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Friday, 18 March 2011

Judd the Prophet

Many thanks to Pete G for alerting me to this article, and to Wiltshire Archaeology for making it available on the web.  It's Gowland's report of the 1901 excavations -- highly impressive and full of interesting titbits of information.  He discusses alternative theories and possibilities in a remarkably balanced way -- something which later ceased to be possible, following the publication of HH Thomas's infamous paper and the wholesale conversion of the archaeology establishment to the new religion as laid down in the Gospel According to St Thomas.
 Incorporated into the Gowland paper is a long "Note on the Nature and Origin of the Rock-Fragments found in  the Excavations" by Professor JW Judd.  Again, it is remarkably sophisticated, with a number of points coming out of it quite clearly:

1.  The bluestones (as they were already being called) were from a wide variety of different locations and incorporated many different rock types.  (This fact was later overlooked by people like Atkinson who were obsessed with the idea that they had all come from around Carn Meini.)

2.  There was no reason why the bluestones should not be considered to be glacial erratics.  This is how Gowland summarised Judd's views:


3.  There was such a vast quantity of bluestone fragments in the soil layers at Stonehenge that the stones must have been dressed on the site.  Judd argued -- perfectly reasonably -- that if (as was already being proposed) the stones had been transported by the builders of Stonehenge from a long way off, they would surely have dressed the stones first, so as to reduce the weight of material to be hauled.

4.  Following on from that,  Judd argued that the stones might not have been moved far at all, and that Stonehenge might simply have been built where there just happened to be a nice assemblage of both sarsens and bluestones.

A man after my own heart!  On another post I'll publish some of the pages of the Judd manuscript.

5 comments:

Tony Hinchliffe said...

Mike Pitts' highly recommendable book "Hengeworld" (2000), acknowledges Judd's findings.(p 85)

"Judd noted that bluestone fragments were far more numerous than sarcen, the opposite of the ratio between the two rock types above ground. This meant, he thought, that the sarcens had been roughly dressed at their distant quarry, and finished on site; while the smaller bluestones had been brought to Stonehenge in an undressed state, and worked on their arrival" [Pitts' reference:-
Judd, 1902, pp 115-116].

BRIAN JOHN said...

Thanks Tony. That's an interesting addition. But I'm intrigued by the spin that Mike Pitts puts on the Judd opinion by saying the bluestones were (according to Judd) "brought to Stonehenge in an undressed state........" when actually Judd argues that the stones were already at Stonehenge or in the immediate vicinity.

That little inaccuracy might have been accidental. But I doubt it!!

Tony Hinchliffe said...

I do think that Mike Pitts is one person who will show himself to having an open mind to the likelihood that the bluestones have used glaciers as their means of transportation, and not men. I agree that in "Hengeworld" (2000) he appears to slightly favour the time-honoured version of events. But, throughout "Hengeworld", he does forensically present all sides of thought processes occurring and arguments that have arisen through time on matters to do with henges and circles. For instance, he tells us of archaeologist Aubrey Burl's minority report favouring the glaciation viewpoint as opposed to the notion of 'kamikaze crews' piloting vessels carrying stones great distances. I think Mike Pitts is open-minded enough to "spin the ball both ways", if indeed he is 'spinning' anything. I am sure he will eventually produce a new edition of "Hengeworld", containing all the new evidence on All Things Stonehenge and elsewhere revealed between, say, 2001-2015.

Tony Hinchliffe said...

I have now found some justification for my previously expressed view that Pitts is not disguising Judds' views on a glacial component to the Stonehenge bluestones. On page 198 of "Hengeworld", in a discussion of those for and against through the 20th Century, we find, after mention of Geoffrey Kellaway's disputing of the Herbert Thomas' megaliths movement by humans claim, he says:-

"more recently, and with more authority, having completed the most intensive geological study ever conducted of the Stonehenge megaliths, a team from the Open University concluded that the bluestones had been brought to the Stonehenge district by glaciers hundreds of thousands of years ago.. Wlliam Judd, the geologist who examined rock fragments from Gowland's excavations, would have agreed"

BRIAN JOHN said...

Ah yes -- thanks for this, Tony. Good to know that MP accepts that there are (at least) two theories to play with -- one which is somewhat prosaic and another which is (as Aubrey Burl and I would agree) somewhat fanciful!