Wednesday, 24 October 2012
Newall's ignimbrite boulder
Col Hawley and his team in 1919. A nice pic from the EH collection:
I have come across a number of references to a strange boulder of Ordovician ignimbrite which was found during Col Hawley's excavations at Stonehenge in the 1920's, together with "other striated erratics." These were assumed to be metamorphic rocks of Welsh origin. Apparently some of the archaeologists at the time of excavation thought the stones were glacially derived, although Hawley would have none of it. According to legend, the stones were shaped by ice, faceted, and some had striations on them. James Scourse discusses this on pp 285 and 287 of his chapter in the "science and Stonehenge" book, and tends to dismiss the evidence as unreliable. But I'm not so sure, and tend to be more trusting of the word of Newall and Kellaway....... not to mention the apparent agreement of Dale and Engleheart with reference to a glacial origin for this material.
Newall kept the "boulder" and other material for almost half a century, and then passed it on to Geoffrey Kellaway around 1969-71. Kellaway took photos of the boulder and published them here in 1991: "The older Plio-Pleistocene glaciations of the region around Bath." In Kellaway, GA (ed) Hot Springs of Bath, pp 243-41. I have not seen this article or the photos, but Scourse describes the boulder in question as a "sub-angular to sub-rounded, faceted and bleached clast". Scourse also says that the signs of striae are not clear enough to be convincing.
Thorpe et al tried to trace this boulder, but could not find it. So what happened to this little Newall collection? Is it still in the possession of Geoffrey Kellaway, or has it ended up somewhere else?
All info gratefully received.......