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Saturday, 3 September 2011

Feeding Stonehenge and Feeding MPP

Every self-respecting professor needs a good flow of projects in order to keep himself / herself gainfully occupied and well fed.  With MPP and his colleagues now heading west on their Great Bluestone Quarry Hunt, I suppose that the work will fall under the auspices of the "Feeding Stonehenge" project, funded by AHRC.  It's interesting that the British Geological Survey is in there too, helping to run the project.  I wonder what their role is, and I wonder what they think about all this hunting for bluestone quarries?

It is amazing to me that the BGS has kept totally quiet on the matter of bluestone provenances and on the significance of the wide range of rock types found at Stonehenge and its environs.  Is there nobody left at the BGS who has any understanding of geomorphology and glaciology?  It seems not.....  and maybe they are under strict instructions from the Government not to rock the boat on the bluestone transport issue, with the Olympics coming up, lots of paying visitors on the way,  and the economy in dire straits?  Surely that speculation has to be far-fetched..... or is it.....?

From the Sheffield University web site:

Feeding Stonehenge (2010-2013)

The provisioning and social organization of the Stonehenge builders is being investigated through a 3-year programme of analysis of faunal remains, ceramics, lithics, and settlement activities at Durrington Walls. Strontium and oxygen isotope analysis of cattle tooth enamel is providing exciting indications of long-distance supply routes as well as seasonal patterns of gathering at Stonehenge. Comparison with other major henge complexes in southern Britain may answer questions about Stonehenge´s relationship with other stone circles such as Avebury. The project is run with the University of York and the British Geological Survey, and is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council.

One of the objectives:
• To investigate the organisation of labour and stoneworking techniques involved in quarrying, transporting and dressing the Stonehenge sarsen stones.   (Sarsen stones, not bluestones -- but what the hell -- a few trips to Pembrokeshire would be nice for everybody, and the scenery is nice too, for the TV boys...)

Project Members
The Principal Investigator for the Feeding Stonehenge Project is Mike Parker Pearson of the University of Sheffield and the Co-Investigators are Umberto Albarella of the University of Sheffield, Oliver Craig of the University of York and Jane Evans of the British Geological Survey. The project’s Research Associates are Benjamin Chan, Sarah Viner and Mandy Jay of the University of Sheffield and Lisa Shillito of the University of York. The project is funded by the AHRC and is due to run from 2010-2013.


Anonymous said...

I think Dr Jane Evans is looking at the isotopic composition of bones from Durrington Walls.
Thomas Rhymer

BRIAN JOHN said...

Ah yes -- back into Amesbury Archer territory again......

let's see what she comes up with, and then apply a reasonable degree of critical scrutiny to her findings.

Tony Hinchliffe said...

The clue is in the AHRC's full title: ARTS and HUMANITIES Research Council. What happened to Science? Maybe this is why the British Geological Survey seems to have been GAGGED on the subject of the wide range of rock types at Stonehenge, and the matter of bluestone provenances. The AHRC holds the purse-strings.He who pays the piper calls the tune, eh, Thomas Rhymer?