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Monday, 26 October 2009

How important is Stanton Drew?

Been thinking about these ice streams again.

On checking up on Stanton Drew, I found another paper by Geoff Kellaway, published in the Survey of Bath and District No 17 (2002), called "Glacial and tectonic factors in the emplacement of bluestones on Salisbury Plain." There is a lot in the paper that I find difficult to accept. However, one thing is very interesting. He argues strongly that the bluestones which were used in the stone settings at Stonehenge were all stolen or removed from earlier stone settings -- monoliths, dolmens, long barrows -- as part of the Stonehenge enterprise. That would of course accord with the MPP theory of the Bluestonehenge stones being removed (with reverence or irreverence) from that place to Stonehenge itself. Geoff argues that the reason for this "stone stealing" was that the bluestones always were in short supply, and that they never had enough of them to finish the job (whatever that might have been....)

He thinks the Boles Barrow bluestone was "the one that got away" -- maybe because it was a bit too far from Stonehenge for the builders to bother with. He also thinks there were bluestones (large and small) all over the place, including the Stonehenge neighbourhood, the Cursus, the Boles Barrow area, and Normanton Barrows. He says that Cunnington found a piece of bluestone in the Normanton barrow that had previously been examined by Stukeley. He also reminded us of Cunnington's conclusion that "these pieces (of bluestone) were scattered about on the plain before the erection of the tumuli under which they have been found."

Interesting stuff! Bluestones from Pembs south of the Mendips, and other erratic assemblages to the north? Geoff refers to "the Stanton Drew moraine." I'd like to know what the evidence for that may be............. Geoff says that the ice that crossed the Stanton Drew site came from the NW -- it crossed Broadfield Down, eroding the Lower Lias. It carried boulders of Upper ORS from the Failand Ridge, and entrained masses of Triassic conglomerate and Lower Lias breccia from Winford and Felton, and also picked up slabs of Dundry Freestone. The builders of Stanton Drew used a litter of boulders of all these rock types -- they were opportunists and foragers who (naturally enough) simply wanted to minimise effort.

I'd like to get some other opinions on all of this..... if all of the Stanton Drew stones are demonstrably from the W and the NW, and none of them from other compass directions, then Geoff may be onto something here.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi Brian,

There is of course ample evidence for the bluestones at Stonehenge having been used elswewhere prior to their reworking into the conctruction of the monument. The great mystery is where did they "steal" the bluestones from - is Kellaway suggesting a neolithic stone raiding party?

Why do you think bluestones were not used at Stanton Drew?

Best wishes,
Ed Watson