The Hurlers Inter-circle link under the Moonlight

The Hurlers is a wonderful triple stone circle site located within a larger ritual landscape on Bodmin Moor. There has been a number of excavations undertaken at the site including the exposing of the inter circle pathway, which is a unique and interesting feature.

During 2013 Mapping the Sun project, when the pathway was exposed and excavated, there was an observation that it could have been made to look like Milky Way on the ground. Although the pathway is now been turfed over we had the idea of recreating this effect. The moor itself has a yellow clay and anyone walking around in the troughs and valleys may find their boots stained in the wonderful yellow colour, although there was no remaining evidence of this we thought what would happen if the stones in this pathway had been packed with the yellow clay around them. How would that look under a full Moon? How would it look in the dying sunlight of an evening?

 

An experiment was born.

We headed out onto the moor with a long sheet of yellow cloth and laid it upon the location of the inter-circle link, we waited and watched the sunset and then we also watched what happened in the moonrise, I am sure you will love the results we found in the video below.

 

Apollo 50 and Cornwall

We had a wonderful day at Goonhilly Earth Station celebrating the lunar landings on Saturday. The celebrations kicked off early and went on all day and night, reaching the 3.56BST time which Neil Armstrong placed the first human footprint onto the moon.

I was there with Mayes Creative and their wonderful meteor sculpture and its cosmic ray detector. More can be seen about what we got up to where we were interviewed by Cornwall live.

I also made it onto ITV West country news on their Saturday night broadcast talking about cosmic rays – this can be viewed here

I also wrote a lovely article for Astronomy Now (July issue), all about the role Goonhilly played in the broadcasting of the Apollo 11 lunar landing images.  If you haven’t seen this months issue it’s well worth checking out as its full of wonderful lunar memories and features.

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A big thank you to all the people who made this event possible – it was wonderful to play a small part on the day in which Goonhilly showcased the best of Space Cornwall on this amazing anniversary.

Propped stone / pseudo quoit at Carn Kenidjack

Possible propped stone on Carn Kenidjack.

Walking towards Carn Kenidjack you cannot be astounded by the magnificent rock formation that forms the main outcrop on the hilltop. This natural formation is clearly visible for miles around and must have acted as a visual marker in the West Cornwall upland area.

Interestingly I have often wondered about one part of this formation which does not look like it is part of the natural feature but seems to be a later human addition. Approaching from the NE side or nearest North Road to the right hand side of the outcrop is a large rock propped onto 2 stones. One of these stones is much smaller than the other, but between the two they raise the large piece of granite away from the main structure. The large rock balanced on these stones has a capstone shape especially when viewed from further afield. About half a mile distant on a visible ridge is Chun Quoit and it amazes me the similarity in shape of the two objects when viewing the objects from each other. I wonder if the stone high on Carn Kenidjack is a propped stone or pseudo quoit much in the manner of the propped quoit of Leskernick.

A further consideration is that when you stand at Chun Quoit on the winter solstice you will see the Sun sets behind Carn Kenidjack and during prehistory it would have highlighted the pseudo quoit even more. If people did move a rock to the top of this formation it would have been a massive undertaking and shows the reverence they held for the Chun quoit on the local hillside and its connection at the winter solstice and the outcrop of Carn Kenidjack

Image taken at winter solstice sunset

Chun Castle

Chun Castle

Image taken by Carolyn Kennett (2019) please seek permission before reuse

Here is the wonderful Iron Age Chun Castle, taken by my drone on a really clear day in January.  What is amazing is how clear of bracken and gorse the site is, courtesy of the volunteers of the Penwith Landscape Partnership who were out clearing this in all weathers during December. The walls of this site used to be 5 meters in height until the stone was robbed to build Madron Workhouse. It was lived in by both people of the Iron Age and during the Medival period. The huts from the Iron age are rounded, while the huts from the medieval are squared edged. Well worth a visit before the undergrowth reclaims it again for another 40 years

The Winter Solstice – Astronomy Now December Issue 2018

This month I have written a piece for the Astronomy Now magazine about some of the best places to go and see the winter solstice.  I included a range of ancient sites throughout the UK and Ireland, which could offer a different type of experience depending on what you were looking for; from the mass gatherings at Stonehenge to the more personal at Calliagh Berra’s House in Northern Island. I could have written about many more wonderful sites and choosing the six sites for the article was perhaps one of the hardest things I had to do. So its worth exploring what winter solstice connections there are in your area before getting ready to head out on the day 🙂

Tregeseal Winter Solstice 2017

From this stone circle, the winter solstice falls into the only visible location on the horizon where you can see the sea. Framed within the sea gap is the Isles of Scilly.

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Image by Carolyn Kennett 2017

Secrets of the Stones: the Science of Archaeoastronomy

I had a wonderful chat with Julie Vural, who posted this piece about archaeoastronomy and culture on her blog The Dazzling Universe. It covers alignments in Cornwall and further afield as well as connections through the sky through objects such as the wonderful Alaca Höyük dagger. Which is one of the few examples of worked iron objects from prehistory with a meteorite origin. Anyway its well worth a read – the link is above.

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The Alaca Höyük dagger, on display at the Museum of Anatolian Civilisations in Ankara

Summer Walking Tours – some photos

Thank you to everyone for joining these, it was lovely to meet you all and I appreciated all your enthusiasm and interest.

Images from the walk on Thursday 16th August

Credit Brendan Byrne.

Image from the walk on Tuesday 14th August

 

Image credit John Riley and Carolyn Kennett

Link to a video taken by Gerry Gee of Carolyn speaking at Tregeseal – sorry for the sound – it was rather windy on the first walk.

Video of talk given at Tregeseal

Summer Solsitce

I was lucky enough to enjoy another clear summer solstice sunrise here in west Cornwall. This year I chose to go to Boskednan on the moors above Madron. This circle is a very special circle with a known setting alignment with Carn Galver at the lunar major standstill position. The summer solstice sun rises over the Zennor ridge, a location with a large number of barrows and a quoit. Here are some images from the morning.

Carrowkeel, Sligo, Ireland.

As we head up for the summer solstice, it is worth pointing out that one of the 15 Neolithic barrows at Carrowkeel, Sligo in Ireland has a lightbox which is aligned to illuminate the tomb at summer solstice sunset. This is found at barrow G, I have added some photos of the entrance to the tomb, (which is a tight fit), the blocking stone is covered in cup marks to the rear. A lightbox lets light into the chamber at certain times of the year. The most well-known example of this is found at Newgrange, Ireland, which illuminates a long corridor to the end chamber on the winter solstice sunrise. This lightbox would work in a similar way, it has also been suggested that the alignment could also work for the full moon nearest the mid-winter solstice.

There is so much to discover at Carrowkeel, it is well worth the climb to the top of the hill.  At tomb G at Carrowkeel, there is also a large basin stone to the right of the entrance which is covered in cup marks. It’s well worth the climb inside as there is a wonderful keystone in the roof, the interior shows what an amazing engineering job was made on building the tomb. A virtual tour of the tomb is available here and lets you look inside this tomb and at a number of other in the complex.

Virtual tour of Carrowkeel

A few pictures of the Carrowkeel tombs and the lightbox with cup marks.