Monday, 9 December 2013
How about this for a geology lesson? Faulted fluvioglacial sands and gravels at Bancywarren, north of Cardigan. These sands and gravels were emplaced during a Devensian ice ADVANCE -- that's a bit counter-intuitive, since big fluvioglacial sequences are normally laid down during ice wastage phases.
The faults are so sharp here that the mass of sand and gravel must have been frozen by permafrost when the faulting took place. The structures here are very different from those formed by settling / compaction / loading when the mass of fluvioglacial material is in a semi-liquefied state. So what we have here is an example of a frozen body of sediment which has been subjected to pressure either from the side (eg by an advancing ice front) or by a great weight of ice or other sediments exerting pressure from above.
Thursday, 5 December 2013
Oh dear -- I get a sinking feeling...... I wonder who they are talking about here: "October has gained exclusive access to an international team of scientists conducting an archaeological project at Stonehenge......." ??
BBC, CBC unite for “Stonehenge” co-pro
BBC2, France 5, the CBC, Smithsonian Channel, Australia’s ORF and ZDF Germany are among the broadcasters uniting for Stonehenge Empire, a two-part doc looking at Britain’s ancient Stonehenge site.
The 2 x 60-minute production is being made by UK indie October Films with Canada’s Lightship Entertainment and Austria’s Interspot Film.
October has gained exclusive access to an international team of scientists conducting an archaeological project at Stonehenge, and the two-parter will combine new archaeological evidence from the international survey, drama reconstructions and CGI, to produce “the most complete and interconnected picture of the how the whole site looked in its heyday; revealing Stonehenge to be a Neolithic Valley of the Kings,” the indie promises.
The partners unveiled the project at the World Congress of Science and Factual Producers in Montreal today (December 4). It is being executive produced by Adam Bullmore, Terence McKeown and Heinrich Mayer-Moroni.
The series was commissioned by Martin Davidson for BBC2; Sue Dando for CBC; Chris Hoelzl for Smithsonian Channel in the U.S., Perrine Poubeau for France 5; Andrew Solomon for ORF Austria; and Georg Graffe for ZDF Germany. The coproduction was set up by Lilla Hurst at Drive.
In a statement, October creative director Adam Bullmore said: “Stonehenge Empire will dramatically change the way we understand Stonehenge and the prehistoric culture that flourished around it.
“Instead of seeing Stonehenge as an extraordinary achievement of an otherwise relatively primitive, prehistoric people, it will reveal Stonehenge as the epicenter of a truly remarkable and highly sophisticated ancient civilization.”
Davidson, the BBC’s commissioning editor for history and business programming, added: “This is a really exciting project which will, using drama, CGI and the latest archaeological discoveries, allow us to properly understand the achievements and character of the people that built it; people who mastered deep mining, sophisticated engineering, textile manufacturing, ship-building, ‘micro’ gold-working, metallurgy, glass making, overseas trade and complex astronomy and mathematics.”
Read more: http://realscreen.com/2013/12/04/wcsfp-13-bbc-cbc-unite-for-stonehenge-copro/#ixzz2mcasvXRF
Tuesday, 3 December 2013
A little video has been getting huge numbers of hits on assorted news sites -- showing a slowly rotating disk of ice fragments on the Sheyenne River in North Dakota, USA. As the enthusiastic reporter keeps on telling us -- it is "an amazing wonder" --or, if you prefer it, "a wondrous amazement" ...........
It is certainly very strange -- I've never seen anything like it before. Apparently it's not very big -- just about 50 ft across. And it rotates very slowly in an anti-clockwise direction. It's not made of solid ice at all -- it's just an aggregation of small ice fragments which appear to have become trapped in a rotating eddy in the river during very cold freezing conditions. There are even growth rings on it -- you can see these if you look closely. Apparently if you throw a stone into the ice disk it just goes straight through and splashes into the water beneath.
Very ephemeral and very freaky. Not sure how long it lasted. It's probably gone by now......
Monday, 2 December 2013
Stonehenge, Pembrokeshire and the Ice Age
Sorry folks, but I'm feeling very groggy at the moment, with one of those nasty flu bugs. High temperatures, splitting headache and persistent cough -- grrr.
I had two Stonehenge lectures planned -- one for tomorrow (3rd Dec) in Moylgrove Village Hall, and the other for Thursday (5th Dec) in Carmarthen. I had hoped that things would ease off, but this wretched bug is very persistent, and there is sadly no prospect of me being able to stand up in front of an audience and talking -- rather than coughing -- for an hour or so. So my wife tells me I am going nowhere for the rest of this week -- and I have to obey orders.....
I hope to be able to rearrange both talks for the coming months. Watch this space.........
Amazing revelations from the Daily Mail -- that igneous rocks make a ringing sound when you hit them with a hammer.................... er, no further comment required. Even Tim Darvill, when plonked in front of a vide camera and asked to make a comment, found it difficult to keep a straight face. And in case you wondered, no, it isn't April 1st today............
Stonehenge 'was a prehistoric centre for rock music': Stones sound like bells, drums, and gongs when played
• Rocks make metallic and wooden sounds, in many different notes
• Monoliths were moved by Stone Age man from Wales to Stonehenge
• Researchers believe their musical make-up could be why they were moved
By Sarah Griffiths and Amanda Williams
Stonehenge may have been built by Stone Age man as a prehistoric centre for rock music, a new study has claimed.
According to experts from London's Royal College of Art, some of the stones sound like bells, drums, and gongs when they are 'played' - or hit with hammers.
Archaeologists, who have pondered why stone age man transported Bluestones 200 miles from Mynydd Y Preseli in Pembrokshire, South West Wales to Stonehenge, believe this discovery could hold the key.
The 'sonic rocks' could have been specifically picked because of their 'acoustic energy' which means they can make a variety of noises ranging from metallic to wooden sounding, in a number of notes.
Research published today in the Journal of Time & Mind reveals the surprising new role for the Preseli Bluestones which make up the famous monument, and which were sourced from the Pembrokeshire landscape on and around the Carn Menyn ridge, on Mynydd Preseli, South-West Wales.
Bluestones were used in the village of Maenclochog - meaning bell or ringing stones - until the 18th century.
English Heritage allowed archaeologists from Bournemouth and Bristol universities to acoustically test the bluestones at Stonehenge, effectively playing them like a huge xylophone
A significant percentage of the rocks on Carn Menyn produce metallic sounds - like bells, gongs or tin drums - when struck with small hammerstones. Such sonic or musical rocks are referred to as 'ringing rocks' or 'lithophones'.
The Landscape & Perception project drew upon the comments of the early 'rock gong' pioneer, Bernard Fagg, a one-time curator of the Pitt Rivers Museum, in Oxford.
He suspected there were ringing rocks on or around Preseli and suggested that this was the reason why so many Neolithic monuments exist in the region – with the sounds making the landscape sacred to Stone Age people.
Stonehenge may have been the built by stone age man as a prehistoric centre for rock music, a new study has claimed
English Heritage allowed archaeologists from Bournemouth and Bristol universities to acoustically test the bluestones at Stonehenge, effectively playing them like a huge xylophone.
To the researchers’ surprise, several were found to make distinctive if muted sounds, with several of the rocks showing evidence of having already been struck.
The stones make different pitched noises in different places and different stones make different noises - ranging from a metallic to a wooden sound.
The investigators believe that this could have been the prime reason behind the otherwise inexplicable transport of these stones nearly 200 miles from Preseli to Salisbury Plain.
There were plentiful local rocks from which Stonehenge could have been built, yet the bluestones were considered special.
The principal investigators for the Landscape & Perception project are Jon Wozencroft and Paul Devereux. Wozencroft is a senior lecturer at the RCA and the founding director of the musical publishing company, Touch.
Jon Wozencroft told MailOnline it was 'amazing' to find that the stones used in the monument make the noises that the researchers hoped for.
'It was a really magical discovery and refreshing to come across a phenomenon you can't explain,' he said.
The researchers have looked into geological reasons as to why some rocks make noise and others do not and one theory is that the amount of silica in the rocks could explain why in the future.
'Walking around Mynydd Y Presel you can't tell which stones will make sounds by sight, but in time you get a sort of intuition by the way they are positioned,' he said.
The researchers had feared the musical magic of the stones at Stonehenge might have been damaged as some of them were set in concrete in the 1950s to try and preserve the monument and the embedding of the stones damages the reverberation.
Mr Wozencroft said 'you don't get the acoustic bounce' but when he struck the stones gently in the experiment, they did resonate, although some of the sonic potential has been suffocated.
In Wales, where the stones are not embedded or glued in place, he said noises made by the stones when struck can be heard half a mile away.
He theorised that stone age people living in Wales might have used the rocks to communicate with each other over long distances as there are marks on the stones where they have been struck an incredibly long time ago.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2515159/Why-Stonehenge-prehistoric-centre-rock-music-Stones-sound-like-bells-drums-gongs-played.html#ixzz2mJb2EmNQ
Monday, 25 November 2013
As readers of this blog will recall, I made a series of posts in September relating to the 2013 dig at Rhosyfelin. One of them related to the idea of a "pedestal" beneath the "monolith that never was taken to Stonehenge":
Well, this pedestal has come to the fore again. We have dealt with the railway track, and now we have the pedestal. One of those who attended MPP's Pembrokeshire lecture the other day reported that he insisted not only that there was a "pedestal beneath the big stone" but that the stones supporting it were once VERTICAL. Now my informant might have got this wrong, but that suggestion sems to me to be extraordinary. As far as I can see, there is just a random mess of fractured rockfall debris beneath the big stone -- and no sign at all of any human interference.
Where is this heading? Are we now going to have a hypothesis of a collapsed portal dolmen here? Maybe the latest idea is that this big stone was not meant as a standing stone heading for Stonehenge after all, but that it was "chosen" as a capstone for a dolmen or cromlech. So there we are then -- let's await the denials from those involved in the dig........
And thinking of the 2013 diggers, one small piece of gossip that has reached my ears is that one of the female diggers from the 2013 dig was sent packing on the basis that she asked too many questions and was too sceptical about the MPP interpretation of the site. If I have that wrong, then no doubt I will be corrected.......... and will apologise for misinformation.
But a little suggestion gnawing away inside my head is the possibility that sycophancy is a necessary qualification for all those involved in the Rhosyfelin dig. Now surely that can't be true, can it.........???
Thanks to John Fillwalk for these two images -- from the Idialab web site of Ball State University:
Click to enlarge.
Nice images -- the top one is a reconstruction of the "immaculate Stonehenge" which is still engrained in assorted belief systems, regardless of the fact that we have no evidence that Stonehene ever did look like this......
The bottom one is a recreation of the midsummer solstice sunrise.
It appears that this simulation work will be featured in various History Channel TV programmes still to be shown.