The Rollright Stones Audio Tour

rrct5.jpg (24483 bytes)Parts 9 to 11:

9 Stone Shapes. Possible symbolic shaping of the stones, geology
There's some indication at the entrance---just a hint---you've got a flat one and a sort of pillar one either side; and that if you look inwards it may have been the other way round, with a flat on the left and a pillar on the right, because the portal stone just behind the flat one is a very pillar-like stone; the fallen on lying there is a bit more of a flat one. And whether these are symbolic and so on---they may be; Aubrey [Burl]'s keen on that theory. I imagine that the shapes are to do with the geological way the strata actually works. Whether they're coming from different strata or not...John [Barnett] did a survey; he's the only person, I think, who's actually measured the thickness of the stones. I think he reckoned that there were three---about three---thicknesses roughly. Suggesting no more than that there were three beds within the limestone that they originally came out of.
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10 New archaeological discoveries. The wider Cotswold area, air photography
{JA: There's no traces of any other circles round here anywhere is there?} Not in the immediate vicinity. The next nearest was the Devil's Quoits at Stanton Harcourt. And then there are henge monuments in the Cotswolds of which Condicote is the main one. And all sorts of other things are coming up. There's an enclosure near Banbury. There's been an amazing amount of new discovery from our photography on the Cotswolds; all the American air bases closing, and also because the Royal Commision have moved to Swindon, the combination of the two means there's a fantastic amount of archaeology discovered from our photography. There's also been some good summers. We went from having 29 Iron Age enclosures in the Cotswolds to having 130. [Sounds of astonishment]

Rather curiously the cairn by the King Stone is visible on our photographs. Curious because you'd normally expect a cairn to show up as a parch mark when it's very dry---it actually shows up as a dark mark. The reason is because the rest of that land has that much soil straight on top of solid rock, whereas the cairn has: that much soil; then it has that much stone with some soil in it, and then it had a really nice thickness of undisturbed original soil underneath.

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11 Last Part. Claims of carvings, alignment of holed stone, excarnation, field walking
{Any signs of any shaping on any of the stones?}No. It's been claimed, but I don't think any very convincingly. There was someone called Henry Taunt who worked in this area who took some wonderful 19th century photographs of the stones. And he wrote a little booklet and put in the claim that there were carvings. I think it's just after they'd been discovered at Stonehenge. One of the ones which Alexander Thom noted was the hole in this stone is almost exactly in line with the Knights from the centre of the circle. I think these are probably natural.

{Was there any evidence of any paving in the circle at all?} No. I have this slight theory that the interior was levelled. {The way the bank works it looks as if something like that has happened.}And that certainly is rather more obviously the case with some of these other circles like Swinside in the Lake District.

{Is there any evidence that they were ever used for excarnation?}There isn't here. Not enough excavation has been done.{Because generally we're a bit short of bodies, aren't we, for various parts of prehistory, and I do wonder about that.} In broad terms, stone circles belong to the period where people were being buried as whole bodies rather than being buried as parts. {For which you would need an excarnation area.}At this stage you probably do.

{Has there been any field-walking done in this place?}Yes. There's that field and this field, the next one, and two over here, I believe. We found a lot of flints from Mesolithic through to Bronze Age; a stone axe fragment from Cornwall; a large chunk of flint from a [???]; a moderate smattering of Roman pottery. The flint work tends to be denser as you go down the hill towards the spring line.

{CT: Thank you very much indeed.}Not at all!

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Speaker: George Lambrick
Get-together arranged by: Chris Tweed
Talks, Lunch, everything else on the day: Karin Attwood
Questions & Heckling :-): John Attwood, Andy Norfolk, Squonk, David Craig & anyone else I've forgotten
Mini-Disc recorder: Trevor Brook
Sound Engineer, Editing & Web Presentation: Andy Burnham
Transcript: Martin McCarthy
Photography: Chris Tweed, Andy Burnham
Music improvised by: Alastair McIvor and recorded on location inside West Kennett Long Barrow
Video Recorder beeps :-) Bobbie
Patience: Ruth
Squeaks: Chloe