Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Trolls! Aliens! Barrow Wights!

It's still Sunday 26 May 1998. After leaving Avebury, we parked the car at nearby Silbury Hill and walked up the long path opposite towards West Kennet Long Barrow.

This crop circle met us halfway up the hill. It had been formed in the early hours of 4 May 1998 in a crop of oil seed rape. It was a 250-280ft diameter ring with 33 scroll motifs fitted into the ring.

As I took the photograph a chap said "So is it aliens or what?" With great effort I resisted the urge to say "No, it's a Canon EOS 500..." Or maybe I should have just laughed and said "You Earthlings are so funny!"

This is what we had really come to see. West Kennet Long Barrow. The barrow has five chambers that contained human remains. The huge stones were added much later to block off the entrance with it's small courtyard, when the tomb ceased to be used.

These places can have no small atmosphere of their own...

The entrance is seen here, reached by walking around the side of the standing stones.

How light it is inside depends on whether the turf has grown over some small skylights that have been set into the ceiling of the tombs. The first set of skylights have been covered on the hillside above with a thoughtful slab of concrete, not entirely in keeping with its surroundings...

We had been here once before in 1990 when the turf had blocked out all of the other skylights. Now, the light was almost enough so that you didn't have to walk holding a nervous hand outstretched before you!

I had a separate flashgun with me and placed it in the side chamber to the left for this shot. It was fired with a gizmo that set it off when it "saw" the burst of light from the on-camera flash.

Finally, a view from the far end of the chamber, looking back towards the entrance. Fran is playing at being a cave troll...

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