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Saturday, 3 April 2010

Silbury Hill -- one bluestone, or two?

Just a reminder -- this is Pete Glastonbury's photo of the Silbury Hill bluestone at the AK Museum in Avebury. it's very small -- just the size of a thumbnail -- so we should call it a flake or a fragment rather than a stone or a boulder!

Rumour has it that there is a bit of a spat blowing up over the lithology and provenance of the one (or two?) pieces of "bluestone" found on Silbury Hill by our old friend Richard Atkinson. Are they really fragments of spotted dolerite like those found at Stonehenge? Or are they hornblende schist? Watch this space......


Anonymous said...

Hi Brian,
What is the significance of all these fragments? is it no more than we would expect to find in this area where the bluestones were dressed, in addition to a neolithic axe factory on site. There must have been bluestone chippings all over the place.
And we can't rule out the possibility of 'intrusions' into the archaeological record. Not that long ago visitors to the monument were supplied with little hammers to chip off souvenir rocks. Who knows how far back this practice may go.
But apart from the enigmatic Bole's Barrow stone there have been no other bluestone monoliths found between Stonehenge and South West Wales.
Regards, Ed

Brian said...

Very true, Ed. Wouldn't disagree with any of that -- we just have no way of knowing -- as yet -- which flakes and fragments are derived from the dressing of bluestone monoliths, and which are broken bits and pieces derived from glacial deposits and untouched by human hand. As Rob Ixer and his colleagues make progress in the identification of more and more fragments from the Cursus and elsewhere, things get more and more interesting. What are we to make of fragments unearthed in archaeological contexts -- and outside them -- which appear to have nothing whatsoever to do with the stones identified at Stonehenge itself? Things start to get seriously interesting.....

Ed said...

Just reading some of the online British Archaeology magazine archives for Issue 110 Jan/Feb 2010 and notice in the News report about Stonehenge bluestones editor Mike Pitts states:

"One last note on the subject. While archaeologists seem agreed that the pit ring found by the river Avon near Stonehenge probably contained bluestone megaliths (feature, this issue), contrary to reports also to be found on the web, to date no actual bluestone has yet been found in the pits".

[Find the article at bottom of page:]

It was widely reported that two pieces of spotted dolerite where found at the so-called Bluestonehenge.
Unfortunately Pitts doesn't quote his source - can you confirm if this is correct as I've not seen it reported elsewhere or have I missed something?


Brian said...

I have always had severe doubts about this Bluestonehenge nonsense. Fantasy gone mad, yet again. I did a post last year about this:
or do a search on the blog for "Bluestonehenge."
I understood that the time that two bluestone fragments had been discovered -- which seemed to me to be pretty thin evidence for speculation about a whole circle of bluestones. Maybe the geologists have now decided that the fragments were not bluestone after all. That might bring some common sense into the interpretation of the site...

Ed said...

Totally agree with you there Brian. Can't say as I'm a great fan of archaeologists as they seem to try and make all their finds fit a predetermined context - as we have seen at Bluestonehenge.
They decided the pit ring held bluestones simply by the size of the socket holes - how scientific is that!
And now the editor of one of the leading archaeology magazines states that no bluestone was found.
Doesn't look like a bluestone henge after all - it would appear we have been mislead.

Anonymous said...

Silbury Hill

At least 3 small but echte.

Thomas the Rhymer.