Bronze age burial and culture in Northern England

The Gristhorpe Man and his world.
Gristhorpe is a small village on the North Yorkshire coast in northern England, about 5 miles south of Scarborough, just below the Yorkshire Wolds.  The area is rich in prehistoric barrows. One such barrow, now known as the Gristhorpe barrow or Gristhorpe tumulus, was dug into in july 1834 by the then landowner William Beswick and a group of his friends. The Gristhorpe tumulus was the most prominent of a group of three barrows which stood close to the cliff top, overlooking the North Sea.


It had originally been a stone cairn which was later covered with clay and turf. What they found inside the barrow was a large wooden coffin made from a hollowed out trunk of an oak tree. 


Unfortunately only the lid of the coffin now remains intact. Oddly, the barrow seems to have been dug into about 500 years after the original burial, and oak branches had been laid over the top of the coffin. No one seems to know why this took place but it makes you wonder why the occupant of the grave was still being in some way venerated or remembered after such a long time. The coffin lid has a carving at one end which in the rough form of a human face, though it was more discernible when first excavated than it is now. The coffin was buried in a north / south position with the head end facing south. Inside was the perfectly preserved skeleton of a tall man, stained black from the oak tannins, and wrapped in animal furs. He was lying on his right side facing the sea. The waterlogged clay had kept the remains in almost perfect condition.  It is now known that the burial took place around 2,200 b.c, in what was the early bronze age in Britain and the Gristhorpe man is one of the best preserved bronze age burials in Europe. 

                                    Gristhorpe cliffs.
Log coffin burials from this period are extremely rare in Britain. They are more common in Denmark but the Gristhorpe burial is about 700 years older than any yet found there. There are also log coffin burials from this time known from Germany and the Netherlands. People were probably migrating or exchanging ideas back and forth across the North Sea, possibly settling in different areas, as they always had. It should be remembered that only a few thousand years before this the area of the North Sea between Yorkshire and Denmark was actually dry land (Doggerland) which was slowly overwhelmed  by the sea as the sea levels rose after the last ice age. This was quite a long time but a memory of the bond between these cultures could have remained in folklore and stories as well as family ties, especially given the degree of travel and trade which is now known to have existed.


Anyway, the man was about 6 ft tall, and had been around 60 years old when he died, He also had an almost full set of teeth. Tests showed he had had a high quality diet all his life, mainly of vegetables and meat, and oddly not much seafood even though he lived very close to the sea. Maybe he just didn't like fish.  All this makes a lie of the old idea that prehistoric people were undernourished and unhealthy, lived a brutal life and then died young. By this period in time the people in this area were probably growing barley and possibly rearing animals for food as well as hunting wild animals and gathering wild fruit and other foods, in a climate probably warmer than the present, where water chestnuts grew in the east Yorkshire wetlands. 
He had been born locally (In the Scarborough area rather than the Yorkshire Wolds which are close by) and probably lived in the area all his life, though contrary to popular belief people travelled widely in bronze age Europe, trading between the Mediterranean, Ireland, Scandinavia, etc. in amber, metals, flint and other resources. Scarborough would have been a busy place at that time with the easily defended headland being an economic centre for bronze working and trade from distant sources. Keep in mind that this is the period in Britain when the main structure at Stonehenge had already been built, and when most stone circles were already old. Examples of remains from around this period are everywhere to be seen in the area, including Rudston Monolith (the tallest standing stone in Britain) which is not far to the south across the Wolds, and many other barrows etc in the immediate vicinity, one of which contained the famous Folkton 'drums' which are now in the British Museum (why are they too not in the Scarborough museum ?), and the varied remains of prehistoric rock art and other remains on the North York Moors a few miles to the north. Thornborough Henges sacred landscape, a massive ritual centre including barrows, henges, and a cursus, which has been described as the most important prehistoric site in the north of England, lies just 50 miles to the west and must have been well known to the Gristhorpe people at this time. The famous Mesolithic village at Star Carr is also less than 5 miles to the west, but this is from a much earlier period, about 8 - 9,000 b.c. about 6,000 years before Gristhorpe man lived, though this shows a long continuity of habitation in this area. The bronze age in Britain was a rich, artistic and diverse culture. Far from the 'primitive' people scraping a meagre living from the soil that many people still imagine.  

                                                  Thornborough henges.
Archaeologists assume that because the Gristhorpe man had a healthy diet and lived a long life he must have been a chieftain or some high ranking member of society, but this doesn't have to be the case....maybe the whole tribe was just well fed !  However, the style of burial would seem to indicate someone important or maybe just well liked.
There were several artefacts found with the body, a bronze dagger ( the copper of which the bronze was made had originally come from Ireland ) with a pommel made from a cetaceans (whales or dolphins ) jawbone, a flint knife, a basket, and bones from the feet of a fox and a pine marten. These may have been amulets just as people sometimes wear rabbits feet etc.
A couple of other interesting points....
It seems that the Gristhorpe man had some kind of benign tumour growing in his brain, which although it probably wasn't the cause of his death, would probably have given him severe headaches and probably epileptic seizures. Many ancient cultures regard people with epilepsy as gifted or special because they are seen to have the ability to communicate with the otherworld and gather important information whilst in a state of trance, or to possess healing powers. This type of Shamanism would have been typical and commonly practiced in bronze age Britain so this may be why he was still being venerated long after his death. He was thought by his original discoverers to have possibly been a druid or priest of some kind, and although technically speaking druids were the priests of the Celtic peoples in the iron age, this is just playing with words.....the bronze age shamans and Celtic druids would have probably been indistinguishable from each other. Just a different name.
This leads me to the next point. Originally, one reason he was thought to be a druid was because mistletoe berries were found in his coffin, and mistletoe was a sacred plant to the druids because of its magical and healing properties. Archaeologists now believe these berries are actually gall stones or kidney stones, though this is disputed as the analysis could not actually use a sample of the berries / stones for the analysis.
The Gristhorpe man was put on display in the Rotunda museum in Scarborough soon after his discovery and is still there today with his grave goods etc, though i have to say the modern display is not nearly as interesting as the old one i remember as a child.











The Rotunda museum, Scarborough




                                      






Willy Howe, a barrow from the same area and period as the Gristhorpe man and very similar to how his barrow would have looked before being excavated (i.e. robbed).




http://www.prehistory.yas.org.uk/content/gristhorpe.html
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gristhorpe_Man
http://www.uwhg.org.uk/reports/uwhg_meetings/04_mar_10/04_mar_10.html
https://ore.exeter.ac.uk/repository/bitstream/handle/10036/4426/Gristhorpe%20Man.pdf?sequence=6
https://www.researchgate.net/publication/229923572_Gristhorpe_Man_A_Raman_spectroscopic_study_of_'mistletoe_berries'_in_aBronze_Age_log_coffin_burial

Historical atlas of North yorkshire. R. Butlin 2003

The bronze age tree trunk coffin burial. W.C.Williamson 3rd ed. 1872.
Of barrows, hollow hills, Standing stones and sacred streams.
This is a slightly random post. It meanders, but then so does the stream which is its inspiration, the gypsey race, like an ancient thread through the hills of the Yorkshire Wolds.

The Great Wolds Valley Sacred Landscape.
The Yorkshire Wolds is a plateau of chalk / limestone hills a few miles south of Scarborough. Bordered to the west by the vale of York and to the east by the north sea, with steep sided valleys, and some dramatic cliffs at the seas edge. It is an area with many well preserved archaeological remains from the Neolithic period and the bronze age, and particularly rich in ritual monuments and their folklore and legends, which make up the Yorkshire Wolds sacred landscape. Hundreds of bronze age round barrows are known in the area, as well as the Rudston monolith, which is the tallest standing stone in Britain , Duggleby Howe, which is one of the largest round barrows in Britain and is thought to date from the late Neolithic (about 4000 yrs old), no less than 4 Neolithic cursus monuments, Willy Howe barrow, and many others.
Probably the best known feature of this ritual landscape is the Rudston monolith . This huge bronze age standing stone towers 25 feet above ground, and legend says it is as long again under the ground. The ground level was raised in 1861 by 5 feet, so the monolith prior to that was presumably 5 feet taller (30 ft). It stands in the cemetery surrounding Rudston church and there is another smaller stone in the north east corner of the churchyard which, supposedly, originally stood nearer to the monolith. Excavations in the 1700's are said to have found a quantity of skulls around the base of the monolith. The stone itself is siliceous sandstone (gritstone) and was reportedly brought from Cayton Bay, which is about 10 miles away across the Wolds, on the north sea coast, just south of Scarborough (though the Rudston village website says that the stone was brought from Whitby, 40 miles to the north). Rudston was obviously a ritual site of great importance to the people who raised the stone and built the numerous other monuments here, as was the whole landscape for miles around.
The legend of how the monolith came to be in the church yard says that the devil tried to destroy the church by throwing the huge stone at it, but he missed and the stone has been there ever since. Nonsense of course as the stone has been there about 3,600 years.  Far longer than the church, but it's a nice story.
There are also reputedly fossil dinosaur footprints on the stone, though i've personally never noticed these.
There are plenty of other interesting ancient sites around the Wolds Ritual Landscape, such as Willy Howe Barrow, Duggleby Howe Barrow, Ba'l Hill, and the whole area is rich in folklore and fairie legends.  This whole antiquarian magical landscape seems to be centred around the sacred stream known as the Gypsey Race, which winds for miles across the Wolds. This great complex of barrows, old stones and huge cursus monuments seems to follow the Gypsey Race from its source at the village of Wharram-le-Street,  past Duggleby Howe Barrow, Willy Howe and Ba'l hill, right through Rudstons four great cursus monuments, around the monolith and away to the east, before reaching the sea at Bridlington, forming one huge ceremonial centre.
Gypsey streams (there are more than one on the Yorkshire wolds ) are streams which flow intermittently, sometimes being dry for long periods then springing back into life unexpectedly, presumably because of variations in the water table.

The Gypsey Race too has its legends, including one that says when the race flows it is a sign of impending disaster, and the most interesting (to me) says that people who drink from the stream are granted the ability to foretell the future.
The Gypsey Race flows east past Duggleby Howe, a large Neolithic barrow, one of the largest in Britain, surrounded by a ditched enclosure covering about 25 acres.


Ba'l hill

Beyond Rudston the Gypsey Race passes Southside Mount, another Neolithic or possibly bronze age barrow, and the 'barrow cemetery' at Rudston beacon.
Then it flows on past a variety of ancient sacred sites / monuments, including Willy Howe (which ive written about here....    http://earthworks-m.blogspot.co.uk/2009/12/of-fairy-cups-and-hollow-hills.html), Ba'l Hill, which is another neolithic barrow, Maidens Grave Henge, Argham dykes, and the group of 4 cursus monuments which cluster around Rudston itself.

The amount of work, energy, time, planning etc that must have been put into this huge ritual complex is staggering and shows that it was obviously of huge importance in ancient times, much more than is obvious from this now relatively quiet and peaceful rural landscape.
The landscape bordering the Yorkshire Wolds is also steeped in legends and folklore.  Filey, a small town on the coast, is home to its own dragon legend.  
Filey Brigg is a strip of land which juts out from the northern end of Filey Bay into the North Sea.

One legend says that a dragon once lived in the area, and the local people decided to do away with it. They baked a huge sticky cake (known locally as parkin) and fed it to the dragon. It was so sticky that the dragon had to go to the seas edge to wash its mouth, and was drowned. It's bones remain visible as Filey Brigg.
On february 28th, 1934 a local coastguard named Wilkinson Herbert saw a 'dragon' in the sea at Filey, with an 8 ft long neck, a 30ft long body, and two huge humps. It had four legs with flippers. He described it as "a most gruesome and thrilling experience". Maybe it was a relation of the dragon that drowned, or maybe it wasnt a dragon at all but something else entirely.





  Whether or not the dragon has something to do with the local peoples pagan beliefs is not known, but apparently filey people were only converted to christianity as late as the early nineteenth century, by a preacher named John Oxtoby. But dragons are very difficult to kill..........










Whilst on the subject of flying fiery things, the story of the 'Wolds meteorite' comes to mind.....On December 13th 1795, during a tremendous thunderstorm, a meteorite fell to earth near the village of Wold Newton. People heard a hissing noise overhead and the meteorite crashed into a field belonging to one Edward Topham, the local magistrate.  It was duly dug up while still warm and smelling of sulphur, and weighed approx 55 lb.  It was later exhibited in London and i believe it is now on display in the Natural History Museum in London.

                                                                        The Wold Newton meteorite.

Duggleby howe

The Yorkshire Wolds sacred landscape was clearly a very important place over a very long period of prehistory, both to the people who lived here and probably to people far beyond the local area too. But the Wolds do not exist in isolation, there are many other ancient monuments and places which have a magic of their own close by. The famous Folkton 'drums' were found in a barrow nearby, the world famous Mesolithic site of Star Carr is right on the edge of the wolds, The North York Moors with its own sacred landscapes (such as Brow Moor, with its wealth of prehistoric rock art ), and its many stone circles, standing stones and barrows etc is just a few miles to the north. All these combine with the many ancient legends and stories to give an insight into ancient beliefs and cultures of the people of prehistory in this area.

The Folkton 'drums'.

Yorkshire wolds


An Ancient Egyptian mummy on the Yorkshire coast.

Northern England may not be the place you’d expect to find the tale of a mummy’s curse but Low Hall, a country house at Scalby, just outside Scarborough on the North Yorkshire coast, is reputed to have just such a curse.
          
The story began in 1904, when John Rowntree, eldest son of Joseph Rowntree (the philanthropist and social reformer, and owner of Rowntrees chocolate factory in York) returned from his travels, bringing with him the mummified remains of an ‘Egyptian princess’, though just who she was no one seems to know. Anyway, he was dead within the year (aged 36). The Mummy was kept on show in a glass case in the library at Low Hall after his death and the story of it being cursed continued to grow. His son Lawrence was killed in world war 1, but so were many others, so why this was attributed to the mummy’s curse I’m not sure. The mummy was then moved again, to a pavilion on the grounds of Low Hall. Anyway, eventually (about 1936) the family asked the head gardener (Mr. Jack Hardwick) to rebury the ancient body in the grounds of the house, which according to his daughter Mrs Val Crosby, he did, though by that time it was deteriorating badly. And so the curse was laid to rest.

Except that apparently it wasn’t, as in the last 20 years or so, residents at Low Hall, which by this time had become a convalescent home for Yorkshire coal miners and their families, began reporting strange happenings. Some people reported a malevolent atmosphere in the library, and many of the residents said they felt a hand on their shoulder but when they turned around no one was there. The caretakers dog refused to go into the library at all, staff refused to enter certain rooms where footsteps could be heard when there was no one in the rooms, and doors would reportedly open and close on their own. There was also a blue light which was sometimes seen hovering over the kitchen garden where the mummy was 
So, about 10 years ago, plans were made to locate the mummy, dig it up, and return it to Egypt, and one of the people involved was the noted Egyptologist and archaeologist Dr Zahi Hawass, who was part of a campaign to return stolen antiquities to their countries of origin. And rightly so. However, at the present time (2015) this does not yet seem to have happened as the burial site is said now to be either under a golf course or under the bowling green ! Apparently it's more sacrilegious to dig up a golf course than it is to dig up an ancient Egyptian body. 
If anyone has any more up to date news of the fate of the mummy of Low Hall, or knows of any existing photographs, please let me know.


The Flixton Werewolf

Flixton is a very small village about 5 miles to the south of Scarborough on the North Yorksire coast, In a valley between the hills of the Yorkshire Wolds to the south and the edge of the North York moors a few miles to the north. Today it’s a quite desolate landscape, swampy and open, but long ago it was a dense forest with a large lake.  It must have been quite a wild, remote spot in the 10th century when the Flixton werewolf was first reported terrorising the local countryside.
 There is no way of knowing now just how far back the Flixton werewolf tales go, but in the year 940 the situation was such that a hostel was built in Flixton specifically for the protection of travellers. The werewolf had reportedly attacked  sheep and local people as well as travellers.  The winters at that time were particularly cruel in northern britain and food was scarce. Freshly buried corpses were dug up and devoured, and anyone out after dark was risking being attacked. The Flixton werewolf became quite notorious at this time.

However, the reports then stopped, and he doesn't seem to have been reported again for a couple of hundred years or so, when around 1150 (ish) the reports began again.  It, (even assuming it was the same, very old, creature), devoured a local shepherd and a young girl, as well as farm animals. This werewolf walked upright, was incredibly stinky, had a particularly long tail and ferocious looking eyes.  Then all seems to have gone quiet again for about 600 years.

Maybe we should pause here a moment and consider the idea of lycanthropy (the ability to become a wolf, or werewolf) as either an inherited genetic trait, or something which is learned and passed down through the generations in particular families or groups, rather than a single creature roaming around for hundreds of years. Shape shifting is an incredibly ancient phenomenon, reported from all parts of the world in all time periods, even hinted at as far back as the palaeolithic in europe, where cave paintings show the possible transformation of humans into animals. Either way,  it's unlikely that a single creature could survive over a period of at least a thousand years.

Another twist to the legend is that it was believed the werewolf was connected to a local magician who either used the creature for his own ends or was actually a shape shifter himself who took on wolf form.
Anyway, Sometime around 1800 a carriage travelling to York was attacked just outside Flixton by a huge wolf like creature who first attacked the driver and then the occupants of the carriage, one of whom shot the creature, but apparently he didn't use silver bullets as the creature was unharmed. It has to be remembered that wolves had been pretty well eradicated from this area by that time, and anyway a solitary wolf would have to be pretty desperate to attack a carriage full of people.
Then again much more recently, in the 1970's, local reports say a truck was  attacked when a huge wolf like creature jumped on the front and tried to bash its way through the windscreen, so whatever it is it certainly hasn't gone away.


Another point of interest is that Flixton is the site of Star Carr, a neolithic lake village which dates back to the end of the last ice age and so is the first  known site to be occupied after the glaciers retreated about 11, 000 years ago. This gives the place a very ancient history indeed and is a perfect place for stories and legends to grow, and although the oldest reports of the werewolf at Flixton date back over a thousand years, who knows whether people were telling tales of strange creatures here many thousands of years before that, way back in the mists of time.

P.S. A recent report which may be relevant.....   http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/8ft-tall-werewolf-old-stinker-prowling-in-hull-industrial-estate_uk_573999d2e4b01359f6872265
SPACE GOO
 or
 space snot...star shot....star snot....star jelly....astral jelly.......Star slyme.......astromyxin.......etc.

A couple of years ago i came across some very unusual 'jelly' in the garden of a house in the North York Moors national park in northern england.        It was a clear jelly, in sort of cube shapes,in several large lumps about an inch across,  as well as more blob like deposits scattered around an area of about 23 sq yards. It didn't smell, and remained undisolved for about a week even though it was quite wet weather.

                                                                                                                                        My photo.
I've spent a large part of my life working and wandering in the countryside but this was something I'd never seen before, so  I took some photographs and did a bit of research, but more recently  I've come across several references to what seems to be the same as the stuff I saw. So what I've found out is that no one really knows quite what it is !

                                                                                                                                     My photo.
Space goo or something  similar has been found in various parts of Scotland over the last few years, as well as the Lake District in north western England, and as i said, in North Yorkshire. Many other places as well I'm sure, but these are just the instances ive come across.  The earliest record ive found is from  John of Gaddesden who lived from about 1280 to 1361. He was a well known physician who mentions it in his medical writings, suggesting it could be used for treating abscesses. He called it star of the earth, and described it as a 'certain mucilaginous substance lying upon the earth. ' I assume people have always seen it though.

                                                                                                                                      My photo.
For hundreds of years (AT LEAST) people have associated star shot with meteorites. In 1440 in an english-latin dictionary it was called 'star slyme'  or assub, which means falling star or shooting star. 

An article in Fate magazine (date and author unknown) described it as 'cellular organic matter' which floats around in space in 'presteller molecular clouds' (?).


On 3rd November 1996 a bright meteor was seen at Kempton in Australia, and the next morning residents found translucent slime on the roads and in their gardens.
There were several falls of 'gelatinous rain' in Oakville, Washington, in 1994. National geographic called it 'mystery goo rain'. Microbiologist Mike McDowell tested the substance and claimed it could cause illness to anyone who touched it, and said he believed the town had been used as a 'test site' and that the substance had been manufactured. Scientists commissioned by the National geographic society tested some samples but said only that they had failed to find any DNA in the jelly.
There are many such stories.
Some people believe Star jelly to be some kind of pre fertilized frog spawn,  or 'proto spawn' which may have been regurgitated from amphibian eating birds, such as Herons,  which may sound plausible, but the amount I found would have needed to come from some form of monster frog, or a huge army of normal sized frogs. This substance is also sometimes called Otter jelly, presumably because its supposedly regurgitated by otters. mmm.
Slime moulds are another possibility as there are various types and can look unusual.
But then where's the DNA ?
Finally,  a man named Andy Malcolm reportedly claimed on a Scottish radio programme website that it was stags semen. (How would he know that ? ). Well what i found certainly wasn't stags semen.

                                             Keep watching the skies.









LOCH NESS......CREATURES FROM THE OTHERWORLD.

Loch Ness in Scotland is a magical landscape and a most beautiful and atmospheric place. It's no wonder people see otherworldly creatures or 'monsters' here.
Loch Ness forms the north eastern end of the wild and natural landscape of Scotlands Great Glen, which stretches from the east coast to the west coast and splits Scotland into two distinct parts. Loch Ness itself is a very large loch, about 20 miles long and incredibly deep in many places.
The Great Glen, which forms a series of lochs, of which Loch Ness is the largest, is formed by a geological fault known as the Great Glen Fault, and stretches from Inverness in the north east to Fort William in the south west. It cuts through wild mountainous country and divides the north west highlands from the Grampian mountains and has always been a remote place until relatively recently, when it has become a major tourist attraction.
So what exactly is happening at Loch Ness ? Just what is the creature, or monster, that so many people see ? And be under no illusions, people do see it, and quite often. There are many theories.
Lakes, meres, pools, and any large bodies of water have always been seen as gateways to the otherworld in Celtic mythology and the fairy lore of Britain, ( and in fact the lore of many places and cultures), where creatures from other realms have access to ours. There are many many stories in Welsh, English and Irish, as well as Scottish folklore and mythology, that tell of water creatures visiting our world. As well as the many dragons, worms etc, there are the phookas, kelpies and myriad other water creatures of traditional lore. These legends show that people have interacted with otherworldly water creatures in these islands since at least the end of the last ice age ( at the beginning of the holocene epoch about 12000 years ago).
In recent years the numbers of sightings of the 'monster' have dropped greatly, so this is possibly due to the taming of the landscape and the huge number of visitors, new roads to accommodate tourists invasions etc. Unfortunately this has had a negative effect on the atmosphere of the place. If anyone wishes to visit Loch Ness i would recommend spring or autumn, when visitor numbers are lower but the weather is still reasonable. Scottish winters can be harsh and can make monster hunting distinctly uncomfortable !
atmosphere is very important in the summoning of visions etc.
Another theory is that the sightings of strange creatures are due to the geological faulting of the glen. It is now accepted that strong geomagnetic fields can have a profound effect on the human brain and consciousness, and are known to cause visual hallucinations as well as producing various visual phenomena such as earthlights, lights in the sky etc...
 'Geophysical' energies produced by fault lines are thought to be involved in countless reports of strange lights, fairies, visions, hauntings etc as well as people experiencing involuntary trance states, and this could apply to modern reports as well as folklore from such places.
In no way am i inferring people do not see a 'real' creature at Loch Ness. Many people will swear they have and unless you were there at the time no one has any right to contradict them. The theories and ideas im putting forward here are just ideas which may or may not relate to what different people see or experience. There are many such places around the world which gain a reputation for having something otherwordly about them. Opinions differ over whether the undeniable atmosphere of such places is a product of the human mind or something outside of ourselves. Loch Ness must surely be one of the most famous most popular of these sites and many thousands of pages have been written about it in books, magazines, websites, journals and reports, as well as photographs and film footage. So a history or catalogue of the many sightings need not be included here. 
The various theories of what the Loch Ness 'monster' is include some kind of large survivor from a distant age, which would obviously mean 'creatures' (plural), surviving and breeding over many thousands of years. This is certainly not impossible, given the remoteness and physical geography of Loch Ness. It is very deep and very dark and has all kinds of caverns and cave systems associated with it, some of which are reported by local people and geologists to link with other lochs in the area. The geological history of the region and its relationship to the various glaciation periods is complex but does not preclude the possibility of prehistoric survival in the lochs of the great glen.
The usual objection to to a colony of large creatures surviving in the area is 'but surely people would have seen them..............'


(The above two photographs were both taken in Loch Ness.)

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None of the photographs reproduced here are mine and i do not own the rights to them. They are used here for educational purposes only.


NINE LADIES

THE NINE LADIES STONE CIRCLE,
STANTON MOOR, ENGLAND.
Nine ladies stone circle is a bronze age stone circle on Stanton Moor in derbyshire, england. Stanton moor has many prehistoric remains, cairns, standing stones and stone circles. It is part of the Peak District National Park, and is much visited by walkers, and seasonal ceremonies are performed at the site by various pagan groups.


The King Stone

There are nine upright stones and one which was discovered in 1976 lying flat, and another stone called the King Stone about 50 yards to the south west.










Legend says the stones are the remains of dancing witches who were turned to stone for dancing to the sound of the devils fiddle, but when the full moon shines on the circle the ladies move around in a ritual dance once more.                                            
Nine Maidens has been the site of a 10 year protest and court battle between 1999 and 2009, against planned quarrying, which seems to finally have been won and the stone circle saved.

here are a couple of links for more information.




These lovely photographs were taken by my friend Clare.

.........OF GREEN HILLS AND WHITE HORSES


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GIANTS IN THE LANDSCAPE.  All around england there are carved mysterious figures in the hillsides, mostly horses, which have puzzled and amazed people for many centuries. You may have seen them as you are walking or wandering in the valleys or on the hill tops. People have debated their origins and meanings for longer than anyone can remember. New ones occasionally appear and others are sometimes left to grow over and disappear back into the hills.
Myths and legends grow up around some of the older hill figures, the magic of the landscape seeping into our subconcious, and helping us to absorb the atmosphere of these ancient places.
The oldest remaining white horse, and certainly the most beautiful, is the uffington horse, which is dated to the bronze age or early iron age, possibly over 3,000 years old. So local people have kept it cleared and told its stories as cultures and ideas have come and gone and changed over the centuries.


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Uffington white horse
Iron age Celtic coins have been found which are astonishingly similar to the stylised design of the uffington white horse.


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iron age coins
Just below the white horse is a small hill known as dragon hill, where legend has it that a dragon was killed, and where its blood dripped no grass will ever grow, and just over 1 mile away is Waylands Smithy, an ancient barrow where the giant Wayland had his forge.
It is thought by some that the horse was first cut into the hillside as a tribal symbol or totem, or more likely a shamanic spirit animal, similar to the earlier neolithic shamanic cave paintings.


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palaeolithic cave painting. Approx 16,000 years old.


another particularly nice one is the Westbury white horse.

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Westbury white horse
The white horse of kilburn is englands biggest white horse and also the most northerly.

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The white horse of Kilburn

Its not only horses which adorn the chalk hills of england.
The Cerne Abbas Giant is the most interesting giant in england and its obvious why people for centuries have believed he is connected with fertility.

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The Cerne Abbas giant

The long Man of Wilmington is another interesting one. Not least because there are tales that he used to be a woman, and has been re-cut many times, changing shape over the years. Another theory is that he is an ancient depiction of Orion.

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The Long man of Wilmington


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