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Tim Prevett explores are these stones actually ancient?

Stones at Caerdegog Uchaf on Anglesey

When looking for ancient stones, another puzzle which can present itself is the dilemma - are these stones actually ancient?

During our holiday in August I came across a pair of standing stones south west from Cemaes and west from Llanfechell. Something of a mystery these ones (pictured, taken from grid reference SH 3490 9146).

I know Anglesey's megaliths well, but a pair like this, at this angle, viewed from the road. Just to the south there's a pair of Standing Stones at Pen Yr Orsedd, and the 'prehistoric goalposts' near

Holyhead at Penrhos-Feilw. Peck's picture matches neither of these. Since reading M Scott Peck's "In Search of Stones" I was puzzled over a pair of megaliths he depicts but doesn't name on page 69. He cites they're not on his map and not in his guidebooks.

Driving back from a trip to Cemaes Bay en route back to Penhesgyn campsite, for a couple seconds on the right hand side on a bend just after Tregele near the left hand Llanfechell junction, I spied a stone.

One to check another day, as I was tired from the day's walking.

Skeptical, I nearly dismissed the curious inkling to go back. Lorries turn there, and there's a disused quarry next to the stone. Perhaps it's just upcast from the quarry that someone's played with?

On the return visit a few days later, we pulled up into the big lorry layby. Within a minute I realised there were two stones. Once I achieved the best line of site I'd realised I'd seen this pair before in Peck's book. They look considerable stones and convincing in my opinion. Not a whiff of access though!

Peck writes, (page 68-69), "I shortly spied our first standing stones or menhirs. They stood about ten feet tall, two of them thirty yards apart, anchored in a little patch of untilled moorland. We stopped to gape in awe. A little part of our awe was their unpredictability. They had not been marked on our map. Nor mentioned in our guidebooks. They were not there to be searched for. They were simply there, just off a major road, nonchalantly waiting for anyone with the eyes to see.

They pointed to the sky. Once, perhaps, there had been more of them, but I doubt it because they seem such a pair. They were of remarkably similar shape and size, and both were slightly slanted in the same direction as we were heading, almost as if to urge us forward. They looked like they possessed energy. We would have liked to have touched them, but they were guarded both by thick barbed wire at the edge of the road and by the pouring rain. So we had to content ourselves with examining them from a distance. They appeared relatively smooth, and I wondered if they had been deliberately quarried as a pair."

Peck's visit was in June 1992, so they had been there at least 20 years before my visit, and I suspect longer. They are on the ridgeway, the stones at Llanfechell are similarly situated, and another stone at Llanfaethlu is adjacent the road. However their antiquity is questionable as they are neither on Coflein (the Welsh Historic and Ancient Monuments database) nor on the OS map.

A couple weeks after getting back I was preparing material to place on The Megalithic Portal. It’s here that I discover a couple others (at least) have made the same journey. Thinking they’ve discovered hitherto unnoticed 4,000 year old stones, going away, doing the research and finding out the truth.

It turns out the Gwynedd Archaeological trust had been contacted by a previous megalithic enthusiast.

They in turn made enquiries with locals and they turn out to have been erected in the 1960s. In some ways hugely disappointing, in others pleasing - in that something so recent can begin to get a feel about it, a vibe of the mysterious and a linking in to the landscape. Standing stones need not be millennia old to be special, sacred.

Copyright Tim Prevett

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