same way.

In Ireland a bishop often lived in a monastic settlement and was inferior in rank to Abbot.

In Cornwall the Bishop of St. Germans was probably the head of a monastery.

Whether his jurisdiction extended over the whole of modern Cornwall, or whether there were not other bishops—at Bodmin, for instance—in the quite early days, is not clear. The first bishop who is named is one Conan, in AthelStan’s time (in 936), but he will not have been actually the first. The laSt was Burhwold. In 1050 the old See of St. Germans was united with Exeter by Edward the Confessor, and Bishop Leofric, who had formerly had Crediton for his See, moved thither. He is said to have placed canons in St. Germans.

But it was Bartholomew, Bishop of Exeter in Henry II’s time, who made it a Priory of AuguStinian Canons.

So it continued till the Suppression, when its annual value was somewhat under £250.

The church has a certain cathedral flavour about it, in that it has two western towers; one is Norman, with an oCtagonal top of the thirteenth century.

The other, the southern, has Norman base and Perpendicular upper Storey.

Between them is a fine late Norman door.

The nave has two Norman piers on the south side, and a Norman font is in the south tower.

The original north aisle was pulled down in 1803 and replaced by the pew of the Eliots—the house of Port Eliot is immediately beside the church. The description in the Beauties of "England and Wales (Britton and Bray- ley; this volume was issued in 1801) is rather unwontedly minute and careful.

I will quote a good part of it, and the visitor may be interested in comparing it with what he sees now. After describing the western arch it says : “ Over the arch is a pediment with a cross at the top resembling an heraldic cross patee within a circle; on each side is a small pointed window, and above these are three small narrow round-headed windows. [Above these is the main western gable.]

“ The north aisle is divided from the nave by five short thick round columns, each connected with a half-pillar opposite to it in the north wall, by a low surbased arch.

All the capitals of the columns are square, and curiously ornamented with Saxon (i.e. Norman) sculpture. The third from the weSt end is embellished with grotesque figures having bodies resembling dogs, opposed to each other, with their fore parts meeting at the angle of the capital in one head ;

the upper part human, but the lower like a scollop-shell.

Above these range six plain arches, some of them apparently of the same age and Style with those in the nave of St. Alban’s Abbey Church, Hertfordshire.

“ In several windows of the aisle are a few coats of arms on painted glass.

“ The architecture of the south aisle is very dissimilar from that on the

The Royal Stars and History

The four stars with their modern and ancient Persian names were:

Aldebaran (Tascheter) – vernal equinox (Watcher of the East)

Regulus (Venant) – summer solstice (Watcher of the North)

Antares (Satevis) – autumnal equinox

Fomalhaut (Haftorang/Hastorang) – winter solstice (Watcher of the South)

The four dominant stars have an apparent magnitude of 1.5 or less.

The reason why they are called “Royal” is that they appear to stand aside from the other stars in the sky.
The four stars, Aldebaran, Regulus, Antares, Fomalhaut, are the brightest stars in their constellations, as well as being part of the twenty five brightest stars in the sky, and were considered the four guardians of the heavens.
They marked the seasonal changes of the year and marked the equinoxes and solstices.
Aldebaran watched the Eastern sky and was the dominant star in the Taurus constellation, Regulus watched the North and was the dominant star in the Leo constellation, Antares watched the West and was the alpha star in Scorpio, and Fomalhaut watched the Southern sky and was the brightest star in Piscis Austrinus (sharing the same longitude with the star Sadalmelik which is the predominant star in Aquarius).

Aldebaran marked the vernal equinox and Antares marked the autumnal equinox, while Regulus marked the Summer Solstice and Fomalhaut the Winter Solstice. While watching the sky, the dominant star would appear in its season, each having a time of the year when most noticeable.

Regulus was seen as the main star because it was in the constellation of Leo, giving it the power of the lion, signifying the strength of kings with large implications
The constellations of the Royal Stars were said to be fixed because their positions were close to the four fixed points of the sun’s path.
The sun was then surrounded by four bright stars at the beginning of every season. From this observation individuals began to denote them the Royal Stars.[6]
By 700 BCE the Nineveh and Assyrians had essentially mapped the ecliptic cycle because of the four stars and were in result able to map the constellations, distinguishing them from the planets and the fixed stars.

From this, in 747 BCE the Babylonian King Nabu-nasir adopted a calendar derived from information based on the four stars, one following an eight-year cycle and one a nineteen-year cycle (later adopting the nineteen-year calendar as standard).
The Royal Stars were used primarily for navigation.They were also believed to govern events in the world. Major disasters, breakthroughs, and historical phenomenons were seen as caused by the stars and their alignment in the sky during the time in which the event occurred.
When the stars were aligned accordingly, favourable conditions followed, and when they were negatively aligned, disaster was predicted. Because Regulus was the most influential of the Royal Stars, events that took place while Regulus was in dominance were amplified and grave, foreshadowing destruction.


The Stonehenge Hidden Landscapes Project

reveals traces of standing stones beneath Durrington Walls super-henge

The remains of a major new prehistoric stone monument have been discovered less than 3 kilometres from Stonehenge.

Using cutting edge, multi-sensor technologies the Stonehenge Hidden Landscapes Project has revealed evidence for a large stone monument hidden beneath the bank of the later Durrington Walls ‘super-henge’.

The findings were announced on the first day of the British Science Festival [07 September], hosted this year at the University of Bradford.

Durrington Walls is one of the largest known henge monuments measuring 500m in diameter and thought to have been built around 4,500 years ago.

Measuring more than 1.5 kilometres in circumference, it is surrounded by a ditch up to 17.6m wide and an outer bank c.40m wide and surviving up to a height of 1 metre.

The henge surrounds several smaller enclosures and timber circles and is associated with a recently excavated later Neolithic settlement.

The Stonehenge Hidden Landscapes Project team, using non-invasive geophysical prospection and remote sensing technologies , has now discovered evidence for a row of up to 90 standing stones, some of which may have originally measured up to 4.5 metres in height, Many of these stones have survived because they were pushed over and the massive bank of the later henge raised over the recumbent stones or the pits in which they stood. 

 Hidden for millennia, only the use of cutting edge technologies has allowed archaeologists to reveal their presence without the need for excavation.

 At Durrington, more than 4.5 thousand years ago, a natural depression near the river Avon appears to have been accentuated by a chalk cut scarp and then delineated on the southern side by the row of massive stones.

Essentially forming a C-shaped ‘arena’, the monument may have surrounded traces of springs and a dry valley leading from there into the Avon. Although none of the stones have yet been excavated a unique sarsen standing stone, “The Cuckoo Stone”, remains in the adjacent field and this suggests that other stones may have come from local sources.

Previous, intensive study of the area around Stonehenge had led archaeologists to believe that only Stonehenge and a smaller henge at the end of the Stonehenge Avenue possessed significant stone structures.The latest surveys now provide evidence that Stonehenge’s largest neighbour, Durrington Walls, had an earlier phase which included a large row of standing stones probably of local origin and that the context of the preservation of these stones is exceptional and the configuration unique to British archaeology.

This new discovery has significant implications for our understanding of Stonehenge and its landscape setting.The earthwork enclosure at Durrington Walls was built about a century after the Stonehenge sarsen circle (in the 27th century BC), but the new stone row could well be contemporary with or earlier than this.

Not only does this new evidence demonstrate an early phase of monumental architecture at one of the greatest ceremonial sites in prehistoric Europe, it also raises significant questions about the landscape the builders of Stonehenge inhabited and how they changed this with new monument-building during the 3rd millennium BC.The Stonehenge Hidden Landscapes Project is an international collaboration between the University of Birmingham and the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Archaeological Prospection and Virtual Archaeology (LBI ArchPro) and led by Professor Wolfgang Neubauer and Professor Vincent Gaffney (University of Bradford).  As part of the project, experts from many different fields and institutions have been examining the area around Stonehenge revealing new and previously known sites in unprecedented detail and transforming our knowledge of this iconic landscape.“Our high resolution ground penetrating radar data has revealed an amazing row of up to 90 standing stones a number of which have survived after being pushed over and a massive bank placed over the stones. In the east up to 30 stones, measuring up to size of 4.5 m x 1.5 x 1 m, have survived below the bank whereas elsewhere the stones are fragmentary or represented by massive foundation pits,” says Professor Neubauer, director of the LBI ArchPro. “This discovery of a major new stone monument, which has been preserved to a remarkable extent, has significant implications for our understanding of Stonehenge and its landscape setting. Not only does this new evidence demonstrate a completely unexpected phase of monumental architecture at one of the greatest ceremonial sites in prehistoric Europe, the new stone row could well be contemporary with the famous Stonehenge sarsen circle or even earlier,” explains Professor Gaffney.“The extraordinary scale, detail and novelty of the evidence produced by the Stonehenge Hidden Landscapes Project, which the new discoveries at Durrington Walls exemplify, is changing fundamentally our understanding of Stonehenge and the world around it. Everything written previously about the Stonehenge landscape and the ancient monuments within it will need to be re-written,” says Paul Garwood, Senior Lecturer in Archaeology at the University of Birmingham, and the principal prehistorian on the project.Dr Nick Snashall, National Trust Archaeologist for the Avebury and Stonehenge World Heritage Site, said: “The Stonehenge landscape has been studied by antiquaries and archaeologists for centuries.But the work of the Hidden Landscapes team is revealing previously unsuspected twists in its age-old tale. These latest results have produced tantalising evidence of what lies beneath the ancient earthworks at Durrington Walls. The presence of what appear to be stones, surrounding the site of one of the largest Neolithic settlements in Europe adds a whole new chapter to the Stonehenge story.”Dr Phil McMahon of Historic England said: “The World Heritage Site around Stonehenge has been the focus of extensive archaeological research for at least two centuries. However this new research by the Hidden Landscapes Project is providing exciting new insights into the archaeology within it. This latest work has given us intriguing evidence for previously unknown features buried beneath the banks of the massive henge monument at Durrington Walls. The possibility that these features are stones raises fascinating questions about the history and development of this monument, and its relationship to the hugely important Neolithic settlement contained within it.The Stonehenge Hidden Landscapes Project has brought together experts in non-invasive geophysical prospection and remote sensing, and specialists in British prehistory and landscape archaeology in order to carry out one of the most sophisticated single archaeological projects in Europe. The outstanding geophysical survey and visualization capabilities of the team has been made possible only because of the unique expertise and combined resources of the project partners, the Digital Humanities Hub and Department of Classics, Ancient History and Archaeology at the University of Birmingham; the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Archaeological Prospection & Virtual Archaeology (LBI Arch Pro) in Vienna and its European partners; the School of Archaeological Sciences at the University of Bradford; the Austrian Central Institute for Meteorology and Geodynamics (ZAMG), the Department of Earth Sciences at the University of St Andrews; and the Soil Spatial Inventory Techniques Research Group at the University of Ghent.This project aimed to address gaps in our knowledge and understanding of the Stonehenge landscape by conducting a cutting-edge geophysical and remote sensing survey at an unprecedented scale and resolution. Beginning in July 2010, the fieldwork took about 120 days, spread over five years. Cutting-edge geophysical technologies, applied at an unprecedented spatial scale and resolution using multiple motorized magnetometers, ground-penetrating radar arrays, electromagnetic induction sensors, earth resistance surveys and terrestrial 3D laser scanners, have revealed the landscape of Stonehenge through the largest and most detailed archaeological prospection project.The results of the survey project are used to create a highly detailed archaeological map of the ‘invisible’ landscape, providing the basis for a full interpretative synthesis of all existing remote sensing and geophysical data from the study area. For the first time, it will therefore be possible to create total digital models of the Stonehenge landscape at a true ‘landscape scale’ that will not only transcend the immediate surrounds of individual monuments within the study area but will also tie them together within a seamless map of sub-surface and surface archaeological features and structures.The Stonehenge Hidden Landscapes Project is supported by the work of numerous young researchers and remote sensing and archaeological specialists. These include Klaus Löcker, Mario Wallner and Dr Geert Verhoeven (Austria), Philippe De Smedt (Belgium) and Eamonn Baldwin, Henry Chapman, Paul Garwood and Dr Eugene Ch’ng (United Kingdom).The Stonehenge Hidden Landscapes Project is a collaborative work carried out under the auspices of the National Trust and English Heritage.Vince has worked in many parts of the world, including Italy, Croatia and the United States. Past projects include the Wroxeter Hinterland Project, which carried out the first comprehensive geophysical survey of a major Roman town in Britain. He leads the team mapping the vast prehistoric landscapes that now lie beneath the southern North Sea. Recent research projects include the study of what may be the world’s earliest time reckoner at Warren Field in Aberdeenshire. Professor Gaffney is also a member of the teams that scanned the mausoleum of Diocletian in Split and, with Princeton and Durham, are creating an agent-based model of the Byzantine army that marched to the battle of Manzikert in 1071.Professor Wolfgang NeubauerWolfgang Neubauer studied Prehistoric Archaeology, Mathematics, Archaeometry and Computer Science at the University of Vienna and the Vienna University of Technology. He specialises in archaeological prospecting, digital documentation and virtual reality visualisation of archaeological heritage. Wolfgang has carried out archaeological research on sites all over the world for over 30 years, has coordinated many national and international research projects, and is currently Director of the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Archaeological Prospection and Virtual Archaeology (LBI ArchPro). His recent research focused on the development of hardware and software for non-invasive, large-scale efficient geophysical exploration of archaeological landscapes at unprecedented resolutions. Besides the survey in Stonehenge, his institute is focusing on large-scale surveys of Viking Age sites and landscapes in Scandinavia. He is currently directing the detailed prospection of Roman Carnuntum (Austria) after the detection of the unique school of gladiators in 2011, the largest geophysical survey ever attempted to explore a Roman site. Dr Christopher GaffneyChris Gaffney was appointed to the staff at Bradford in October 2007 and is now Head of School. His link with Bradford goes back to the 1980s, as he undertook both undergraduate and postgraduate degrees at this university. Having completed doctoral research (in Earth Resistance), Chris formed a commercial archaeological geophysical company with John Gater. Subsequently, GSB Prospection became the largest group working in Britain, and in the summer of 2007 Chris was awarded an Honorary Doctorate for popularising archaeological geophysics via Time Team and other media opportunities. His research interests include developing commercial avenues while reducing the environmental footprint of prospecting devices. His most recent project is DART, which investigates changes in physical properties that allow detection using remote sensing.Dr Henry ChapmanHenry Chapman is Senior Lecturer in Archaeology and Visualisation and Director of the Digital Humanities Hub at the University of Birmingham. He specializes in the archaeology of prehistoric landscapes, and the relationships between humans and their changing environments in the past, particularly through the application of digital technologies. Henry has worked on sites throughout the UK and in other countries including Bosnia, Egypt, France, Ireland, Italy and the Netherlands, on a range of research and television-based projects. His recent research has included the prehistoric archaeology of peat bogs, Neolithic and Bronze Age ceremonial landscapes, Iron Age marsh forts in their landscape settings, and enigmatic later prehistoric riparian timber alignments.Mr Paul Garwood Paul Garwood is Senior Lecturer in Archaeology at the University of Birmingham, specializing in European Neolithic and Bronze Age prehistory and the archaeology of ritual and religion. He has carried out research on the Stonehenge landscape for 25 years, focusing especially on Early Bronze Age burials and funerary monuments, and has been involved in fieldwork in the Stonehenge area since 2007. Other current projects include work on the earliest farming societies in Britain, and surveys and excavations of major Early Neolithic monuments in the Medway and Trent valleys.“Our understanding of Stonehenge and the Stonehenge landscape has been built up gradually over three centuries of archaeological fieldwork, but the Hidden Landscapes Project marks a radical transformation not only in terms of our knowledge base but also our capacity to explore further. The results of our project, especially high-resolution mapping of almost the entire landscape, will provide the basis for future research in the Stonehenge landscape for generations to come. The sheer scale, detail and seamless character of the map data, new site discoveries, and our reinterpretations of every facet of past activity around Stonehenge, sets new agendas for Stonehenge research and for ‘landscape archaeology’ more widely.” landscape.“In landscape archaeology every aspect of the subsurface adds a new piece to the complex archaeological puzzle. By combining a broad range of survey methods the Hidden Landscapes Project bridges that gap as it provides a wide and highly detailed view on our buried past. Through an approach founded in soil science, we aim to combine archaeological information with insights into past natural landscape variations. The integration of these and other geophysical data not only changes our understanding of the prehistoric Stonehenge landscape, but provides a new perspective on studying the past.”  economic impact. It spans the study of recent environmental change to Earth System evolution in Deep Time, all underpinned by a suite of state-of-the-art analytical and field facilities.Ghent University, BelgiumThe research unit ‘ORBit’ of the Department of Soil Management at Ghent University, Belgium, specialises in techniques to inventory soil properties, including the identification of buried anthropo

  , and today  , where am I  1935 , 1976 , 2022  41/ 46 years , periods

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      Brass and Bronze.

So much similarity is observable in the modes of or ef working in the different combinations of copper with  other metals, that the same description will apply pretty accurately to all of them.
In brass founding and br he working, for instance, the making of the moulds, the  melting of the metal in furnaces, the casting and subsequent trimming and finishing, the rolling into sheets, pr ht the drawing into wire— all are conducted pretty nearly in the same way as for other metals.

The making of the the brass itself is, however, rather a delicate operation.

This metal consists of about two parts of copper to one cu ay of zinc ;

the proportion not being exactly equal in all  specimens.
In the first place the copper is melted, then and poured into cold water, by which it is made to separate into small pieces varying from the size of a small shot , to that of a bean, and known as “ shot-copper.”
The mi to zinc is produced from a carbonate of the metal, called Cu ng “ calamine;”
this is broken into small pieces, heated to redness in a furnace, reduced to a fine pow’der, and m; rm w’ashed.
Any quantity of the powdered calamine is then mixed with three-fourths of its weight of “shotcopper,” and an amount of charcoal equal in bulk of, both .

The mixture is exposed to a strong heat in earthen crucibles for several hours;
at the end of fir elt which time the two kinds of metal have combined ce lys together in a liquid state, and the charcoal has disap- N ice peared. The brass, formed by the union of the two th ell metals, is poured either into large flat granite moulds, or tr< rer into smaller moulds of cast-iron, according as it is to be th xst afterwards rolled into sheets or cast into small articles. ti< Sometimes brass is made by the direct union of zinc th st- and copper; but this is a more difficult process than nc ed when calamine is employed instead of metallic zinc. th ilt Bronze, like bell-metal, is a mixture of copper and pf id, | tin, but the proportions depend partly on the pur- di lal | poses to wrhich it is to be applied, and partly on the of on i opinions of the maker or artist. Bronze is a term fre- sii » a | quently applied to the metal used for cannon, as wrell T ;es | as for statues ; and under this designation the French se ize | founders are said to emplojr, for cannon, a ratio of ar in- j 100 copper to 11 tin. Cymbals contain 78 copper to ar fly ■ 22 tin ; medals, 100 copper to about 10 tin; statues th is ;
(on Mr. Westmacott’s plan), gun-metal, with 30 per b( ? a I cent, of pure copper added to it. pi ice i The mode of proceeding in casting a bronze statue is is ill. much the same in principle as that of casting large bells, af ; is but with greater precautions in every part of the ope- T :er ration.
The making of the original model belongs to its [ry ! the highest department of art; for it is here that the ra or : sculptor show’s his consummate skill, by imparting to ei m- the lifeless clay almost a living expression : all beyond si: he this, although requiring a very high degree of care, is at ?e- still mechanical, and governed by mechanical rules. to
annoyance and disappointment. At length his labours seemed to be nearly at an end ; his mould was lowered into the pit, the furnace heated, and the metal thrown in. At this time, while a violent storm raged without, the roof of his study, as if to increase the confusion, caught fire; but, though ill and harassed, lie still directed the works and encouraged his assistants, till overcome by anxiety and fatigue he retired in a raging fever to lie down, leaving instructions respecting the opening of the mouth of the furnace and the running of the bronze.
He had not, he says, been reposing very long before one came running to him to announce evil tidings : the metal was melted, but would not run. He jumped from his bed, rushed to his studio like a madman, and threatened the lives of his assistants, wffio, being frightened, got out of his wra}% till one of them, to appease him, desired him to give his orders, and they wrould obey him at all risks. He commanded fresh fuel to be throwm into the furnace; and presently, to his satisfaction, the metal began to boil. Again, how- ever, it appeared thick and sluggish, and refused to run. He then ordered all the plates, dishes, and other articles of domestic use in his house to be brought to him, which he threw pell-mell on the metal; wffien it immediately became fluid, and the mould wras $pon filled. Fie adds that he fell down on his knees, and poured forth a fervent thanksgiving to Almighty God for the success that had crowned his exertions.”
Coining.
The process of coining may, in some respects, be ranked among those here treated; for copper is the metal most largely used for this purpose, though its intrinsic value is much less than that of the silver and gold employed. The metal for such purposes is in the first instance rolled out to the state of sheets; these sheets are cut up into blanks, and the blanks are stamped on both sides at once, by means of hard steel dies, one to give each side of the impress. A curious record of past times has been dug up among the Roman remains in Britain, viz., a sort of coin-mould or coin-die (Fig. 1083). This seems to consist of twro dies, one to give each side of the impress to a coin; the twro are so hinged together as enable the one to be brought down on the face of the other. Supposing a blank piece of metal to be placed between them, a smart blow from a hammer wrould give the double impress of a coin to it; but if metal in a semi-solid state (such as a soft kind of metal occasionally employed to produce “ cliche” medallions) were used, a slight pressure would suffice to give the impress. In another cut (Fig. 1089), copied from an old German print, a curious representation is given of a party of men busily engaged in coining, as it wras conducted in the rude style of former days. There is a furnace, containing the crucibles in which the metal is being melted; a man is hammering the cast metal into sheets ; another cutting the metal w ith a pair of shears ; another stamping by means of the die, aided by a boy; while the master-coiner, giving instructions to an assistant, seems to be keeping an account of the whole arrangements. The process of coining in the Mint of London is very different indeed from the above, and is considered to be unequalled in any other country. The metal is first brought to the state of oblong bars, and the processes which then follow are thus given in ‘ London/ No. 53 :— “ The bars, in a heated state, are first passed through the breaking-down rollers, which by their tremendous crushing powrer reduce them to only one- third their former thickness, and increase them propor- tionably in their length. They are now passed through the cold rollers, wdiich bring them nearly to the thickness of the coin required, when the last operation of this nature is performed by the draw-bench—a machine peculiar to our Mint, and which secures an extraordinary degree of accuracy and uniformity in the surface of the metal, and leaves it of the exact thickness desired. The cutting-out machines nowr begin their work. There are twelve of these engines in the elegant room set apart for them, all mounted on the same basement, and forming a circular range. Here the bars or strips are cut into pieces of the proper shape and weight for the coining-press, and then taken to the sizing-room to be separately w eighed, as w'ell as sounded on a circular piece of iron, to detect any flaw's. The protecting rim is next raised in the marking-room, and the pieces after blanching and annealing are ready for stamping. The coining-room is a magnificent looking place, W'ith its columns and its great iron beams, and the presses ranging along the solid stone basement. There are eight presses, each of them making, when required, sixty or seventy (or even more) strokes a minute; and at each stroke a blank is made a perfect coin— that is to say, stamped on both sides, and milled at the edge—

It is mentioned in the Welsh tale


Culhwch and Olwen

which may date from the 11th century.
The story describes the court as being at Celliwig in Cernyw (the Welsh name for Cornwall),

otherwise known as the kingdom of Dumnonia including modern Devon.


The hall is guarded by Glewlwyd Gafaelfawr, Arthur's porter, and Culhwch has difficulty gaining entrance due to the special laws that restrict entry once a feast has begun.
Though there is no description of the place the implications of the story are of great wealth and splendour.
The story describes Arthur's warriors at the court in depth and says that:

"From here, one of his Warband, Drem, could see a gnat as far away as Scotland; while another, Medyr, could shoot an arrow through the legs of a wren in Ireland!"
Some of the Trioedd Ynys Prydein (or Welsh Triads) mention Arthur and "Three Tribal Thrones of the Island of Britain" and locate one of his courts at Celliwig:
"Arthur as Chief Prince in Celliwig in Cernyw, and Bishop Bytwini as Chief Bishop, and Caradog Freichfras as Chief Elder."
Caradoc was his chief elder at this court and that Bishop Bytwini or Bedwin was chief bishop.

This is one of the early triads found in Peniarth MS 54 reflecting information recorded before Geoffrey of Monmouth.

The same triad goes on to say Arthur's other courts were at Mynyw and Pen Rhionydd.

The triads also state that at Celliwig Mordred struck Gwenhwyfar a blow.

This may have led to the Battle of Camlann.

The early Welsh poem Pa gŵr yw'r porthor? may also Arthur is a mythic figure also suggest this court is entirely fictional.

Given the name means "forest grove... it may have originally been envisaged as somewhere Otherworldly (sacred groves being common in Celtic myth) and only later might a specific location have been ascribed to it."mention the court.
Celliwig was also known to the Cornish as well, as it appears as Kyllywyc in the Cornish-language play Beunans Ke, written perhaps around 1500.[1]
In the Iolo Manuscripts (1843), a corpus of pseudo-medieval Welsh texts by the renowned literary forger and inventor of tradition Iolo Morganwg (1747–1826), Celliwig is referred as the former site of the "throne of Cornwall" but the text adds that it is now at Caervynyddawg (Caerfynyddog), a site which is otherwise unattested.[2]
Location[edit]
A 1302 Cornish legal record mentions a 'Thomas de Kellewik' from west Cornwall, though his exact place of origin is unknown.

Celliwig was identified by some Cornish antiquaries from 1816 onwards with Callington (occasionally locally attested as 'Callywith') where the ancient monuments of Castlewich Henge and Cadson Bury ringfort are in close proximity.
Their influence gave Callington its modern name in Common Cornish; Kelly Bray (Cornish:Kellibregh 'dappled grove') is located just to the north.
Another suggestion at the time was Kelliwith.[citation needed]
Other suggested locations include Gweek Wood[citation needed], and on the coast at Tintagel Barras Nose[citation needed] or Willapark. Rachel Bromwich, the latest editor of the Welsh Triads, matched it to Kelly Rounds, a hill fort in the Cornish parish of Egloshayle.
This had already been suggested by Charles Henderson in the Cornish Church Guide (1925) (p. 87).
Intriguingly, the Ravenna Cosmography identifies a major regional Roman-era settlement as Nemetostatio in mnonicentral Dua ( identified with North Tawton, Devon) which would translate from Latin as 'The Outpost of the Sacred Grove(s)'.
Not far away from the modern Cornish border is the village of Kelly in Devon which takes it name from an ancient local family, attested as far back as the 11th century.
Outside Cornwall
However there are also a number of places called Cernyw or containing that name in Wales, e.g. the place name Coedkernew (Coed Cernyw) in Newport.

So it has been suggested that this court might be the hillfort of Llanmelin, near Caerwent. As Caradog is connected to the Kingdom of Gwent this might support this idea. There is also a farm called Gelliweg on the Llŷn peninsula in Gwynedd which one pair of Arthurian researchers and writers, Steven Blake and Scott Lloyd, argue may be the location.
Celliwic as a fictional place
Those who argue that
Bodmin Moor
by Gorlas. And this murdered King is by tradition also connected with another fortress roughly mid-way between Duloe and Roche - which are south of the Bodmin and Goss Moors respectively - for the field inwhich standsCastle Dore was called Carhurles meaning 'Gorlas's fortress'. It therefore seems that the chieftain could have preceded King Mark of the Tristan saga at this earthwork which is known to have been re-occupied in Gorlas's time having been abandoned during the Roman period. 


Assuming that the traditional link between the Arthurian and Tristan sagas could be factual and that King Mark DID succeed GORLAS and hold this southern territory by the sixth century, not only must Arthur's domain of Camlan, the oldest form of Camelot, and his stronghold Celliwic be sought elsewhere but the suggested area should be required to fulfil certain conditions in order to present itself a feasible proposition.
As Arthurian events would have taken place slightly before those of the Tristan saga, an Irish incursion should be in evidence for the saga's prologue depicts theCornish at loggerheads with Irish intruders; and a known Roman cavalry tradition is imperative if we are to believe that the proposed area could produce ahorse-borne, armour-clad warrior together with a Carlyon meaning 'camp of the legion' with which he was reputedly associated.

Moreover, the suggested district might the more convincingly offer itself were it adjacent to the easiest route out of Cornwall to facilitate movement up-country to a site where the Battle of Badon halted a seeming English advance westward. Finally, we should seek an Avalon for the dying King.
THE IRISH AND CARLYON
The place name Celliwic occurs not only in the Arthurian legend but also, as the variant Caellwig* in later Cornish history and is therefore certainly an area of the county and probably one of the Moorland. Although its site is in dispute, the signs are that It will eventually be permitted to settle where it already hovers between the hill forts of
96 35 32. 2
Killybury and Canyke-by-Callywith, that is in the Camel Valley. And this could be to the dismay of sceptics for Camlan also seems to fit this district. (*page IS)
too
Charters clearly demonstrate that the present misnomer A|len, by which the Rivoi Camel's tributary is known instead of by its correct name Laine, originally applied to the* Camel itself and was accurately rendered ALAN. As this River Alan or Camel twisted and turned, the Cornish epithet 'cam' meaning 'crooked' apparently prefixed not only the word 'heyle' meaning 'estuary' but also on occasion the name Alan. Thus, it would seem that the present name Camel is a corruption of one or both of the Cornish names for this river - Camheyle and CAMALAN. °
It might therefore be interesting to seek the required conditions in the Camel Valley. Of six known stones in Cornwall which are inscribed in the Irish script copipri-sing unconnected strokes and called Ogham, five are on Bodmin Moor and three of these in the Camel area. Should the sixth seem curiously remote from the others at Truro, w© maybe forgiven for remembering that one of Arthur's reputed battle sites was on the'River Treuroit.

However and regarding names on the three Camel Ogham stones, that at St. Endell ion-which also bears the early ChristianChi Rho symbol, 'XP‘,the first two letters of the Greek word for Christ - commemorates 'Brocagnus', identified^with the Irishman Brychanwho arrived inCornwall via Wales. Both names on the WorthyvaleOgham ston© are Roman as is the one on the St. Kew memorial.x
An Irish incursion is certainly evident as is also a lingering Roman usage. Th© latter is hardly surprising in an area where Roman road stones at Boscastle and Tintagell and a 'camp of the legion' at Tregear have been found. Moreover, even AFTER the Roman cavalry station at Nanstallon meaning'Vale of Alan'was abandoned, it is apparent that agents of Rome used the most accessible route to and fromEngland across this north coast district at least as late as the fourth century when the Tintagel stone was inscribed. Ami, as some 300 years of contact with Roman custom appears to have influenced the local
Dumnonii so that they seemingly copied the Tregear shape when they built their earthwork at St. Kew, it might reasonably be expected that they would also emulate Roman strategy.
THE ISLE OF AVALLEN
Properly rendered, Avalon is the Celtic word 'avallen' meaning 'apple trees'. Incorporated in several place names, it is included in the name Worthyvale which appeared as 'Guerdevalen1 in the Domesday Book showing that there was an Early English homestead by an orchard adjacent to the area known as Slaughterbridge at the head of the River Camel. In fact, this very district has been traditionally regarded as the setting of the final act of the Arthurian drama.
Such regard, however, has lately been swamped in the scorn which has been poured upon the local name'Arthur's Grave1 for the Ogham stone actually commemorating 'Latinos', upon reports of battle debris found there, and upon the Tintagel paraphernalia so that the mere whisper of Arthur's name in this part of Cornwall seems actionable under the recent Retail Descriptions Act'. Yet, when it is noticed that Worthyvale is virtually an isle amid streamlets and that the word slaughter, probably deriving from the Old English for'muddy', suggests thesurrounding land wasonce mire, it is hard not to suspect that there IS Avalon.
It may seem immaterial that thewoods of Camlanand perhaps even Avaloncannot be seen for the trees of scepticism. However, the Camel Valley which has close on 900 yearsof popular and possibly justifiable identification with the Arthurian legend is largely dependent upon tourism.

Surely time and money spent trying to prove Arthur elsewhere is notonly longoverdue, but might the more effectively be invested, in his traditional homeland where associations with him have yet to be CONVINCINGLY refuted'.
QUEST FOR SOULS
Time was when stories of Cornish saints were taken with the dose of salt reserved for thoseof the Arthurian and Tristan legends'.

Not so now for the likelihood of essential events of both actually taking place is increasingly accepted. If the militancy of Christianity represented in the Arthurian and Tristan sagas very naturally predominated during the reassertion of Dumnonian tribalism after the Romans had gone, its civilising power was to settle it through the influence of saintly colonists-
Hitherto, the search for living spacehad motivated the movement of peoples, now it was the quest for souls and missionaries from Ireland, Wales and Brittany were to nurture the infant Christianity conceived here in Roman times.

So many places on the map retain the names of these saints, the earliest of whom probably emanated from South) Wales where IItut had founded a monastic training school at LIantwit Ma jor in Glamorgan.
A reconstruction of possible events at Bodmin6could represent those in many a Cornish area during the fifth century.

The Celts of Bodmin's hill fort, Castle Canyke, might have noticed the arrival of a stranger in the valley below them at the east end of the present Priory Park.

Bearded and with the front of his head shaven leaving hair flowing long behind, the intruder would set about collecting stones and,wood which he would take to the spring.

Soon he would build a hut, set up a roughly carved standing stone and surround these and his well with a piled-stone wall; and there he would fast and pray for forty days.*
Then he must have visited them, his psalm-book swinging from his waist and the bell on his spade-topped staff sounding his approach. His name was Gwrin, or Guron, and he had journeyed from Wales by sea The fasting and praying were to dedicate his 'Ian1 or monastic enclosure, the stone was a cross to signify a Christian foundation and the hut was his oratory from which he would evangelise the district and which might become his shrine after death. As the people took to him, Guron would celebrate the sa

     The Stanton Drew stone circles are just outside the village of Stanton Drew in the English county of Somerset. The largest stone circle is the Great Circle, 113 metres (371 ft) in diameter and the second largest stone circle in Britain (after Avebury); it is considered to be one of the largest Neolithic monuments to have been built. The date of construction is not known but is thought to be between 3000 and 2000 BCE which places it in the Late Neolithic to Early Bronze Age.[1] It was made a scheduled monument in 1982.[2]

The Great Circle was surrounded by a ditch and is accompanied by smaller stone circles to the north east and south west. There is also a group of three stones, known as The Cove, in the garden of the local pub. Slightly further from the Great Circle is a single stone, known as Hautville's Quoit. Some of the stones are still vertical, but the majority are now recumbent and some are no longer present.

The stone circles have been studied since John Aubrey's visit in 1664 with some excavations of the site in the 18th century. In the late 20th and early 21st centuries geophysical surveys have confirmed the size of the stone circles and identified additional pits and postholes. The Cove has been shown to be around one thousand years older than the stone circles. A variety of myths and legends about the stone circles have been recorded, including one about dancers at a celebration who have been turned to stone.


Modern people have inhabited the Somerset region of southwest England since the Devensian. During this time and the succeeding Mesolithic they lived in and/or made use of places like the caves of the Mendip hills, at Gough's (New) Cave and Aveline's Hole for example. In the following Neolithic a shift was made to farming and permanent settlements emerged. It is known that to the south of the Mendips substantial activity occurred on the Somerset Levels, via the Sweet Track for example [Coles et al. 1973].

The Sweet Track was a timber walkway created circa 3800BC to enable people to cross the marshes of the Brue Valley near Glastonbury. Shortly after this period chambered tombs appeared in the area, followed by henge monuments, and then by the Wedding Stones at Stanton Drew. This paper re-examines the complex in the light of geophysical surveys at Stanton Drew, highlighting missed details, before suggesting multiple lunar alignments within the much under-valued megalithic complex. The monuments at Avebury and Stonehenge are then examined and a close association between the users of all three sites is proposed.


2.1 Chambered Tombs

The Somerset region is associated with one of the best-known forms of Neolithic chambered tomb - the Cotswold-Severn group.

Two main sub-types exist: transepted long chambered tombs, containing a number of compartments/transepts opening on both sides from a central passage (e.g. Stoney Littleton, Somerset); and another, lateral tombs, in which the compartments are placed with entrances along the side, a symbolic dry-stone entrance placed in the centre (e.g. Belas Knap, Gloucestershire). The lateral tombs may slightly predate the former [Lynch 1997, p.54]. Many tombs appear to incorporate earlier cairns (e.g., Notgrove, Gloucestershire) implying a gradual spread of the "Somerset culture". Burl [1983, p.21] has noted how almost all Cotswold-Severn tombs have their central entrances aligned between northeast and southeast, signifying an interest in celestial movements by the builders. Disarticulated human remains have been found in the compartments of many such tombs [e.g., Bulleid 1941]. Nearly a dozen examples exist in the area around Stanton Drew, including those at Redhill, Butcombe and Dundry. Such structures perhaps functioning as localised representations of previously sacred caves when people spread out over the landscape due to farming and/or overcrowding.

This distinct form of chambered tomb appears to be centred on the Mendip area, ranging up into Gloucestershire and north Wales, as well as east to Wiltshire, suggesting an influential Somerset community. Numerous examples also exist to the west, in south Wales, near Cardiff (e.g., Tinkinswood) and in the Gower (Parc Le Breos), across the opening of the Bristol Channel from the Somerset Levels. Further, it appears that most tombs are within site of at least one other, e.g., Redhill and Butcombe; a new feature of Cotswold-Severn tombs can be noted.

2.2 Henges

A particular form of henge also appears centred in Somerset containing an outer ditch and inner bank, known as Type B [Burl 1991,  These can be found in the same areas as the Cotswold-Severn tombs, on the Mendips (Priddy) and in north Wales (Llandegai North), as well as further afield from the identified regions: north and west of Wales, on Anglesey (Castell Bryngwyn) and near Dublin (Longstone Rath) respectively; further into Wiltshire, at Stonehenge (modified along its outer edge); and significantly north of Gloucestershire, in Cumbria (Penrith). Burl [ibid., p.16] suggests that henges were used both for ceremonial and trading purposes, often with regional types built in other areas specifically for the latter (in safety), which may explain the siting of such out-post henges. The multiple-type henge phenomenon occurs on the Mendips at Priddy where a north-northeast alignment of three Type B henges can be found, with a fourth partially constructed henge of the same type nearby, and two henges of a different type within a six-mile radius. The alignment of three Type B henges is slightly less than perfect.

Burl [ibid.] has also suggested that the cardinal location of a henge entrance may be significant to the location of its users. The two northern most of the roughly aligned Type B henges at Priddy have their entrances to the north, whilst the third has its entrance to the south. On this basis it can be speculated that the north-entrance henges were for the related communities in north Wales and Gloucestershire, whilst the south-entrance henge was for the local community of Somerset and south Wales. That a fourth Type B henge was abandoned mid-way through construction indicates a change in the belief system. Alternatively, the "unfinished" ring may be a deliberate earthwork semi-circle or horseshoe akin to one found in Moray for example (see [Burl 1999, p.152-153] for discussion of horseshoes).

2.3 Standing Stones

Wimblestone is perhaps the most well-known standing stone in Somerset, situated just under a line of trees at the western end of a valley whose northern edge was the site of a Neolithic settlement [Clarke & Richards 1972]. The stone is around 2m tall and an equilateral triangle in shape, roughly 0.5m in width, and at its base is an oval hole. This huge shark's tooth is aligned such that its thinnest aspect points east/west. To the west is a sharp rise onto the Mendips at Dolebury Warren, not far from Aveline's Hole. At the other end of the valley, in Banwell, is another megalith of the other type found in the region - a large, flat, rectangular stone. This megalith is about 2m high, 1.5m wide, and 0.5m thick. Its top edge is rain-damaged and looks as if a corner is missing. The thinnest aspect points to Fry's Hill with its raised end, which leads up onto the Mendips near Cheddar Caves. Hence such stones can be seen as signposts to the henges at Priddy. It is also interesting to note that, standing at the Banwell stone's raised edge, facing south-southwest and hence perpendicular to it, the prominent Brent Knoll appears cradled between two closer hills. The huge, almost conical, Brent Knoll stands alone over a hundred metres proud of the western end of the Levels. It lies on an azimuth of 211 degrees from the Banwell megalith, that of the major southern setting of the midsummer moon. The minor southern setting may be seen directly to the right of its base, an azimuth of 231 degrees. Viewing the major southern setting over something is seen at Stanton Drew (Section 3) and further afield (Sections 5 and 6). It can be further noted that a similar alignment can be found in Trencrom, Cornwall where the southern setting of the midsummer moon is seen over Trencrom Hill from a nearby megalith.

Old Ordnance Survey maps from the 1880's show the position of a stone called the Hundred Stone at Chapel Allerton, in the Somerset Levels. To the north-northeast lies Fry's Hill and the southern edge of the Mendips. It too had a clear view of Brent Knoll, its base appearing larger than at other angles. Hence it may be speculated this stone was a flat rectangle aligned north-northeast/south-southwest. In the 1700's William Stukeley reported a stone of the same shape near Chew Magna, in the Chew Valley a mile west of Stanton Drew [Burl 1999, p.55]. This early survey may explain the suggestions of a stone circle there, west of the fork in the River Chew from Chew Lake [e.g., Darvill 1985, p.16]. The Mendips are to the south-southwest, suggesting the stone was aligned north-northeast/south-southwest. The nearby Round Hill appearing almost conical with a view perpendicular to this orientation.

Many more stones of these two types, now lost, must surely have existed in Somerset, encircling the Mendips to direct the prehistoric traveller. Their shape is reminiscent of the proposed male/female stones of the Kennet Avenue at Avebury.

2.4 South Wales

It was noted above that the Somerset culture/community existed in Wales, with the building of their distinct chambered tombs. The closest example is just outside Portskewett, on a small knoll above the banks of the Severn, between the two bridges which cross from England into Wales. Since the sea levels were lower for much of the Neolithic and both bridges are built on prominent rockbed, it seems likely that the area was also a prehistoric cross-point. The long barrow has clear views of the estuary, with the top of the Mendips just visible to the south. Its stones are full of pink quartz pebbles.

Standing stone signposts can also be found in the vicinity. Three miles southeast of Portskewett, near St Brides and Magor, is a triangular and pointed stone slightly larger in stature than Wimblestone. Just a few metres from the M4 link to the second Severn crossing, this monolith is aligned roughly east-northeast/west-southwest, suggesting a nearby crossing of the Bristol Channel/Severn. Another stone of this type can be found further north in the beginnings of the Usk Valley (Llangybi), where a large monolith stands in the middle of a field, aligned southeast/northwest. Here the southeast direction indicates the nearest crossing to the cultural/religious centre of Somerset for the north Wales traveller. An enormous rectangular stone, almost 3m tall, can be found aligned east-northeast to the Magor stone fifteen miles away to the south near Castleton. The view west-southwest, i.e., perpendicular and from its raised end, is of a distant Brent Knoll cradled between two hills.

Again, many more such stones must surely have existed nearby to direct the prehistoric traveller from Wales to the Mendip region showing, as do the long barrows, an intimate relationship between the inhabitants of the two regions.

In John Aubrey's time, back in Somerset, a large rectangular outlier at Stanton Drew, known as Hautville's Quoit, could be seen. Today it can be found lying, much diminished, behind a roadside hedge.


3. Stanton Drew

The megaliths at Stanton Drew are arranged in three circles, two of which have short avenues, with a nearby Cove and an outlier. Local folklore tells of a wedding party lured by the Devil into celebrating on the Sabbath and being petrified for such activity. The main circle is over 110m in diameter, making it smaller only than the outer circle at Avebury 25 miles east, and originally consisted of approximately thirty 2.5-3m long stones. A short avenue extends from its east-northeast towards the banks of the nearby River Chew. From the entrance to this avenue extends another into a circle of around 30m in diameter to the northeast of the main circle. This circle consists of eight slightly larger stones than those of the main circle. To the south-southwest on a small knoll above these two circles lies the third circle, roughly 44m in diameter, consisting of twelve slightly shorter stones. A Cove of three large stones is southwest of the main circle, with the backstone fallen, and the outlier 512m to the north-northeast of the main circle, previously over 3m long. All measurements are taken from Burl [1999, p.52-53].

An alignment stretches from the Cove, through the centre of the main circle, to the centre of the northeast circle, at around 52 degrees from north [Burl 1987, p.14-16], which will be returned to here. A second alignment exists from the centre of the northeast circle to that of the south-southwest circle, with an azimuth of 211 degrees and a declination -30.9 degrees, it marks the major southern setting of the midsummer "Moon?" [Thom 1967, p.100 S3/1]. A final alignment exists from the centre of the south-southwest circle, through the main circle, to Hautville's Quoit, which appears to emphasize the barrow-shaped Settle Hill.

Burl [1999, p.62-63] suggests the Quoit and Cove came first, followed by the main stone circle, then the south-southwest circle, then the northeast circle, and finally the avenues to the banks of the river were added. Note that the latter possibly signifyies the importance of water in the belief system. The points made above would appear to support an early Quoit, i.e., it was originally positioned to indicate the shortest route to the Mendips (south-southwest) over Chew Valley near Ubley. Hence the alignment was the same as that of the Chew Magna monolith. It also provides the first clear view of the prominent Maes Knoll for the traveller from the east; again, a seemingly conical local hill would have been marked by a view perpendicular to the female/flat monolith. The top of Maes Knoll appears to move across the back of Settle/Guy's Hill just before the Quoit is reached.

In 1997 English Heritage undertook geophysical surveys of the two avenued circles at Stanton Drew (Fig. 1 - note the north shown is in error by over ten degrees). The results indicated a 7m wide ditch previously surrounded the main circle, with a large opening to the northeast. Within the stone circle existed nine concentric rings of pits, ranging in diameters from about 23m to 95m, which probably held (over 400) timber poles of around 1m in diameter. Five other pits were also found in the central area of the rings. In the northeast circle four pits were discovered in a quadrilateral aligned with opposing pairs of the standing stones and a further two pits were found just in front of where the avenue joins the circle; a smaller version of the monument appears to have existed before the one now seen.





The timber rings do not appear to have been equally spaced, rings eight and nine from the centre being significantly separated from ring seven for example, perhaps indicating they did not all stand concurrently. The rings are placed directly south of Maes Knoll, on the most level ground of the lowland area. That the centre of the timber rings is aligned with the Quoit and the small knoll to their south-southwest implies the Quoit may have been raised at the same time, reinforcing Burl's suggestion that the Quoit predates the stone circles. That is, the monolith signposts of the region were raised around the same time as the construction of the timber monument otherwise the Quoit represents a later example of the tradition. The timber rings were perhaps the reproduction of a previously sacred forest clearing and through which the subtle movement of celestial bodies could have easily been noticed.

Examination also shows that a southwest section of the outer ditch did not appear on the survey, although the English Heritage results "assume" its existence. It has already been noted than an alignment exists between the centre of the main circle, the centre of the northeast circle, and the Cove. The Cove is therefore away to the southwest of the main circle. With a 7m wide ditch the resulting bank would have been large - one of its roles was probably to block any external view. Therefore it seems likely that the gap was deliberate to allow a view from, and direct passage from, the Cove.

Closer examination also suggests that the concentric timber rings do not share the same centre as the following stone circle and ditch. Indeed, the centre of the stone circle and ditch is some metres north-northwest of the timber monument centre. This may be explained by the need to refine the south-southwest circle (knoll) to Quoit alignment, suggesting the Cove was built at the same time as the stone circles rather than before. The centre of the stone circle and surrounding ditch is actually marked by the middle "anomaly" of the five found in the main circle. From this newfound stone circle centre an alignment exists with the centre of the northeast circle which passes directly through the middle of the aforementioned gap in the ditch to the Cove; the view, aligned along the left bank of the gap, has an azimuth of 231 degrees - that of the minor southern setting of the midsummer moon.

As a very speculative aside: The timber rings may not share the same centre as the stone circle because they predate it by a significant amount of time. The posts were obviously large and in a very large ring. This makes them similar to the timber posts found under the carpark at Stonehenge, which have been dated as Mesolilthic [Cleal et al. 1995]. That is, the stone circle may have been built at a previously important site.

It can also be noted that the larger gap in the ditch allows all of the stones of the northeast megalithic monument to be viewed from the main circle (between the stones at least). Hence the ditch must have been added after the northeast circle and the avenues were raised; the proposed henge was the final contribution.


4. Further Alignments

The Cove at Stanton Drew was probably built as a symbolic representation of the chambers of tombs of the region [Burl 2000, p.31], with a very rough alignment to the major southern midsummer moonrise - an azimuth of 149 degrees [Burl 1999, p.54]. The huge back slab has fallen outwards and broken. The two sides are still standing, that to the northeast being signifcantly large than its partner. Indeed, it is suggested the opposite stone is from the larger due to their apparantly matching shapes (the broken back stone would now provide two large stones of similar shape). The southeastern Cove side rises to a point about 1.5 metres high. The view over this point would be directly to the centre of the main ring and that of the northeast ring beyond; the view is of the aforementioned alignment and most certainly deliberate. The midswing of the midsummer risings may be marked by a stone in the main circle but chances of a coincidental alignment are of course high.

The timber rings at Stanton Drew were replaced by a huge stone circle, with an apparent central stone. The other four anomalies in the circle's centre may also have held (smaller) stones at a later date, with the centre stone being removed. Alternatively, they may have been ceremonial pits akin to those seen around the Obelisk at Avebury.

A significant gap in the stones occurs to the ring's northwest. The positioning is such that it is aligned to roughly 'window' the full swing of midwinter moon settings, azimuths of 299 to 319 degrees, viewed over the Dundry hills; the stones may be missing by design.

Inspection at the site suggests that the stones themselves may alternate between having flat and pointed tops thereby representing a continuation of the region's standing stones (section 2). As noted above, such design can be seen in the Kennet Avenue of Avebury, and also in the portalled entrance to the Rollright Stones in Oxfordshire, in the Bluestones at Stonehenge, and other sites.

The northeast circle is constructed of the largest and darkest coloured stones. It is orientated at roughly 52 degrees from the centre of the main circle (Fig. 1). The alignment, backsighted by the Cove, passes over a stone of the main circle and inspection shows this almost fallen stone to be smaller than the (discernible) others, with a flat top. That is, it seems a view of the centre of the northeast circle was planned from the outset rather than the smaller ring being added much later with some difficulty on its slope (as suggested in [Burl 1999, p.62]). The reason for the landscaping being the requirement that the enormous main circle, like the timber rings before it, sit directly south of Maes Knoll. There is an area of flat ground between the ring and the main ring, suggesting it was deliberately placed back to provide a better view of it from the main ring; the main ring, by its size, suggests a large number of users, each presumably requiring a particular view to the northeast. The alignment over the south-southwest circle must also have played an important role in its positioning [ibid., p62]. The northeast ring was initially smaller, laid out as an almost perfect square, each pair of stones straddling a major cardinal axis, and with the same centre as the later ring. From the centre of the main circle, looking to the left of the (smaller) northeast stone, the orientation is close to 51 degrees from north. This is the azimuth of the mid-point between the moon's major (41 degrees) and minor (61 degrees) midwinter northerly risings as it progresses over its 18.61 years cycle. When the smaller circle stood a 'slot' between its two closest stones and the left edge of the flat-topped main circle stone existed. At midswing the moon would appear to rise directly above this slot on the near horizon - a lunar equivalent of Ruggles' [1997] "solar corridor" idea.

A larger version was built by laying two rectangles at 45 degrees to the square (southeast-northwest and southwest-northeast) such that their long sides passed just outside the original's corners. Again, pairs of stones straddle the major cardinal axes but further out from the centre to create a larger ring of eight stones. The long sides are therefore at rightangles to the framed original's southwest-northeast diagonal. When the larger monument was constructed the slot at 51 degrees from the main circle was maintained. Further, the circle is of such a diameter that azimuths of 41 and 61 degrees just pass its outside edges. The 41 degree alignment is slightly further from the circle but this may be explained by a gentle rise in the horizon due to Settle Hill. The lunar movements are also tracked more closely by two other slots constructed between the main circle stone and northeast ring stones at 46 and 56 degrees. The midsummer sun rises over the stone closest to the main circle (50 degrees).

Therefore, in summary, from the main circle the midwinter risings and settings of the moon can be seen and tracked over their 18.61 year cycle, the risings in particular. From the Cove the midsummer risings can be seen, though their tracking is very approximate, with the midsummer settings observable from the northeast circle, moving from above the south-southwest circle on a small knoll, to the Cove. An outlier provides emphasis on hills to the north, in particular a barrow-shaped hill and the seemingly conical hill known as Maes Knoll. Hence the Wedding Stones appear to maintain an interest in the movements of the moon, as seen in the chambered tombs of the region.


5. Avebury

The similarities between the megaliths of Stanton Drew and Avebury have been noted since Stukeley's time. This section explores a close association between the two communities, the Sanctuary in particular is suggested as being closely analogous.

5.1 Windmill Hill

To the north of the Kennet Valley is the early Neolithic settlement of Windmill Hill, which has views across the whole valley. Windmill Hill began as an open settlement, with what appears to have been seasonal use [Malone 1989]. Pieces of imported rock (oolitic limestone) and pottery from the Bath area have been found from this time [Smith 1965]. Three concentric rings of ditches were dug to form a causewayed enclosure. The ditches are on the outside of the banks, as in the later henge monuments to emerge from Somerset. The site was very probably used for fertility/religious ceremonies, feasting, and trade [e.g., Malone 1989], much as later henges were. In general causewayed enclosures appeared in southern Britain [Darvill 1987], in various styles/sizes, perhaps as territorial markers for emerging farming communities, with exceptions found in Yorkshire and Norfolk, and a concentration in the west. Other examples include the nearby, similarly styled and contemporary to Windmill Hill, Knap Hill upon which Cotswold sherds were found and Crickley Hill in Gloucestershire, which seems to have had a mainly defensive function [Bewley 1994]. Indeed, Knap Hill on the southern edge of the Marlborough Downs may have been a defensive post overlooking the Vale of Pewsey north of Salisbury Plain.

Therefore it seems plausible that Windmill Hill was the site of the Somerset community frequently visiting, possibly even settling in, the Avebury area. Initial impetus to such visitations perhaps coming from trading. The site then became a place of congregation for both communities; religious and social ties were formed. The next stage of monument building contains strong evidence of close association.

5.2 The Kennet Long Barrows

The huge West Kennet and East Kennet long barrows are chambered tombs of the Cotswold-Severn style. In both monuments oolitic limestone from the Bath area was used in the construction of the chambers. Other chambered tombs in the region, such as Adam's Grave, also contain such stone; the practice was not limited to the two largest tombs. This was obviously very deliberate and so of great import to the tomb builders.

5.3 Timber Feature in the Main Circle-Henge

It seems likely [Bewley et al. 1996] that a double-ringed timber monument existed in the north-northeast area of the huge Avebury earthwork. The view from the rings over the Obelisk of the south circle is to the barrow-shaped Waden Hill, assuming the banks came later as at Stanton; the Obelisk may predate its cohorts and fulfill a similar role to Hautville's Quoit (Burl [2000, p.322] notes a similar view from the Ring Stone).

5.4 Stone Features in the Main Circle-Henge

Two adjacent circles were raised to the south of the timber rings, reminiscent of those at Bathampton (east of Stanton Drew - see [Quinn 1997] for a description). The southern circle was arranged around the aforementioned Obelisk; that the huge stone is slightly off-centre supports this sequence of events. The resulting monument would have been reminiscent of the main ring at Stanton (although a monolith was perfectly central there).

The Cove at Stanton provides a rough lunar alignment. The remains of an enormous Cove stands north-northwest of the south circle within the main second circle at Avebury. It appears to be very roughly aligned on the midsummer sunrise [Burl 2000, p.320]. A second Cove was reported by Stukeley as part of the Beckhampton Avenue - only the sideslabs known as Adam and Eve can be seen today. This Cove may have been aligned on the midwinter sunrise [ibid.]. Both Stukeley and Aubrey reported a third Cove as part of the Kennet Avenue, although nothing can be seen today. It seems likely it roughly faced the midwinter sunset over Waden Hill. A fourth Cove facing northwest and the midsummer sunset over a hill/rise can be expected.

The "solar" Cove in the northern circle was surrounded by a Sarsen horseshoe [Ucko et al. 1991]. Significantly, a Sarsen horseshoe was built within the lintelled Sarsen ring at Stonehenge as part of the shift in the monument from being lunar to solar (see Section 6). Hence it appears that there was a solar emphasis to the megaliths in the Kennet Valley. However, a lunar monument was built nearby, apparently following developments at Stanton Drew.

Later the enormous earthwork was dug and stones raised around its inner edge. It can be noted that, given the lack of Neolithic artefacts found within the earthwork, a defense/encampment purpose, as suggested in [Burl 2000, p.323], seems unlikely.

5.5 The Sanctuary

The Sanctuary (e.g. see here), up on the eastern edge of the Kennet Valley, has traditionally been seen as a multi-phased, multi-ringed timber circle before two circles of stones replaced the poles [Malone 1989]. Its similarity to the early timber (ditch-less) monument at Stanton Drew is therefore clear. Pottery from the Sanctuary is also contemporary to that found within the Kennet tombs and Windmill Hill.

Each phase of building at the Sanctuary effectively enlarged its outer diameter. These phases consisted of many posts and hence coincidental alignments are extremely likely. Building in Phase I consisted of eight relatively small posts in a ring and a central post. It is interesting to note that two of the four ring posts in the western half of the 4m ring roughly mark the major northern midwinter setting of the moon and the minor midsummer setting - azimuths of 319 degrees and 231 degrees respectively. Two of the four posts in the eastern half are very close to the midswing azimuths of the midwinter and midsummer risings. The remaining posts appear to be roughly equally spaced between these four, with all posts being around a metre apart; access to the centre was easy.

The smaller ring of Phase II (ring E) seems to have been constructed from larger posts but maintained the same centre as Phase I. It also maintained the forerunner's westerly lunar alignments, actually marking them more accurately. Pitts [2000, p.244] has suggested the posts of this phase were continually moved as part of a ritual. However, an alternative explanation is the wish to accurately capture the significant lunar events after their initial approximation during Phase I. On the east two posts were aligned on the minor midwinter risings and major midsummer risings, i.e. replacing the very rough midswing alignments. Again, the remaining four posts can be seen as equally spaced from the lunar markers. The outer ring of Phase II (ring D) contained twelve posts. Two in the western half maintain the lunar setting alignments of the previous rings. In the eastern half the midswings of Phase I were again marked but more accurately than before. The remaining eight posts were equally spaced to form the circle. That the postholes of these two phases had similar depths [Lees 1999] supports related development.

In Phase III three concentric rings existed, again with the same centre as the other phases; it seems likely all phases stood in quick succession. Within this phase a large number of posts were raised and, as such, claiming deliberate alignments is again difficult. However, a few can be proposed with some justification. Pitts [2000, p. 284] noted an anomaly in post spacing in the outer ring (ring B), presumed to be a fence, at the northeast. With an azimuth of around 50-51 degrees he suggested it marked the midsummer solstice. This is also close to the midswing of the moon's midwinter northerly risings. The posts either side of this marker are on azimuths of 46 and 56 degrees which can also be seen at Stanton in the northeast ring (Section 4) as part of its suggested tracking of the moon's movements over the 18.6 year cycle viewed from the main ring. Hence lunar alignments may explain the feature highlighted by Pitts. Burl [2000, p.314] has noted how a Sarsen added to the outer fence marks the major southern midsummer setting to the south-southwest (over it), the stone possibly also forming part of an entrance [e.g. Pitts 2000, p.285]. The western-most post of the suggested entrance to the Sanctuary, significantly closer to its neighbour than its eastern counterpart, roughly marks the minor southern midsummer setting. The post to its right marking the midswing. Burl [ibid., p.314] notes how one of two much heavier posts at the northwest of ring B was aligned on the minor northern midwinter setting. The other to its north roughly marking the midswing, the view between them being of a distant barrow-shaped Waden Hill. The next post (smaller) to this second post's north roughly marked the major northern midwinter setting. Posts in the ring may also have roughly marked the major and minor midsummer risings. This does not account for the positioning of posts in the other two rings of course.

The timber Sanctuary is usually suggested as having been a roofed building [e.g. Burl 2000, p.313]. This seems unlikely given the lunar alignments noted here. The presence of water snails in early post holes may be explained by ceremonial procedures [e.g., Dames 1976, p.71] rather than the use of thatched roofing. Pitts [2000, p.244] also comes to a roofless conclusion for Phase II given the apparently transient nature of some of the post holes.

Sarsen stones were raised in two concentric rings at the Sanctuary during Phase IV. The stones also show lunar alignments, perhaps more clearly than in the timber phases. The inner ring appears to have respected the previous timber poles of ring C with the stones being positioned in the spaces between their postholes. Given the difficulty of access if timber and stone stood together it seems likely the timber posts were removed. It is likely that the Sarsen stone just outside ring C which marked the major midsummer setting remained however. The minor midsummer setting was marked by a left-of-closest-stone view in ring C. The midwinter rising alignments were maintained by a similar left-of-closest-stone view described above at Stanton (Section 4) for the midswing, the 'slot' being formed with a stone in the outer ring (ring A). The full swing was also marked by stones in ring A, the moon passing to their outer edges, in the same way as at Stanton.

The northwest orientation created by the two large posts in Phase III was altered in Phase IV, moving it a few degrees south. A number of stones were set radially in the outer ring where the view is more towards Silbury Hill rather than the original Waden Hill alignment, suggesting that the conical monument was finished around the same period. The alignment also forms the entrance to the later Kennet Avenue. The major and minor settings of the northern midwinter settings of the moon were marked during Phase IV by stones within the northern row of the Avenue and an apparently shorter row of two stones further north. Whether the radial stones formed an entrance during Phase IV [Burl 2000, p.314] is not clear. A more likely entrance would seem to be to the east, close to the Ridgeway where outliers were found at an angle similar to those of the avenue of the main circle at Stanton. That is, the Kennet Avenue was added later, exploiting the radial stones designed to allow a view of Silbury Hill and one side of the existing short avenue marking the (minor) midwinter settings.

The other set of lunar alignments found at Stanton seem to be missing at the Sanctuary during Phase IV - the southern midsummer risings. At Stanton the midsummer risings can be very approximately tracked from the Cove with a view to the right of the knoll upon which the south-southwest circle sits. The major southern midsummer setting being marked by the small ring as viewed from the northeast ring. The Cove at Stanton marks the minor southern midsummer setting as viewed from the northeast circle. The Sanctuary has a stone in its inner ring which appears to mark the minor midsummer setting. Standing roughly southwest of the stone and facing southeast, the minor midsummer rising is framed by the stone which marks the major midsummer settings and that of ring C. Looking to the right of the 'extra' stone roughly marks the major midsummer rising. This may of course be coincidental and requires future investigation but it is worth noting that a similar scheme may be seen at Stonehenge (Section 6).

Therefore from the centre of the concentric circles the midwinter risings and settings of the moon appear to have been noted. The midsummer settings were also marked, moving from above an 'extra' inner ring stone to a sightline and back. From one of the stones of the latter, the midsummer risings may have been marked. A view to hills at the northwest was also highlighted, originally by two thick posts and then by a sightline short avenue, to a barrow-shaped hill. Later radial stones in ring A would bring the emphasis to an artificial conical mound. Given the correlation between alignments and rings, and the possible eastern avenue mentioned above, the inner stone ring may have been an analog of the northeast circle at Stanton, the 'extra' sarsen the south-southwest circle and the outer stone ring the main circle.

Further, given these similarities and a very similar landscape view of a conical hill next to a barrow-shaped hill, it may be suggested that a motivation for Silbury Hill was to reproduce Maes Knoll at Stanton. As noted above, conical hills certainly seem to have been important to the Somerset community. Once the similarities between Waden Hill and Settle Hill had been noted, the sites of Silbury Hill and the Sanctuary could have been marked. Construction then proceeded in a piecemeal fashion, starting at the Sanctuary, to make sure the correct effect was to be generated; Silbury Hill was initially a 5m high "drum" [Malone 1989]. This was perhaps not the first time the Somerset community had been involved in the construction of a large artificial mound since the second largest known example in the U.K. is Gop Hill in north Wales (see also Tomen-y-Faerde, Llanarmoon-yn-Ial [Cope 1998, p.81]). Other proto-Silbury artificial hills have been suggested by Burl [1976] to exist in Yorkshire - Ba'l Hill and Willy Howe - another area of Britain from which a distinct form of henge appears to have emanated (Type A [Burl 1991, p.13]) and so may have contained a significant community/culture. Somerset was connected to Yorkshire via the Jurassic Way (Bath to Rudston). Cope [1998, p.84] has remarked how the top of Silbury Hill appears to move across the back of Waden Hill as the traveler approaches the Sanctuary along the Ridgeway, an effect occurring naturally at Stanton Drew (Section 3).

There are other landscape similarities between the areas around Stanton Drew and Avebury. Six miles east of Avebury is the artificial Silbury-like Marlborough Mound. Six miles east of Stanton Drew, near the aptly named Stanton Prior, east of the conical Winsbury Hill and just north of the twin conical hills of Farmborough Valley, is Kelston Round Hill. This region is visible from the south-southwest circle and would have been passed en route to the stone circles of Bathampton from Stanton Drew, perhaps on the way further east to Avebury. Kelston Round Hill would therefore seem to be a natural analog for the Marlborough Mound. The details of this remain to be explored. Kelston Round Hill is also seen from the site of the two rings at Bathampton where the two communities may have met, i.e., one was for the Somerset community and one for the Wessex community in a stone circle continuation of the henge use discussed Section 2.2. The situation of the Bathampton rings is not dissimilar to that of the Sanctuary or the ring on Grey Hill in south Wales, with its proposed off-centre stone [Children & Nash 1996, p.61-63], not far from the monuments discussed in Section 2.4.

Hence, for a time at least, solar and lunar beliefs appear to have coexisted at Avebury. The next section will discuss similar monument development at what would become its successor.


6. Stonehenge

That a henge of the type which appears to have originated from Somerset formed the origins of Stonehenge implies the Somerset community had significant interaction with the area, e.g., trading. The henge was, possibly uniquely, modified along the outer edge of the ditch thereby creating a low bank [Burl 1991, p.17]. This is an area in which at least three huge pine posts had been erected nearby during the Mesolithic and timber long barrows existed with similar features to those of Cotswold-Severn tombs [Lynch 1997, p.55]; the use of timber in monuments appears well established in the region. The henge had an opening to the northeast, suggesting a formal interest in the movements of the moon (discussed later), and a smaller one to the south, suggesting use by the Somerset community (Section 2.2). This last point providing an explanation for some unusually old bones found in the southern section of the ditch; ceremonial artifacts may have been brought by the Somerset community to their (new) outpost monument. Somerset's aforementioned involvement in Avebury provides a motivation for the use of Sarsen at Stonehenge and in Wales for the use of Bluestone.

6.1 Northeast Causeway

At Stonehenge (e.g., see here) early timber structures were augmented with stone as seen at both Stanton Drew and Avebury. In the northeast causeway three Sarsens of increasing size known as D, E and the Slaughter Stone were raised on azimuths from the henge centre of 44, 48 and 52 degrees respectively. Hence the view to the left of the Slaughter Stone is 51 degrees [Burl 1999, p.147]. That is, as at Stanton Drew (Section 4), the moon's northerly rising midswing is caught on the horizon above a slot between two stones (E and Slaughter) - the horizon itself containing the (white) Cursus which runs almost exactly east-west some distance away. Similarly, between stones D and E is an azimuth of around 46 degrees and to the left of stone D one of 41 degrees. Hence the moon's movement is tracked by another slot and then a final major position marker. These stones also appear to have replaced a very complex arrangement of timber poles [Newham 1972].

These lunar alignments do not account for the minor northerly risings. To further mark the moon's movement another stone to the right of the Slaughter Stone (as viewed from the centre) at around 58-60 degrees would be needed. However, this azimuth passes to the right of the original henge entrance by a few metres; to be in line with the others, assuming an early date for these sarsens (see below), the stone would have had be in the henge's (internal) bank or closer to the circle centre. Examination of the suggested stone holes around the henge entrance shows a possible feature at 60 degrees from north in front of the bank - stone F. Hence this may have held a stone marking the rest of the moon's movements (Pitts [1981] has suggested the feature was a bush). Therefore, just as at Stanton, a number of individuals stood in the middle of the main monument would have been able to accurately track the moon's midwinter risings. At Stanton this was done through a second stone ring, whereas at the Somerset region's eastern outpost it was facilitated through a (simpler) line of stones.

It has been proposed [e.g., Cleal et al. 1995] that the Slaughter Stone and its cohorts came after the widening of the causewayed entrance, i.e., during Phase 3 rather than Phase 2. There are ten dates for the ditch filling in Phase 2, ranging from 3261-2883 cal.BC to 2486-2145 cal.BC [ibid.]. The older of the two dates for stone E (2832-2313 and 2469-2204 cal.BC) appears within the ranges of seven of these dates, just missing an eighth (the newer date for E covers only one of them however). It is suggested here that until more dates are obtained for the causeway stones the scenario proposed in this paper remains very possible due to the architectural similarities with Stanton Drew. This is returned to below.

The major southern setting of the midsummer moon may have been recorded by stone F. As noted above, at Stanton Drew the moon's midsummer settings are viewed from the northeast circle - the monument used to mark the moon's midwinter risings. Further out of the northeast entrance at Stonehenge another stone hole exists - stone 97. Standing roughly southwest of the stone and facing the henge looking over stone F would have given the necessary azimuth for the major midsummer setting. Stone F would have needed to be tall enough to be seen over the henge of course. Similarly, looking between stones D and E would mark the minor setting. If stone 97 had been placed further out the full swing would neatly pass across the entrance stones as it did for the midwinter risings. However, at Stanton the minor setting was seen between a gap in the henge to the Cove, with the major setting viewed over the south-southwest circle, which may explain the design seen at Stonehenge. It can also be noted that in both cases the architectural feature for the midsummer settings were built for a very greatly reduced number of people than the midwinter risings.

Stone 97 was positioned just past the currently standing Heel Stone [Pitts 2000, p.230], the latter on an azimuth of 51 degrees, i.e., under the moon's midswing [Burl 1999, p.132]. Burl [ibid., p.147] notes how the midsummer sunrise at 50 degrees from north would have occurred down a 'corridor' created by the 97, Heel, Slaughter and E stones. This is significant since Stonehenge appears to have shifted its axis close to 50 degrees through a widening of the henge entrance, i.e., the lunar monument became solar. However, given the lunar functions of the D, 97 and F stones it seems more likely that they were removed at this time, leaving a solar slot between the Slaughter Stone and stone E, possibly made more accurate by the Heel Stone (and possibly stones B and C). The Heel Stone being a later addition, given its own ditch indicating a political move by the Salisbury community to appease the lunar cult; the stone is well outside the henge and unsmoothed.

This explanation for the northeast features differs significantly to that recently proposed by Burl [2000, p.349-355]. He suggests that the Heel Stone pre-dates the henge. The latter somehow being marked-out, but not dug, for over fifty years, during which time numerous timber structures appeared. Burl suggests the site was chosen such that the Heel Stone was aligned to the midswing of the moon's midwinter risings. Further, many wooden posts were used to mark what actually amounts to only the major 'half' of the risings before the henge was dug. Together with the uncharacteristically messy positioning of stone 97 in relation to the Heel Stone, the former being slightly further out than the latter, this scenario seems unlikely.

During Phase 2/3 the other two sets of lunar alignments found at Stanton seem to be missing at Stonehenge - the midsummer risings and midwinter settings. At Stanton, the midsummer risings can be very approximately tracked from the Cove with a view to the right of the knoll upon which the south-southwest circle sits. The major midsummer setting being marked by the small circle as viewed from the northeast rings. The Cove at Stanton marks the minor southern midsummer setting as viewed from the northeast circle. Stonehenge's stone D marks the edge of the minor midwinter setting as viewed from stone 97. Standing roughly southwest of stone D and facing southeast, the minor midsummer rising is framed by the Slaughter Stone and stone F. Looking to the right of stone F roughly marks the major midsummer rising. A similar scheme was proposed at the Sanctuary above (Section 5.5). It can be noted that stone H, which was placed outside the Aubrey Holes, as was stone F, lies on the same azimuth as the midsummer rising midswing as viewed from the centre of the henge. A main circle stone may mark the same azimuth at Stanton Drew (Section 4). Stone G does not appear to mark any lunar event but may have provided emphasis on natural or artificial landmarks outside the henge, such as the contemporary and similar Coneybury henge or the site of Vespasian's Camp (Iron Age) beyond.

The midwinter settings may have been viewed from the main circle at Stanton (Section 4) but no obvious features in the causeway area of the henge seem to mark these events at Stonehenge. Reconsideration of the Sarsen circle as a forerunner to both the henge widening and the Sarsen horseshoe provides the alignments (see Section 6.3).

6.2 Station Stones

Apart from the Heel Stone, the only other stones known to remain unsmoothed at Stonehenge are the Station Stones. The original four formed a near perfect rectangle orientated south-southeast to north-northwest which framed the central Sarsen ring (indicating they were raised after the Sarsens) and was at rightangles to the monument's general orientation. Hence the Station Stones share features with those of the northeast circle at Stanton Drew (section 4). Solar alignments have been suggested for the short sides of the Station rectangle. However, the alignment is also close to the 51 degree lunar sightline. Given that work appears to have shifted Stonehenge to a solar monument through a widening of the northeast entrance, a lunar function would seem as likely as reproduction of the main solar alignment. Hence, whilst the short sides can be seen to mark the midsummer sun rise and midwinter sun set, these give no explanation for the long side alignment (beyond its rightangle orientation). If the short sides are taken as lunar alignments, i.e., roughly to the midswing of the midwinter risings (93 to 94) and the major midsummer setting (91 to 92), then a long side's rough alignment on the major midwinter setting (91 to 94) is explained [Hawkins & White 1966]. That is, the Station Stones were raised at the same time as the causeway widening to maintain lunar alignments around the new solar orientation.

Again, as with the Heel Stone, that Station Stones 92 and 94, over which lunar events were viewed, were given ostentatious surrounds, reinforces the suggestion of a political move by an increasingly dominant solar religion to appease the original lunar cult using the monument.

6.3 Timber posts, the Q and R holes, and a Lunar Sarsen Circle

Any explanation for the early features of Stonehenge must also consider the timber posts raised during Phase 2 and the early Bluestones of Phase 3i. A number of points are raised here which do not contradict the above scenario.

That the Sarsens of the northeast causeway appear to have replaced timber posts from Phase 2 has already been noted. Examination of the posts in the central area of the henge shows another concentration to the northeast, as viewed from the centre, although the spread is wider than that of major and minor midwinter risings of the moon. Posts to the northwest appear slightly south of the minor midwinter setting, a couple perhaps marking the midswing. The midsummer risings appear to have been marked to the southeast, the posts extending further out from the centre of the henge than the others mentioned so far (see [Burl 2000, p.359] for discussion of artifacts buried on these lunar azimuths). Posts to the southwest appear slightly north of the minor midsummer setting. Finally, a number of posts existed to the south-southeast, roughly towards the entrance. These have been suggested as having formed an avenue to a timber circle in the centre [e.g., Burl 2000, p.353]. However, a large number of posts would appear to have blocked such an avenue and no clear circle can be envisaged from the posts mentioned above with those to the northeast generally closer to the henge centre than the others. It can be noted that the "avenue" posts are aligned around a similar azimuth to that of the later Station Stone 92 (a similar angle being seen between the two inner circles at Avebury). No corresponding celestial event is known to the author.

Interestingly the early Bluestone event of Phase 3i has a number of previously unmentioned correlations with the above timber phase. To the northeast, an arc of radially set stones appears to have been raised closer to the centre than any other contemporary megaliths, i.e., where a significant number of timber posts previously stood. Views between four of the stones mark the full swing of the midwinter risings. One or two other stones may have existed further north on the arc. By being set radially a view of the northeast causeway and its sarsens would have been possible. Alternatively, the bluestones of the arc were raised and then moved, the sarsens then being raised further out. It can be noted that stones appear to have been set radially at the Sanctuary to allow a view beyond the ring (Section 5.5). A stone to the northwest appears slightly south of the minor midwinter setting, another feature very close to the centre marking the midswing and/or major setting. Again, the former roughly corresponds to a previous concentration of posts. A lone stone appears to indicate the azimuth upon which the later Station Stone 94 would lie (180 degrees from that of Station Stone 92). The midsummer risings timber markers were replaced by an arc of stones with a different radius to those at the northeast. In particular, the midswing to major rising range was marked by an "extra" stone further out from the centre, outside of the arc. This is again reminiscent of a feature found at the Sanctuary, there marking the major southern midsummer setting. Stone H also stood on a similar azimuth, as noted above. The southeast arc continued north, meeting the northeast arc such that due east could be seen between its last two stones. All stones in the arc, apart from those marking the midsummer risings, appear to have been set radially. It was speculated above that Stone G may have marked a landscape feature later occupied by Vespasian's Camp and/or Coneybury henge. Bluestones arranged in this way would have facilitated a view to both. A stone to the southwest, possibly the Altar Stone [Cleal et al. 1995], appears to have marked the minor midsummer setting, with another roughly marking the major setting.

That is, in almost all cases, the timber post holes from Phase 2 appear to have been replaced by bluestones in Phase 3i, many marking lunar alignments but there were a lot of posts and stones; no "complete" timber or stone structures need be envisaged. Sarsen features further out on the edges of the henge can be seen to continue the tradition, again reminiscent of developments at the Sanctuary.

Further, given that a near complete set of rough lunar alignments can be found in the centre of the monument during these two phases, the question arises as to why so much work was apparently undertaken at the causeway. A scenario can be envisaged under which the timber posts were raised over the henge. Those in the centre were then replaced by bluestone, perhaps with more substantial posts raised in the causeway. Sarsens were then raised at the causeway, two around the edge of the henge and in a lintelled circle in the centre. Note that the Sarsen ring is almost perfectly round - something very difficult to achieve if the horseshoe came first. Pitts [2000, p. 142] notes that the radiocarbon dates suggest the circle predates the horseshoe. Burl [1999, p. 161] has mentioned how the direction of the ramps used to raise the circle and horseshoe do not provide a clear chronology. The henge's southern entrance also remains respected in the Sarsen ring - the lintelling must have been altered over the shorter Stone 11. Then the causeway was widened and the Sarsen horseshoe raised to create a solar monument. Bluestones were then returned to the henge centre perhaps also as part of the inclusive/appeasement process. The suggestion that the Sarsen ring, stones D,E,F,G,H, and the Slaughter Stone predate the widening of the causeway entrance differs from Cleal et al.'s [1995] proposals. In a similar way to the arguments of Section 6.1, it can be suggested that the dates for the Sarsen ring are inconclusive. Two dates exist: one very early date from a bone, predating the ten dates for the secondary ditch filling by around a 1000 years; and a second, from antler, which is more recent than most of those for the ditch filling. This may also answer the question as to why the apparently lunar Slaughter Stone is worked - it was raised, with the central ring, as part of an originally lunar sarsen monument. Stanton's original timber rings perhaps providing the motivation for the lintelled design. For the Sarsen ring to be lunar, the midwinter rising alignments noted above in the causeway must have been visible. Inspection suggests that this was the case, although the "quarter-swing" points would not have been seen, only the major, minor and midswing points. The alignments were repeated in the causeway to facilitate the analog of the northeast ring at Stanton Drew; from stone 97, the midsummer settings were marked as described above. Note that these alignments are blocked in the Sarsen ring. Given that the Sarsen ring would form the backdrop for the midsummer settings, it may have been raised slightly after the causeway stones. The missing midwinter settings from the causeway stones were marked in the Sarsen ring (also seen in the main ring at Stanton). Stones G and H were also visible from the centre of the Sarsen ring. With the adding of the Sarsen horsehoe, many of these alignments were lost but a few were recreated via the Station Stone rectangle as described above.

Therefore, during Phase 2/3 the midwinter risings and settings of the moon were tracked over their 18.6 year cycle from the centre of the Sarsen circle. The midsummer risings were coarsely marked in the causeway, with the settings more accurately tracked over their full swing. These alignments are very similar to those at Stanton Drew. It can also be noted that the northeast rings at Stanton Drew appear to have been laid out with respect to the major cardinal axis (Section 3), as were the Aubrey Holes at Stonehenge [Thom et al. 1974]. When the axis of Stonehenge was altered the monument become primarily one of a solar cult and it is here suggested this corresponded only with the final Sarsen horseshoe and causeway widening.

7. Conclusions

Towards the beginning of the Bronze Age many Cotswold-Severn long barrows were sealed, suggesting widespread change. It appears that the Wedding Stones at Stanton Drew were also abandoned after just a few hundred years of use, possibly even forcefully since the henge seems to have been deliberately filled [Burl 1999, p.59], a task of considerable effort, with the Somerset community retreating back to the Mendips. This also implies that the henge was not built in the local style, but was probably a common outer bank/inner ditch type as seen at Avebury. The Gorsey Bigbury henge on Priddy was also of that style and appears to have been mistreated upon re-habitation [Burl 1991, p.7-11], suggesting that the Somerset community filled the ditch at Stanton themselves. The growing influence of solar beliefs (Beaker?) being a likely reason since lunar alignments appear to have been marginalised at Avebury and Stonehenge around the same time.

An apparent interest in Brent Knoll by the Neolithic people of Somerset and south Wales was noted in Section 2.3. An intriguing correlation between the natural hills of that part of the Somerset Levels and the monuments at Stanton Drew appears to exist. From the top of Brent Knoll the nearby Mendip landscape begins to the north, starting with the outcrop Brean Down at the northwest, then Bleadon Hill directly north, before the joined hills of Crook Peak, Wavering Down and Fry's Hill run into the Mendips proper to the northeast. Surprisingly, the last three hills, as seen from the top of Brent Knoll, are roughly aligned to the midwinter lunar risings. Crook Peak is at around 41 degrees (just left), Wavering Down at 51 degrees and Fry's Hill at 61 degrees. Further, the valleys/dips between them are at roughly 46 and 56 degrees. That is, the view from Brent Knoll over these hills naturally highlights and tracks the moon's movements during the 18.6 years cycle. That the midsummer settings can also be found in the Levels was noted in Section 2.3. The Cove at Stanton faces south-southeast just to the right of the rise upon which the south-southwest circle sits, roughly aligned to the major midsummer rising. From Brean Down's western end, looking to the right of Brent Knoll gives a similar angle from north. Note how consideration of the natural landscape may explain why the Cove is positioned so far from the main circle. The Levels were populated for a considerable time and, whilst these facts may be nothing more than coincidental, it is not unrealistic to suggest early inhabitants would have noticed the moon's movements over their surroundings, which became part of their belief system. Similarly, the users of the Priddy henges may have noticed the moon's midwinter settings across the nearby Blackdown Hill, particularly from the southern-most ring.

Based on the findings of the Pontings [1984] at Callanish, Cope [1998] has highlighted the apparent ubiquity of a Mother Earth religion under which natural hills, often shaped like a recumbent female figure, influenced megalithic builders. There is a substantial body of evidence suggesting that, in Europe at least, early religions were concerned with the worship of the female. First expressions of this religion have been found in Ukraine, where small carved figures representing the female form have been found, dated circa 25,000BC. Neumann [1955] is typically cited as the discoverer of this concept of a Mother Goddess. Marija Gimbutas [1982] collected evidence for such a religion through figurines and other early art circa 7000-3000BC. She suggested that the goddess was associated with birth, death, resurrection, the moon, water, circles, and other symbols found in prehistory (see [Gimbutas 1989] for illustrations). Discoveries from Catal Huyuk, Turkey [Mellaart 1967] in particular give evidence of an early matriarchal society, though perhaps one based on equality rather than female dominance [Eisler 1987].

The connection of the goddess to the moon has also prompted the idea of her "three ages" since the moon passes through three distinct phases - new (white), full (red), and waning (black) - corresponding to the three ages of womanhood - virgin, mother, and matriarch/crone. This is also connected to birth, death, and rebirth, which appears prevalent in the belief system [e.g. McLean 1989]. The aforementioned view from the top of Brent Knoll is interesting when this idea is considered. To the northeast is Brean Down, clearly displaying a recumbent figure, with Steep and Flat Holm as 'her' satellites. Across from this first Goddess's feet, is Bleadon Hill, a second, larger, but less marked possible figure lying with her feet to those of Brean Down's. Lying almost head-to-head with Bleadon Hill is the third and largest figure formed by Crook Peak (head and perfect nose), Wavering Down (chest), and the Mendip Hills (body) which appears to fill the rest of the distant horizon going all the way back around to the sea near Bridgwater. Thus the three ages are seen. Glastonbury Tor is away to the east, protected in the curve of the Mendip Goddess, itself a well-known and much revered conical hill. The Black mountains of south Wales are seen to the west, the edge of Exmoor to the far south.

Crook Peak is also prominent when viewed from the Cotswold-Severn tomb at Redhill over the Wrington Vale. Here Crook Peak forms the (nippled) chest of a recumbent female whose head is formed by Wavering Down and body/legs by Bleadon Hill. Moreover Banwell Hill can be seen as an arm and Benthills Wood a hand.

That the possible natural lunar alignments were influential in the design of Stanton Drew mentioned above can be seen to be supported when the Mother Earth landscape religion is considered. As noted in Section 4, the northeast ring is constructed of the largest, darkest stones over which the midwinter risings are seen. Hence this is the "crone" circle, a megalithic representation of the Crook Peak et al. hills. The enormous main circle contains the second largest stones, perhaps representing the "mother" age. Whether the Cove represents the "virgin", after Brean Down, implying its chambered tomb inspirations were seen as places of rebirth, or whether the south-southwest circle assumed this role over that of one akin to Brent Knoll is unclear. This is of course highly speculative but warrants further investigation.


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         The Stanton Drew stone circles are just outside the village of Stanton Drew in the English county of Somerset. The largest stone circle is the Great Circle, 113 metres (371 ft) in diameter and the second largest stone circle in Britain (after Avebury); it is considered to be one of the largest Neolithic monuments to have been built. The date of construction is not known but is thought to be between 3000 and 2000 BCE which places it in the Late Neolithic to Early Bronze Age.[1] It was made a scheduled monument in 1982.[2]

The Great Circle was surrounded by a ditch and is accompanied by smaller stone circles to the north east and south west. There is also a group of three stones, known as The Cove, in the garden of the local pub. Slightly further from the Great Circle is a single stone, known as Hautville's Quoit. Some of the stones are still vertical, but the majority are now recumbent and some are no longer present.

The stone circles have been studied since John Aubrey's visit in 1664 with some excavations of the site in the 18th century. In the late 20th and early 21st centuries geophysical surveys have confirmed the size of the stone circles and identified additional pits and postholes. The Cove has been shown to be around one thousand years older than the stone circles. A variety of myths and legends about the stone circles have been recorded, including one about dancers at a celebration who have been turned to stone.


Modern people have inhabited the Somerset region of southwest England since the Devensian. During this time and the succeeding Mesolithic they lived in and/or made use of places like the caves of the Mendip hills, at Gough's (New) Cave and Aveline's Hole for example. In the following Neolithic a shift was made to farming and permanent settlements emerged. It is known that to the south of the Mendips substantial activity occurred on the Somerset Levels, via the Sweet Track for example [Coles et al. 1973].

The Sweet Track was a timber walkway created circa 3800BC to enable people to cross the marshes of the Brue Valley near Glastonbury. Shortly after this period chambered tombs appeared in the area, followed by henge monuments, and then by the Wedding Stones at Stanton Drew. This paper re-examines the complex in the light of geophysical surveys at Stanton Drew, highlighting missed details, before suggesting multiple lunar alignments within the much under-valued megalithic complex. The monuments at Avebury and Stonehenge are then examined and a close association between the users of all three sites is proposed.


2.1 Chambered Tombs

The Somerset region is associated with one of the best-known forms of Neolithic chambered tomb - the Cotswold-Severn group.

Two main sub-types exist: transepted long chambered tombs, containing a number of compartments/transepts opening on both sides from a central passage (e.g. Stoney Littleton, Somerset); and another, lateral tombs, in which the compartments are placed with entrances along the side, a symbolic dry-stone entrance placed in the centre (e.g. Belas Knap, Gloucestershire). The lateral tombs may slightly predate the former [Lynch 1997, p.54]. Many tombs appear to incorporate earlier cairns (e.g., Notgrove, Gloucestershire) implying a gradual spread of the "Somerset culture". Burl [1983, p.21] has noted how almost all Cotswold-Severn tombs have their central entrances aligned between northeast and southeast, signifying an interest in celestial movements by the builders. Disarticulated human remains have been found in the compartments of many such tombs [e.g., Bulleid 1941]. Nearly a dozen examples exist in the area around Stanton Drew, including those at Redhill, Butcombe and Dundry. Such structures perhaps functioning as localised representations of previously sacred caves when people spread out over the landscape due to farming and/or overcrowding.

This distinct form of chambered tomb appears to be centred on the Mendip area, ranging up into Gloucestershire and north Wales, as well as east to Wiltshire, suggesting an influential Somerset community. Numerous examples also exist to the west, in south Wales, near Cardiff (e.g., Tinkinswood) and in the Gower (Parc Le Breos), across the opening of the Bristol Channel from the Somerset Levels. Further, it appears that most tombs are within site of at least one other, e.g., Redhill and Butcombe; a new feature of Cotswold-Severn tombs can be noted.

2.2 Henges

A particular form of henge also appears centred in Somerset containing an outer ditch and inner bank, known as Type B [Burl 1991,  These can be found in the same areas as the Cotswold-Severn tombs, on the Mendips (Priddy) and in north Wales (Llandegai North), as well as further afield from the identified regions: north and west of Wales, on Anglesey (Castell Bryngwyn) and near Dublin (Longstone Rath) respectively; further into Wiltshire, at Stonehenge (modified along its outer edge); and significantly north of Gloucestershire, in Cumbria (Penrith). Burl [ibid., p.16] suggests that henges were used both for ceremonial and trading purposes, often with regional types built in other areas specifically for the latter (in safety), which may explain the siting of such out-post henges. The multiple-type henge phenomenon occurs on the Mendips at Priddy where a north-northeast alignment of three Type B henges can be found, with a fourth partially constructed henge of the same type nearby, and two henges of a different type within a six-mile radius. The alignment of three Type B henges is slightly less than perfect.

Burl [ibid.] has also suggested that the cardinal location of a henge entrance may be significant to the location of its users. The two northern most of the roughly aligned Type B henges at Priddy have their entrances to the north, whilst the third has its entrance to the south. On this basis it can be speculated that the north-entrance henges were for the related communities in north Wales and Gloucestershire, whilst the south-entrance henge was for the local community of Somerset and south Wales. That a fourth Type B henge was abandoned mid-way through construction indicates a change in the belief system. Alternatively, the "unfinished" ring may be a deliberate earthwork semi-circle or horseshoe akin to one found in Moray for example (see [Burl 1999, p.152-153] for discussion of horseshoes).

2.3 Standing Stones

Wimblestone is perhaps the most well-known standing stone in Somerset, situated just under a line of trees at the western end of a valley whose northern edge was the site of a Neolithic settlement [Clarke & Richards 1972]. The stone is around 2m tall and an equilateral triangle in shape, roughly 0.5m in width, and at its base is an oval hole. This huge shark's tooth is aligned such that its thinnest aspect points east/west. To the west is a sharp rise onto the Mendips at Dolebury Warren, not far from Aveline's Hole. At the other end of the valley, in Banwell, is another megalith of the other type found in the region - a large, flat, rectangular stone. This megalith is about 2m high, 1.5m wide, and 0.5m thick. Its top edge is rain-damaged and looks as if a corner is missing. The thinnest aspect points to Fry's Hill with its raised end, which leads up onto the Mendips near Cheddar Caves. Hence such stones can be seen as signposts to the henges at Priddy. It is also interesting to note that, standing at the Banwell stone's raised edge, facing south-southwest and hence perpendicular to it, the prominent Brent Knoll appears cradled between two closer hills. The huge, almost conical, Brent Knoll stands alone over a hundred metres proud of the western end of the Levels. It lies on an azimuth of 211 degrees from the Banwell megalith, that of the major southern setting of the midsummer moon. The minor southern setting may be seen directly to the right of its base, an azimuth of 231 degrees. Viewing the major southern setting over something is seen at Stanton Drew (Section 3) and further afield (Sections 5 and 6). It can be further noted that a similar alignment can be found in Trencrom, Cornwall where the southern setting of the midsummer moon is seen over Trencrom Hill from a nearby megalith.

Old Ordnance Survey maps from the 1880's show the position of a stone called the Hundred Stone at Chapel Allerton, in the Somerset Levels. To the north-northeast lies Fry's Hill and the southern edge of the Mendips. It too had a clear view of Brent Knoll, its base appearing larger than at other angles. Hence it may be speculated this stone was a flat rectangle aligned north-northeast/south-southwest. In the 1700's William Stukeley reported a stone of the same shape near Chew Magna, in the Chew Valley a mile west of Stanton Drew [Burl 1999, p.55]. This early survey may explain the suggestions of a stone circle there, west of the fork in the River Chew from Chew Lake [e.g., Darvill 1985, p.16]. The Mendips are to the south-southwest, suggesting the stone was aligned north-northeast/south-southwest. The nearby Round Hill appearing almost conical with a view perpendicular to this orientation.

Many more stones of these two types, now lost, must surely have existed in Somerset, encircling the Mendips to direct the prehistoric traveller. Their shape is reminiscent of the proposed male/female stones of the Kennet Avenue at Avebury.

2.4 South Wales

It was noted above that the Somerset culture/community existed in Wales, with the building of their distinct chambered tombs. The closest example is just outside Portskewett, on a small knoll above the banks of the Severn, between the two bridges which cross from England into Wales. Since the sea levels were lower for much of the Neolithic and both bridges are built on prominent rockbed, it seems likely that the area was also a prehistoric cross-point. The long barrow has clear views of the estuary, with the top of the Mendips just visible to the south. Its stones are full of pink quartz pebbles.

Standing stone signposts can also be found in the vicinity. Three miles southeast of Portskewett, near St Brides and Magor, is a triangular and pointed stone slightly larger in stature than Wimblestone. Just a few metres from the M4 link to the second Severn crossing, this monolith is aligned roughly east-northeast/west-southwest, suggesting a nearby crossing of the Bristol Channel/Severn. Another stone of this type can be found further north in the beginnings of the Usk Valley (Llangybi), where a large monolith stands in the middle of a field, aligned southeast/northwest. Here the southeast direction indicates the nearest crossing to the cultural/religious centre of Somerset for the north Wales traveller. An enormous rectangular stone, almost 3m tall, can be found aligned east-northeast to the Magor stone fifteen miles away to the south near Castleton. The view west-southwest, i.e., perpendicular and from its raised end, is of a distant Brent Knoll cradled between two hills.

Again, many more such stones must surely have existed nearby to direct the prehistoric traveller from Wales to the Mendip region showing, as do the long barrows, an intimate relationship between the inhabitants of the two regions.

In John Aubrey's time, back in Somerset, a large rectangular outlier at Stanton Drew, known as Hautville's Quoit, could be seen. Today it can be found lying, much diminished, behind a roadside hedge.


3. Stanton Drew

The megaliths at Stanton Drew are arranged in three circles, two of which have short avenues, with a nearby Cove and an outlier. Local folklore tells of a wedding party lured by the Devil into celebrating on the Sabbath and being petrified for such activity. The main circle is over 110m in diameter, making it smaller only than the outer circle at Avebury 25 miles east, and originally consisted of approximately thirty 2.5-3m long stones. A short avenue extends from its east-northeast towards the banks of the nearby River Chew. From the entrance to this avenue extends another into a circle of around 30m in diameter to the northeast of the main circle. This circle consists of eight slightly larger stones than those of the main circle. To the south-southwest on a small knoll above these two circles lies the third circle, roughly 44m in diameter, consisting of twelve slightly shorter stones. A Cove of three large stones is southwest of the main circle, with the backstone fallen, and the outlier 512m to the north-northeast of the main circle, previously over 3m long. All measurements are taken from Burl [1999, p.52-53].

An alignment stretches from the Cove, through the centre of the main circle, to the centre of the northeast circle, at around 52 degrees from north [Burl 1987, p.14-16], which will be returned to here. A second alignment exists from the centre of the northeast circle to that of the south-southwest circle, with an azimuth of 211 degrees and a declination -30.9 degrees, it marks the major southern setting of the midsummer "Moon?" [Thom 1967, p.100 S3/1]. A final alignment exists from the centre of the south-southwest circle, through the main circle, to Hautville's Quoit, which appears to emphasize the barrow-shaped Settle Hill.

Burl [1999, p.62-63] suggests the Quoit and Cove came first, followed by the main stone circle, then the south-southwest circle, then the northeast circle, and finally the avenues to the banks of the river were added. Note that the latter possibly signifyies the importance of water in the belief system. The points made above would appear to support an early Quoit, i.e., it was originally positioned to indicate the shortest route to the Mendips (south-southwest) over Chew Valley near Ubley. Hence the alignment was the same as that of the Chew Magna monolith. It also provides the first clear view of the prominent Maes Knoll for the traveller from the east; again, a seemingly conical local hill would have been marked by a view perpendicular to the female/flat monolith. The top of Maes Knoll appears to move across the back of Settle/Guy's Hill just before the Quoit is reached.

In 1997 English Heritage undertook geophysical surveys of the two avenued circles at Stanton Drew (Fig. 1 - note the north shown is in error by over ten degrees). The results indicated a 7m wide ditch previously surrounded the main circle, with a large opening to the northeast. Within the stone circle existed nine concentric rings of pits, ranging in diameters from about 23m to 95m, which probably held (over 400) timber poles of around 1m in diameter. Five other pits were also found in the central area of the rings. In the northeast circle four pits were discovered in a quadrilateral aligned with opposing pairs of the standing stones and a further two pits were found just in front of where the avenue joins the circle; a smaller version of the monument appears to have existed before the one now seen.





The timber rings do not appear to have been equally spaced, rings eight and nine from the centre being significantly separated from ring seven for example, perhaps indicating they did not all stand concurrently. The rings are placed directly south of Maes Knoll, on the most level ground of the lowland area. That the centre of the timber rings is aligned with the Quoit and the small knoll to their south-southwest implies the Quoit may have been raised at the same time, reinforcing Burl's suggestion that the Quoit predates the stone circles. That is, the monolith signposts of the region were raised around the same time as the construction of the timber monument otherwise the Quoit represents a later example of the tradition. The timber rings were perhaps the reproduction of a previously sacred forest clearing and through which the subtle movement of celestial bodies could have easily been noticed.

Examination also shows that a southwest section of the outer ditch did not appear on the survey, although the English Heritage results "assume" its existence. It has already been noted than an alignment exists between the centre of the main circle, the centre of the northeast circle, and the Cove. The Cove is therefore away to the southwest of the main circle. With a 7m wide ditch the resulting bank would have been large - one of its roles was probably to block any external view. Therefore it seems likely that the gap was deliberate to allow a view from, and direct passage from, the Cove.

Closer examination also suggests that the concentric timber rings do not share the same centre as the following stone circle and ditch. Indeed, the centre of the stone circle and ditch is some metres north-northwest of the timber monument centre. This may be explained by the need to refine the south-southwest circle (knoll) to Quoit alignment, suggesting the Cove was built at the same time as the stone circles rather than before. The centre of the stone circle and surrounding ditch is actually marked by the middle "anomaly" of the five found in the main circle. From this newfound stone circle centre an alignment exists with the centre of the northeast circle which passes directly through the middle of the aforementioned gap in the ditch to the Cove; the view, aligned along the left bank of the gap, has an azimuth of 231 degrees - that of the minor southern setting of the midsummer moon.

As a very speculative aside: The timber rings may not share the same centre as the stone circle because they predate it by a significant amount of time. The posts were obviously large and in a very large ring. This makes them similar to the timber posts found under the carpark at Stonehenge, which have been dated as Mesolilthic [Cleal et al. 1995]. That is, the stone circle may have been built at a previously important site.

It can also be noted that the larger gap in the ditch allows all of the stones of the northeast megalithic monument to be viewed from the main circle (between the stones at least). Hence the ditch must have been added after the northeast circle and the avenues were raised; the proposed henge was the final contribution.


4. Further Alignments

The Cove at Stanton Drew was probably built as a symbolic representation of the chambers of tombs of the region [Burl 2000, p.31], with a very rough alignment to the major southern midsummer moonrise - an azimuth of 149 degrees [Burl 1999, p.54]. The huge back slab has fallen outwards and broken. The two sides are still standing, that to the northeast being signifcantly large than its partner. Indeed, it is suggested the opposite stone is from the larger due to their apparantly matching shapes (the broken back stone would now provide two large stones of similar shape). The southeastern Cove side rises to a point about 1.5 metres high. The view over this point would be directly to the centre of the main ring and that of the northeast ring beyond; the view is of the aforementioned alignment and most certainly deliberate. The midswing of the midsummer risings may be marked by a stone in the main circle but chances of a coincidental alignment are of course high.

The timber rings at Stanton Drew were replaced by a huge stone circle, with an apparent central stone. The other four anomalies in the circle's centre may also have held (smaller) stones at a later date, with the centre stone being removed. Alternatively, they may have been ceremonial pits akin to those seen around the Obelisk at Avebury.

A significant gap in the stones occurs to the ring's northwest. The positioning is such that it is aligned to roughly 'window' the full swing of midwinter moon settings, azimuths of 299 to 319 degrees, viewed over the Dundry hills; the stones may be missing by design.

Inspection at the site suggests that the stones themselves may alternate between having flat and pointed tops thereby representing a continuation of the region's standing stones (section 2). As noted above, such design can be seen in the Kennet Avenue of Avebury, and also in the portalled entrance to the Rollright Stones in Oxfordshire, in the Bluestones at Stonehenge, and other sites.

The northeast circle is constructed of the largest and darkest coloured stones. It is orientated at roughly 52 degrees from the centre of the main circle (Fig. 1). The alignment, backsighted by the Cove, passes over a stone of the main circle and inspection shows this almost fallen stone to be smaller than the (discernible) others, with a flat top. That is, it seems a view of the centre of the northeast circle was planned from the outset rather than the smaller ring being added much later with some difficulty on its slope (as suggested in [Burl 1999, p.62]). The reason for the landscaping being the requirement that the enormous main circle, like the timber rings before it, sit directly south of Maes Knoll. There is an area of flat ground between the ring and the main ring, suggesting it was deliberately placed back to provide a better view of it from the main ring; the main ring, by its size, suggests a large number of users, each presumably requiring a particular view to the northeast. The alignment over the south-southwest circle must also have played an important role in its positioning [ibid., p62]. The northeast ring was initially smaller, laid out as an almost perfect square, each pair of stones straddling a major cardinal axis, and with the same centre as the later ring. From the centre of the main circle, looking to the left of the (smaller) northeast stone, the orientation is close to 51 degrees from north. This is the azimuth of the mid-point between the moon's major (41 degrees) and minor (61 degrees) midwinter northerly risings as it progresses over its 18.61 years cycle. When the smaller circle stood a 'slot' between its two closest stones and the left edge of the flat-topped main circle stone existed. At midswing the moon would appear to rise directly above this slot on the near horizon - a lunar equivalent of Ruggles' [1997] "solar corridor" idea.

A larger version was built by laying two rectangles at 45 degrees to the square (southeast-northwest and southwest-northeast) such that their long sides passed just outside the original's corners. Again, pairs of stones straddle the major cardinal axes but further out from the centre to create a larger ring of eight stones. The long sides are therefore at rightangles to the framed original's southwest-northeast diagonal. When the larger monument was constructed the slot at 51 degrees from the main circle was maintained. Further, the circle is of such a diameter that azimuths of 41 and 61 degrees just pass its outside edges. The 41 degree alignment is slightly further from the circle but this may be explained by a gentle rise in the horizon due to Settle Hill. The lunar movements are also tracked more closely by two other slots constructed between the main circle stone and northeast ring stones at 46 and 56 degrees. The midsummer sun rises over the stone closest to the main circle (50 degrees).

Therefore, in summary, from the main circle the midwinter risings and settings of the moon can be seen and tracked over their 18.61 year cycle, the risings in particular. From the Cove the midsummer risings can be seen, though their tracking is very approximate, with the midsummer settings observable from the northeast circle, moving from above the south-southwest circle on a small knoll, to the Cove. An outlier provides emphasis on hills to the north, in particular a barrow-shaped hill and the seemingly conical hill known as Maes Knoll. Hence the Wedding Stones appear to maintain an interest in the movements of the moon, as seen in the chambered tombs of the region.


5. Avebury

The similarities between the megaliths of Stanton Drew and Avebury have been noted since Stukeley's time. This section explores a close association between the two communities, the Sanctuary in particular is suggested as being closely analogous.

5.1 Windmill Hill

To the north of the Kennet Valley is the early Neolithic settlement of Windmill Hill, which has views across the whole valley. Windmill Hill began as an open settlement, with what appears to have been seasonal use [Malone 1989]. Pieces of imported rock (oolitic limestone) and pottery from the Bath area have been found from this time [Smith 1965]. Three concentric rings of ditches were dug to form a causewayed enclosure. The ditches are on the outside of the banks, as in the later henge monuments to emerge from Somerset. The site was very probably used for fertility/religious ceremonies, feasting, and trade [e.g., Malone 1989], much as later henges were. In general causewayed enclosures appeared in southern Britain [Darvill 1987], in various styles/sizes, perhaps as territorial markers for emerging farming communities, with exceptions found in Yorkshire and Norfolk, and a concentration in the west. Other examples include the nearby, similarly styled and contemporary to Windmill Hill, Knap Hill upon which Cotswold sherds were found and Crickley Hill in Gloucestershire, which seems to have had a mainly defensive function [Bewley 1994]. Indeed, Knap Hill on the southern edge of the Marlborough Downs may have been a defensive post overlooking the Vale of Pewsey north of Salisbury Plain.

Therefore it seems plausible that Windmill Hill was the site of the Somerset community frequently visiting, possibly even settling in, the Avebury area. Initial impetus to such visitations perhaps coming from trading. The site then became a place of congregation for both communities; religious and social ties were formed. The next stage of monument building contains strong evidence of close association.

5.2 The Kennet Long Barrows

The huge West Kennet and East Kennet long barrows are chambered tombs of the Cotswold-Severn style. In both monuments oolitic limestone from the Bath area was used in the construction of the chambers. Other chambered tombs in the region, such as Adam's Grave, also contain such stone; the practice was not limited to the two largest tombs. This was obviously very deliberate and so of great import to the tomb builders.

5.3 Timber Feature in the Main Circle-Henge

It seems likely [Bewley et al. 1996] that a double-ringed timber monument existed in the north-northeast area of the huge Avebury earthwork. The view from the rings over the Obelisk of the south circle is to the barrow-shaped Waden Hill, assuming the banks came later as at Stanton; the Obelisk may predate its cohorts and fulfill a similar role to Hautville's Quoit (Burl [2000, p.322] notes a similar view from the Ring Stone).

5.4 Stone Features in the Main Circle-Henge

Two adjacent circles were raised to the south of the timber rings, reminiscent of those at Bathampton (east of Stanton Drew - see [Quinn 1997] for a description). The southern circle was arranged around the aforementioned Obelisk; that the huge stone is slightly off-centre supports this sequence of events. The resulting monument would have been reminiscent of the main ring at Stanton (although a monolith was perfectly central there).

The Cove at Stanton provides a rough lunar alignment. The remains of an enormous Cove stands north-northwest of the south circle within the main second circle at Avebury. It appears to be very roughly aligned on the midsummer sunrise [Burl 2000, p.320]. A second Cove was reported by Stukeley as part of the Beckhampton Avenue - only the sideslabs known as Adam and Eve can be seen today. This Cove may have been aligned on the midwinter sunrise [ibid.]. Both Stukeley and Aubrey reported a third Cove as part of the Kennet Avenue, although nothing can be seen today. It seems likely it roughly faced the midwinter sunset over Waden Hill. A fourth Cove facing northwest and the midsummer sunset over a hill/rise can be expected.

The "solar" Cove in the northern circle was surrounded by a Sarsen horseshoe [Ucko et al. 1991]. Significantly, a Sarsen horseshoe was built within the lintelled Sarsen ring at Stonehenge as part of the shift in the monument from being lunar to solar (see Section 6). Hence it appears that there was a solar emphasis to the megaliths in the Kennet Valley. However, a lunar monument was built nearby, apparently following developments at Stanton Drew.

Later the enormous earthwork was dug and stones raised around its inner edge. It can be noted that, given the lack of Neolithic artefacts found within the earthwork, a defense/encampment purpose, as suggested in [Burl 2000, p.323], seems unlikely.

5.5 The Sanctuary

The Sanctuary (e.g. see here), up on the eastern edge of the Kennet Valley, has traditionally been seen as a multi-phased, multi-ringed timber circle before two circles of stones replaced the poles [Malone 1989]. Its similarity to the early timber (ditch-less) monument at Stanton Drew is therefore clear. Pottery from the Sanctuary is also contemporary to that found within the Kennet tombs and Windmill Hill.

Each phase of building at the Sanctuary effectively enlarged its outer diameter. These phases consisted of many posts and hence coincidental alignments are extremely likely. Building in Phase I consisted of eight relatively small posts in a ring and a central post. It is interesting to note that two of the four ring posts in the western half of the 4m ring roughly mark the major northern midwinter setting of the moon and the minor midsummer setting - azimuths of 319 degrees and 231 degrees respectively. Two of the four posts in the eastern half are very close to the midswing azimuths of the midwinter and midsummer risings. The remaining posts appear to be roughly equally spaced between these four, with all posts being around a metre apart; access to the centre was easy.

The smaller ring of Phase II (ring E) seems to have been constructed from larger posts but maintained the same centre as Phase I. It also maintained the forerunner's westerly lunar alignments, actually marking them more accurately. Pitts [2000, p.244] has suggested the posts of this phase were continually moved as part of a ritual. However, an alternative explanation is the wish to accurately capture the significant lunar events after their initial approximation during Phase I. On the east two posts were aligned on the minor midwinter risings and major midsummer risings, i.e. replacing the very rough midswing alignments. Again, the remaining four posts can be seen as equally spaced from the lunar markers. The outer ring of Phase II (ring D) contained twelve posts. Two in the western half maintain the lunar setting alignments of the previous rings. In the eastern half the midswings of Phase I were again marked but more accurately than before. The remaining eight posts were equally spaced to form the circle. That the postholes of these two phases had similar depths [Lees 1999] supports related development.

In Phase III three concentric rings existed, again with the same centre as the other phases; it seems likely all phases stood in quick succession. Within this phase a large number of posts were raised and, as such, claiming deliberate alignments is again difficult. However, a few can be proposed with some justification. Pitts [2000, p. 284] noted an anomaly in post spacing in the outer ring (ring B), presumed to be a fence, at the northeast. With an azimuth of around 50-51 degrees he suggested it marked the midsummer solstice. This is also close to the midswing of the moon's midwinter northerly risings. The posts either side of this marker are on azimuths of 46 and 56 degrees which can also be seen at Stanton in the northeast ring (Section 4) as part of its suggested tracking of the moon's movements over the 18.6 year cycle viewed from the main ring. Hence lunar alignments may explain the feature highlighted by Pitts. Burl [2000, p.314] has noted how a Sarsen added to the outer fence marks the major southern midsummer setting to the south-southwest (over it), the stone possibly also forming part of an entrance [e.g. Pitts 2000, p.285]. The western-most post of the suggested entrance to the Sanctuary, significantly closer to its neighbour than its eastern counterpart, roughly marks the minor southern midsummer setting. The post to its right marking the midswing. Burl [ibid., p.314] notes how one of two much heavier posts at the northwest of ring B was aligned on the minor northern midwinter setting. The other to its north roughly marking the midswing, the view between them being of a distant barrow-shaped Waden Hill. The next post (smaller) to this second post's north roughly marked the major northern midwinter setting. Posts in the ring may also have roughly marked the major and minor midsummer risings. This does not account for the positioning of posts in the other two rings of course.

The timber Sanctuary is usually suggested as having been a roofed building [e.g. Burl 2000, p.313]. This seems unlikely given the lunar alignments noted here. The presence of water snails in early post holes may be explained by ceremonial procedures [e.g., Dames 1976, p.71] rather than the use of thatched roofing. Pitts [2000, p.244] also comes to a roofless conclusion for Phase II given the apparently transient nature of some of the post holes.

Sarsen stones were raised in two concentric rings at the Sanctuary during Phase IV. The stones also show lunar alignments, perhaps more clearly than in the timber phases. The inner ring appears to have respected the previous timber poles of ring C with the stones being positioned in the spaces between their postholes. Given the difficulty of access if timber and stone stood together it seems likely the timber posts were removed. It is likely that the Sarsen stone just outside ring C which marked the major midsummer setting remained however. The minor midsummer setting was marked by a left-of-closest-stone view in ring C. The midwinter rising alignments were maintained by a similar left-of-closest-stone view described above at Stanton (Section 4) for the midswing, the 'slot' being formed with a stone in the outer ring (ring A). The full swing was also marked by stones in ring A, the moon passing to their outer edges, in the same way as at Stanton.

The northwest orientation created by the two large posts in Phase III was altered in Phase IV, moving it a few degrees south. A number of stones were set radially in the outer ring where the view is more towards Silbury Hill rather than the original Waden Hill alignment, suggesting that the conical monument was finished around the same period. The alignment also forms the entrance to the later Kennet Avenue. The major and minor settings of the northern midwinter settings of the moon were marked during Phase IV by stones within the northern row of the Avenue and an apparently shorter row of two stones further north. Whether the radial stones formed an entrance during Phase IV [Burl 2000, p.314] is not clear. A more likely entrance would seem to be to the east, close to the Ridgeway where outliers were found at an angle similar to those of the avenue of the main circle at Stanton. That is, the Kennet Avenue was added later, exploiting the radial stones designed to allow a view of Silbury Hill and one side of the existing short avenue marking the (minor) midwinter settings.

The other set of lunar alignments found at Stanton seem to be missing at the Sanctuary during Phase IV - the southern midsummer risings. At Stanton the midsummer risings can be very approximately tracked from the Cove with a view to the right of the knoll upon which the south-southwest circle sits. The major southern midsummer setting being marked by the small ring as viewed from the northeast ring. The Cove at Stanton marks the minor southern midsummer setting as viewed from the northeast circle. The Sanctuary has a stone in its inner ring which appears to mark the minor midsummer setting. Standing roughly southwest of the stone and facing southeast, the minor midsummer rising is framed by the stone which marks the major midsummer settings and that of ring C. Looking to the right of the 'extra' stone roughly marks the major midsummer rising. This may of course be coincidental and requires future investigation but it is worth noting that a similar scheme may be seen at Stonehenge (Section 6).

Therefore from the centre of the concentric circles the midwinter risings and settings of the moon appear to have been noted. The midsummer settings were also marked, moving from above an 'extra' inner ring stone to a sightline and back. From one of the stones of the latter, the midsummer risings may have been marked. A view to hills at the northwest was also highlighted, originally by two thick posts and then by a sightline short avenue, to a barrow-shaped hill. Later radial stones in ring A would bring the emphasis to an artificial conical mound. Given the correlation between alignments and rings, and the possible eastern avenue mentioned above, the inner stone ring may have been an analog of the northeast circle at Stanton, the 'extra' sarsen the south-southwest circle and the outer stone ring the main circle.

Further, given these similarities and a very similar landscape view of a conical hill next to a barrow-shaped hill, it may be suggested that a motivation for Silbury Hill was to reproduce Maes Knoll at Stanton. As noted above, conical hills certainly seem to have been important to the Somerset community. Once the similarities between Waden Hill and Settle Hill had been noted, the sites of Silbury Hill and the Sanctuary could have been marked. Construction then proceeded in a piecemeal fashion, starting at the Sanctuary, to make sure the correct effect was to be generated; Silbury Hill was initially a 5m high "drum" [Malone 1989]. This was perhaps not the first time the Somerset community had been involved in the construction of a large artificial mound since the second largest known example in the U.K. is Gop Hill in north Wales (see also Tomen-y-Faerde, Llanarmoon-yn-Ial [Cope 1998, p.81]). Other proto-Silbury artificial hills have been suggested by Burl [1976] to exist in Yorkshire - Ba'l Hill and Willy Howe - another area of Britain from which a distinct form of henge appears to have emanated (Type A [Burl 1991, p.13]) and so may have contained a significant community/culture. Somerset was connected to Yorkshire via the Jurassic Way (Bath to Rudston). Cope [1998, p.84] has remarked how the top of Silbury Hill appears to move across the back of Waden Hill as the traveler approaches the Sanctuary along the Ridgeway, an effect occurring naturally at Stanton Drew (Section 3).

There are other landscape similarities between the areas around Stanton Drew and Avebury. Six miles east of Avebury is the artificial Silbury-like Marlborough Mound. Six miles east of Stanton Drew, near the aptly named Stanton Prior, east of the conical Winsbury Hill and just north of the twin conical hills of Farmborough Valley, is Kelston Round Hill. This region is visible from the south-southwest circle and would have been passed en route to the stone circles of Bathampton from Stanton Drew, perhaps on the way further east to Avebury. Kelston Round Hill would therefore seem to be a natural analog for the Marlborough Mound. The details of this remain to be explored. Kelston Round Hill is also seen from the site of the two rings at Bathampton where the two communities may have met, i.e., one was for the Somerset community and one for the Wessex community in a stone circle continuation of the henge use discussed Section 2.2. The situation of the Bathampton rings is not dissimilar to that of the Sanctuary or the ring on Grey Hill in south Wales, with its proposed off-centre stone [Children & Nash 1996, p.61-63], not far from the monuments discussed in Section 2.4.

Hence, for a time at least, solar and lunar beliefs appear to have coexisted at Avebury. The next section will discuss similar monument development at what would become its successor.


6. Stonehenge

That a henge of the type which appears to have originated from Somerset formed the origins of Stonehenge implies the Somerset community had significant interaction with the area, e.g., trading. The henge was, possibly uniquely, modified along the outer edge of the ditch thereby creating a low bank [Burl 1991, p.17]. This is an area in which at least three huge pine posts had been erected nearby during the Mesolithic and timber long barrows existed with similar features to those of Cotswold-Severn tombs [Lynch 1997, p.55]; the use of timber in monuments appears well established in the region. The henge had an opening to the northeast, suggesting a formal interest in the movements of the moon (discussed later), and a smaller one to the south, suggesting use by the Somerset community (Section 2.2). This last point providing an explanation for some unusually old bones found in the southern section of the ditch; ceremonial artifacts may have been brought by the Somerset community to their (new) outpost monument. Somerset's aforementioned involvement in Avebury provides a motivation for the use of Sarsen at Stonehenge and in Wales for the use of Bluestone.

6.1 Northeast Causeway

At Stonehenge (e.g., see here) early timber structures were augmented with stone as seen at both Stanton Drew and Avebury. In the northeast causeway three Sarsens of increasing size known as D, E and the Slaughter Stone were raised on azimuths from the henge centre of 44, 48 and 52 degrees respectively. Hence the view to the left of the Slaughter Stone is 51 degrees [Burl 1999, p.147]. That is, as at Stanton Drew (Section 4), the moon's northerly rising midswing is caught on the horizon above a slot between two stones (E and Slaughter) - the horizon itself containing the (white) Cursus which runs almost exactly east-west some distance away. Similarly, between stones D and E is an azimuth of around 46 degrees and to the left of stone D one of 41 degrees. Hence the moon's movement is tracked by another slot and then a final major position marker. These stones also appear to have replaced a very complex arrangement of timber poles [Newham 1972].

These lunar alignments do not account for the minor northerly risings. To further mark the moon's movement another stone to the right of the Slaughter Stone (as viewed from the centre) at around 58-60 degrees would be needed. However, this azimuth passes to the right of the original henge entrance by a few metres; to be in line with the others, assuming an early date for these sarsens (see below), the stone would have had be in the henge's (internal) bank or closer to the circle centre. Examination of the suggested stone holes around the henge entrance shows a possible feature at 60 degrees from north in front of the bank - stone F. Hence this may have held a stone marking the rest of the moon's movements (Pitts [1981] has suggested the feature was a bush). Therefore, just as at Stanton, a number of individuals stood in the middle of the main monument would have been able to accurately track the moon's midwinter risings. At Stanton this was done through a second stone ring, whereas at the Somerset region's eastern outpost it was facilitated through a (simpler) line of stones.

It has been proposed [e.g., Cleal et al. 1995] that the Slaughter Stone and its cohorts came after the widening of the causewayed entrance, i.e., during Phase 3 rather than Phase 2. There are ten dates for the ditch filling in Phase 2, ranging from 3261-2883 cal.BC to 2486-2145 cal.BC [ibid.]. The older of the two dates for stone E (2832-2313 and 2469-2204 cal.BC) appears within the ranges of seven of these dates, just missing an eighth (the newer date for E covers only one of them however). It is suggested here that until more dates are obtained for the causeway stones the scenario proposed in this paper remains very possible due to the architectural similarities with Stanton Drew. This is returned to below.

The major southern setting of the midsummer moon may have been recorded by stone F. As noted above, at Stanton Drew the moon's midsummer settings are viewed from the northeast circle - the monument used to mark the moon's midwinter risings. Further out of the northeast entrance at Stonehenge another stone hole exists - stone 97. Standing roughly southwest of the stone and facing the henge looking over stone F would have given the necessary azimuth for the major midsummer setting. Stone F would have needed to be tall enough to be seen over the henge of course. Similarly, looking between stones D and E would mark the minor setting. If stone 97 had been placed further out the full swing would neatly pass across the entrance stones as it did for the midwinter risings. However, at Stanton the minor setting was seen between a gap in the henge to the Cove, with the major setting viewed over the south-southwest circle, which may explain the design seen at Stonehenge. It can also be noted that in both cases the architectural feature for the midsummer settings were built for a very greatly reduced number of people than the midwinter risings.

Stone 97 was positioned just past the currently standing Heel Stone [Pitts 2000, p.230], the latter on an azimuth of 51 degrees, i.e., under the moon's midswing [Burl 1999, p.132]. Burl [ibid., p.147] notes how the midsummer sunrise at 50 degrees from north would have occurred down a 'corridor' created by the 97, Heel, Slaughter and E stones. This is significant since Stonehenge appears to have shifted its axis close to 50 degrees through a widening of the henge entrance, i.e., the lunar monument became solar. However, given the lunar functions of the D, 97 and F stones it seems more likely that they were removed at this time, leaving a solar slot between the Slaughter Stone and stone E, possibly made more accurate by the Heel Stone (and possibly stones B and C). The Heel Stone being a later addition, given its own ditch indicating a political move by the Salisbury community to appease the lunar cult; the stone is well outside the henge and unsmoothed.

This explanation for the northeast features differs significantly to that recently proposed by Burl [2000, p.349-355]. He suggests that the Heel Stone pre-dates the henge. The latter somehow being marked-out, but not dug, for over fifty years, during which time numerous timber structures appeared. Burl suggests the site was chosen such that the Heel Stone was aligned to the midswing of the moon's midwinter risings. Further, many wooden posts were used to mark what actually amounts to only the major 'half' of the risings before the henge was dug. Together with the uncharacteristically messy positioning of stone 97 in relation to the Heel Stone, the former being slightly further out than the latter, this scenario seems unlikely.

During Phase 2/3 the other two sets of lunar alignments found at Stanton seem to be missing at Stonehenge - the midsummer risings and midwinter settings. At Stanton, the midsummer risings can be very approximately tracked from the Cove with a view to the right of the knoll upon which the south-southwest circle sits. The major midsummer setting being marked by the small circle as viewed from the northeast rings. The Cove at Stanton marks the minor southern midsummer setting as viewed from the northeast circle. Stonehenge's stone D marks the edge of the minor midwinter setting as viewed from stone 97. Standing roughly southwest of stone D and facing southeast, the minor midsummer rising is framed by the Slaughter Stone and stone F. Looking to the right of stone F roughly marks the major midsummer rising. A similar scheme was proposed at the Sanctuary above (Section 5.5). It can be noted that stone H, which was placed outside the Aubrey Holes, as was stone F, lies on the same azimuth as the midsummer rising midswing as viewed from the centre of the henge. A main circle stone may mark the same azimuth at Stanton Drew (Section 4). Stone G does not appear to mark any lunar event but may have provided emphasis on natural or artificial landmarks outside the henge, such as the contemporary and similar Coneybury henge or the site of Vespasian's Camp (Iron Age) beyond.

The midwinter settings may have been viewed from the main circle at Stanton (Section 4) but no obvious features in the causeway area of the henge seem to mark these events at Stonehenge. Reconsideration of the Sarsen circle as a forerunner to both the henge widening and the Sarsen horseshoe provides the alignments (see Section 6.3).

6.2 Station Stones

Apart from the Heel Stone, the only other stones known to remain unsmoothed at Stonehenge are the Station Stones. The original four formed a near perfect rectangle orientated south-southeast to north-northwest which framed the central Sarsen ring (indicating they were raised after the Sarsens) and was at rightangles to the monument's general orientation. Hence the Station Stones share features with those of the northeast circle at Stanton Drew (section 4). Solar alignments have been suggested for the short sides of the Station rectangle. However, the alignment is also close to the 51 degree lunar sightline. Given that work appears to have shifted Stonehenge to a solar monument through a widening of the northeast entrance, a lunar function would seem as likely as reproduction of the main solar alignment. Hence, whilst the short sides can be seen to mark the midsummer sun rise and midwinter sun set, these give no explanation for the long side alignment (beyond its rightangle orientation). If the short sides are taken as lunar alignments, i.e., roughly to the midswing of the midwinter risings (93 to 94) and the major midsummer setting (91 to 92), then a long side's rough alignment on the major midwinter setting (91 to 94) is explained [Hawkins & White 1966]. That is, the Station Stones were raised at the same time as the causeway widening to maintain lunar alignments around the new solar orientation.

Again, as with the Heel Stone, that Station Stones 92 and 94, over which lunar events were viewed, were given ostentatious surrounds, reinforces the suggestion of a political move by an increasingly dominant solar religion to appease the original lunar cult using the monument.

6.3 Timber posts, the Q and R holes, and a Lunar Sarsen Circle

Any explanation for the early features of Stonehenge must also consider the timber posts raised during Phase 2 and the early Bluestones of Phase 3i. A number of points are raised here which do not contradict the above scenario.

That the Sarsens of the northeast causeway appear to have replaced timber posts from Phase 2 has already been noted. Examination of the posts in the central area of the henge shows another concentration to the northeast, as viewed from the centre, although the spread is wider than that of major and minor midwinter risings of the moon. Posts to the northwest appear slightly south of the minor midwinter setting, a couple perhaps marking the midswing. The midsummer risings appear to have been marked to the southeast, the posts extending further out from the centre of the henge than the others mentioned so far (see [Burl 2000, p.359] for discussion of artifacts buried on these lunar azimuths). Posts to the southwest appear slightly north of the minor midsummer setting. Finally, a number of posts existed to the south-southeast, roughly towards the entrance. These have been suggested as having formed an avenue to a timber circle in the centre [e.g., Burl 2000, p.353]. However, a large number of posts would appear to have blocked such an avenue and no clear circle can be envisaged from the posts mentioned above with those to the northeast generally closer to the henge centre than the others. It can be noted that the "avenue" posts are aligned around a similar azimuth to that of the later Station Stone 92 (a similar angle being seen between the two inner circles at Avebury). No corresponding celestial event is known to the author.

Interestingly the early Bluestone event of Phase 3i has a number of previously unmentioned correlations with the above timber phase. To the northeast, an arc of radially set stones appears to have been raised closer to the centre than any other contemporary megaliths, i.e., where a significant number of timber posts previously stood. Views between four of the stones mark the full swing of the midwinter risings. One or two other stones may have existed further north on the arc. By being set radially a view of the northeast causeway and its sarsens would have been possible. Alternatively, the bluestones of the arc were raised and then moved, the sarsens then being raised further out. It can be noted that stones appear to have been set radially at the Sanctuary to allow a view beyond the ring (Section 5.5). A stone to the northwest appears slightly south of the minor midwinter setting, another feature very close to the centre marking the midswing and/or major setting. Again, the former roughly corresponds to a previous concentration of posts. A lone stone appears to indicate the azimuth upon which the later Station Stone 94 would lie (180 degrees from that of Station Stone 92). The midsummer risings timber markers were replaced by an arc of stones with a different radius to those at the northeast. In particular, the midswing to major rising range was marked by an "extra" stone further out from the centre, outside of the arc. This is again reminiscent of a feature found at the Sanctuary, there marking the major southern midsummer setting. Stone H also stood on a similar azimuth, as noted above. The southeast arc continued north, meeting the northeast arc such that due east could be seen between its last two stones. All stones in the arc, apart from those marking the midsummer risings, appear to have been set radially. It was speculated above that Stone G may have marked a landscape feature later occupied by Vespasian's Camp and/or Coneybury henge. Bluestones arranged in this way would have facilitated a view to both. A stone to the southwest, possibly the Altar Stone [Cleal et al. 1995], appears to have marked the minor midsummer setting, with another roughly marking the major setting.

That is, in almost all cases, the timber post holes from Phase 2 appear to have been replaced by bluestones in Phase 3i, many marking lunar alignments but there were a lot of posts and stones; no "complete" timber or stone structures need be envisaged. Sarsen features further out on the edges of the henge can be seen to continue the tradition, again reminiscent of developments at the Sanctuary.

Further, given that a near complete set of rough lunar alignments can be found in the centre of the monument during these two phases, the question arises as to why so much work was apparently undertaken at the causeway. A scenario can be envisaged under which the timber posts were raised over the henge. Those in the centre were then replaced by bluestone, perhaps with more substantial posts raised in the causeway. Sarsens were then raised at the causeway, two around the edge of the henge and in a lintelled circle in the centre. Note that the Sarsen ring is almost perfectly round - something very difficult to achieve if the horseshoe came first. Pitts [2000, p. 142] notes that the radiocarbon dates suggest the circle predates the horseshoe. Burl [1999, p. 161] has mentioned how the direction of the ramps used to raise the circle and horseshoe do not provide a clear chronology. The henge's southern entrance also remains respected in the Sarsen ring - the lintelling must have been altered over the shorter Stone 11. Then the causeway was widened and the Sarsen horseshoe raised to create a solar monument. Bluestones were then returned to the henge centre perhaps also as part of the inclusive/appeasement process. The suggestion that the Sarsen ring, stones D,E,F,G,H, and the Slaughter Stone predate the widening of the causeway entrance differs from Cleal et al.'s [1995] proposals. In a similar way to the arguments of Section 6.1, it can be suggested that the dates for the Sarsen ring are inconclusive. Two dates exist: one very early date from a bone, predating the ten dates for the secondary ditch filling by around a 1000 years; and a second, from antler, which is more recent than most of those for the ditch filling. This may also answer the question as to why the apparently lunar Slaughter Stone is worked - it was raised, with the central ring, as part of an originally lunar sarsen monument. Stanton's original timber rings perhaps providing the motivation for the lintelled design. For the Sarsen ring to be lunar, the midwinter rising alignments noted above in the causeway must have been visible. Inspection suggests that this was the case, although the "quarter-swing" points would not have been seen, only the major, minor and midswing points. The alignments were repeated in the causeway to facilitate the analog of the northeast ring at Stanton Drew; from stone 97, the midsummer settings were marked as described above. Note that these alignments are blocked in the Sarsen ring. Given that the Sarsen ring would form the backdrop for the midsummer settings, it may have been raised slightly after the causeway stones. The missing midwinter settings from the causeway stones were marked in the Sarsen ring (also seen in the main ring at Stanton). Stones G and H were also visible from the centre of the Sarsen ring. With the adding of the Sarsen horsehoe, many of these alignments were lost but a few were recreated via the Station Stone rectangle as described above.

Therefore, during Phase 2/3 the midwinter risings and settings of the moon were tracked over their 18.6 year cycle from the centre of the Sarsen circle. The midsummer risings were coarsely marked in the causeway, with the settings more accurately tracked over their full swing. These alignments are very similar to those at Stanton Drew. It can also be noted that the northeast rings at Stanton Drew appear to have been laid out with respect to the major cardinal axis (Section 3), as were the Aubrey Holes at Stonehenge [Thom et al. 1974]. When the axis of Stonehenge was altered the monument become primarily one of a solar cult and it is here suggested this corresponded only with the final Sarsen horseshoe and causeway widening.

7. Conclusions

Towards the beginning of the Bronze Age many Cotswold-Severn long barrows were sealed, suggesting widespread change. It appears that the Wedding Stones at Stanton Drew were also abandoned after just a few hundred years of use, possibly even forcefully since the henge seems to have been deliberately filled [Burl 1999, p.59], a task of considerable effort, with the Somerset community retreating back to the Mendips. This also implies that the henge was not built in the local style, but was probably a common outer bank/inner ditch type as seen at Avebury. The Gorsey Bigbury henge on Priddy was also of that style and appears to have been mistreated upon re-habitation [Burl 1991, p.7-11], suggesting that the Somerset community filled the ditch at Stanton themselves. The growing influence of solar beliefs (Beaker?) being a likely reason since lunar alignments appear to have been marginalised at Avebury and Stonehenge around the same time.

An apparent interest in Brent Knoll by the Neolithic people of Somerset and south Wales was noted in Section 2.3. An intriguing correlation between the natural hills of that part of the Somerset Levels and the monuments at Stanton Drew appears to exist. From the top of Brent Knoll the nearby Mendip landscape begins to the north, starting with the outcrop Brean Down at the northwest, then Bleadon Hill directly north, before the joined hills of Crook Peak, Wavering Down and Fry's Hill run into the Mendips proper to the northeast. Surprisingly, the last three hills, as seen from the top of Brent Knoll, are roughly aligned to the midwinter lunar risings. Crook Peak is at around 41 degrees (just left), Wavering Down at 51 degrees and Fry's Hill at 61 degrees. Further, the valleys/dips between them are at roughly 46 and 56 degrees. That is, the view from Brent Knoll over these hills naturally highlights and tracks the moon's movements during the 18.6 years cycle. That the midsummer settings can also be found in the Levels was noted in Section 2.3. The Cove at Stanton faces south-southeast just to the right of the rise upon which the south-southwest circle sits, roughly aligned to the major midsummer rising. From Brean Down's western end, looking to the right of Brent Knoll gives a similar angle from north. Note how consideration of the natural landscape may explain why the Cove is positioned so far from the main circle. The Levels were populated for a considerable time and, whilst these facts may be nothing more than coincidental, it is not unrealistic to suggest early inhabitants would have noticed the moon's movements over their surroundings, which became part of their belief system. Similarly, the users of the Priddy henges may have noticed the moon's midwinter settings across the nearby Blackdown Hill, particularly from the southern-most ring.

Based on the findings of the Pontings [1984] at Callanish, Cope [1998] has highlighted the apparent ubiquity of a Mother Earth religion under which natural hills, often shaped like a recumbent female figure, influenced megalithic builders. There is a substantial body of evidence suggesting that, in Europe at least, early religions were concerned with the worship of the female. First expressions of this religion have been found in Ukraine, where small carved figures representing the female form have been found, dated circa 25,000BC. Neumann [1955] is typically cited as the discoverer of this concept of a Mother Goddess. Marija Gimbutas [1982] collected evidence for such a religion through figurines and other early art circa 7000-3000BC. She suggested that the goddess was associated with birth, death, resurrection, the moon, water, circles, and other symbols found in prehistory (see [Gimbutas 1989] for illustrations). Discoveries from Catal Huyuk, Turkey [Mellaart 1967] in particular give evidence of an early matriarchal society, though perhaps one based on equality rather than female dominance [Eisler 1987].

The connection of the goddess to the moon has also prompted the idea of her "three ages" since the moon passes through three distinct phases - new (white), full (red), and waning (black) - corresponding to the three ages of womanhood - virgin, mother, and matriarch/crone. This is also connected to birth, death, and rebirth, which appears prevalent in the belief system [e.g. McLean 1989]. The aforementioned view from the top of Brent Knoll is interesting when this idea is considered. To the northeast is Brean Down, clearly displaying a recumbent figure, with Steep and Flat Holm as 'her' satellites. Across from this first Goddess's feet, is Bleadon Hill, a second, larger, but less marked possible figure lying with her feet to those of Brean Down's. Lying almost head-to-head with Bleadon Hill is the third and largest figure formed by Crook Peak (head and perfect nose), Wavering Down (chest), and the Mendip Hills (body) which appears to fill the rest of the distant horizon going all the way back around to the sea near Bridgwater. Thus the three ages are seen. Glastonbury Tor is away to the east, protected in the curve of the Mendip Goddess, itself a well-known and much revered conical hill. The Black mountains of south Wales are seen to the west, the edge of Exmoor to the far south.

Crook Peak is also prominent when viewed from the Cotswold-Severn tomb at Redhill over the Wrington Vale. Here Crook Peak forms the (nippled) chest of a recumbent female whose head is formed by Wavering Down and body/legs by Bleadon Hill. Moreover Banwell Hill can be seen as an arm and Benthills Wood a hand.

That the possible natural lunar alignments were influential in the design of Stanton Drew mentioned above can be seen to be supported when the Mother Earth landscape religion is considered. As noted in Section 4, the northeast ring is constructed of the largest, darkest stones over which the midwinter risings are seen. Hence this is the "crone" circle, a megalithic representation of the Crook Peak et al. hills. The enormous main circle contains the second largest stones, perhaps representing the "mother" age. Whether the Cove represents the "virgin", after Brean Down, implying its chambered tomb inspirations were seen as places of rebirth, or whether the south-southwest circle assumed this role over that of one akin to Brent Knoll is unclear. This is of course highly speculative but warrants further investigation.