Not long after I did the Nines Ladies / Arbor Low trip last year I heard about another site in the same area. Yesterday I managed to find it….eventually. It might be a plus that these things are not well sign posted as they remain fairly undisturbed. Dol Tor is fairly small, none of the stones are above knee height and it’s off the track.
It’s suggested that it is anywhere between 3500 & 4000 years old and sits in a little wooded grove looking out over Birchover and the valley beyond. The neolithic builders of this and the Nine Ladies obviously had an eye for drama and mystery. It took me an hour or so and a couple of cold trails before I found it and whilst there were a lot of walkers and ramblers in the general area none passed by whilst I was taking pictures.
The site had been attended recently by what I can surmise were new agers. Little tokens and knitted wind catchers hang from the trees and there was recently a fire in the centre of the circle. The bones of small animals can be found in the recently dug earth on the out skirts. I quite like the idea that some people try to keep sites special and use them in ceremonial ways.
Below are a set of black & white pictures of some evidence of recent activity. I also took some video of this which will most likely appear in the next music video.
I haven’t found much information about the site but did uncover the following on an achieved web page. Resurrected here….
“If the Nine Ladies is a Bronze Age burial circle with the large stone tradition still surviving, then the Six Stones, near the Andle Stone is also a survival of the same tradition, but very much further removed. We have already noted Bateman’s afternoon excavation in 1852. He says, “On passing over the brow of the hill, near the Andle Stone, we noticed a small circle of six stones, four of which retained their upright position, whilst two were prostrate, the diameter being about twenty feet.” After scratching with their pocket-knives they borrowed a spade and cleared a considerable space in the centre where had been dug for the reception of three or four cinerary urns and as many incense cups. This site having been forgotten and overgrown with heather was rediscovered and completely excavated in 1932 and 1933.
The four standing stones are less than three feet in height but the two fallen stones would have been higher than this. There is no doubt that they have been upright, as their bases, which are pointed, are partly embedded in the ground. It is difficult to say whether the bases were naturally shaped to a point or purposefully fashioned that way. It seems clear that they gradually fell because their bases were not sufficiently deep in the ground. This fact led me to suppose that they were intended to be higher than the remaining four. If so they might show another interesting survival of the old megalithic traditions. The trilithons at Stonehenge slope upwards in stages in this way. With the object of testing this supposition I visited the Nine Ladies and it is certainly possible to imagine that they also show the same slope from one side of the circle to the other. There might even be some connection between this idea and the slope in the long barrows in T13. Furthermore the open end of the horseshoe in the trilithons is very similar to the break or opening one sees in barrows, although these openings are often explained as symbolising entrances or exits like the doorways in hut circles.
The Doll Tor circle as it stands now, completely uncovered, shows that the six standing stones were each joined into one circumference by flat stones, a fact which further increases the similarity between the stone circle and the burial mounds. The figure thus formed on the plan is not circular but oval.”
If you have read this far you deserve to be able to find this little gem. The easiest way is to drive up through Birchover in the direction of Stanton-In-Peak. Just after the village there is road off to the left sign posted Stanton-In-Peak. A few hundred yards along on the right is a lay-by and a signed and gated entrance to Stanton Moor. If you carry on for about 50 yards, looking over to the left and down into the valley there is a large natural stone in a field. This is the Andle Stone. Walk down across the field passing the stone on the left. Past the stone through the first field and go through the gap in the stone wall. In the bottom left of the second field is a rusted gate. Jump the gate and follow the path down the hill on the left side of the wall with the open valley on your right. A little way down through the tress there is a small English Heritage sign and Dol Tor is just behind this.
The Lost Children of Dol Tor
The keen eyed will notice that this is my second reference to Dol Tor. I had been messing with Korg Gadet noises and DMX1 drum tracks around the same time that I took the road trip a couple of weeks ago. It made sense to connect them.
Within the song notion was an intention to use the flowing drone and tidal wave of Korg Gadget noise and a fast, almost drum’n’bass rhythm element. This came through with some degree of satisfaction fairly easily. The trip to Dol Tor bought to mind the connection between that ancient landscape appreciation of environment, natural space, transient sky and a tribal community spirit of absorption in the previous, joined with a not insignificant degree of hedonism and party spirit.
I’ve tried to blur the disparity of the two main sound elements in the track using some additional rhythmic elements and three pieces of guitar noise made with Ebow, one of which is reversed and echoed. It’s very much like drawing with two media – say charcoal & watercolour – and then using your thumb to soften the edges. In relation to some of the previous sound projects I’ve made it’s fairly sparse in tracks.
The final element which is only subtly present is a piece of ‘field recording’.
Recently Cousin Silas questioned the use of field recording or more accurately the definition of this. In many cases it might be a texture, a sonic layer with direct and illustrative reference, waves, thunder, rain, chattering voices. I would say there is a difference between a sound effect whether self sourced or researched, and a piece of content used for its particular connection to the piece. In this piece some where in the first and third minute there is a slight fluttering sound. Whilst it runs through the whole track it’s only barely noticeable but, it being the sound of the wind in leaves at the time the video was made – in that time and place – I hope it ties the audio to the theme, a voodoo hair in the hand of the shaman.
The video elements are made on iPhone using the iSupa8 app in HD. I’ve used all but two pieces of film and worked them chronologically. It’s come out as a kind of archeological scrapping of the site or a forensic investigation of events – a Will Graham mind palace of association – looking for clues and getting into the consciousness of the previous inhabitants.
The most recent users of the site most likely had a similar respect for the environment and expressed a connection to the architect ancestors. They have left small tokens and signs of their activity including crystals, Ojibwe, ribbons and the evidence of fire.
The pictures that accompany this are multi-exposed analog 120 film shots from a Holga camera. Using the constraint of the film I tried to form four specific sequences, joined by over exposure. I enjoy the high level of chance in this process and have yet to be disappointed by the out come.
Given a greater freedom of time to construct these pieces I might be more focused on the amount of content and material I create and more selective in the elements that I use. Every element is a roll of the dice and thus far I have been lucky with the numbers facing up.
Filed under Comment, iPhonography, Music, Photography, Video
Tagged as 120 Film, A4+, Ambient, connection, DMX1, Dol Tor, Drone, Ebow, elements, GarageBand, Holga, iMovie, iSupa8, Korg Gadget, Stone Circles