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Wednesday, 5 October 2011

The Stonehenge menagerie


 Now here's a jolly thing.  The media have got all worked up about those two little stone ducks (if they aren't ducks, what else could they be?) found at Vespasian's Camp near Amesbury by the OU team.  These are dated to 700 BC, and are assumed to come from the Bronze Age.

 Some years ago a carved pig (pictured below) was found buried alongside a prehistoric baby at Stonehenge.  It may represent Britain's earliest known toy, researchers have said. The Bronze Age figurine was possibly made as a toy or in memory of the baby being stillborn or dying in infancy, according to archaeologists. Other photos show little carved legs.  Is it a pig, or a hedge-hog?  At the time of its discovery it was often referred to as "Stonehenge-hog".

 

Here's another picture of the "hedgehog" from underneath, showing the "four carved legs" -- if it is entirely natural , it is at least interesting.........

74 comments:

Anonymous said...

May the Gods save us from amateurs.
Either the flint carver, who was having a bad day (are the ?associated flint tools poorly made), or the archaeologist proposing that these natural-shaped and unworked flints are carved.
I see no sign of working on them -mind you the 'pig' has never convinced me.
Or the press have hyped the story and have distorted a reasonable statement into rubbish.
This cannot be a bid for publicity in the hope of funding-that would be a first in the Stonehenge story.
Why oh why do these people do it.
GCU In two minds.
PS
The main point that should be taken from Ixer and Turner's Altar stone paper is that the Altar stone did NOT come from Milford Haven. The rest is still unknown.

Tony H said...

Ppp.ppickupa PENGUIN.....whato, Brian and RJL..... I'll leave you two (one at least of whom has visited the Antarctica for academic research porpoises, and the other has his own rather unique theories) to debate this possible/probable connection. Or am I just being too optimistic again?

EARTH GODDESS said...

Beauty in in the eye of the beholder.

The Stonehenge Enigma said...

Looks more like a dog to me if you turn your head to the right.

Tony, the only way you get me to Antarctica is on a cruise ship with double glazed windows and a mug of hot soup, rather go skiing.

RJL

Tony H said...

Full account at:-

http://blog.stonehenge-stone-circle-.co.uk/2011/10/04/how-students-found-evidence

The site address is even longer, but the above should get you there

Dennis Price at Eternal Idol is going to get very excited about all this.

Tony H said...

Oh, no, it looks like springs are in the air..............or is it just that I'm being foolish?? (compare Carn Meini, TD/GW)

Lyrics Copyright all Rights Reserved

The Stonehenge Enigma said...

Tony

Well my 'unique theories' do predict these world shattering findings.

As the Vesparian camp was an island in the Mesolithic and a peninsula in the Neolithic - I sent Dennis at http://www.eternalidol.com/?p=8702
a link to the groundwater level map at the camp in prehistory last January.

RJL

Bob the Builder said...

It has a remarkable resemblance to my mother-in-law who, incidentally was witness to all activities at the ancient site from the building of Stonehenge 3.I. onwards.

She says she can distinctly remember a bearded, robed figure trying to sell her the figurine at a market one Saturday afternoon. He had just brought a sled load of bluestones overland from a place in west Wales.

Constantinos Ragazas said...

Brian et al,

If a pig and a duck was carved, perhaps we can hope for carvings of kings? Maybe in the tombs GW is excavating of very important persons?

Kostas

Barbara Windsor said...

Naah.......! You're having me on, Bob!!

BRIAN JOHN said...

Oh dear -- sorry I started this. I should know after all these years -- never share a stage with either children or animals.....

Tony H said...

Dr David Barrowclough at Wolfson College, Cambridge, said "In Europe in the Bronze Age and the start of the Iron Age there was a cult of making models of waterfowl and throwing them into ponds and springs. These are the first ones ever found in Britain."

Barrie Foster said...

Pigs might fly. Ducks certainly do.

The Stonehenge Enigma said...

I've heard that the 'spirit' of possessions in the shape of a stone were worshipped in Peckham in the late 20th century and early 21st century - they too were cast into water like objects called 'shop windows' to appease their god.

Back to Francis Prior's sad cry of 'ceremonial' every time TT found objects in a river or stream.

RJL

alexgee said...

Although its impossible to tell from a photo. I think the Archeologists have got it right this time.

The form of the purported stone ducks cannot be explained by natural processes.

Whilst the rounded base could be attributed to water transport, or being a carbonate rock, uniform dissolution whilst buried in water saturated topsoil, or submersion in fissures within the phreatic zone of the chalk bedrock.

These explanations can be discounted, by the contrasting angular form of the duck's heads.

I would say they were hand carved.

There is also a clear hand cut groove around the neck of both ducks.

Not sure about the pig though, the photo angle isn't good enough to formulate an opinion.

Alex Gee said...

As for Roberts comments. This is no proof whatsoever of the pseudo-scientific rubbish in his book.

I think its about time Brian devoted a post to the subject of Robert's hypothesis of a mesolithic inundation at stonehenge. This would enable those of us to discuss the evidence for and against, I'm extremely confident that such a debate, would allow those of us with enquiring minds, to lay such delusional nonsense to rest once and for all.

BRIAN JOHN said...

Life is too short, Alex. I won't dignify Robert's hypothesis by undertaking a detailed scientific analysis of it. Like you, I consider it to be pseudo-science, maybe of some interest to a few gullible people. If Robert wants a debate, he should be brave enough to conduct it on his own blog. There are enough serious and interesting topics to discuss anyway.....

Alex Gee said...

I think you're right Brian.

As a famous scientist once said, when declining a challenge to a debate (by an equally deluded individual) on the findings of his serious scientific research.

"It might look good on your CV, but it wouldn't look good on mine"

despite finding them extremely irritating. In the future, I will just ignore Roberts comments and treat them as a minor irritant, like itchy crotch or athlete's foot.

Lobbie Ludd said...

The thing shouldn't be called a 'figurine', --------- the correct term is a pigurine, which, for accuracy, is only slightly smaller than a pigaroot.

In the Midlands everyone is called 'Ducks'. Is this a remnant from an ancient ritualistic greeting, perhaps?

Alex Gee said...

Lobbie Ludd

No,Its probably derived from the origins of the most tortuous and grating to the ear of regional british accents.

Unlike the warm and seductive timbre of the welsh accent. LOL

Tony H said...

Leave "Lobbie" alone, Alex. I happen to have a fair idea where "Lobbie" originates, and it aint The Midlands. He just happens to have a very dry sense of humour and now resides not that far from the great Betty Driver's Hot Pot land.

And, if my hunch is correct, "Lobbie" knows a heck of a lot about geological matters, so you two are probably not that far apart.

And no, Betty Driver was NOT related to Toby Driver

For the record, I am from further North.

Anonymous said...

Learn something about the origin of irregular flint nodules.
We are a hair's width away from marcasite thunderbolts.

They have little to do with

"Whilst the rounded base could be attributed to water transport, or being a carbonate rock, uniform dissolution whilst buried in water saturated topsoil, or submersion in fissures within the phreatic zone of the chalk bedrock."

Whatever any of that is supposed to mean!!.

Disbelief is the only reasonable response.

GCU In two minds

BRIAN JOHN said...

Have added a photo of the "hedgehog" from underneath, showing the four projections that have been interpreted as legs!

Chris johnson said...

I just read that the same dig turned up a feast on auroch from 4200 bc. Now we know how how the stones were moved!

BRIAN JOHN said...

Mammoths would have been even better -- and we still don't know when the last British mammoth became extinct!

The Stonehenge Enigma said...

Alex g

I have a well visited blog site devoted to my book (www.the-stonehenge-enigma.co.uk) if you wish to challenge my hypothesis - thus allowing Brian to search of his missing stones and stone ducks!

RJL

Alex Gee said...

It was only a comment based on the photograph. I've done a fair bit of stone carving, and they look hand carved to me.

I'll go and learn about irregular chalk nodules, if you go and learn about dissolution of carbonate rocks.

Lobbie Ludd said...

Hello Tony H,

Thanks for the support.

Regarding geological matters it has been said that "He doesn't know his karst from his wind-blow".

Now that really hurt. :-)

Constantinos Ragazas said...

Brian,

How can we be sure the dates of the ducks and the pig carvings are correct? Old stones can be carved at any time!

If archeological strata were used to date these, we tacitly assume the strata were undisturbed. This is an assumption that can and must be questioned! Can't rely on 'eminent archeologists' to make up these dates that seek to fit their narratives.

A lot would depend on where such artifacts were found. Not knowing exactly where and how these were found, I am speculating here. But if River Avon, for example, was much wider and deeper in the distant past than it is today (something that Robert and I agree on) then such artifacts could have been deposited together by the River. And so archeological dating may not be possible.

What especially troubles me are all the excavations of 'burial sites' with random animal bones along with human remains along with children toys along with broken pot pieces!

What conceivable human intent could bring all these together, broken up and in pieces (never whole) at the same burial site? But certainly such deposits can be brought to the same site naturally by Nature!

I think we need to deeply question all of this … I have been deeply questioning all this!

Kostas

Geo Cur said...

Kostas , I’m not sure exactly where the dig site is located but is likely to be 10- 12 m above the Avon .There have been a number of finds from Roman through I.A , B.A. and what now looks to be Mesolithic . All have been found exactly where you would expect them to be stratigraphically .The likelihood of that being a result of a non human process is similar to a tornado wrecking then reassembling a garden shed .
I don’t believe there were any burials .

Betty Driver-Duck said...

Noah's Flood? There ARE TWO ducks. Well, it stands to sense! Ask anyone in the Rover's Return!

Anonymous said...

My Ph.D was on the dissolution of a variety of Carbiniferous Limestones (carbonate rocks!) and their subsequent dolomitisation, silicification and mineralisation.
A fair grounding.
GCU In two minds

BETTY DRIVER said...

We could ask Wladislaw DUCzho for his opinion on the ducks. He's a Polish archaeology professor. But he may just duck and dive without giving a firm opinion.

Constantinos Ragazas said...

Geo,

Thanks for your response. Hard to be an 'armchair archeologist'! Would the 'Avenue elbow' also be 10-12 m above the Avon? There is an app for that!

You write,

“All have been found exactly where you would expect them to be stratigraphically “


Expected by whom? And compared to what? Don't we risk here 'intellectual incest' ? We know what biological incest can create! Intellectual incest can create monstrosities no less! And they all have claims to life.

Why do you suppose skeletal human remains found around Stonehenge are so broken and disarticulated and deformed? With broken skulls and severed limbs? Do you think this is because Stonehenge was a prehistoric 'healing place'?

Don't you find it more probable that such human and animal skeletal remains got buried in jumbled burials because they were brought to Stonehenge by meltwater streams and deposited there? The same as the stones?

You write,

“The likelihood of that being a result of a non human process is similar to a tornado wrecking then reassembling a garden shed .”

That is exactly what I think of the 'human process' as an explanation for all this. But I keep an open mind! Convince me!

Kostas

Wendy said...

Asking Wladislaw wouldn't help much, ------- I heard he's quackers.

(Someone had to say it, and I thought I'd get it in before Thomas Rhymer).

Geo Cur said...

Kostas ,the western Avenue “elbow “ is just under 20 m higher than the Avon and the shallower eastern one about 30 m higher .
Whilst geological stratigraphy may have less variables to be concerned with , the archaeological type is equally useful . Not as simple as oldest layer at the bottom ( i.e. a ceiling would post date a floor ) but the basics are similar . Hence in undisturbed ground the lowest section will be the oldest ,this is exactly what was found in the section from near Vespasians camp , every epoch in the expected chronological order and covering a period of 6000 years.. If you are really interested , an overview with a link to a free copy of the most important text can be found here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harris-matrix .

Most of the burials associated with Stonehenge are cremations , difficult to judge how many individuals but probably at least 200 .Hawley found three complete skeletons , lost in the war but probably interred later than the main phases of the monument ..Disarticulation of bones in burials from barrows in the area are more than likely due to the bones having been curated and sometimes they accompany articulated burials .
Fwiw , no I don’t accept the “Hospital hypothesis “ Kostas ,the western Avenue “elbow “ is just under 20 m higher than the Avon and the shallower eastern one about 30 m higher .
Whilst geological stratigraphy may have less variables to be concerned with the archaeological type is equally useful . Not as simple as oldest layer at the bottom ( i.e. a ceiling would post date a floor ) but the basics are similar . Hence in undisturbed ground the lowest section will be the oldest ,this is exactly what was found in the section from near Vespasians camp , every epoch in the expected chronological order and covering a period of 6000 years.. If you are really interested , an overview with a link to a free copy of the most important text can be found here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harris-matrix .

Most of the burials associated with Stonehenge are cremations , difficult to judge how many individuals but probably at least 200 .Hawley found three complete skeletons , lost in the war but probably interred later than the main phases of the monument ..Disarticulation of bones in burials from barrows in the area are more than likely due to the bones having been curated and sometimes they accompany articulated burials .
Fwiw , no I don’t accept the “Hospital hypothesis “
Meltwater clearly isn’t an explanation for the large number of barrows which have been excavated and contain internments with grave goods ,needless to say the same applies to cremations inserted in the Aubrey Holes and the section from near Vespasian's camp .

Constantinos Ragazas said...

Geo,

Thanks for the link. Learned a little more about the Matrix and how it's used.

What stands out as most relevant is the Matrix presupposes the excavated area remained “dry and undisturbed” during the various archeological epochs investigated.

In the case of Salisbury Plain such presuppositions can be questioned, in my humble opinion. It is not a stretch to argue that the River Avon was much bigger and wider and deeper in the distant past than it is today. I agree with Robert on this. But I also go a step further and argue that Salisbury Plain may have been covered by an ice sheet at the time Stonehenge was constructed.

The reason why no typical traces of glaciation can be found at Salisbury Plain is, I believe, because there was no glacier movement. The ice sheet simply melted 'in place'; thinning its thickness with the meltwater washing over the ice surface flushing all debris into the sea.

I will not repeat all my arguments. Only emphasize why I think the archeological dates using the Matrix and other methods of stratification can be questioned here. All the broken human/animal/artifact remains and geologic evidence excavated can have simpler and sensible natural explanations.

Example. The many pine charcoal pieces found in pits and holes and barrows may not be due to cremations. Rather, these can likewise be meltwater deposits of pine forest fires from higher elevations brought and buried in Salisbury Plain. Most of course would have washed off to the sea. But what was buried in holes or pits or ditches or mounds got trapped and remained buried.

Consider this. How can you explain the bluestone chips found in the Stonehenge Layer do not trace to any of the bluestones at Stonehenge, but do trace to various locations at Preseli?

These are the scientific findings by Dr. Ixer, et al. All of this scientific evidence perfectly fits my theory! Others need patchworks in their narratives to excuse their presence.

Brian can't explain this. Robert can't explain this. Wainwright can't explain this! You can't explain this. But I can explain this!

Kostas

The Stonehenge Enigma said...

Geo Cur

Harris-matrix only works on dry urban areas.

An area which is effected by water can have younger deposits on top of older. See Earth and Planetary sciences(Stanley 2001) "anomalous radiocarbon dates".

This can be seen at Stonehenge in the ditch were broken antlers picks have been dated at 2700BC - 3000BC (and hence the date for the sites phase I beginning)as they are at the bottom of the ditch - rather than taking into account that the moat would need to 'dry up' before anything datable could be found - hence you have the end date rather than the start date of the ditch.

RJL

The Stonehenge Enigma said...

Tony could be right for once!!

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/howaboutthat/8806153/Penguin-spotted-near-Portsmouth.html

Warmer Mesolithic climate?

RJL

BRIAN JOHN said...

Ah -- so they are not ducks after all, but penguins. An entertaining thought...

Geo Cur said...

RJL , the Harris Matrix was originally conceived for dry urban sites due to the greater stratigraphical problems likely to encountered there than in a typical rural wet site where it will be just as applicable but less needy .

“An area which is effected by water can have younger deposits on top of older.”
Yes , that is exactly what you would expect, whatever the conditions .

The Stanley article was in relation to deltas and the possible problem of the RC dating being too old . Neither of which , particularly the latter ,applies to the Stonehenge ditch and your belief that it was a moat and the date from the antler was the “end date of the ditch” ,whatever that quote implies .
There are at lest 20 other RC dates from finds in the ditch older your example ,and not just antler ,the ox skulls at the entrance terminals are clearly deposits while the antler is more than likely , considering the circumstances and condition of the finds , simply discarded tools . I’m not sure what you are suggesting regarding the sequence , the antlers dumped/deposited millennia after the ditch had been dug and filled with water ?

Henge ditches often do become moats ,in some cases it seems to have been a deliberate decision particularly those built on flood plains and northern mini henges e.g. Achilty ,Pullyhour , Hatfield barrow within Marden ,Forteviot , the Ness experimental henge built a couple of years ago soon had a water filled ditch etc .If the Stonehenge ditch had been waterlogged for any length of time it would have been obvious and have been mentioned by the numerous excavators since the Hawley excavation but there was no mention or evidence of , non weathering/aeolian silting , panning or from later molluscan analysis .

Geo Cur said...

Kostas , Even if the section proves to have been wet and disturbed the fact that everything is exactly as to be expected still leaves us with the tornado analogy.
It is no coincidence that cremated bone and charcoal are found together in cremations the world over , what you suggest is very special pleading .

There is a lot more than just a few bluestone chips from the “ Stonehenge layer “ that do not trace to any of the bluestone orthostats and also much more exotic , more than one “explanation” might be needed .
Btw which particular Ixer paper were you referring to ?

The Stonehenge Enigma said...

Geo Cur

You do have an impressive knowledge of sites unfortunately Stonehenge is mine and I can assure you that Hawkins found 'a dark layer' - no doubt was organic material and a 'foot trodden' clay layer which contained flint pieces - this is the traditional method used in the Mesolithic and Neolithic 'dew pond's' also found in Wiltshire.

RJL

Constantinos Ragazas said...

Geo,

My point is simply that there are substantive and valid reasons to question the archeological and even the RC dates. Lets just leave it at that and not be dogmatic in assuming these dates are absolute.

I think we agree that the Stonehenge Layer holds an important key to this puzzle. And what has recently been shown by Dr. Ixer is that the bluestone chips found at Stonehenge “unexpectedly” do not trace to any bluestones at Stonehenge! Brian in a number of posts has referenced these scientific facts. So if you want to know which studies I am referring to, just do a search in Brian's blog and you will find them. What's relevant are the facts and not the references!

You write,

“There is a lot more than just a few bluestone chips from the “ Stonehenge layer “ that do not trace to any of the bluestone orthostats and also much more exotic , more than one “explanation” might be needed .”

There is much more to the Stonehenge Layer than can be currently explained by accepted explanations.

But we do not need “more than one explanation” to patch the holes in our narratives. But rather just one explanation that can explain it all. My explanation explains it all. In a simple sensible and consistent way.

The Stonehenge Layer displays all the characteristics of the bottom of a retaining basin where deposits of many variety of chipped stones, pebbles and other debris would uniformly collect and be buried along with soil in what now is the topsoil.

The many “empty pits” under the Stonehenge Layer? There is an app for that, consistent with my theory! (in memory of our beloved Steve Jobs!)

Kostas

Geo Cur said...

RJL , it was Hawley not Hawkins who found "foot tramped mud " in some sections of the ditch (e.g. segment 3 ) also associated with struck flint , just the sort of thing to be expected when digging ditches in wet weather . There were also cases of burning on the bottom of the ditch none of this is evidence of a moat .

BRIAN JOHN said...

The situation seems to be that many of the rhyolite fragments in the "debitage" appear to be related to the rhyolites in the Point Saeson - Craig Rhosyfelin area. That is the interesting geological discovery made by Rob and Richard. There are many other materials in the debitage and in the Stonehenge Layer that are not rhyolite. The rhyolite fragments do not seem to match any of the rhyolite standing stones at Stonehenge -- but I suppose there is still a possibility that some of the rhyolite debris will be matched with one or more of the buried stumps, about which little is known.

Rob will no doubt correct me if I have got any of this wrong.....

The Stonehenge Enigma said...

Geo Cur

You will find fires on the mosaics of Roman Villas - do they give you the construction date of the villa or their function?

History has a tenancy to repeat itself.

RJL

Constantinos Ragazas said...

Geo you write,

“It is no coincidence that cremated bone and charcoal are found together in cremations the world over , what you suggest is very special pleading .”


Let me correct a fallacy at work here.

The proposition

“IF cremation, THEN charcoal”

does not translate to

“IF charcoal, THEN cremation”

You are confusing “cause and effect”. Common flaw in dogmatic thinking.

But here is another problem with the evidence of pine charcoal found in pits at Stonehenge. Where did the pine comes from? Correct me if I am wrong. But during the period of time for these cremations, Salisbury Plain was free of pines! Whereas certainly pines did exist in higher mountainous regions of Wales, for example.

Are you doubting there may have been devastating forest fires during the Neolithic/Mesolithic? And if there were pine forest fires, is it not conceivable some of the charcoal was carried by meltwater to places like Salisbury Plain and buried there in pits? Just like the bluestone chips from Preseli buried at Stonehenge?

Kostas

Anonymous said...

No Brian is correct the current Ixer and Bevins thinking is this.
The Stonehenge layer (data on relative amounts are all collected but not published)comprises sarsen, spotted dolerite rhyolite and Palaeozoic sst and little else. All this is called 'debitage' (ignore the sarsen)so, much of the debitage is spotted dolerite from the top of the Preseli Hills, most of the rhyolites is from Craig Rhos-y-felin as perhaps is buried orthostat 32e, the Paleozoic sst are not Devonian and no geographic origin has been suggested but it is assumed to be Wales.
But it unravels as I type. Boys, boys boys do read carefully what is written as instructed by GCU.
Rob Ixer

BRIAN JOHN said...

Thanks for that clarification, Rob. This gets seriously interesting, particularly with respect to the Palaeozoic sandstone fragments. If they are not from the ORS (Devonian) then they must be Silurian, Ordovician or Cambrian. Plenty of different sandstones to choose from there -- but of course they are outcropping all over South and West Wales -- and some of the formations appear to be relatively uniform across vast distances. Are you hopeful, Rob, that you will be able to tie them down? In my experience the Cambrian sandstones (for example from the St David's area) are fairly distinctive -- they are often coloured pink, red, green or even bluish. Are there secondary changes which make them recognizable when seen in thin section? Have you found any fragments from the St Davids area?

Constantinos Ragazas said...

Rob, Brian, et al

Thanks for your posts. I greatly appreciate the scientific knowledge and expertise you bring to this discussion.

Regarding the 'debitage' fragments at Stonehenge. What in my thinking is most relevant is that there are fragments found at Stonehenge that do not trace to stones found at Stonehenge. So the question must be asked: “How did these fragments get to Stonehenge?”.

Human agency can't justify such fragments (any fragments) that trace to Wales but not to Stonehenge! But if not Man, then Nature!

Glaciation may be responsible. But how did glaciers deposit great variety of stones from great variety of places in a small well defined circle, and nowhere else? That has been Brian's Achilles hill in arguing for glacier transport.

In my humble opinion, the only explanation that can sensibly and consistently explain all of this is my 'ice cover theory'.

Stonehenge was an ice basin where meltwater drained and the debitage collected at the bottom. The Avenue would then be a meltwater stream that drained to River Avon.

I am not going to list all the 'facts on the ground' this then explains!

Kostas

BRIAN JOHN said...

Kostas -- you say "there are fragments found at Stonehenge that do not trace to stones found at Stonehenge" -- this is not correct. Fragments may well be from some of the stumps beneath the turf, which have not been properly examined. Qualifications, rather than definitive statements, are in order.....

You also say: "how did glaciers deposit great variety of stones from great variety of places in a small well defined circle, and nowhere else?" That's not correct either -- there are foreign fragments outside the circle, and bluestone fragments at Cursus Field and elsewhere. The truth is that we just do not know how widely spread these foreign fragments really are -- one of them might be the famous Boles Barrow bluestone. Excavations on Salisbury Plain outside Stonehenge are rather limited -- although many of the barrows have of course been excavated. This is still an open question.....

Anonymous said...

Is not one of the Bluestone chips discussed in Ixer and Bevins' 2010 Stonehenge Great Cursus ferret club paper from a Barrow?
Just love the conceit that these are Barges of the Dead so Thamsian (I would say the Isis but fear that is too far up river and that PersePhony would get the pip! (or five) and we know that means cold cold Winter months).
Thomas the Rhymer.

Constantinos Ragazas said...

Brian,

I accept the criticism. There is always the “not-yet-known” counter-argument. Time will tell!

But even under the 'best' of circumstances, there will still be a need for much patching and fabricating of current theory in order for the human transport and erection of stones to withstand sensible scrutiny. Let's not forget Occam's Razor!

You argue for the sparse erratics found elsewhere. That still does not heal your Achilles heel. It wont explain why the Stonehenge Layer is so well defined and confined to Stonehenge proper and does not extend to the surrounding area. This would be expected with glacier transport. The area of glacier deposition of erratics would be far greater and irregular then Stonehenge proper.

Where foreign fragments are also found (buried in barrows or ditches or henges) they could have been brought there by the same natural mechanisms as the fragments brought to Stonehenge. But shouldn't glacier deposits also be found in the open countryside in between?

Kostas

Tony H said...

Brian or Rob Ixer or Thomas Rhymer etc:

Please could we have a CLEAR EXPOSITION of what Thommy Rhymer has just posted ( i.e. Comment made at 15.30 hours): I am just back, returned to this highly productive, self-replicating Post after a couple of days away. Thomas R seems to have taken a turn for Things Meteorolological (anyone see Lola on Strictly?... I say!!!!) or are we in the realms of surrealistic/ academic allusion? Answers please, to Any Answers, c/o
Dimbleby Dynasty.com

Geo Cur said...

Kostas , true , the one day the sun will not rise in the east and us empirical inductionists will finally wake from our “dogmatic slumbers “ until then we will continue to sleep walk .Whether this event will be eclipsed by the equally miraculous discovery of an iPad created without human agency and attributed to meltwater remains to be seen .

The palynological evidence for the Mesolithic Salisbury plain shows that a typical boreal woodland contained Pine , the Neolithic evidence is sparse and biased towards the immediate areas around the monuments and there is no need to believe that the area was free from pine any more than it is today . Some of the charcoal was also cherry or blackthorn e.g. in Aubrey Hole 16 . We do get dates from the charcoal ,if you accept them , but they are long after any glacial meltwater is likely to have deposited the charcoal or dug the pit .
Did I suggest that I doubted there may be have been forest fires in the past ? Do you doubt that it rained on the plain ?

BTW Preseli is hardly mountainous , this is the UK , we don’t do mountains , there are however some relatively big hills not too far away in Snowdonia .

BRIAN JOHN said...

Thomas the Poet -- there are other records of bluestones in barrows on Salisbury plain -- I recall both Anthony Johnson and Thorpe et al itemising some of the records. OK -- some of them might not have been accurate records, but that is the way of things. Some of them were probably OK too. And the old geoloigists were normally pretty good at identifying igneous materials and distinguishing them from sedimentaries. I will happilly take the evidence as showing that there ARE bluestone fragments elsewhere on Salisbury Plain in addition to those found at Stonehenge.

BRIAN JOHN said...

Geo -- the Preseli uplands are hardly mountainous? My dear sir, they are absolutely MAGNIFICENT!! They are properly named Mynydd Preseli, which is a very mountainous name. Mountains are sometimes designated because of exposure and the hostility of the environment -- height isn't everything.

BETTY DRIVER, CBE said...

Methinks there is much Talking at Tangents hereabouts and the Men In White Coats are on their way (but for whom? Themselves?? What we really need is a concerted effort to have a GENUINE DIALOGUE, but little chance of that. A reader's letter in the next issue of "British Archaeology" reckons archaeology is the ideal interest for polymaths.......

BRIAN JOHN said...

Kostas -- I don't have a problem with the fact that there is a higher concentration of "bluestone fragments" within the confines of Stonehenge than elsewhere. the archaeologists tell us that many of the stones were shaped, and we know that many others have been reduced to stumps. Other stones may have been completely destroyed. We have discussed this on another thread. If stones were destroyed (for tool-making or whatever) the debris has to be found somewhere...

Mrs Wheeler said...

Comments are literally FLYING onto this Post at an exponential, Malthus-like rate, it's incredible!!! Trouble is, I'm getting a touch of the old repetitive strain syndrome, just wanting to read the next entry. Good grief, even Spike Milligan couldn't turn out his Goon Show scripts this fast in the '50s.

BRIAN JOHN said...

Well, Mrs Wheeler, this post is about animals (in theory) and you know how much we British love our little furry friends......

Geo Cur said...

Brian ,we have a few examples up here that , in winter at least are hostile and some exposures that are fairly severe even in summer but they are always referred to , by those who visit , as hills seeing as they never get over 1343 m .

Constantinos Ragazas said...

Brian you write,

“the archaeologists tell us that many of the stones were shaped, and we know that many others have been reduced to stumps. Other stones may have been completely destroyed."


All these processes would leave stone chips that trace to stones at Stonehenge. Furthermore, these processes would not uniformly distributed the chips evenly throughout the Stonehenge Layer. As all the Atkinson photos of the Stonehenge Layer clearly show!

When stones are worked the chips fall at the base of the stone and form a distinct layer. They don't spread out uniformly in the entire area. These chips of course would trace to stones at Stonehenge.

I ask!

How would our understanding of how the stones got to Stonehenge change if it should turn out there are debitage fragments in the Stonehenge Layer that do not trace to ANY stone standing or fallen or buried at Stonehenge? But instead trace to various locations in Preseli or elsewhere?

Call it a hypothetical curiosity!

Kostas

BRIAN JOHN said...

Kostas -- whoever said that the stone fragments are "uniformly distributed" through the Stonehenge Layer? I think you have imagined that -- I have never seen that stated by anybody -- and in any case it has not all been examined!

It already seems that there are fragments at Stonehenge, in the "debitage", that neither Rob nor anybody else has thus far recognized. I don't think that fact would alter the arguments very much -- the archaeologists would argue for previously unrecognized and undiscovered "sacred quarried sites" and I would argue for unrecognized erratic sources. And we wouldn't make a great deal of progress on the key issues..... except that the more rock types that are recognized, the greater the possibility that we are dealing with erratics rather than "sacred stones".

Mind you, MPP will then argue that we are dealing with "tribute stones" carried from all corners of the western world -- without bothering to explain to us why nobody from the east, north, or south could be bothered to involve themselves in this particular exercise.....

Constantinos Ragazas said...

Geo,

So, the 'sun rises from the east' in the same frequency as 'charcoal indicates cremation'?

What can I say … better to say nothing!

Kostas

Constantinos Ragazas said...

Brian,

All the Atkinson photos that you posted show a vertically deep and uniform distribution of stone chips and pebbles. They appear to me to be uniformly distributed throughout the area. Since no excavation cross sections in any of the photos show something different.

This is totally consistent with my explanation of the Stonehenge Layer. But its hard to explain this vertical (if not lateral) uniform distribution if we assume these stone chips are the droppings of worked stones at Stonehenge. As such droppings will drop at the base of the worked stone and form a distinct layer of chipped fragments.

But here is another issue. What if the debitage contains rounded (and not chipped) stones and pebbles? What human process working on stones would explain these? Are there rounded stones and pebbles in the debitage? Surely Dr Ixer would know. And wont it make sense to trace rounded fragments and pebbles found at Stonehenge? Rather than just chips?

Kostas

Geo Cur said...

Kostas , just as my original comment ““It is no coincidence that cremated bone and charcoal are found together in cremations the world over” does not infer as you suggest “IF charcoal, THEN cremation” (minus the bold , as not only not shouted not even categorically inferred ) . Similarly my “ one day the sun will not rise in the east and us empirical inductionists will finally wake from our “dogmatic slumbers “ until then we will continue to sleep walk ” which ignored the mistaken inference and is obviously a joking ,if not that funny nod to extreme "Humeanism " and is clearly not the same as “So, the 'sun rises from the east' in the same frequency as 'charcoal indicates cremation'? “
Using quotes is useful but creating false syllogisms and straw men is no different to making up false comments .

Geo Cur said...

Hawley , the first to describe it , says the layer was more or less evenly distributed over the whole surface at Stonehenge . Atkinson described it as “remarkably uniform “ .

BRIAN JOHN said...

Kostas -- you say: "They (the stones in the Stonehenge Layer) appear to me to be uniformly distributed throughout the area." That may appear to you to be the case, but I think I'd prefer to believe what the archaeologists who have conducted digs choose to say! Anthony Johnson says the layer is ubiquitous but rubbly and poorly defined, containing bluestone and sarsen chips and "miscellaneous rubbish".

But you do raise one important point -- namely the presence of ROUNDED pebbles. I have never seen a proper roundness analysis of the material in the Stonehenge layer or debitage. Some of the stones interpreted as mauls and hammerstones, assumed to have been dumped into in the pit fills, look to be quite well rounded or sub-rounded, and if stones of these shapes are abundant, then we do need to ask serious questions about the presence or otherwise of glacial and fluvio-glacial deposits at this site.

Constantinos Ragazas said...

Brian you write,

“...look to be quite well rounded or sub-rounded, and if stones of these shapes are abundant, then we do need to ask serious questions about the presence or otherwise of glacial and fluvio-glacial deposits at this site.”


I hear you and I agree! And if such stones are mainly confined to the Stonehenge Layer, then we also need to seriously consider my claims that this site was at one time an ice retaining basin collecting meltwater deposits and debris. These, of course, would be uniformly distributed and remain in place.

As for the 'uniform composition' of stone fragments in the Stonehenge Layer, I think Geo's post above is very relevant! THANK YOU GEO! Anthony Johnson's description of the Layer as “... ubiquitous but rubbly and poorly defined, containing bluestone and sarsen chips and "miscellaneous rubbish" “
fits perfectly my description and Atkinson's description. Certainly, if there is no separate and distinct layer of chipped stone fragments, the Layer as a whole will be “poorly defined and ubiquitous”.

Brian, which ever way we look at the 'facts on the ground', we encounter the possibility of the claims I make! But turning our minds away from these claims only results in needing to invent even more improbable events to explain the facts.

Ice has brought us together, but ice is also what separates us!

Kostas

Constantinos Ragazas said...

Geo,

Took your humor as your argument! Sorry for not lol! If I knew you a little better, then I may be better able to know your humor ... and more appropriately respond!

Here is my position in brief. I don't believe that finding charcoal and an occasional bone in a pit proves human cremation.

There are other and more natural explanations for these. The fact that such charcoal is also found in ditches and in mounts, and along with animal bones and broken ware and other nondescript debris randomly in unmarked sites, sometimes just charcoal, sometimes just bone fragments, always in pieces and rarely whole prove to me what we have here are fluvio-glacial deposits in a plain.

Only irrefutable logic can make a dent in my view of this. I know I can't change your thinking ...

Thanks for the references! They are very helpful!

Kostas

Geo Cur said...

Kostas ,2nd para and scroll down to “Induction “http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Hume.
The rest about creating straw men /false syllogisms was not meant to be humorous .
When confronted with the evidence of pits containing charcoal alone or with cremated bone ,with flints , with figurines broken or otherwise my first reaction is not to consider that they are due to fluvio-glacial actions . Only irrefutable logic can make a dent in my view of this. I know I can't change your thinking ...
What references ,or was that your humour .?

BRIAN JOHN said...

Calling this one to an end now, folks. No more please -- we have gone way off topic.