|29 July 2004
Nine Maidens stone circle restored
One of West Cornwall's most famous stone circles might have to be re-named, following the re-positioning of fallen and leaning stones. The Nine Maidens stone circle at Ding Dong (Cornwall, England) now has eleven stones standing upright, after archeologists re-erected standing stones that had long fallen and were lying on their side in thick undergrowth. Two stones have now been put back into place, making the circle, which originally had 22 stones, the most complete it has been for years.
Work to restore and repair the prehistoric stone circle has now been completed, following a joint project between the county council's Environment and Heritage Service, Defra and the Nine Maidens Commoners. The Nine Maidens Stone Circle, on the northern fringe of Madron between Ding Dong and craggy Carn Galver, underwent extensive works including scrub clearance, drainage improvements and footpath repair.
The two fallen stones were re-erected after a preliminary excavation to locate their original sockets. When first recorded in the mid 18th century, there were 19 stones surviving of an original ring of 22. Until the recent renovation there were only six standing upright, three were leaning heavily and two were completely fallen.
Other prehistoric monuments surviving close to the stone circle include the stump of a standing stone and several Bronze Age barrows, as well as the famous Men an Tol. Together they indicate that this area was an important focus in prehistoric times. The erosion of the monument and surrounding area has been caused by visitors and trail bike users. Paths leading into the circle had become eroded and muddy while thick gorse had grown over parts of the circle.
Anne Preston Jones, of the County Council's archeological unit, said the name of the circle would not have to be changed as it did not refer to the number of standing stones. She explained: "Many circles in Cornwall are called 'Nine Maidens', as the figure nine was always considered magical and mystical. The name doesn't really have anything to do with the number of stones in the circle."
Source: This is Cornwall (29 July 2004)
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