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stanton drew stone circles

I have been researching the Stanton Drew Stone Circles for a number of years both as an individual and with members of the Bath and Camerton Archaeological Society. The stones seen at Stanton Drew are varied and include, among other rock types; silicified Dolomitic Conglomerate, Oolitic Limestone and Sandstone. The question is; from where were these various stone types sourced?

Pole photography

Notes Posted on Thu, December 29, 2016 07:49:42

28th December 2016:

I’ve put together a rig for pole photography comprising a 5-metre telescopic aluminium pole, Olympus TG-4 camera and using Olympus Share app on my Samsung smartphone, and today was it’s first trial use.

Where better to go than over to Stanton Drew Great Circle. The low mist in the valley had lifted and the sun was shining.

Perhaps the sun was shining a little too brightly as it was casting some rather long shadows, but the resulting photographs do give a different perspective of the stones.

The images were all taken to the north-east side of the Great Circle where the Avenues are to be found.

Geophysical surveying at Stanton Drew

Notes Posted on Tue, October 11, 2016 08:19:46

30th September-3rd October and 7th-10th October 2016: with Bath and Camerton Archaeological Society (BACAS).

Spent a few days with BACAS carrying out geophysical survey of two sites in Stanton Drew. the first location was at Tithe Barn fields, just off Sandy Lane (image above) where resistivity and magnetometer surveying was done. Before the survey could be carried out there was a lot of moving of electric fences required as the fields were split into paddock areas for horses and ponies. The site itself slopes downwards to the north from Sandy Lane towards the River Chew where a former mill and associated leats is located. The underlying geology on the higher ground comprises bedrock of Mercia Mudstone Group of Triassic Age this if overlain on the lower river valley by superficial deposits of Alluvium – clay, silt, sand and gravel of Quaternary age. Some of the survey results might reflect this changing geology.

The second site of interest was the field opposite the Druids Arms public house (image below). This surprisingly elevated situation had extensive views (if the buildings were removed) of the stone circle sites and Maes Knoll is easily visible. Again carried out resistivity and magnetometer survey although unable to finish all the resi in the time allowed. There has been some previous work carried out c.1996 but only an interpretation remains as the raw data has been lost.

A full report of the geophysical will be produced at a later date so I will not provide any interpretation of the results here.

Sourcing the stones

Notes Posted on Fri, January 01, 2016 09:58:10

Some thoughts written a while ago on the origins of the stone types found at the Stanton Drew monument site.

Simmonds, V.J. An introduction to Stanton Drew Stone Circles_Sourcing the stones.

Probing the Big Ground

Notes Posted on Sat, March 14, 2015 07:18:17

Report on the fieldwork carried out at Stanton Drew during February and March 2014 and other related activities. Part of the Stanton Drew Survey (low res version).


V., Oswin, J and Richards, J. 2015. Probing the Big Ground: Quoit Farm,
Stanton Drew, February/March 2014 and related work at Stanton Drew.
Bath & Camerton Archaeological Society.

Big Ground Mound

Notes Posted on Wed, January 21, 2015 17:16:05

The Bath and Camerton Archaeological Society (BACAS) report on the fieldwork carried out in
2013 at the Big Ground Mound, Stanton Drew. Part of the Stanton Drew Survey.


J., Oswin, J. and Simmonds, V. The Big Ground Mound and other
archaeological investigations at Quoit Farm, Stanton Drew, 2013 (Low Res
Version) BACAS

Hautville’s Quoit

Notes Posted on Wed, January 21, 2015 17:15:06

The Bath and Camerton Archaeological Society in collaboration with
Bath and Northeast Somerset Council report on the fieldwork carried out
in 2012 at the site of Hautville’s Quoit, Stanton Drew.Part of the Stanton Drew Survey.


J., Oswin, J. and Simmonds, V. Stanton Drew Surveys, 2012. Hautville’s
Quoit and other archaeological investigations. BACAS in collaboration
with BANES.

Stanton Drew 2010

Notes Posted on Wed, January 21, 2015 17:13:35

The Bath and Camerton Archaeological Society in collaboration with
Bath and Northeast Somerset Council report on the fieldwork carried out
in 2010 at the site of Stanton Drew Stone Circles. Part of the Stanton Drew Survey.


V.J. The Geology and the Landscape in Oswin, J., Richards, J. and
Sermon, R. 2011 Stanton Drew 2010: geophysical survey and other
archaeological investigations. BACAS and BANES.

21st December 2013

Field Notes 2013 Posted on Sun, December 22, 2013 16:24:01

Went over to Stanton Drew Stone Circles with my daughter to experience the setting sun on the Winter Solstice. There were a few others at the Stones but not many. Unfortunately the sun was somewhat obscured by clouds although there was a ‘red sky’

Some observations:

There appears to be an alignment through the ‘Big Mound’, the north east avenues, across the Great Circle to the south west circle where the sun seems to set. This is enhanced by the upward slope to the horizon looking towards the setting sun. Standing in the avenues, the south west wind blows into your face, as you look in the direction of the setting sun the clouds appear to pass rapidly by on either side, the ‘red’ rays of the sun take centre stage – and then it is gone as the sun dips below the horizon.

I guess it can be considered a spiritual experience.

Harold’s Stones, Trellech

Field Notes 2013 Posted on Thu, January 31, 2013 06:30:36

While at Trellech to carry out an archaeological excavation took the opportunity to wander down the road to take a look at these stones.

The stones are suggested to be Bronze Age and comprise of a locally derived conglomerate termed ‘puddingstone’, the clast material is mainly coarse subrounded to rounded quartz gravel.

The stones are located within a basin, there are a number of spring courses in the surrounding area.

26th & 27th July 2012

Field Notes 2012 Posted on Sun, August 19, 2012 17:17:09

Field trip to explore the sites and monuments in the Avebury area – Windmill Hill, West Kennet Long Barrow, the Sanctuary, Silbury Hill, West Kennet Avenue and the Avebury Circles, in particular to study the rock types chosen.

The image below was taken in West Kennet Avenue shows some interesting striations, these features were noted on a number of the standing stones.

Similar striations have been noted on Hautville’s Quoit, associated with the Stanton Drew stone circle monument in Northeast Somerset (seen below on the right hand side of the image), also worthy of note is the similarity in the rock colouration.

The images below were also taken of stones in the West Kennet Avenue and show more similarities to the stone, Hautville’s Quoit.

The evidence seen in the field would appear to suggest that the likely source for Hautville’s Quoit rock type as being sarsen and to have originated from the Wiltshire region, possibly from Fyfield Down. Mercer carried out an excavation of the Quoit in 1969 and attributed the stone as being of ‘ Wiltshire sarsen stone’ origin.

Mercer, R. 1969. Hautville’s Quoit Excavation Notes includes Clark, A.J. Geophysical Survey Report (Unpublished).

21st June 2012

Field Notes 2012 Posted on Thu, June 21, 2012 18:48:54

The Rollright Stones, Oxfordshire SP 296308 – northwest of Chipping Norton.

The Rollright Stones complex consists of three monuments – a burial chamber (portal dolmen), a stone circle and a standing stone. The stone circle is 30 metres in diameter, and is set on low bank with no ditch. A number of the stones were re-erected in 1882. There are a number of other suggested features within the surrounding landscape including Bronze Age barrows.

The monument site is located on a ridge overlooking valleys on either side depending on where you view the surrounding landscape from the complex. This differs from sites situated in basins such as Stanton Drew and Avebury and the Rollright Stones have been likened to sites in the northwest of England, in particular, sites located in Cumbria.

The monuments are probably Neolithic dating from about 3500 to 1500 BC and comprise of local Oolitic Limestone. The surface of the stones is eroded and pitted with solutional features, although the irregular shape might be the result of vandalism through time where passers-by have taken chips from the stones to ward off the devil. The lichen cover is abundant and some colonies are thought to be 400 to 800 years old.

It is worth noting that the pitted surface of the Jurassic Oolitic Limestone bears a similarity to those of the same rock type at Stanton Drew.

25th March 2012

Field Notes 2012 Posted on Mon, March 26, 2012 21:37:01

Overton Hill to Fyfield Down, Wiltshire. On a warm, sunny day to welcome the start of British summer time decided on a field trip to the sarsen stones at Fyfield Down. A follow up to Lloyd-Morgan’s suggestion of a ‘sarsen’ origin for Hautville’s Quoit.

There are a number of features of the stones at Fyfield Down and Hautville’s Quoit that are similar.

There is also compelling evidence of human use of the stones at Fyfield Down, for example, polissoir (see image below) and field systems.

Reference: Lloyd-Morgan, C. 1887. The Stones of Stanton Drew: their source and origin. Proceedings of the Somerset Archaeological and Natural History Society, 33: pp 37 – 50.

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