We had brought the group here for just two stones. Nothing as visually spectacular as the wonderful dolmens we had seen in Wales, but to a quiet, green glade that always feels as if it is waiting and where a single standing stone rises like the gnomon of a sundial from the earth. If you saw only a picture, you would be forgiven for questioning whether or not it was a real standing stone or just an erratic, dumped there by some passing glacier in millennia past. If you walk into its presence, you have no doubt.
Even so, it is good that for those who demand scientific evidence, there is also the archaeological report of this vast Bronze Age site. We’d had no idea when we had first visited how wide the site might be, or what had been found there. Nevertheless, we had recognised this and many of the other features of the area. It was only later research that bore out our flights of fancy, including the idea of funerary rites.
There are cairns, a huge enclosure, strange pits and a variety of hut circles, including one that appears to have been part of a ritual site for the preparation of the dead. We had even found what seems to be a stone circle, though that would bear further investigation at a later date. For now, our main interest was the standing stone and the archaeology confirms that its base had been carefully packed with rubble to position the stone in its present place.
The archaeologists also used 3D modelling of the way that light hits the stone, allowing for shifts in the earth’s tilt over the four thousand years that the stone has stood there and, finding that the north side stays in permanent shade throughout the winter, they concluded that it must be some sort of symbolic sundial. Which is exactly what our group concluded without that information.
What the official team didn’t seem to take into account are the curious notches on the top of the stone that stands over seven feet high. Undoubtedly weathered, they seem deliberate and provide a sighting line to distant Frogatt Edge… and perhaps, who knows, to the stars and planets beyond. The seasons are written in the turning of the sky and the stars would have been so much brighter when the only light at night came from the embers of the fire.
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