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Friday, 12 October 2012

Stonehenge -- what the laser survey has revealed


Courtesy British Archaeology -- this is the plan that's doing the rounds of the web sites.  Very interesting -- it summarises what the new laser survey has revealed.

13 comments:

Jon Morris said...

All interesting info: Glad I described some of this stuff within the novel, but publishing in advance of people doing the research but can be a bit risky if they find something unexpected.

Anonymous said...

Jon

Like the axe heads do not actually look like prehistoric axe heads. You don't use tapered wood on axe handles and the tops are round like pickaxes, which would make the marks probably medieval.

Schama



Anonymous said...

Schama you write,

“Like the axe heads do not actually look like prehistoric axe heads. You don't use tapered wood on axe handles and the tops are round like pickaxes, which would make the marks probably medieval.”


Geo are you there? Schama also thinks these marks are probably medieval!

Kostas

Geocur said...

Kostas , all it needs for someone to say something that suits your purpose and you are happy to accept it . Any consideration of evidence or whether Schama knows anything about the subject is ignored .If Schama had suggested they were Mesolithic would you have been so quick to jump .
See
http://www.museumoflondonprints.com/image/60967/bronze-flanged-axehead-early-bronze-age
and http://charles-mount.ie/wp/?p=646 .
Why must you be spoon fed when you can check this stuff yourself ? Even better read the literature .

Not only are there other examples of axes in securely dated contexts maybe Schama or yourself can provide some examples of these medieval axes and sites where they have been engraved .

Anonymous said...

Geocurs

Nice picture, mind, it looks nothing like the carvings. Following your rationale they seem planted into the ground, rather than in use. Some sort of Tesla Bronze Axe experiment?

As you are so wise and well read, i'm sure you can find page 19 of the current edition of British Archaeology, bottom of the page left Sarsen stone.

The pickaxe has even the securing block on top of the pick, or is this a new design in failed bronze age blades??

I would suggest you're the one being feed mushroom soup!

Sharma

Jon Morris said...

Schama

I agree, they don't look at all like axes. They're more like T shapes from what I can see, which seems relatively unique for Britain.

There are lot of them and they look as if they all represent the same thing, so whatever that something was must have been particularly important to this location for it to have been done so many times.

chris johnson said...

@schama, One problem with posting anonymously is that I have no idea who you are or your track record or your experience. So while I read your contribution with an open mind it would be helpful to me if you can tell more. Perhaps I will learn something.

It seems to me that the logical way to make an axe, whether stone or metal is to finish by shaping the wooden handle. This is how it works even today in a DIY store - tapered wooden handles. You make the handle to fit the blade.

I agree that the regular axe shapes on SH are likely indicative of a time where axes heads were mechanically manufactured. Therefore this is likely to be post-neolithic. The orientation of the axes is consistent and seem to articulate a symbolic intention. For me this implies that the axe impressions are more likely bronze age, or maybe iron age, not middle ages. I don't know of any symbolic axe culture in the mediaeval times that might result in a consistent orientation.

My guess for these axe shapes is middle bronze age.

Still, there are other axe shapes that would predate Stonehenge by millennia - I don't think we can know for sure when the SH axe marks were created. I would speculate that these marks were made when SH stones were already standing and without ladders - the impressions are low down- and after
the production of axe heads had been industrialised. The round head is relevant for the dating. It all points toward a later time than SHIII - probably bronze age between 1000 and 1500 BC and at least in the metal era and when then the ax symbolism was current. It could be that the axe forms are earlier but they look different.

Geocur said...

Schama,(you didn't say if you were related to bob the builder ) . if you can't see the relationship between the BA flanged axe and engraving ,fine , there are plenty others who see it quite clearly and have noted it since mention of the initial discoveries . They are unlike any Neolithic axe , due to the flange , and as the area was to become surrounded with B.A . barrows complete with axe and dagger deposits there is an obvious connection ,another local example http://www.wiltshireheritage.org.uk/galleries/index.php?Action=4&obID=79&prevID=89&oprevID=9
Furthermore ,depictions of multiple axes ,often without handles , are to be found in other monuments . Where are the medieval axes that look like the engravings and also engraved on earlier monuments . Could you post a link and explain what is important about p 19 in B.A. ?

Anonymous said...

Geocurs

Lots of people see flying saucers, are you one of those as well?

Interesting you and Chris see totally different axes, Chris has handles, your's do not.

So is Chris now excluded from this plenty club?

Love the links, again proves nothing apart for the fact the carvings have pointed, not round ends, and they are pointing towards the ground which makes no sense to any rational intelligent human being.

This strange orientation clearly baffles yourself, as you failed to comment on that peculiarity. You might as well join the Chris Johnson's time team club and call them 'symbolic' as your evidence to associate these carvings to bronze age axes is fundamentally weak to nonexistent.

The reality is that these carvings are grouped at the bottom of the stone and could very easily represent any time period including the famous 'kilroy was here' period see: http://billpstudios.blogspot.co.uk/2008/05/honor-flight-network.html

or even the first medieval umbrella.

To associate them to any period with any degree of certainty is plain arrogant folly and attempts to justify the foolishness of archaeologists.

Chris

As for your tapered handle, clearly you have never used or made an axe. They are fairly straight not tapered to the extremes of the carvings, if you find an axe handle in a DIY shop which is tapered down to a point (like the drawings), put it down and don't buy it, its broken!

If I was carving an axe impression, the handle, even if it was part tapered, I would for ease of expression, remembering these drawings look like rough sketches, draw the handle straight, not tapered, as it would make them look like something else, rather than an axe I wish to draw.

Simon

Anonymous said...

Geo,

“all it needs for someone to say something that suits your purpose and you are happy to accept it “.


No! “all I need is evidence that suits sensible reason and I am happy to accept it”. I have no other “purpose”! I advice you to refrain from thinking I do!

Kostas

Anonymous said...

Geo,

I have checked the “bronze flanged axeheads” in your links. These bronze flanged axeheads do not look anything like the 'stone stamps' at SH.

Furthermore, along with these 'stamps' on the SH sarsens we also have many short horizontal linear 'stamps'. Do you have an explanation for these? I do! Want to reconsider?

Kostas

chris johnson said...

Dear Simon,
If you google bronze age axe heads you will see a photo gallery, including reference to the "Wessex type". There is some similarity between the Wessex type and the ones detected at Stonehenge and presumably this is why the experts have decided to call them axes.

There are two basic ways to attach a handle or haft to a metal head, either via casting an open ring or by casting a pin or wedge. I am not an expert but I think the pin type is easier to make but the fastening less durable. Today axes are made with the ring type, whereas lighter tools like hoes are made with the pin type casting - at least in the cheaper variety.

In the early bronze age it would have been tempting to make a pin or wedge type fastening and strengthen the joint with a glue and twine type combination. I think it would have been more consistent with the stone age approach.

I have also tried both approaches with my own tools - being of the generation which repairs metal tools rather than throwing them away when the handle stops functioning.

It is also questionable whether these are axes. To me they could also look like mushrooms - a designation that serious archaeologists are probably reluctant to assign, although it might explain why the "blade" points upwards.

I agree with you on dating. No easy way to tell when these shapes were made, although it is presumably possible to tell whether they were pre or post dressing. My assumption is post, which points to an earliest origin in the early Bronze Age.

Geocur said...

Simon /Bob /Sherlock , Still no mention of your medieval axes or sites that have carvings of them .
Engraved axes often do not have handles .What do you mean pointing to the ground ? The axe heads are topmost , so what . When do you get axe heads heads in the “Kilroy was here “ period ? it is no better than than your other baseless suggestions .