Fourteen BACAS members turned out at Stanton Drew on 26 May 2021 to help English Heritage’s Win Scutt to clean the stones. After a long period of wet and cold weather, the sun came out to contribute to a very pleasant day. The objective was to remove turf and weeds that had grown over stone surfaces and to make it easier for visitors to appreciate the site. This exercise was first carried out in 2019, but there were still a number of stones that needed attention.
One major task was to find a stone, known as G33, that was completely invisible. A small portion of it was visible in 2010. Using Charles Dymond’s 1896 plan, the rough location of the stone was found and a short metal rod was used to confirm where it was.
It soon became clear that G33 was a stone of substantial size. It was decided to stop when 1.7 metres of its length had been exposed as the build-up of soil was such that we would be digging too much away. The width was measured as 1.1 metres. Dymond gave its measurements in 1896 as 2.18 x 0.99 metres, so there could still be 25% hidden.
Another stone, G35, was approximately 90% covered with vegetation. Dymond gave its size as 2.49 x 1.78 metres.
After cleaning, a spectacular stone was revealed, apparently in at least two pieces.
In the South West Circle there is a stone not included on Dymond’s plan. It was given the identifier S13 by the BACAS project team in 2010 (Oswin et al 2011). It lies just to the west of S2, possibly being at the corner of the field walls that exist on Dymond’s plan
It is a recumbent stone which, after cleaning, measured 0.8 x 0.6 metres. It is possibly part of the field wall foundation, or it may be part of the original monument and be in its original position or have been moved there. The stone has been discounted by other archaeologists, seemingly on the basis that it does not form part of the circle and is not in any other obvious geometric alignment.
A total of 17 stones were cleaned on a very rewarding day.
Photos by Alex Montacute (English Heritage), Rick Buettner (BACAS, top photo), John Richards (BACAS, 2009 and 2010 photos).