Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Ancients clocked around rock 'to tell the seasons'

THE proof that an imposing 35-tonne boulder known as Arthur's Stone is actually one of the world's first clocks is about to be revealed.

Visitors to Cefn Bryn in the middle of Gower have been perplexed by the giant stone, and what purpose it served.

But 63-year-old consultant engineer Roger Davies of Three Crosses, Gower, decided to do something about it.

He has spent years examining a theory that the landmark could have been a clock.

Academics and geologists have had to consider whether the stone could have been left in its spot high up on Cefn Bryn by accident, possibly propelled there by a long gone glacier.

But there have also been theories the stone could have been placed there deliberately by ancient inhabitants of Gower establishing a Stonehenge-style method of determining the seasons using shadows thrown by the sun.

Mr Davies, who has taken countless photographs from dozens of different angles and taken hundreds of measurements is firmly in the "clock" camp.

Mr Davies plans to write an illustrated book explaining his theory and said yesterday, "I believe that Arthur's Stone itself was shaped and placed in its position by our forefathers.

"And I also believe that various landmarks around the stone are part of a giant clock or calendar, with Arthur's Stone as the hub of the whole thing."

Mr Davies first saw Arthur's Stone as a teenager while on a geology field trip from Gowerton Grammar School.

He said, "Like a lot of people I was transfixed and had to find out if it was part of something placed deliberately on Gower.

"It just did not seem possible it could have ended up like that by accident."

If it is eventually found the huge boulder was moved by hand to be used as a giant clock, it will finally disprove one of the oldest legends surrounding the object, that it was the original stone from which King Arthur withdrew his sword to prove his right to be king.

Another legend is that King Arthur threw a stone from his shoe from Carmarthen to Burry Port and it eventually bounced on to Gower, growing in size "with pride" because it was touched by the king's hand.