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Circles of the Sacred Crescent

Image area  60cm (high) x 43 (wide)
Borders: approx 3cm
Paper: High quality art paper: 300gsm Heritage Rag - white unbuffered-

Here are some more notes about this print, in case you’re interested…

The North Eastern corner of Dartmoor contains seven Bronze Age stone circles that have been built at intervals of roughly 2km, along part of the circumference of a larger (geometric) circle whose centre appears to be at Hangingstone Hill, some 4 miles into the moor from the circumference defined by the circles. This apparent arc of circles has been named ‘The Sacred Crescent’ by Tim Sandles, who runs the Legendary Dartmoor website.

The idea of there being a symbolic/ritualistic connection between these circles is appealing, but this comment posted in Tim’s website by contributor Peter Miles, seems to me to be a more likely explanation: ‘I suspect that this pattern may have come organically from Bronze age settlements growing up along the rough boundary of the high plateau moorland and the more fertile lower lands around it’.

Having said that, it also seems possible that some kind of ‘processional’ relationship between a number of Bronze Age communities may once have existed, especially given the location and likely importance of what must be the oldest ‘ritual’ object on the moor - the Tolmen Stone (a large boulder that has a hole through it, created over millennia by the erosive interaction of pebbles and water).

I like the idea that these circles (and other related artefacts) were created by small groups of people who occupied village-like settlements on the moor some 4000 years ago, rather like villages today having their own churches. Evidence of ancient fires found within the circles, and folk-tales referring to processional and dance-related ‘activities’ also suggest how these communities may once have interacted with their creations.

For a number of years I’ve thought about creating an image that interprets the landscape of the Sacred Crescent, so I’m pleased that, after so long, I’ve at last found this way to depict it. The Crescent itself is about 9 miles in length, so none of the circles is practically visible from any other, hence my choice of a birds-eye view, as well as my disregard for scale and perspective, although the general layout of the circles etc in the image ia a reasonably faithful presentation of the area.

From the bottom left of the image: Sittaford Circle (comprising recumbent stones only rediscovered about ten years ago) with Sittaford Tor located beneath the crows. Then the pair that comprise the Grey Wethers circles, above which is Fernworthy Circle, located, these days, within a forestry plantation. Immediately above Fernworthy I’ve placed Kes Tor and, westwards along the North Teign River, The Tolmen Stone. Further West from the Tolmen (which translates as ‘holed stone’) I’ve placed the remains of a Bronze Age settlement in the form of hut circles, and the Menhir (Standing stone) known as ‘The Long Stone’ and its associated stone rows that occupy Shoveldown and which lead to the river and on towards Scorhill Circle (the best-preserved circle on the moor, which also contains the tallest stone (at 8 feet) to be found in any of Dartmoor’s stone circles. Beyond Scorhill I’ve place the Whitmoor Circle (but I’ve not included the Butterdon Circles - because you can have too much of a good thing).

This image is entirely imagined…and is a drawing based on my memories of these sites with only a little reference to my own photos. This is my favourite part of Dartmoor - and this is how I think of the place when I’m not actually walking around it.

Number currently available: 15

Description   Code   Quantity    
Circles of the Sacred Crescent CIRC £325
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