There are over nine hundred stone circles across the British Isles. Roughly twenty or so of those can be found in Cornwall. However, it is almost impossible for us to know exactly how many such monuments were actually built by our ancestors. An unknown number of circles have been lost or destroyed in the thousands of years since their construction. Emblance Circles, a pair of Bronze Age stone circles, on the wilds of Bodmin Moor is one such site which has almost been forgotten by us today. A site little understood, little visited and in the past at risk of disappearing beneath the turf.
Most of the stones at the Emblance circles have either fallen or been broken. The damp location means many of the stones are partially underwater or disappear into the boggy ground during the winter.
This may not be the most impressive of Cornwall’s ancient monuments, indeed the author Philip Marsden rather unflatteringly (and fairly!) describes the stones as ‘cattle-shunted stumps’ in his book – Rising Ground, but there is no doubt that each circle is precious. Each has something to teach us.
Unfortunately however it seems it is usually the most famous and showy of our ancient sites that gets the funding for excavation and restoration.
When considering Emblance, and so many other damaged circles, there are plenty of questions we should raise. Not only what did they once look like but how did they come to be in their present state? And ultimately what can be done to preserve them?
Source: The Cornish Bird
Original publication 1 January, 2020
Posted on NatCorn 29th January 2020
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