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Friday, 30 September 2011

The Boles Barrow Bluestone


Somebody sent me this picture -- I think it is the Boles barrow bluestone up against the wall on the left hand side. Can anybody confirm that? I have not seen it in person, and a friend who once went to the Salisbury Museum and tried to take a picture of it was told to put his camera away! (Is the stone covered by the Official Secrets Act?)

I got this comment the other day from somebody who knows the stone: "Boles/Bowls Barrow: - the Heytesbury stone I'd call a truncated pillar - parallel sided, rear face plane, unweathered, where plucked from outcrop, front has rounded off edges, looked deeply weathered to me, thought I could see the odd shallow thermal (?) pit. Couldn't see any signs of working. How old is the truncation? Not recent. I must dig out my large scale drawing and notes. Obviously if the truncation is really old it becomes absurd to think that anyone would select it to transport, but then the bluestone saga is an act in the theatre of the absurd."

That's an interesting point. This is a boulder, not a pillar or standing stone. If it was a pillar at some stage, probably two thirds of it are missing. Where is the rest of it? As Aubrey Burl and others have argued, it just looks like an erratic boulder -- nothing more complicated than that.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

Yes It is, or at least, I was told the same thing.
Thomas the Rhymer.

BRIAN JOHN said...

You mean you were barred from taking a picture as well?

Tony Hinchliffe said...

I do not recall the shape of the Salisbury Museum bluestone, but I think the artefacts laid out close by it are now entirely prehistoric, unlike in your illustration. Burl apparently says the stone weighs 611 kg, as quoted by Pitts (2000).

It is somewhat strange that the so-called Boles Barrow bluestone is not used as an illustration in any main texts so far as I am aware.

As I have said before, it's a pity that Time Team's Dr Phil Harding has not made any comment about the Salisbury Museum stone, given his own practical interest in stone-working, and the fact that these days he lives in the City of Salisbury.

I see Anthony Johnson [ who has just today joined this blogsite with his own comments] makes this wider point about the presence or otherwise of bluestones in the Stonehenge landscape:-

"whilst a variety of large exotic stones and even hammer-stones and mauls was used in the packing of the sarcen uprights,implying that stone for this purpose was in short supply, none was bluestone; had it been generally present within a local glacial assemblage it would undoubtedly have been collected and utilized" [p. 127, Solving Stonehenge,2008].

Tony H said...

I have emailed Salisbury Museum in an effort to get some dimension measurements etc and perhaps an illustration.

Anonymous said...

No silly!
I was told also that the large dolerite was the Boles Barrow Bluestone.

GCU In Two Minds

David Dawson said...

The photo is of Wiltshire Heritage Museum in Devizes duing the Inspired by Stonehenge exhibition. The stone is a piece of sarsen lent to the travelling exhibition. The Inspired by Stonehenge exhibition featured the collection of Stonehengeana put together by Julian Richards.

BRIAN JOHN said...

Thanks David. The stone doesn't look much like sarsen, but if you say it is, then so be it..... where are the Museum's "official" photos of the stone we are interested in?

Anonymous said...

The Bowles Barrow Stone is in the rather lovely and cosy Salisbury Museum in the ?main corridor there.
Dr Dawson has responsibilty for the Devizes Museum only, (also a very good place-lots of BA gold ((pace Schliemann I just knew we would get to Agamemnon eventually))!
(but who knows Archival Lebensraum followed Anschluss perhaps??.
GCU In Two Minds.

Michael Vaughan, CBE said...

'ey up, it's dead educational hearing from GCU in t'2 minds on 'ere, aint it?

BRIAN JOHN said...

This blog attracts some very erudite people, and GCU in 3minds is obviously more erudite than most..... and I'm learning a lot about Greek mythology, which has to be a good thing.

RL Stevenson said...

You're never alone if you're schizophrenic.....aaagh..................made myself jump