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Wednesday, 15 December 2010

In praise of the night sky


Eureka moment?  This is a quote from Colin Shearing's site
http://www.britannia.com/history/preseli_blue.html
in which he purports to reveal the "Secrets of the Preseli Bluestones"

In 2001 I discovered a memorial stone in the Preseli Hills which had been polished and then, during a geological survey, the Bluestones were cut open and then the proverbial penny dropped. Inside the stones we found feldspar crystal formations and mica. When polished, the stone looks like the night sky studded with stars and now, having seen its beauty when polished, it seemed obvious to me that this was reason enough to move them and erect a circle of them.

The pretence that he "discovered" the likeness of spotted dolerite to a night sky is really a bit naughty, since this idea has been around for almost a century.  It was most convincingly articulated by my old friend and adversary Roger Worsley, in the book he wrote with Piet Brinton called "Open Secrets" and published in 1987.  In there, a chapter is entitled "Bluestones and Black Night" and the authors refer to "those speckly blue stones that the gods had made to look like the night sky......"

Of course, the argument is that this likeness, deemed to be a gift from the gods, was sufficient justification for the spotted dolerite stones to be carted all the way from the eastern Preseli Hills all the way to Stonehenge.  The problem with this nice little theory is that many of the stones and fragments at Stonehenge are of unspotted dolerite, rhyolite, volcanic ash and all sorts of other rock types that had nothing in common whatsoever with a starlit night........  maybe, although they were lousy stones for building stone circles with, they were deemed to be magical by association?   Hmmm...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I dispair at the level of mendatious stupidity of pseudo-academics' we professionals are bad enough without the ungrate (sic) unwashed trying to sounsd as if they have two firing neurons.- Can nobody read the truth of the spots it is in the literature.
GCU In two minds