Saga of a woman old enough to know better who lets her life be governed by the ridiculous hobby of breeding and showing dogs, musing on life, the twenty first century, Cameron and his mini-me, and the occasional sheep.

Friday, July 23, 2010


Oh dear – I have made a silly typo, no doubt influenced by my addiction to the Godzilla films, It was indeed a tricephalos which was dug up in my garden, not a tricephalon, which I seem to remember was an alternative name for three-headed Gidorah. Monsters never rampaged over the orchard , Rodan never flew overhead, and Godzilla, (played by a succession of dedicated Japanese actors in the famous rubber suit), never waddled up from the Clyde and flattened the house.

In fact the real history is a bit dull.

I looked up the record of the tricephalos, and it was actually dug up by John Mahon, the retired civil engineer who modernised the place, not by the 1913 archaeologists. This is what he found:

"A boulder, on which two heads are carved in high relief and a face in low relief, a variant of the well-known and widely distributed pagan Celtic tricephalos, was dug up at NS 7769 5347 in 1967 when Mr J L Mahon was constructing a rock garden close to his house, Carbarnswood Orchard. The site of the discovery is 680m from and 32m above the right bank of the River Clyde.
The boulder, of local grey sandstone, stands to a height of 25 cms from a flattened base and measures 21 cms in width and 24 cms in depth. The heads and face are placed in a singular manner, the two heads - which closely resemble each other in appearance -being set on one side of the stone while the face, completely different from the heads in style, is on top of the boulder.
If the tricephalos was found in situ, its close proximity to a well may have some significance, although household wells abound in the district, and this well may be of comparatively modern origin. However, the possibility that this originated as a sacred well cannot be ruled out. However, the find-spot is also close to a source which flows into the River Clyde, and may perhaps be associated with this.
The tricephalos is now in Glasgow Art Gallery and Museum (Accession no: A 6716)."

So I may have a sacred well also., although it was covered over by the same John Mahon in his rather excessive rockery construction – the rockery was huge, and never really under control.

The tricephalos is what is called a “ritual object” which means that scholars really haven`t a scooby about its real function, and is an iron age artefact, probably from about the first century BC.. It is associated with wells, and that`s about all we know.

Triplicate heads and human heads in general are often found in conjunction with holy wells, most of which also date from the Iron Age

However, I think the Godzilla hypothesis was a lot more fun.

But that`s just me.
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