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Friday, 9 April 2010

Stonehenge packing stones



This is a nice pic from the Atkinson era of one of the packing stones unearthed during excavations. Not sure what type it is -- presumably one of the limestones or sandstones assumed to have come from the fringes of Salisbury plain. On the other hand it may be sarsen -- and archaeologists have always assumed that smallish boulders and lumps of sarsen, found in the immediate locality, were used as mauls, heavy grinding stones and as packing stones. Most of the smaller hammer-stones were made of flint. There is endless dispute over how much "dressing and shaping" actually went on -- Atkinson and others speculate on millions of man-hours being involved. Some of the sarsens appear to be "well-dressed" and others are in their pristine or natural state.

I don't think there has ever been a systematic study or quantification of these "extraneous" or "rubbish" stones, since the focus of attention has always been on the standing stones or monoliths, and the lintels. But there are very many "exotics" in this packing rubble, and we should all examine them more carefully for clues as to the origins of the monument.

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