To the south of the villiage of Beddgelert in The Snowdonia National Park is a small stone monument marks the resting place of Gelert the faithful hound of the medieval Welsh Prince Llewelyn the Great.
The spearmen heard the bugle sound,
And cheerly smiled the morn;
And many a brach, and many a hound,
Obeyed Llewelyn’s horn.
And still he blew a louder blast,
And gave a lustier cheer:
‘Come, Gelert come, wer’t never last
Llewelyn’s horn to hear.
‘Oh where does faithful Gelert roam,
The flower of all his race;
So true, so brave, a lamb at home,
A lion in the chase?’
‘Twas only at Llewelyn’s board
The faithful Gelert fed;
He watched, he served, he cheered his lord,
And sentinelled his bed. Read more »
Situated on Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire, Stonehenge is probably the most iconic monument in the whole of Europe. The construction of this megalithic structure is thought to have been begun with the bank and ditch around 3000BC and there is evidence of several phases of construction over the next 1500 years.
The significance of the site may be much older as mesolithic postholes dated to circa 8000BC were found in the area now used for the visitor car park.
The origins of Stonehenge proper dates from around the time when early neolithic people started deforesting Salisbury Plain to make way for their farms. There is also a proliferation of long-barrow tombs in the area from this time.
The first stage of construction of the monument we see today was a bank and ditch 360ft (110m) in diameter. Recent excavation at Durrington Walls, thought to be a campsite for the builders suggests that around 4,000 people from all over the country gathered at the site at the mid-summer and mid-winter festivals.
Also dating from this time are the series of 56 pits (known as Aubrey holes) that form a circle within the outer edge of the enclosed area. Excavation of these holes revealed cremated remains and the chalk underlying these graves was crushed suggesting heavy stone grave markers.
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