Some of the ideas discussed in this blog are published in my new book called "The Stonehenge Bluestones" -- available by post and through good bookshops everywhere. Bad bookshops might not have it....
To order, click

Tuesday, 31 March 2020

Monday, 23 March 2020

Jon Gower on Mynydd Preseli

Thanks to Tony for alerting me to this -- one of a series of "essays" on the mountains of Wales by Jon Gower.  This one is about Mynydd Preseli  -- pleasant listening -- rather poetic and whimsical -- but interestingly enough, his whimsy does not go so far as to accept the myth of the human transport of the bluestones to Stonehenge.  He prefers the glacial transport idea, so sound science clearly does have some value, even for non-scientists........

The 14 minute talk can be accessed on BBC Sounds, and you can listen on your computer just by signing in.

Those funny old sarsens

This is an inspired shot of some of the Stonehenge sarsens, as you have probably never seen them before.  To me, they look like some of the famous stone heads and hats of Easter Island.......  I bet somebody is working on a theory that some of the builders of Stonehenge set off on a great ocen-crossing expedition and settled on Easter Island --- or vice versa.

.... and grateful thanks to Neil Wiseman for sending this pic.  Quite wonderful!  What we see is very clearly an army of petrified trolls, on the warpath, marching towards us.  Be very afraid!

Thursday, 19 March 2020

Submerged forests map (update)

The map has been updated, through the addition of Pendine (see the recent post) and Broad Haven.  On a recent Facebook group page, there were confirmations from Anne Rogers and Mary Butcher that they have both seen the submerged forest -- including tree stumps -- on the beach at Broad Haven.  Unfortunately, neither of them has photographs.......

I have also added more "candidate sites" since I am convinced that almost ALL of the sandy embayments around the coast will have peat beds and tree relics under the sand -- ready to be exposed by the "right" combinations of winter storms, tidal scour and wave height and wind direction factors.  There will also be submerged forest relics in abundance within the Milford Haven waterway -- but here of course storm wave conditions capable of "stripping out" sediment in vast quantities are hardly ever seen.

More bluestone paranoia

This was on the BBC web site today -- the National Park obviously felt like putting out a press release, to take our minds off the corona virus hysteria.  I'm all in favour of seeing our historic sites protected from vandalism, and of course I condemn any thefts from historic sites like Pentre Ifan, or any form of desecration.   But we do need to keep a sense of proportion.   For a start, it is not a crime to sell bits of spotted dolerite or any other bits of "sacred" stone from the Preseli uplands.  You can take lumps of stone from your garden or from your fields and do with it what you like -- if you want to sell  bits and pieces on Ebay, that's a valid form of farm diversification.  What we do not want to see is lumps of spotted dolerite chopped off the tors within protected areas........

But the NPA does itself no favours by constantly flagging up the so-called mystical link with Stonehenge.  When Tomos Jones, the NPA archaeologist, says ""There are regular problems with fires on what are remote sites in the Preseli Hills, where we now know stones for Stonehenge were cut"  he is over-egging the pudding, because we do NOT know that stones were "cut" from the hills at all.  That is a myth perpetrated, without adequate supporting research, by certain archaeologists.  If the NPA does that sort of irresponsible marketing of the hills, deliberately enhancing the "value" of the stones from specific locations, they should not be surprised if some silly people want go up there and get a bit of the action.......


Historic Welsh sites to be protected by vandalism patrols

• 16 March 2020

Plans to tackle heritage crime have been extended to protect historic sites across Wales.
Archaeologists, national park officials and Dyfed-Powys Police officers were due to hold a meeting at the weekend to discuss concerns about vandalism.
The conference was cancelled because of coronavirus fears but was due to identify areas at risk of damage and offer training to protect remote sites.
Police, Cadw wardens and park rangers will regularly patrol sites.
There are thousands of heritage sites around Wales, ranging from stone age monuments to World War Two buildings.Incidents include the daubing of a Neolithic burial chamber with animal blood and bluestone fragments from rocks linking Pembrokeshire with Stonehenge being sold online.
A heritage watch scheme was launched by Pembrokeshire Coast National Park two years ago.
Dyfed Archaeological Trust and Dyfed-Powys Police have also joined the scheme, establishing a team of 10 officers trained in dealing with reports of crimes at monuments.
'These monuments cannot be replaced'
Tomos Jones, archaeologist for the Pembrokeshire Coast National park says the types of crimes which threaten the sites were extremely varied.
"At Pentre Ifan we found daubing using animal blood - possibly the result of some ritual," he said.
'International significance'
"There are regular problems with fires on what are remote sites in the Preseli Hills, where we now know stones for Stonehenge were cut.
"There have been cases of people chipping away the remaining bluestones and damaging cairns.
"Some of the bluestone fragments have appeared on eBay."
Insp Reuben Palin, Dyfed-Powys Police lead for heritage crime, said: "We are fortunate to have a number of ancient monuments and archaeological sites in our force area that are of immense national and international significance, and attract visitors from across the world.
"These monuments cannot be replaced, and it is part of our duty to ensure they are protected."

Submerged forest - Swansea Bay and Gower

Swansea Bay -- foreshore in front of Singleton Park (3 photos)

I found some nice pics of the submerged forest around Gower and in Swansea Bay -- on Adam Tilt's blog:

These next 3 photos are from Broughton Bay:

Adam says that there are similar exposures in Port Eynon, Whiteford and elsewhere......  Not much peat, by the look of it, but a lot of estuarine mud......

But this is a curious feature on Whiteford Sands.  Looks like a bomb crater (it's 8 ft in diameter) with a thinnish layer of peat or peaty silt thrown up around the circumference.....  What is it?  Answers on a postcard please........

Submerged forest exposures, Whiteford Sands (photo: Pembs Coastal Photography)

Wednesday, 18 March 2020

The submerged forest compendium


During the last fortnight or so there has been a flurry of activity, involving many observers, concentrating on the submerged forest exposures around the West Wales coast.  To make it easier for those who might want to follow up on all this, here is a list of the key posts:

28 Feb   Newgale

29 Feb  Amroth

1 March  Amroth

3 March -- Blue clay -- and Marros, Ynyslas and Clarach

3 March  Lydstep

3 March  Abermawr and other sites

4 March  Submerged forests map for Pembrokeshire

5 March Sea level curve

5 March The missing millennia

6 March  South Wales peat beds

8 March  Sedimentation cycles

9 March  Exploitation

13 March Forest growth / rising shoreline

14 March  The 7,000 BP eustatic event

15 March  The time sequence

16 March  Freshwater West

17 March  Gravel Bay

18 March  Pendine


This is now by far the most substantial source of information on the West Wales submerged forest, incorporating (with many thanks) valuable photos and observations from many contributors.

The resource is free for the use of others, and the URLs of relevant pages can be cited as references where appropriate.  We will appreciate citations, and please remember that if photos are reproduced, it is good practice to cite the photographers (where known) by name.  They should be approached directly if higher resolution images are needed.


Newgale.  Janet Jenkins, 2014

.....and some older posts

20 Sept 2018  Freshwater West

10 Nov 2019  Newport

28 May 2019  Borth

5 March 2019  Abermawr

14 Feb 2018  Abermawr

13 Feb 2018  Abermawr

22 Jan 2018  Abereiddi

18 May 2016  Borth

14 Feb 2016  Freshwater West