A couple of oddities

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Stone row at Maen Mawr.

In the Brecon Beacons in South Wales are two stone rows which are very similar in character. Both consist of a single row of three stones. This is not unusual in itself as 34% of all single rows have only three stones. What is unusal is that each stone is very different in size. Nowhere else in Great Britain has this configuration been identified. Rows formed by three stones are usually composed of similar sized stones, but the rows at Nant Tarw and Maen Mawr which are situated 6.2km apart are very different. It is unlikely that it is a coincidence that they are found in such close proximity and this may suggest a local adaptation of the basic design. Innovation, individual expression and experiment would seem to have been part of the stone row building culture – but some ideas for what ever reason do not seem to have caught on. Certainly this particular idea does not seem to have spread beyond a small area of the Brecon Beacons. Both rows also stand close to stone circles perhaps indicating that whatever the rationale behind this ultimately unsuccessful development it may have in some way been connected with stone circles.

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Stone row at Nant Tarw.

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10 comments

  1. I might pop up and see these this week 😀

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    1. Enjoy – very envious. Both involve crossing rivers so wellingtons probably a good idea. When visiting Maen Mawr make sure to check out the nearby Cerrig Duon double row. This time of year you should not have too much trouble finding it.

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  2. SumDoood · · Reply

    Folks, any idea as to how often stone rows occur close to the source of relatively major rivers?

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    1. If you could give us an idea of what you mean by relatively major rivers I could have a go at trying to answer this. I guess you have an idea that this might be significant. Certainly something worth looking into.

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      1. SumDoood · ·

        I’ll be vague, I’m afraid, but these next to Nant Tarw are v close to the source of the Usk, and those near Maen Mawr are v close to the source of the Tawe, so I’m thinking of significantly big rivers, rivers which have made big long valleys, and which are likely to keep the same ancient name all the way to the sea.

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      2. On Dartmoor Worth looked at the stone rows by major river valleys. This would therefore be a good place to start. Should not take too long as it is an area I know fairly well. Will let you know what I find.

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  3. I have had a preliminary look at the situation on Dartmoor where it is clear that most rows are not situated very close to the source of the major rivers identified by Worth. Below are the details for each valley. I think, certainly on Dartmoor, that proximity to major river sources is unlikely to have been a contributing factor in the siting of rows.
    Erme – top of Upper Erme row is 520m from source.
    Yealm – nothing close to source
    Tory Brook – Shell Top SW, Penn Beacon S, Penn Beacon SW and Cholwichtown all relatively close to the source.
    Plym – Drizzlecombe Rows about 3km from source
    Meavy – Hart Tor stone rows 1.8km from source.
    Walkham – Langstone Moor rows 3.3km from source
    Tavy – Cut Hill 620m from source
    Lyd – Little Links Tor 1.7km from source
    West Okement – Nothing in the whole valley
    Taw – Nothing in the whole valley
    East Okement – Nothing in the whole valley
    North Teign, Blackaton Brook – Cosdon 1.5km from source
    North Teign – Nearly 5km to the Shoveldown alignments.
    South Teign – Fernworthy and Assycombe 1.5km from source
    East and West Webburn – Hameldown 700m from source
    West Dart -Cut Hill 1.2km from source
    East Dart – No rows close to source.
    Avon – No rows close to source.
    Glazebrook – Corringdon and Brent Fore Hill between 800m and 900m from source.
    Ludbrook – Butterdon East 300m from source.

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    1. SumDoood · · Reply

      When it’s a case of “no rows (known) close to source”, is it also the case that rows are known to exist elsewhere in these valleys, but they aren’t close to the source, or simply that no rows at all are known to exist in these valleys?

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  4. No rows and as you say known means that there are others in the valley. Where no rows in the valley I have indicated this. So I guess ths means that some valleys have rows but they are nowhere near the source. In terms of the source being potentailly significant Cut Hill is of interest, but then again it could be other factors that were important for the choice of site. As you know I believe that visual relationships are likely to have been the most important single criteria. Hope this helps.

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