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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?

31st December 2011

Field Notes 2011 Posted on Sat, January 07, 2012 16:20:00

Maes Knoll, Dundry Hill. Overcast and windy. NGRs have been plotted using a hand-held Garmin etrex GPS – accuracy +/- 6 metres.

ST 59986/65936

At Maes Knoll at the eastern end of Dundry Hill is a small scarp with several exposures of pale yellow-grey Oolitic Limestone of Jurassic age, the rocks have a number of natural solutional features. The scarp alignment is parallel to the contour of the hill.

At location ST 59886/66151 are more exposures of Oolitic Limestone. Much of the rock is obscured by an overgrowth of grass turf and lichens.

At location ST 60193/66139 at the east side of the Maes Knoll site Oolitic Limestone is clearly visible at the top of the ditch close to the surface. Although some of this rock might have been exposed when the ditch [or Wansdyke] was excavated.

From the hilltop in this general location there are good views of the Stanton Drew stone circles and this view is maintained when descending the footpath leading in a southeast direction off the summit of Dundry Hill down towards Norton Malreward. At around 120 metres elevation the view to the stones becomes obscured by buildings and trees.

29th December 2011

Field Notes 2011 Posted on Sat, January 07, 2012 15:10:33

Another overcast, wet and windy day. Today’s walk concentrated on an area closer to the stone circles. NGRs were plotted using a hand-held Garmin etrex GPS – accuracy +/- 6 metres.

Stanton Wick to Upper Stanton Drew ST 61078/63188

In the stream-bed of a deeply cut stream valley is an exposure of sandstone bedrock.

Although the rock appears red on surface exposures including fractures and joints when freshly broken faces are examined the rock is grey-black and medium to coarse grained. There is a substantial amount of colluvial material overlying the bedrock, the depth of the valley cut is 5 to 10 metres [or more]. Walking out of the stream valley up to the ridge at location ST 61302/62949 the Stanton Drew stone circles are clearly visible.

[Sandstone exposure is possibly part of the Supra-Pennant Measures (d6b) of the Upper Coal Measures of Carboniferous age. The former Bromley coal mine site is approximately 1km south of this location]

Stanton Wick ST 61378/61120 136 metres elevation

At the top of the hillslope is an exposure of pale yellow-grey silt/mudstone mostly as cobbles and boulders, no bedrock exposure was noted. These rocks are White and Blue Lias of Jurassic age [Reference: BGS Map 1:50 000 Scale, Sheet No. 280 Wells].

Location ST 61378/61113 at 120 metres elevation [just left of centre in the image above] is a curious man-made feature cut into the hillslope and facing north, possibly a stone pit or quarry. On the hilltop above this feature are what appears to be the remains of building(s) and earthworks. Across the hilltop is considerable evidence for human activity probably stone quarrying, ST 60955/60990 is a good example. The small streams that flow down the lane from this area have tufaceous [travertine] properties leaving a coating on pebbles, etc.

28th December 2011

Field Notes 2011 Posted on Sat, January 07, 2012 13:57:23

The first of a number of walks looking at a number of rock outcrops that might be a potential source for the stones found at Stanton Drew. NGRs have been plotted using a hand-held Garmin etrex GPS – accuracy +/- 6 metres.

The weather was rather overcast, windy with frequent cold showers becoming brighter with sunny spells later.

Field boundary, West Harptree ST 56326/56365 to ST 56265/56396

There is an exposed outcrop of Dolomitic Conglomerate (partly silicified) that forms part of the field boundary, this includes a number of large boulders. The boulder in the image above is approx. 4m x 1m x 1.5m. Any walk around the fields and lanes in the Harptree’s area will reveal a large number of silicified rocks along the boundaries.

Boulder fields, Garrow ST 55598/55468

At Garrow there are several fields that have exposed boulders of silicified Dolomitic Conglomerate. There appears to be a significant number of boulders sub-surface, there are lumps and bumps all over the area with some small exposures of rock. The silicification is variable and some boulders have a high quartz content. A number of the rocks are lichen covered.

The combe at Garrow Bottom ST 55050/54947

All the way up Garrow Bottom, on both sides of the combe, are exposed outcrops of variably cilicified Dolomitic Conglomerate, particularly on the southeast side. These outcrops include some massive blocks, the vast majority of which have a substantial covering of moss.

Garrowpipe Spring ST 54862/54878

In this location is a super exposed cliff face of Dolomitic Conglomerate with some massive block breakdown, some of these blocks are about 6m x 6m x 5m. From under these blocks and scree emerges a spring, although the flow is possibly now much reduced. It is a magical spot sadly now suffering from the ravages of modern times in particular 4X4s and trail motorbikes. Approximately 2.5km to the south-south-west of this location, as the crow flies, are the Priddy Circles.

Harptree Combe ST 55732/55302

At the top of Harptee Combe, near to the stile, are a number of boulders of silicified Dolomitic Conglomerate that are orange to purple-red with a pock marked surface that bear some similarity to the stones in the Great Circle at Stanton Drew.