How much do we know about Stonehenge? Less than we think. And what has Stonehenge got to do with the Ice Age? More than we might think. This blog is mostly devoted to the problems of where the Stonehenge bluestones came from, and how they got from their source areas to the monument. Now and then I will muse on related Stonehenge topics which have an Ice Age dimension...
THE BOOK Some of the ideas discussed in this blog are published in my book called "The Bluestone Enigma" -- available by post and through good bookshops everywhere. Bad bookshops might not have it.... To order, click HERE
Tuesday, 18 October 2011
More about footprints and sledges
These two maps (courtesy Dyfed Archaeology) are interesting, since they give us a clue to the main coastal locations utilised by our Mesolithic and Neolithic ancestors while sea-level was rising to approximately its present position. In a previous post I drew attention to the presence of Mesolithic human footprints in the mud of the Gwent Levels, and now there are other examples too. Here is a footprint (probable age: Mesolithic or Neolithic) from Formby Point in Lancashire:
And here are some more fossil footprints in ancient peat (Mesolithic) in Lydstep Bay, South Pembrokeshire. This peat is of course typical of the submerged forests which are found in most bays around this coast. Age? Maybe 6,000 BP?
If Mesolithic footprints are being discovered, there is no reason why there shouldn't be Neolithic ones too. And if the archaeologists are correct, we should also be able to find sledge tracks (and maybe the odd abandoned sledge and bluestone as well). After all, the stone-fetching expeditions must surely have used the flat coastal tracts in preference to the rough terrain inland, mustn't they?
A nice quite from Prof GW:
"The intertidal zone, because of its nature and because of the fact that it is in an inundated landscape, can give us a great amount of information about the past environment of the last six thousand years, and this gives us a picture of human settlement which, ironically, gives us a more complete picture of Man and his lifestyle and his environment than we get from the dry, terrestrial sites. It is a very important environment for us to study and, indeed, a very neglected environment. It is also very difficult to put a human face on archaeological evidence, and with these footprints you have actually the mark of the people concerned, and that is what makes them so important".
Professor Geoffrey Wainwright, English Heritage.
"Ephemeral Archaeology", BBC Radio 4 "Science Now" series, 6 November 1993.