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    With the notable exception of the Scorhill stone circle most of the stone circles were in a poor state of disrepair with most of the stones fallen and worse still the monuments had been robbed as a source of stone for newtake walls and gateposts and some Dartmoor monuments were still prone to being robbed by road builders.

    The restoration of some of the Dartmoor monuments became controversial but there can be no doubt that these efforts helped to rescue these monuments from further neglect and despoliation.

    As well as restorations the D. Merrivale circle was excavated in by Spence Bate. Langstone Moor stone circle was restored in The restoration was supervised by Baring-Gould.

    According to Burnard, "all the stones, some of which are five to six feet long to the number of sixteen had fallen An excavation trench was dug right across the circle and was found "strewn with small pieces of wood charcoal".

    In addition three pits were also dug; "the whole of these gave the same indications of charcoal - the remnants of fires of wood; in fact, fires seem to have been kindled all over the circle, for every scoop of the pick and shovel Down Ridge Hexworthy was partially excavated in with charcoal being found "strewn on the floor".

    It had only 4 stones standing and 3 prostrate, the remainder having been removed by new-take wall builders. Brisworthy was excavated and underwent major reconstruction carried out by Breton and the Barrow Committee in Before the restoration only 4 stones remained standing, a limited excavation found evidence of charcoal.

    At the time only 9 stones remained standing in the north circle and 7 in the south circle. Both circles have 30 stones. Since the days of the Dartmoor Exploration Committee when hundreds of hut circles and other monuments were excavated in a decade or so of frantic activity only a few Dartmoor monuments have been excavated. In large part this is due to the fact that excavation is an inherently destructive process and in modern times there have to be very good reasons to proceed with excavations.

    The only stone circle to be excavated since the days of the D. C is the Tottiford stone circle which is normally submerged under Tottiford reservoir. It was discovered in when reservoir levels were very low and excavated in by the Time Team. The dig did not find specific dating evidence for the stone circle but it appeared as part of a ceremonial complex of other monuments including a double stone row which appeared to lead to a large mound.

    A number of Mesolithic flints were found and a burnt hazelnut shell which was carbon dated to the very late Mesolithic calibrated date was cal. This has some similarity with the Shovel Down Ceremonial Complex which has stone rows and a stone circle which are thought to date to the late Neolithic or early Bronze Age approx B. The biggest finds so far of Mesolithic remains on Dartmoor are the thousands of Mesolithic flints found at Gidleigh and Batworthy corner near Shovel Down.

    In the case of Shovel Down the excavation of the nearby Roundy Pound showed evidence of iron working and the extensive reave and field system in the area between Shovel Down and Kestor would suggest the area was occupied during the late Bronze Age and through to the Iron Age.

    In a previously unknown stone row was found on the remote Cut Hill, approximately 4km west of the Grey Wethers. Carbon dating of the peat surrounding the recumbent stones suggests a date "around the second half of the fourth millennium BC". However, it is thought that this stone row is atypical and the bulk of Dartmoor monuments date from the late Neolithic and early Bronze Age. For example, another recent excavation in August of a cist at Whitehorse Hill, just over 3km north-west of Grey Wethers, results in an estimated "date between the 19th and 17th century BC" 23 which fits in more with the generally accepted time frame of Dartmoor monuments i.

    A number of the ceremonial centres include stone circles, stone rows and cist burials which suggests the stone circles are roughly contemporaneous with the culture that practised cist burials, although many of the cist burials could have been later.

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    The other notable excavation was of the Cholwich town stone row and cairn circle carried out in by George Eogan. This site was excavated prior to being buried underneath the clay workings at Cholwich town.

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    No dating evidence was found but pollen analysis suggested the row and accompanying cairn circle had been built in a forest clearing. The excavations at Fernworthy, Grey Wethers and Merrivale all produced evidence of substantial fires at the sites.

    These fires might have been for cremations or for feasts and celebrations, we can only speculate on this. In terms of funerary practise it should be pointed out that cists often have cremation remains and they are widely distributed, often very distant from stone circles, although they could reflect later cultural practise. So far we do not even have accurate dating evidence for these monuments although it seems that they are from the late Neolithic and early Bronze Age.

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    There are theories that they have an astronomical connection but the evidence to support this is lacking, indeed most of the circles are, much like most of the stone rows, only very roughly constructed. It would not be difficult to produce accurate circular structures with a peg and a rope yet only the Scorhill, Little Hound Tor and the two Grey Wethers circles are close to being exact circles, the others having the appearance of having been laid out roughly by eye.

    With such lack of precision in their construction it would seem most unlikely that they had an astronomical purpose. Many appear to have been located to give the most impressive vista on approach, the Buttern Hill circle would have been silhouetted on the skyline when approached from the south, on the other hand the Little Hound Tor circle when approached from the west only comes to view at a distance of m.

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    The Buttern Hill and Tottiford circles are in valleys where as the Mardon circle is on the summit of a large hill. The Scorhill, Brisworthy circles are located near rivers but others such as the Mardon circle are nowhere near a river. It would seem that most of the circles are located on unenclosed open land near the boundaries of settlements.

    Butler points out that reaves constructed later near the circles seemed to make deliberate deviations in their course to ensure that the circles were not included in enclosed land such as at Scorhill and perhaps at Fernworthy the reave at Fernworthy has been destroyed but the projected path excludes the circleonly the "Grey Wethers pair, Langstone Moor and Little Hound Tor are located some distance from settled areas".

    There are stone rows and cairns close to the Fernworthy, Merrivale, Shovel Down and Tottiford circles. It would seem likely that most circles were established near population centres and sited to ensure ease of access to the whole community, they probably acted as ritual centres and perhaps also a place for community gatherings much like a local church or town hall. This figure is often quoted by authors but it should be pointed out that Burl is including stone rings or cairn circles.

    The County Gazetteer for Devon p. This would suggest the figure for "true" stone circles is considerably smaller.
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    The most famous prehistoric structure in Europe, possibly the world, Stonehenge stands on Salisbury Plain, an area rich in monuments such as long barrows and round barrows. It draws visitors from all over the world but viewing is restricted and it is difficult to get a sense of the grandeur of the place amongst all of the tourists.

    The exact sequence of these phases and indeed their sub phases has changed over the years as new evidence from excavation has come to light and absolute dating techniques such as radiocarbon C14 have been applied. The following sequences are based on those proposed by Cleal, Walker and Montague whose work was published in and accepted by many as currently the most complete picture of construction at the site.

    Interpretations of exactly what each of these successive changes meant to the builders however are open to conjecture. Stonehenge Phase 1 BC Begun in the late Neolithica circular bank nearly 2 metres high and 6 metres wide and with an internal diameter of 85 metres was built with chalk quarried from an outer ditch, the bright white fresh chalk contrasting vividly against the surrounding grassland.

    The ditch would have been hacked out of the chalk with antler picks and appears to have been cut in individual sections, perhaps echoing the earlier style of monuments known as causewayed enclosures. However here these sections were then joined together to produce a continuous trench about 7 metres wide and 2 metres deep with a causeway or entrance about 4 metres wide to the south and another of 10 metres wide towards the northeast.

    It is this earthwork structure that give the name ' henge ' to other similar monuments elsewhere in the country but unusually at Stonehenge the bank is internal and the ditch external, elsewhere henges have internal ditches and external banks. Stonehenge does have a small external counterscarp bank around the outer edge of the ditch but this appears to only surround the north and eastern sections and may only have been a low mound about 2 or 3 metres in width.

    The entire diametre of the earthworks was hence about metres. Excavations around the southern entrance revealed a pair of ox jaw bones had been placed in the ditch on either side of the causeway along with an ox skull further to the west of the entrance and a deer tibia to the east.

    Radiocarbon dating shows that these remains predate the digging of the earthwork by as much as several hundred years suggesting they had been preserved as venerated objects or had perhaps been taken from collections of bones from the preexisting long barrows of Salisbury Plain.

    Also during this phase of construction a ring of 56 pits were cut about 5 metres away from the inner edge of the bank. These have been named the 'Aubrey Holes' after their discoverer John Aubrey who originally noticed five circular depressions in although it was not until the 's that their full extent was confirmed and recorded. There is some debate as to whether these pits ever held wooden posts or stones that were later removed.

    Stonehenge Phase 2 BC It appears that there was a hiatus in construction at the site at the beginning of Phase 2, the ditch was allowed to silt up and if there were timber posts in the Aubrey Holes then these were either removed or rotted away. Later there was some deliberate backfilling of the ditch and the height of the bank was also reduced somewhat.

    It was during this phase that excavations have revealed a series of timber posts and structures were erected, although what these post actually represented is unclear. The posts are clustered in three areas, the northeast entrance, the southern entrance and the central area of the henge.

    Roughly in line with the ditch the causeway of the northeastern entrance shows evidence of between 7 and 9 rows of posts set along a southwest-northeast alignment, and it has been suggested that they formed setting out lines for the observation of the major and minor northern moonrises, another set of four posts that stood about 15 metres northeast could also have been involved with following the movements of the moon.

    An alternative explanation is that these posts formed the lines of a series of fences allowing or blocking entrance into the central area of the henge. The use of posts to form an entrance corridor does seem to occur near the southern entrance through the earthwork. Here the roughly south-north rectangular arrangement which could have been fenced meets several rows of posts set at a perpendicular angle which may represent further fences or temporary screens.

    What it was in the central area that was hidden from view is difficult to determine, timber buildings are possible but the many post holes found here do not seem to form any recognisable structures and disturbance of the ground during the subsequent stone building episodes means that whatever these post holes originally represented remains a mystery. Excavation of 34 of the Aubrey Holes has revealed that 25 of them contained cremation remains that date from this phase of the site indicating that the holes were still visible features in the landscape.

    Fragments of pottery show that these deposits belonged to people associated with the Grooved Ware culture and were mostly found towards the eastern side of the monument, other small pits with cremated remains placed in them have been uncovered in the bottom of the ditch and just within the inside of the bank, again these are nearly all found on the eastern side of the earthwork.

    Stonehenge Phase 3 BC It is in this third stage of construction spanning the late Neolithic and early Bronze Age that the stones for which the site is so famous finally arrive. As is so often the case at Stonehenge the exact sequences and timescales are subject to debate and reassessment as more evidence comes to light.

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    Phase 3i The first stones to be set up within the henge earthwork are thought to be the bluestones Phase 3i. The original layout appears to have been a pair of concentric semicircles with an average diametre of 25 metres in the centre of the monument with an opening towards the southwest. This setting has been determined by the excavation of two sets of stones pits known as the 'Q' and 'R' holes.

    This setting was however only short lived with the stones then being removed and the holes backfilled with chalk rubble. Possibly contemporary with this bluestone setting is the erection of the Altar Stone to the southwest of the semicircle which may have acted as a focal point of activity for the setting.

    This brings us to the most contentious issue surrounding Stonehenge, how these stones got here. About 80 bluestones were used at the site and the rock for them came from different areas around the Preseli mountains in southwest Wales some possibly from Carn Meini over miles away.

    They consists mainly of dolerite and some of rhyolite, both types of volcanic rock with the stones weighing up to 4 tons each.


    One theory is that they would have been hauled from the mountains to Milford Haven and then loaded onto rafts and brought along the Welsh coast to the Severn estuary, then along the Bristol Avon and the River Frome,via the Wiltshire Avon before being offloaded to the banks of the river.

    From here they were brought overland to Stonehenge - a total journey distance of miles. The Altar Stone, a block of micaceous sandstone, is thought to have originated from the Brecon Beacons area of south Wales.

    The opposing theory is that a mixture of stone from west Wales was moved eastwards by glaciation during one of the Ice Ages to be deposited around the Salisbury Plain area as the ice sheets retreated. The builders of Stonehenge then simply used sources of stone that were most readily available, the bluestone that already existed in the Salisbury Plain area.

    Both theories have faults and it is unlikely that a solution to the problem will be agreed upon for some time. Also dating from this phase were four sarsen blocks known as the Station Stones which were erected about 5 metres within the henge bank. Laid out in an almost perfect rectangle only two of these stones now remain but it appears that they were designed to align with the midsummer sunrise, midwinter sunset and the major northern moonset although lines drawn through these stones and a missing stone or post towards the east of the site suggest that other alignments may also have been intended.

    Phase 3ii-3v After the dismantling of the bluestone arc the stones for the sarsen circle and trilithons were brought from the Marlborough Downs, 25 miles to the north Phase 3ii. Roughly cut to shape before moving, these huge blocks weighing between 6 and 50 tons each may have been placed on sledges and dragged over rollers or temporary trackways to Stonehenge. It is estimated that it would have taken a team of men 7 weeks to move each stone, the whole mammoth task requiring over 10 years to complete.

    Once at the site, the rough sarsen blocks would have been shaped by a team of masons, another task that would have taken several years.

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    To create the Sarsen Circle pits of about 1. These lintels had mortises on their undersides to fit the uprights and tongue-and-groove joints to bind them to their neighbours as well as a slight curve along their outer edges.

    The Sarsen Circle dates from around BC and consisted of 30 uprights each weighing about 25 tons and standing 4 metres in height supporting 30 lintels each weighing 6 tons and forming a ring whose top was nearly 5 metres above ground level. Today only 17 of the uprights remain standing along with 6 lintels still in place which fortunately includes the pair of uprights to the northeast that were set slightly further apart than the other circle stones and formed the grand entrance into the inner sanctified area.

    Within the circle's interior were raised the 5 huge sarsen trilithons in a horseshoe setting whose open end facing towards the northeast, each trilithon consisting of a pair of uprights whose tops where also cut with a single tenon to secure the mortised lintel.

    The horseshoe was graduated in height towards the southwest with the northeast opposing pair standing just over 6 metres tall, the inner pair 6.

    It is the uprights of the Great Trilithon that are the largest and heaviest stones on the site weighing in at a staggering 50 tons. Sadly today only 3 of the trilithons stand complete along with a single upright from the remaining pair. Although the earlier bluestone setting had been removed it is thought the Altar Stone was re-erected slightly to the northeast near the centre point of the circle within the sarsen horseshoe. The bluestones were now erected in an uncertain arrangement somewhere within the Sarsen Circle Phase 3iii before being removed and 60 of the stones placed in circular formation known as the Bluestone Circle between the trilithons and the sarsen circle Phase 3iv.

    Within the horseshoe of trilithons a further 23 carefully shaped and dressed bluestones were initially set up in oval before those towards the northeast were removed to form the 'Bluestone Horseshoe', the stones graded in height towards the southwest echoing the layout of the larger sarsen trilithons Phase 3v.

    Only 6 stones of this horseshoe remain standing plus 11 stones from the bluestone circle although just over 20 other bluestones remain as either stumps or fallen or broken stone fragments.

    The central area of Stonehenge was now in the layout we see it today but other stones stand, or stood around the area of the northeastern entrance that also date from Phase 3 although they cannot be precisely placed within any of the five sub phases above.

    The most obvious of these stones is the Heel Stone which stands 20 metres beyond the entrancea rough unshaped sarsen nearly 5 metres tall that now leans inwards towards the circle. Excavations have revealed that another stone once stood 2 metres to the northwest and together this pair of stones formed a portal through which the midsummer sun could be observed from the centre of Stonehenge as contrary to popular belief the sunrise occurs just to the left of the Heel Stone and not above it at the summer solstice.

    For some reason the second stone was then removed with a ditch being cut around the remaining Heel Stone. Just next to the entrance bank a fallen sarsen known as the Slaughter Stone is the sole remainder of an alignment of two or three uprights that once stood across the entrance. A plan of Stonehenge drawn by Aubrey in shows a pair of stones standing within this entrance but 60 years later William Stukeley recorded only the Slaughter Stone which by now had been toppled and its neighbour removed.

    One other major component of the Stonehenge landscape is also believed to date from the third phase, the Stonehenge Avenue is thought to have been built at some point during this time although again where it fits in with the chronology is unclear. Starting on the banks of the River Avon a mile and a quarter southeast of Stonehenge it travels northwest, swings round to the west and then makes a final turn in the depression of Stonehenge Bottom before making its final metre approach up the slight slope to the northeast entrance of the henge.

    This final section of the Avenue has the same axis as the stones i. Although the Heel Stone is the only stone located within the Avenue's banks and ditches William Stukeley noticed the traces of lines of stone holes which suggested that a double row of stones also once ran along the inside of the earthwork, perhaps 50 stones in all.

    The results of geophysics surveys in would seem to support this view. Phase 3vi Although no stones were added after Phase 3v there was a final bout of construction within the henge earthworks. Sometime between BC a double ring of pits were cut into the earth and chalk outside of the main stone setting. These have been termed the 'Z' and 'Y' holes and formed rather ragged and inaccurately laid out circles of 38 metres and 54 metres diameter respectively.

    There appears to be no evidence that these pits ever held stones although it has been suggested that they were designed to hold two rings of bluestones, perhaps the plan was abandoned as Stonehenge fell out of use finally bringing to an end years of building and remodeling at the site.

    In Professor Richard Atkinson who was carrying out excavations at the site made a remarkable discovery of a dagger carved into the face of one of the trilithon uprights stone 53 and beside it about a dozen faint carvings of axe heads similar in design to Bronze Age flanged axes that are known to date from this period in Stonehenge's history about BC.

    Other markings have since been found on other stones, particularly on one of the uprights of the sarsen circle which has possibly two dozen axe heads carved into it and perhaps the carvings on these stones were amongst some of the final acts that took place on the site before the sun finally set on prehistoric activity at the site.

    Over the years since then the stones fell into a long period of gradual decay and dilapidation caused by the elements, damage caused by accident as well as deliberate human destruction and the robbing of stones for building material elsewhere. What was Stonehenge built for? There have of course been many theories put forward over the years to explain the purpose of Stonehenge, from the plausible to the downright eccentric.

    It appears that during the building of the henge earthworks in Phase 1 the northeast entrance causeway was deliberately aligned to observe the rising of the moon around the major standstill in its This concentration on the moon seems to have continued into Phase 2 when lines of posts were set up in the entrance to allow move accurate observations.

    Later during this phase the Aubrey Holes and the ditch and bank on the eastern side of the earthwork begin to be used for the burial of cremation remains. It is unclear whether the use of the site as a cremation cemetery associated with the Grooved Ware culture was by incomers to the area or by the local population who had adopted the new ideas and beliefs.

    The beginning of Phase 3 marks a shift in both the ritual and physical alignments of Stonehenge. Whereas the henge causeway has an alignment of about This association of Stonehenge with the rising sun probably continued throughout the remainder of its use in prehistory and continues in modern times with the opening of the site to thousands of visitors on the morning of the summer solstice.

    It seems that Stonehenge never had just one use, as the years passed the people and the rituals enacted within the earthwork and later within area enclosed by the stones changed as the Neolithic moved slowly into the early Bronze Age. What is left to us today gives only a tantalizing glimpse of what may have happened at one of the worlds most enigmatic ancient sites. An early morning view of Stonehenge looking west.

    Ex members of R Kelly's inner circle describe him as 'Jekyll and Hyde' Daily Mail Online

    The outer sarsen circle of uprights and lintels are clearly visible but the bluestones are hidden and the trilithons are partly obscured from sight. Looking southwest from the end of the Stonehenge Avenue where it passes through the henge earthworks marking the entrance to the internal area and stones themselves.

    The fallen Slaughter Stone lies to the left. This view is looking towards the centre of the monument and marks the line of the midsummer sunrise and midwinter sunset.

    Ex members of R Kelly's inner circle describe him as 'Jekyll and Hyde' Daily Mail Online

    View of Stonehenge looking south from close to the 'north barrow' and missing northern station stone. The less glamorous view of Stonehenge. Looking northeast roughly along the line of the midsummer sunrise and midwinter sunset Left: Area map overlaid on satellite view.

    5 thoughts on “Drum Circles Network by

    1. Damn so does anyone know where ms brown sugar at ? because I'm trying to put my frosting all over that cinnamon between her legs. Also she got some sexy ass pair of lips.

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