The Living Stones

17 Apr

Tyn Cellar

We managed to get to 4 ancient stones earlier this week and this one, Ty’n y Selar, is near Margam, in a field right next to the M4 motorway. It’s a fine large menhir, around 8 feet tall, but the sound of the traffic really intruded into the atmosphere of the place, disrupting the peace. A legend says that Saint Samson threw it into the field from Margam Hill; one of the locals we met told us of a legend that the stone regularly walks to take a drink at the local pub! I also read that the stone walks to the sea to drink each Christmas morning before the cock crows. There have been several other stones on my journey with Dewi and Melvyn that are supposed to be able to walk to take a drink.

One thing I’ve noticed about the stones as I’ve been travelling across South Wales is that they are rarely cold to the touch, they’re a comfortable temperature and most are covered with extensive colonies of lichens. I place my hand on each stone I visit, but carefully as lichen can be many years old and I don’t want to damage it. The temperature and the lichen give me an impression that the stones are somehow imbued with life, they are living stones.

I’m travelling around South West Wales with archaeologist Dewi Bowen who is researching his new book on Neolithic / Bronze Age monuments. His previous book on the stones of Ancient Siluria (South East Wales) can be found here. Accompanying us is film maker Melvyn Williams who is recording a documentary about our experiences. Some of Melvyn’s short films can be seen here. I’m currently working on a series of expressive drawings of ancestral sites and if you want to see some of my other artworks, please click here.

14 Responses to “The Living Stones”

  1. allesistgut April 18, 2016 at 07:59 #

    What an intersting with a nice story. I would like to watch the stone(s) having a walk at Christmas Eve. Sunny greetings! 🙂

    • Rosie Scribblah April 18, 2016 at 11:46 #

      There are quite a few that are reputed to walk – I wonder where the legends come from?

  2. kestrelart April 18, 2016 at 07:36 #

    Will your images feature in the archeologist’s book?

    • Rosie Scribblah April 18, 2016 at 11:45 #

      It’s unlikely, he’s doing topographical drawings, maps and diagrams but we might work together on some aspects of the exhibition, joint talks maybe? And hopefully again when his book is published. But you never know, we might change our minds 😀

  3. jhv57 April 18, 2016 at 00:45 #

    Very interesting

  4. Leonie Andrews April 17, 2016 at 23:03 #

    I just remembered that I saw a tv show a few years back which demonstrated / postulated that the Easter Is sculptures were ‘walked’ into place. I wonder if something similar could have happened in your neck of the woods? You can see the clips on YouTube.

  5. Leonie Andrews April 17, 2016 at 22:58 #

    How intriguing the stories about the stones walking are. I love the idea that this menhir pops down to the pub for a pint!

  6. paperstew April 17, 2016 at 21:49 #

    What a beautiful stone! Do any of the menhirs have carvings? The ones I saw in France (Brittany coastline) did.

    • Rosie Scribblah April 17, 2016 at 21:56 #

      Unfortunately few British ones are carved, although it’s more common in Ireland 😦

      • paperstew April 18, 2016 at 05:56 #

        Sad face is right! 🙁

      • Rosie Scribblah April 18, 2016 at 06:27 #

        There are some with hemispherical ‘cup’ holes but haven’t seen any yet. Stone carving really took off with Celtic Christianity but that’s a milenium or so later.


  1. The Stone By The Motorway | scribblah - June 25, 2016

    […] is a thumbnail sketch I’ve done based on field drawings and photos of the Tyn Cellar Neolithic stone, near the motorway not far from Margam. I’m doing thumbnails, small working sketches, to […]

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