Some of the ideas discussed in this blog are published in my new book called "The Stonehenge Bluestones" -- available by post and through good bookshops everywhere. Bad bookshops might not have it....
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Monday, 5 September 2011

MPP rides into Town

Sid has just drawn my attention to the following press release from Dyfed Archaeological Trust.  MPP and his warriors ride into town!  I will be there, intending to listen attentively, and maybe to make a comment or two.  It sounds as if we are going to get a bit of a geological treatise,  which suits me just fine, and an explanation of these two "bluestone quarry sites" which are all set to be the focus of attention over the coming weeks.  (Note that they are not referred to as "possible quarry sites" -- this is all about confidence and certainty.)  Roll up, folks!  This is the start of something really big, involving universities from all over the UK!  And when it comes to quarries, rest assured that if you want to find them seriously enough, then find them you will........

The Stones of Stonehenge: the Preseli Component

 Perhaps one of the greatest mysteries surrounding Stonehenge is the origins of the stones themselves. How did bluestones from the Welsh Preseli Mountains become the construction material for the site of Stonehenge built some 5000 years ago? In recent years there has been renewed interest in this question and it has sparked a review of the theories concerning their origins. Were the stones transported to Wiltshire by glacial processes during the Last Ice Age or are they the result of an epic feat of unprecedented engineering and transport by our prehistoric ancestors?
   Professor Mike Parker Pearson of Sheffield University is leading a collaborative project involving universities from across the UK in looking at this enigma. Their work has brought them back to Preseli in search of the quarries and sites that may be the start of the longest journey for megaliths anywhere in prehistoric Europe.
  This year fieldwork will look at two bluestone quarry sites, a possible dismantled stone circle, and potential Neolithic settlement.

  Professor Mike Parker-Pearson will be presenting a talk about the project and the wider study of the Stones of Stonehenge on 15th of September at 7pm.

  The talk will be held at the Newport Memorial Hall, West Street, Newport, Pembrokeshire, SA42 0TF
  Admission to this event is FREE.


Tony Hinchliffe said...

My impression of Mike Parker Pearson, having spoken to him several times at lectures and at Stonehenge, and corresponded by email, is that he is prepared to be fair-minded and open to all opinions. I have encouraged him to look at your blogsite, Brian, and am optimistic that this will be an opportunity for a fair and open exchange of views.

The press release SOUNDS quite like Mike speaking e.g. "are [the stones] the result of an epic feat of unprecedented engineering and transport by our prehistoric ancestors?" I can hear him saying "epic feat" with a smile and a chuckle. I certainly hope this will be an even-handed talk by Mike Parker Pearson, he certainly has the capability to present a consistently balanced approach to this mega-topic.

BRIAN JOHN said...

That's my impression too, and we live in hope. But I just wish he wouldn't label things as "bluestone quarries" before he has even been anywhere near them, let alone subjecting them to detailed analysis.... and in spite of his geologists urging him to be cautious with his use of language.

Claudia said...

Has Dr. Pearson ever considered the possibility that the stones might have been moved over a frozen road, instead of during the warm months?? Just got me thinking after looking at the landscape....

BRIAN JOHN said...

There have been many suggestions that stones were moved by sledge during the winter months when there was plenty of snow and ice about. For me, that theory falls flat because just as the ice or snow would have reduced friction on the underside of the sledge (and thus facilitated forward movement) those conditions would have reduced friction under the feet of the poor sods pulling the sledges -- and that would have made the whole operation a nightmare. Another idea is that the Stonehenge lintels were put into place by sliding the lintels up onto the top of the sarsen monoliths on snow ramps -- I have to admit that I quite like that one!!