It was on Thursday evening on 20th May 2021 that members of the History of Deganwy Group were treated to an interesting video put together by Dr Ron Callender on the ancient standing stones in Britain, with an emphasis on Wales. Once again, due to Covid restrictions, the meeting had to be held via Zoom. Ron, unfortunately, was not available to personally present the video, but his accompanying narration was excellent.
Dr. Ron has been researching standing stones for a several years. His hobby initially started when he retired and was looking for something to occupy his time. He was reminded of his time doing his military service while based near Stonehenge and his visits to see the ancient stones in the area. He discovered that there are clusters of ancient standing stones throughout Britain, so started his quest to visit these sites and photograph them. Some locations were easier to find than others, but in time, Ron became astute in determining what to look for when the stones were hidden by undergrowth or had fallen over in some remote field.
Standing stones exist in various shapes and sizes, tall thin stones or large wide stones, photos of which we were shown from a variety of angles. The reasons why these stones were placed is largely unknown to us now and we can only surmise their significance in the ancient world. Stones may have formed part of a larger structure, such as stone circles which were placed for some ceremonial significance, while other stones formed the top of a burial chamber, the surrounding earth having been eroded by the elements over hundreds of years.
We have to use our imagination as to how these large stones were brought to a location and erected, but it would have taken an army of workers to perform this task with the technology available at that time.
We were shown photos of a great many standing stones, taken in beautiful locations from all over the country. The Llyn Peninsula has a large number of standing stones and Ron has probably visited and photographed all of them with either his wife or his friend Patrick. His prowess as a photographer was evident in his photos capturing the stones and the scenic background.
Ron has also experimented with a simple “pin-hole camera”, where the exposure had to be timed manually, unlike today’s cameras which require little or no photographic knowledge. The resulting photograph of this experiment turned out to be surprisingly successful!
More information on the standing stones in Britain and around the world can be found on The Megalithic Portal website; www.megalithic.co.uk
Our thanks were relayed to Ron for his excellent talk on a subject which our members enjoyed and will perhaps encourage some to actively seek out our local standing stones with their own cameras. Also, we expressed our thanks to Paul Warsaw for creating the video with Dr Ron Callender.
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