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Friday, 11 February 2011

Garry Lavin's rolling wickerwork basket


There has been more publicity (on the BBC web site) for Garry Lavin's theory of how the big monoliths were transported from A to B.  Typical headline:
"Rewriting the ancient history of Stonehenge"
http://brian-mountainman.blogspot.com/2010/12/wickerwork-cradles-used-for-bluestone.html
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-isle-of-man-12386804
http://www.safari.org.uk/

Apparently he has tried out his theory, and found that a 40 kg stone (ie weighing less than 2 bags of cement) can be rolled along in its wicker cradle, and also floated.  On the Safari web site -- and on the video clip -- there is mention of a "three-quarters of a tonne" stone being used in the experiments.  Garry is having lots of fun on this one.....

There is also a video clip from the Discovery Channel:
http://watch.discoverychannel.ca/clip415360#clip415360

8 comments:

Garry Lavin said...

Seems like things get lost in translation - the BBC figure is a mistake - the small model is nearer the bags of cement analogy, the big basket tests have been three quarters of a tonne.

Garry Lavin

BRIAN JOHN said...

Thanks Garry -- good to have clarification.

You seem to be fully signed up to the idea that the bluestones were transported all the way from Preseli to Stonehenge -- in my view that is an unnecessary hypothesis. Moving a collection of erratics on Salisbury Plain from distances of maybe a few miles to a few scores of miles would have been impressive enough.

But your proposed transport mechanism deserves consideration -- on the rolling chalk downs. Sorry -- but I just don't see it working on the chaotic, boggy, stony and heavily wooded terrain of West Wales.

What is your "Bluestone Project 2011"? Are you seeking to move a stone from Preseli to Stonehenge?

heavenshenge said...

Interesting ideas.

The biggest problem with the wicker idea would be the apparent lack of durability over short distances: In addition, Wicker, when bundled, does not have a low voids ratio which means that the rolling structure would have to be very large to achieve buoyancy for some of the larger stones (I'm guessing but would imagine wicker has a desnity when wettened slightly greater than wettened pine)

Whether the stones arrived by glaciaton or from source, there still seems to be a need to be a transportation method.

BRIAN JOHN said...

I agree -- in the film Garry's wicker cylinder was flexing so much, even on a flattish piece of ground, and had to be packed out so much with poles and stakesto make it more stable, that I would not fancy its chances of survival over a kilometre of rough country, let alone 200 km.......

heavenshenge said...

If I had several generations to think about it, I would probably train suitable trees (such as pine) to form spirals and then pin each ring of the spiral to its neighbour: I could then pack out with timber around the stone and then use timber wedges to put two or more of the outer timber spiral rings into a small amount of tension. This would form a durable rolling structure.

The advantage of a rolling form, whether or not over short or long distances, is that you can use a 'downhill' rock (winding rope onto the containing cylinder) which is then tied to a second 'unwinding' uphill cylinder. This forms a kind of counterbalance.

I guess that we are unlikely to ever know what was really done?

Jon

BRIAN JOHN said...

Jon -- to my mind all of these rolling and sliding theories are crazy, because they assume a type of terrain rather like the rolling treeless plains of the chalklands of Wiltshire! As I have said many times before, the terrain of Pembrokeshire in Neolithic times would have been INCREDIBLY difficult -- tree-covered for the most part, with bogs, steep slopes, rushing rivers with shoals and cataracts. Navigation from A to B would have been incredibly difficult, let alone trying to roll or slide large numbers of irregularly shaped stones cross country. Even today the terrain is very difficult indeed. Remember the Millennium Stone fiasco.....

heavenshenge said...

I'm with you on the idea that moving the stones from Pembrokeshire would have been incredibly difficult.

However, as soon as you get to the chalklands (or the location of the glacial deposits depending on your assumptions about the location of the source material), it's not unreasonable to assume that some form of transport must have been used?

BRIAN JOHN said...

Agree totally -- some method must have been used, even to gather the stones together from a distance of a mile or two!