Featured Site – Lanacombe 5

A stump in the foreground and the only upright stone beyond. View from south east (Scale 1m).

A possible stone row identified at Lanacombe 5 on Exmoor has been visited and surveyed. This work was unable to confirm a stone row identification for this site.  There is only one standing stone, a few stumps, some recumbent slabs and a few stones barely protruding through the surface. It was not possible to resolve them into a stone row and whilst at least some of these stones may have been raised in prehistoric times not enough evidence survives to support a stone row identification.  It is always disappointing when a documented row fails to meet the criteria and it is of course possible that future fieldwork under better conditions may permit this conclusion to be reviewed.  For the moment it is probably safest to interpret this as an uncertain row.

Plan of Lanacombe 5 stones (Source: Survey at 1:200 by Sandy Gerrard)

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2 comments

  1. Do you probe into the peat / soil? Margaret Curtis (Callanish, etc), was last week showing me probes she’d had made in steel, about 8mm diameter, up to 2-3m long with a T handle.

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    1. Hi Miles,
      Good to hear from you again. Probing can sort of work on some sites but inevitably the results can only ever be suggestive. On Exmoor where many of the rows are built upon very shallow soils sitting on bedrock probing has very limited use. At sites like Lanacombe 5 stones are likely to be encountered by probing but there will be no way of knowing whether they are natural or not. It is worth remembering that probing may also damage the archaeology, in particular the environmental data and on scheduled sites it is illegal. What I have found to be more useful in locating hidden stones is stomping over the vegetation in wellingtons. It is possible to find stones this way that are not currently visible because of dense vegetation. Probing carried out systematically can be a useful tool for finding sites under deep peat but in many circumstances the results can be misleading and we need to be cautious of any conclusions.

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