Saints Home Stones

Each month (with the exception of the combined Summer months of July and August), this website features two journeys to take to explore the Saints and Stones of England, Scotland, Wales, and Ireland. This issue features a one-day visit to Two Cumbria Stone Circle Sites, and a one-day visit to the second largest stone circle in the UK at Stanton Drew, Somerset Stone Circle Site.

Books: Climbing Brandon: Science and Faith on Ireland's Holy Mountain by Chet Raymo. For many years, acclaimed science writer Chet Raymo has lived part of each year on the Dingle Peninsula, near the foot of the mountain, and he has climbed it perhaps a hundred times, exploring paths that have been used for centuries by pilgrims in search of spiritual enlightenment. But the history and geography of Mount Brandon are what drew Raymo to it and offered him a lens through which to view the modern conflicts between science and religion. An excellent book.

Publications: The Council for British Archaeology Wales, an organization that serves to promote interest in the historic environment of Wales and to bring together those interested in Welsh archaeology publishes Archaeology in Wales, the journal on recent archaeological discoveries relating to Wales. The journal is free to subscribing members and is produced on an annual basis. It includes a gazetteer of recent archaeological work undertaken in Wales as well as longer contributions.

Websites and Blogs: Aside from the Megalithic Portal, The Modern Antiquarian is the other major website dedicated to ancient sites. It is based on Julian Cope's epic guidebook of the same name and his other book, The Megalithic European. Since launching in March 2000, the site has grown to be a massive resource for news, information, images, folklore & weblinks on sites across the UK, Ireland, and Europe, thanks to the efforts of its many constributors. Its "Latest News" column is particulary valuable, keeping interested parties up-to-date on issues involving stone sites.

Podcasts: From Cornwall to Orkney, stone circles are scattered throughout the length and breadth of the British Isles. Their history stretches more than 2 millennia, varying from the earlier huge stone circles such as Castlerigg, Avebury, and the Ring of Brodgar to the smaller and more regional circles that emerged after ca. 2,000 B.C. Their remains continue to attract great amounts of visitors right up to the present day. Our podcast for this month is The Ancients: Stone Circles and features Dan Snow chatting with Timothy Darvill OBE, a professor from the Department of Archaeology and Anthropology at Bournemouth University and the author of Prehistoric Britain.

Organizations: The Society of Antiquaries of Scotland (ScARF) is an organization that has been around for 240 years and actively supports the study and enjoyment of Scotland's past. ScARF publishes books and peer reviewed papers, runs an annual programme of lectures and conferences (such as the prestigious Rhind Lectures), and administers research grants and prizes. Following the creation of a national Scottish Archaeological Research Framework in 2012, the organization is formulating regional frameworks for all regions of Scotland, key parts of Scotland's Archaeology Strategy. Currently, ScARF has issued frameworks for five regions of Scotland. As an example, see: A Framework for the Western Islands, Orkney, and Shetland.

Art-Photography: This month we feature the superb photos of Ken Williams, photographer and researcher from Drogheda, in the heart of the Boyne Valley of Ireland, specializing in the prehistoric art and monuments of Western Europe. He describes his work thusly: "For the past 15 years I have been engaged in a long term photographic project centering on the megalithic monuments of Western Europe, entitled 'Shadows and Stone'" His work, which has been featured in a number of publications and media, has documented the discovery of many previously unrecorded carvings at some of Ireland's best known monuments as well as identifying previously unknown open-air rock art sites. He also has an interesting Shadow and Stones Blog on his most current work.

Videos:Our videos this month are both from Megalithomania and feature stone circles in Cumbria, England. The first features Castlerigg Stone Circle, considered by many to be the Lake District's most beautifully placed Megalithic site. The second features Long Meg and Her Daughters Stone Circle, and is dedicated to a reader of our Homepage, Paul Deterling, who will appreciate more than just the stone circles. Note: To make YouTube videos more enjoyable and eliminate the annoying ads that occasionally pop up at the worst times, go to the View Pure website, where you simply add the YouTube URL of the site you are watching and you can watch the programs without interruptions.

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Suggestions, comments, and questions are always welcome.