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Monday, 21 November 2011

The Altar Stone - where the glacier left it?

Desperate Dan wanted a nice colour pic of the Altar Stone -- and thanks to the wonders of modern technology, here we are:


Many thanks to Rob Ixer for this -- that's him pointing to the stone.  Note that the stones here are in exactly the same positions as they were in 1867 -- in spite of all of the reconstructions, excavations and stone stabilisations that have occurred over the years -- and especially in 1958.

The Altar Stone is such a strange shape, and is so solidly embedded into the ground, that one wonders whether it ever has been moved from anywhere else.  Now here's an idea -- could it be that the only stone at Stonehenge which is in its original position (ie after dumping by the glacier) is the Altar Stone?  And could it be that this stone was invested with such significance (because it was strange) that it became the focal point for the erection of the succession of stone settings which we now know as Stonehenge?

 Another picture of the Altar Stone -- not sure where I found it!  But it shows up well here.

95 comments:

Dan said...

Hello Brian,
First of all my deep thanks to Doctor Ixer for the photo. It is appreciated ------ and such a prompt service from both of you.

A small question for Brian and Rob.

Are you aware of any other fine-grained, glittering, greenish micaceous sandstones on the Salisbury Plain?


A small question for Brian.

With glaciation in mind, and seeing as the Senni Beds stretch from Kidwelly in the west to Abergavenny in the east, what point in that band of rock appeals to you as the possible origin of the Altar Stone?

Ta from Dan

BRIAN JOHN said...

Cheers, Dan. I think both of those questions are really for Rob -- it is my understanding that there are bits of sandstone very similar to the Altar Stone here and there, but I'm not sure if they are IDENTICAL in composition.......

Dan said...

Hello Brian,
Once again a prompt reply 10/10.
I was thinking more along the lines of the directions of different ice flows rather than a specific location. My fault, it's still early in the day.

From Dan

The Stonehenge Enigma said...

Brian

Which glaciation are you referring to - exactly how long would this stone had needed to be in situ?

And if it was the natural 'focal point' of Stonehenge - why is it not in the centre of either the stone circle or moat?

RJL

Anonymous said...

The greensands!! Glauconitic sst.

But is the Altar stone a greenish micaceous sst?? on the photo it is not!
Speedy Ixer ((River)Avon Calling)

BRIAN JOHN said...

Just thinking out loud here -- my preferreed option re a glaciation is the Anglian, which means approx 450,000 years ago. But I suspect there is much still to do before these ancient glaciations are sorted out.

Why isn't he Altar Stone at the centre of the monument? Don't ask me..... I don't have he answer.

Anonymous said...

The Altar Stone may very well provide the key explanation for Stonehenge. What is known about its shape and location within the sarsen circle?

If as Brian claims, “it became the focal point for the erection of the succession of stone settings which we now know as Stonehenge?” shouldn't it then be located in the center, as Robert argues?

Where within the sarsen circle is the Altar Stone located specifically?

Kostas

BRIAN JOHN said...

Kostas -- go to the plan here:

http://brian-mountainman.blogspot.com/2010/08/stonehenge-gaps.html

You'll see a blue spot on it. the altar Stone is at about 10 o'clock just beyond the edge f the blue area. There's a cluster of stones, with one shown on top of another. the Altar Stone is the one underneath!

Disparate Din said...

Hello Anon (Speedy Ixer),
Re The greensands!! Glauconitic sst.

But is the Altar Stone a greenish micaceous sst?? On the photo it is not!

I respectfuly submit the following references to the Altar stone for dissection:

E.H.Stone, Stones of Stonehenge pp 66-67 =
Micaceous sandstone with a partly calcarous and partly siliceous cement.


A.Burl, Stonehenge - A Complete History and Archaeology of the World's Most Enigmatic Stone Circle, p 20 =
Fine grained, glittering, greenish sandstone.

A. Johnson, Solving Stonehenge, The New Key To An Ancient Enigma, p.128 =
There is good reason to believe that it was selected for its visual appearance, as its micaceous inclusions, more apparent on fracture, are reflective and display a distinctive sparkling effect.


C. Chippindale, Stonehenge Complete, p.15 =
A single large slab of grey-green sandstone.

David Souden, Stonehenge - Mysteries of the Stones and Landscape, p.80 =
The central Altar stone also came from southwest Wales; it is usually identified as a greenish sandstone with mica, from the Cosheston Beds of the south coast, although other possibilities have been advanced.

R.A. Ixer and P. Turner,
A detailed re-examination of the petrography of the Altar Stone and other non-sarsen sandstones from Stonehenge as a guide to their provenance. =
A lithologically un-remarkable, grey-green, micaceous sandstone. +
Macroscopically Thomas (1923, 244-245) described the Altar Stone as 'a fine-grained, pale sage-green, micaceous sandstone with a partly calcarous and partly siliceous cement and with prominent mica along its divisional planes'.

I am now totally confused, because if the Altar Stone is no longer a greenish micaceous sandstone, then not only have the goal posts been moved, but the flood-lights have been turned off as well.
(Although I wouldn't mind if the Altar Stone contained a little less mica and was more red in colour.)
Can this be arranged please?

Cheers,

Dan

p.s. I note that on the photo Dr. Ixer is wearing nice boots but he isn't walking, is he?

Dan said...

Hello Kostas,

At most venues the stage holds the centre of attraction, but it doesn't have to be in the centre of the concert hall, it's usally at one end. Nevertheless, the trilithon and bluestone crescents would have formed a rather nice back-drop to an Altar Stone stage.

Constantinos Ragazas said...

Brian,

Thanks for the plan! Some thoughts … for the Record!

Your point that the Alter Stone may have been the 'original glacier erratic' resonates well with me. If such stone erratic were on the surface of an ice cover wont it have created a 'circular hole' in the ice as the heat absorbed by the mass of the stone radiated outwardly and evenly melting the ice cover and creating an ice hole?

So the Alter Stone may have originated Stonehenge. How poetic is that! But the process and intent was Nature and not Man.

In many other stone circles we also have an erratic in the middle. The natural process that originated Stonehenge, with the Alter Stone in the middle, may be the mechanism for the formation of these other stone circles as well.

We now have a mechanism for the formation of stone circles. All consistent and all natural! It doesn't get any better than that!

Kostas

Constantinos Ragazas said...

Dan,

I agree! Horseshoes make great backdrop for any stage. In fact, if I were to design a modern stage, I would have rows and rows of horseshoes, each slightly elevated for optimal viewing and acoustics, with the 'Alter Stone' front and center. Ohh! That's just an amphitheater, isn't it!

Is there anything those ancient Greeks did not already think?

Kostas

Anonymous said...

This is an excellent example of a statement becoming entrenched within the literature. (Read the primary literature!!)
I had not seen the Altar Stone except in thin section before writing I and T. 2006 so was quoting earlier sources I used Thorpe et al 1990 as they had seen the stone (I think) but once I saw it (the Altar stone) I wondered.
It is certainly partially calcite- cemented if my thin section is representative.
Dear Mr Dan I have been walking since I was about two?? (when do kids first walk?)and the boots are from Miss Muir's emporium.
Speedy.

BRIAN JOHN said...

Disparate Donald et al -- you are right to flag up the geology of the Altar Stone. It has been described many times in the literature, with a long-standing tradition that it was from the Cosheston Beds of South Pembrokeshire. Then the Ixer and Turner paper of 2006 was supposed to be "the last word" -- but Rob, are you now saying that you were not necessarily correct in identifying the stone as having come from the Senni Beds of South Wales (Carmarthen or Powys)? How many samples have been taken from the stone for detailed analysis?

BRIAN JOHN said...

Kostas -- there is no way that a flattish stone sitting on an ice surface could "melt its way to the bottom" and leave a nice circular hole behind. True, dark stones do warm up because of solar radiation, while white surfaces reflect heat back into the atmosphere, but that effect is counteracted by shading. It is very common for dark surfaces and stones on glacier surfaces to stand proud of the normal white ice surface that gets ablated downwards -- so we have ridges of dark moraine (as on many of my glacier photos) and even erratic boulders perched on little pillars of ice, looking like mushrooms.

Anonymous said...

Good question
Re sampling
There are no 20th cent samples of the Altar Stone, mine is from Implement Pet collection.
I believe it to be the Altar Stone and that the description is the last word.
The few Altar stone sections at the Nat Hist Museum look to be the same lithology as the one we described.
Until the in situ Devonian ssts are fully described I do not make any firm suggestion as to its origin other than to say it is not from Milford Haven.
I suspect Senni Beds but it is the jointing/bedding pattern that has the best chance of finding a suitable/correct geological origin.
It is not from Preseli or north of Preseli.
Speedy

Dan said...

Good morning Speedy,
I thought I'd quoted most of the primary sources but Thorpe et al slipped through the net.

A small question ---- Has there been any further progress with resolving the 'garnet' problem where Thomas noted significant amounts of garnet in his 'heavy residues' (Thomas, 1923, 244), but did not report garnet in his thin section description of the Altar Stone, as compared to the current Altar Stone thin section #277 where trace amounts of garnet are notably absent?

But of far greater importance ---- would Miss Muir have a pair of size 8 in stock, please?

Dan in slippers

Alex Gee said...

Hello Anon
Just a quick query?

If the Altar Stone is a Devonian Sandstone. Is there any particular Petrological evidence for discounting the Old Red Sandstone of the Mendip and Bristol District as a source?
Particularly the green sandstones that comprise part of the Portishead Beds?

Thanks

Alex

Geo Cur said...

“So the Alter Stone may have originated Stonehenge. How poetic is that! But the process and intent was Nature and not Man.”

Kostas this is taking the reduction ad absurdum of your pantheist creationism into a new realm , the intent of nature ?

“In many other stone circles we also have an erratic in the middle. The natural process that originated Stonehenge, with the Alter Stone in the middle, may be the mechanism for the formation of these other stone circles as well.”
Could you please list some examples ,particularly from areas that we know for sure were glaciated?

Constantinos Ragazas said...

Brian,

Your responses to my posts have become predictable! But once our readers factor out 'knee-jerk rejections', they will be able to see the sense to what I am saying.

Knowledge, of course, is important. And I value it. But often what is needed is the asking of the right questions. The central question here is “what role did Nature play in the making of these prehistoric sites?” I argue, the dominant role. You argue glaciers.

Which of the following do you disagree?

1)Rock absorbs and stores solar heat. While ice does not, but melts instead.
2)The solar heat absorbed by a rock is radiated into the surrounding environment when the rock cools.
3)A pool of meltwater forms around the rock as it radiates more heat – initially small but increasingly larger and circular.
4)A meltwater pool will absorb more solar heat and grow in size – setting off a process of ice hole formation.
5)In the middle of many stone circles are 1,2, or more huge stones.

The “erratic boulders perched on little pillars of ice, looking like mushrooms” do not contradict any of the above. Certainly, the pool of meltwater formed around the rock would have the effect of melting the surrounding ice surface radially further, but NOT the ice under the rock which stays shielded from solar radiation.

Kostas

BRIAN JOHN said...

Kostas -- my answers are predictable becauseI try to base them on the laws of physics!

(1) Sometimes true -- sometimes not -- ice will only melt if the air temperature is over zero C.

(2) The heat absorbed by dark rocks may only be released upwards, whence it came in the first place.

(3) Fanciful idea.

(4) Equally fanciful.

(5) Kindly give me some examples.

Tony H said...

Some of us wonder if the Heel Stone is situated roughly where Nature placed it, and that it's position in the Stonehenge Landscape, and in particular The Avenue, is pivotal to the eventual building of the stone circle exactly where it is. But that has been the subject of different, earlier Posts.

Constantinos Ragazas said...

Geo,

I am a 'monotheistic atheist'. I believe in Nature and Mind / Truth and Reason. At the center of my belief is ONE, BALANCE, and “The Phenomenology of Spirit”. I exist to 'know myself' and Stonehenge!

A word of advice. Don't question 'the intent of Nature' by jumping off a cliff!

Kostas

Constantinos Ragazas said...

Brian the Predictable!

Some stone circles with center stones … besides Stonehenge and Avery. Need more?

http://www.megalithics.com/england/altarnun/altamp.htm
http://www.megalithics.com/england/alow/alowmain.htm
http://www.megalithics.com/england/boscawen/boscmp.htm
http://www.megalithics.com/england/castrigg/castmp.htm
http://www.megalithics.com/england/hurlers/hurlmmp.htm

Kostas

Geo Cur said...

Kostas ,you said “In many other stone circles we also have an erratic in the middle."
Of the examples produced three were in southern Cornwall where the central stones were all local and there is no evidence of erratics from glaciation .The other two , Arbor Low and Castlerigg were not examples of single central erratics but "coves " as mentioned to you many posts ago .Whilst these areas were glaciated the stones in the Coves were not necessarily erratics .

Anonymous said...

Brian,
http://www.stonehenge-avebury.net/Media/StonehengeSecretStones.html

this might be of interest,
PeteG

Constantinos Ragazas said...

Geo,

You need to follow the 'spirit of my reasoning' to understand the 'logic of my argument'. Let me help …

By 'erratics' I mean stones that were transported by glacier ice (or possibly meltwater streams). It does not matter if these were transported a few miles or a few hundred miles. So what you call 'local' I may call 'erratic' if these were moved by ice or water.

By 'middle' or 'center' I don't mean the exact geometric center point. Rather and loosely, what clearly lies inside a circular enclosure more or less in the middle.

By 'erratic in the middle', I mean a stone or cove of stones within the enclosure that were carried by ice.

My proposed 'mechanism for circle formation':

1) We have an ice sheet cover of the area
2) At places on the ice surface are 'coves of erratics' or a single erratic.
3) With warmer temperatures and the melting of the ice, at places where 'coves' or single erratics exist the ice will melt more rapidly, creating a 'retaining basin' in the ice. This will grow radially, deeply and circularly.
4) When later more erratics arrive on the ice surface (due perhaps to other geological episodes), local people would push these over the circular ice rim, creating the stone circle.

Kostas

Anonymous said...

Mr Gee
I am not certain. The Dev.sst that I know from the Mendips does not crop out well but I know the Carb Lime and its mineralisation better in that area.
The source of the Altar stone, as I have said dozens of times and have had repeated to me many more, is more likely to be identified by finding sst units of the correct thickness (bedding) and joint spacing.
I have put the Altar stone to one side until Richard and I make more progress on the rhyolites/rhyolitic tuffs.
As we say in RA one rock/one orthostat at a time.
Speedy.

BRIAN JOHN said...

Kostas -- reinventing the laws of physics again, and redefining words in a way guaranteed to cause confusion! An erratic is a stone which is displaced from its place of origin, having been moved by some agency or another.

As I have said, small stones such as those shown in the "centres" of your stone circles do not simply melt their way down from the ice surface to the glacier bed, leaving circular holes behind. Sheer fantasy -- please get real on this. (And by the way, whatever happened to your geothermal hot spots drilling circular hols into overlying ice? Has that theory been replaced by another?)

And how do you expect "later erratics" to arrice at the position of a circular hole in the ice? If the ice is moving -- as it has to if erratics are to be transported -- then the hole will move at the same rate as the erratics, and never the twain shall meet. The whole idea is crazy.

You persist in talking about respect for the truth, but insist of employing fantasy physics and your very strange version of glaciology the whole time.......

Geo Cur said...

Kostas Where is the evidence for glaciation or water shifting erratics in southern Cornwall ? The Cornish stone circles are generally considered to be Bronze Age after the heyday of the bigger monuments like Stonehenge Do you think it was beyond the physical capabilities of builders to move one these central stones , which are not much bigger than a Stonehenge bluestone , or had the descendents of the those who erected the sarsens trilithons become so physically enfeebled that they were just incapable ?

BRIAN JOHN said...

Well, it is an interesting question, Geo, why Bronze Age tribes did not, apparently, lift large capstones into place over supporting pillars to build things like the Neolithic dolmens which we know and love. Something must have happened? Did they forget the stone building techniques of their ancestors, or did their priorities and traditions simply change to something less spectacular and ambitious?

The Stonehenge Enigma said...

Brian

If you understood why they built these monuments and the methods used to transport the stones to the sites in conjunction with the environment at the time of construction - then you will understand why they become smaller and less ambitious.

Finally, in the Iron Age these monuments made way for paths and mile stones which we used until the last century.

RJL

BRIAN JOHN said...

Pete -- thanks for the link. Had not seen this before -- with my old friends Phil Bennett and David Bowen involved. I need to settle down and look at it properly -- but from the bit I have seen, I am amazed -- yet again -- by the unsubstantiated rubbish which is trotted out on programmes like this by people who should know better. Some of them even pride themselves on being scientists.......

Constantinos Ragazas said...

Brian,

Addressing each point one at a time:

You write,

1)“An erratic is a stone which is displaced from its place of origin, having been moved by some agency or another.”

I like it! Why didn't I think of that definition? Nothing changes in my argument with this.

2)“small stones such as those shown in the "centres" of your stone circles do not simply melt their way down from the ice surface to the glacier bed, leaving circular holes behind.”

Stones are the catalyst that initiate the process of an ice-basin formation in the ice where these are located. But I have no problem with other causes for such ice-basins (including geothermal hot spots). The main point of my argument is that such 'meltwater basins' existed in the ice and are responsible for the special features of the landscape, including henges, ditches and stone circles.

3)“whatever happened to your geothermal hot spots drilling circular hols into overlying ice? Has that theory been replaced by another?”

See 2) above! I am not dogmatic about any theory because I recognize theories are 'real' to the extend they are able to explain the evidence in a simple, sensible and consistent manner. My main 'working hypothesis' is that an ice sheet covered the area when these prehistoric monuments were made (perhaps only 8-10 meters thick). The mechanism I have proposed above for the formation of stone circles etc. explains why in so many stone circles there are one or a cove of erratics in the enclosure. What is your explanation for these 'mystery erratics'? Humans intentionally carried them there?

4)“how do you expect "later erratics" to arrice at the position of a circular hole in the ice? If the ice is moving -- as it has to if erratics are to be transported -- then the hole will move at the same rate as the erratics, and never the twain shall meet.”

Brian, this is where your glacier transport theory and my 'local ice cover' hypothesis differ! In my view, the local ice cover does not 'move'. Only erratics on its surface move acted on by gravity and meltwater streams. And these can happen at various times and from various places triggered by geological episodes (weathering, earthquakes, landslides, lava seepage through strata, etc.) And whereas your glaciers would leave tracks in the landscape, a local ice cover that melts in place without movement will not. All the 'usual suspects' would be rounded up and flushed into the sea.

5)“ You persist in talking about respect for the truth”

Brian, to question my commitment to truth is to question me! Please don't question my intellectual integrity as I don't question yours. Lets stick to ideas and explanations of the facts these provide.

Kostas

Anonymous said...

Geo you write,

“had the descendents of the those who erected the sarsens trilithons become so physically enfeebled that they were just incapable ?”


This is a mute point. But it is a question that troubles you, however. Nothing in my thinking diminishes anybody. We don't need to create 'supermen' to find worth in people. To do is to diminish!

Kostas

Geo Cur said...

Brian , the usual suggestion is the introduction of the beaker culture and metalworking and resulting socio/economic revolution for the change from the big engineering feats of ,cursus , causewayed enclosures bigger stone circles , Long Barrows etc. to individual burials in cemeteries of round barrows (although collective burial in the same monument still continued ) ,family sized stone circles etc . If the early Neolithic was about imposing these monuments on the environment a la new settlers showing who was boss collectively , the later BA was possibly more confident and individualistic .

Geo Cur said...

Kostas , I wasn’t worried about any question . I was worried /wondering why you thought it more likely that the presence of a 5 ton stone in the middle of Cornish stone circle was due to glaciation , rather than human agency . I can’t understand your incredulity to such a simple task when it appears you do accept that the erection of the sarsens at Stonehenge was not a natural occurrence . Admittedly this was achieved by different people a few centuries earlier and 150 miles distant but is that any reason to doubt the relatively minimal effort involved .

The Stonehenge Enigma said...

Geo Cur

What a lot of old academic twaddle.

Just taking one idea that shows a lack of understanding of prehistoric culture you write -

"individual burials in cemeteries of round barrows (although collective burial in the same monument still continued ), family sized stone circles etc."

If they are in barrows then the population of Stonehenge is far smaller than anyone could expect - there are less than 600 barrows (including the ones ploughed out) covering a 1600 year period covering a landscape that includes Stonehenge, Avebury and Old Sarum - that makes the population of about 50 as only 1 person is dying every 3 years.

But very hard working seeing that they built at least 5 monuments of about 2 million working hours in the same period.

The problem with archaeologists is not only that they can't count but lack any form of rational thinking!!

We wont even bring up the fact that most bodies were added to the barrows after its construction, hence the fact they are not found in the centre of the mound, but on the edges.


RJL

Constantinos Ragazas said...

Geo you write,

“ it appears you do accept that the erection of the sarsens at Stonehenge was not a natural occurrence”


Your incredulity of my position is due to your misunderstanding of my thinking. I do not believe in the human erection of sarsens at Stonehenge or anywhere else. My position has consistently been that these heavy stones where “dropped from above” the circle ice rim by people rather than “raised from below”.

Why do I argue that the 'center erratics' found in so many of the stone circles were brought by ice? Because this EXPLAINS why and how they got to be where they are!

What is your explanation for these 'center erratics' that often are not in the center and have no conceivable design purpose?

Kostas

Constantinos Ragazas said...

Brian you write,

“... why Bronze Age tribes did not ... build things like the Neolithic dolmens .... Something must have happened?”


Well yea! Something did happen. The ice melted! That's the reason why there were no more megalithic constructions.

One more among many more explanations my 'local ice cover' hypothesis provides. It all makes sense.

Kostas

BRIAN JOHN said...

Kostas -- you are sadly trapped in your fantasy world, blithely disregarding the abundant evidence that does not suit you, and flagging up the huge "significance" of anything that might support your totally unscientific hypothesis.

I agree with Geo -- putting up some small stones inside a circle would have been a relatively simple task, even though we might not know WHY these stones were placed where they are.

As to why the traditions of using stone might have changed, I accept the "social" explanation -- people don't build Roman Walls or pyramids or Salisbury Cathedrals any more, not because the skills were "lost" but because priorities (and maybe cultures) changed. That's no big deal.....

Geo Cur said...

RJL , If you are an adult then I congratulate you on your use of twaddle , like twit it’s the linguistic equivalent of dropping your trousers but if your are , as I’m beginning to believe , a schoolboy truant then you may have given yourself away . Maybe you have had a bad day with teachers etc but your reply had nothing to do with the discussion .
The post you quoted from was part of a discussion which means the content was related to a previous comment or question ,if you go back and look at the question you might begin to understand what the content was related to.
To simplify ,it was about the transition from the Neolithic to the Bronze Age and the ensuing changes including burial practices ,it was not simply about the Stonehenge area and it’s population or even the later re-use of barrows . You may have noted the mention of the “smaller family sized circles “ in the sentence you quoted ,that should have provided a clue , due to there not being another stone circle at Stonehenge the comments were actually related to something else . Never mind now that you know what it is about you can go back and reread and maybe even participate with an on topic response .
The fact that throughout Britain the number of individuals found in funerary contexts is an incredibly small percentage of the total population was not really part of the discussion either but good try maybe you could include your notes at a later date if we ever get round to that discussion . BTW “understanding prehistoric culture “ is a vast subject encompassing all the cultures of prehistory if you can manage to get to grips with one you’ll be doing well . Britain in the Neo-BA transition is a bit more manageable and obviously includes a minimum of two .

Geo Cur said...

Sorry Kostas , I didn't realise that you believed the erection of the sarsens to be natural . In that case we have little common ground for discussion .I have asked you a couple of times about the pyramids , Knowth macehead ,chauvet paintings ,Gobleki Tepe etc. but you have never replied .All natural ?

Alex Gee said...

Dr Ixer, thanks for the "Speedy" reply. You're right about the Dev SSt on Mendip, doubt it came from there, On Mendip the only good exposures I know of are in quarries.

The best exposures of the green SSt are at Portishead; the location the formation is named after.

The same location as the glaciogenic deposits in the Nightingale Valley and in close proximity to the Glacial deposits at Court Hill and Kenn. Although I infer nothing from this its most probably just co-incidence.

What dimensions of bed thickness and joint spacing are you looking at?

Thanks
Alex

Anonymous said...

Alex,
are you aware of the lost stone circles at Clevedon?
http://www.bl.uk/onlinegallery/onlineex/topdrawings/s/005add000015547u00013000.html

I searched for them on the ground but they are all gone now.
There are stones in Weston Woods in a line but they are hard to find,
PeteG

Tony H said...

FOR 'DESPERATE DAN'

You enquired (on a different Post) a few days ago whether Salisbury Museum might have photos, etc of the Altar Stone for sale.

You may contact them for information at:-

museum@salisburymuseum.org.uk

Hope they provide you with more pics. in addition to Dr Ixer's at the head of this Post.

TONY

Constantinos Ragazas said...

Brian,

Name calling is not an argument! Can we please dispense with it? It doesn't reflect well on both of us. I have not and will not engage in it. But it does disrupt an honest discussion. In my last post to you, I have sought to address point by point points you have raised. No name calling! Just 'dialectics'.

You write,

“ putting up some small stones inside a circle would have been a relatively simple task”


Nowhere have I disputed that. But this does not mean the “enclosed erratics” were so erected by people!

“ even though we might not know WHY these stones were placed where they are”


Don't you think “knowing WHY” is important in any explanation of facts that seeks to explain the facts? The arbitrary locations of these enclosed erratics make any explanation based on human intent even more problematic.

The explanation I am suggesting EXPLAINS WHY! Consistent with all else that my 'working hypothesis' simply and sensibly explains.

Brian, we don't have to be in agreement in order to have an honest debate. In fact, its best when we do have disagreements. As only then can we hope to arrive at the truth. Just think how useful would be if GW and MPP and others of their School would engage you in such an intellectually honest discussion over the Bluestone Enigma! What you seek from them, I seek from you!

Kostas

Constantinos Ragazas said...

Geo you write,

“I didn't realise that you believed the erection of the sarsens to be natural “


In my view, both Nature and people had a role to play in the erection of the sarsens. With Nature playing the dominant role, while people opportunistically using what Nature has provided. (I sound like Brian, don't I!).

Here is the scenario I am suggesting.

1) An ice sheet cover of the area (perhaps no more than 8-10 meters thick)
2) A meltwater retaining basin in the ice where now Stonehenge is located.
3) Groups of erratics brought to the “Stonehenge Basin” on the surface of the ice by Nature acted on by gravity and meltwater streams (perhaps triggered by isolated geological episodes like weathering, earthquakes, avalanches, hot lava seepage through strata layers, etc. or even glacier erratics from a previous glaciation which became now exposed on the surface)
4) Local people opportunistically positioning and pushing each sarsen over the circular ice basin rim, 'dropping sarsens from above' to be nailed and embedded into the muddy chalk putty at the bottom of the basin. Some would stick, while the more irregular erratics would fall flat.

“ In that case we have little common ground for discussion”


Geo, the only 'common ground' that is needed is our commitment to truth and our intellectual integrity to engage in an honest and open discussion. Precondition debates on 'thinking alike' risks the real possibility of intellectual incest.

“ I have asked you a couple of times about the pyramids , Knowth macehead ,chauvet paintings ,Gobleki Tepe etc. but you have never replied”


I have! I am willing to discuss these peripheral topics, if Brian would permit it. I know in the past he doesn't. So I suggested we move such discussion elsewhere. I am still waiting for your response. But my invitation is open. Suggest another venue and I will meet you there.

Kostas

Anonymous said...

Take the present Altar Stone as a minimum size and work from there.
I only feintly know the Portishead shore-line tectonised exposures and any Devonian there is thinly bedded I think.
Look and see- I guess is your way forward.
speedy

BRIAN JOHN said...

Kostas -- I'm not name calling -- I'm telling it as it is. The world as you represent it IS a fantasy world, because it bears no relation to reality. You have no parallels for the processes which you invoke, and in fact they defy the laws of physics and the laws of glaciology. You keep on protesting that your theory explains everything -- but it does nothing of the sort. As I have said many times before, your hypothesis is a classic example of a "premature hypothesis" created on the basis of an inadequate understanding of the way that the natural world works, and on the basis of a highly selective citation of the evidence. Bad science, Kostas. Von Daniken would be proud of you.

Alex Gee said...

Brian
I think you've hit the nail on the head. I remember reading Von Daniken's books when I was a child. It amused me greatly in later years, when his so called laser cut tunnels, proved to be normal cave passages. The square cut forms of his tunnels, attributable to roof collapse along the cleavage planes of bedding plane and joint patterns in the Limestone.

Although the people who refuted his findings, took his pseudo science seriously enough beforehand, to mount an expedition to explore his tunnels cut by aliens.

Alex Gee said...

Pete G
Thanks for that. The stone circles were obviously there when the drawings /Paintings were executed.
I have been unable to find any reference to them in any subsequent archeological or quaternary studies??

A puzzle?

BRIAN JOHN said...

Kostas -- comment rejected. I'm getting fed up again. Same old stuff, and same old fantasy.

Dan said...

Hello Tony,
Thanks for the link to the museum and I'm also on to English Heritage Photo Library. I would like to arrange an early morning visit inside the circle, but circumstances conspire against it. Ta again.

Dan

Anonymous said...

Alex,
I have only ever found 1 ref to it.
Mons. C A. Gosh,
of the Danish Legation, London. (1881.)

(WANHM Vol 19. p64)

PeteG

Constantinos Ragazas said...

Alex Gee,

Von Daniken believed in aliens. I believe in Nature! You believe in Nature too, don't you Alex? To compare me with Von Daniken is “hitting the head on a nail”!

Kostas

Anonymous said...

Mr Ragazas
"Groups of erratics brought to the “Stonehenge Basin” on the surface of the ice by Nature acted on by gravity and meltwater streams (perhaps triggered by isolated geological episodes like weathering, earthquakes, avalanches, hot lava seepage through strata layers, etc. or even glacier erratics from a previous glaciation which became now exposed on the surface)
Only 'etc' amongst these can be considered an 'isolated geological event' weathering is hardly an isolated 'event' as Bysshe might have remarked.
You live in a post-uniformitarian universe, that must be isolating and are becoming evermore befuddled
chasing your own haar (sic).
Myris of Alexandria.

Tony Hinchliffe said...

PeteG/ Alex Gee

Pete

your ref. to "lost stone circles at Clevedon?"

Was unable to view these on your British Library online gallery site. Seem to remember you may have sent this to me, or displayed this previously - we were wondering about going to take a trip over from Wilts.(may be Spring if poss.)

Please do you have another website address to view them?

Could they possibly be the remains of hut circles?? WANHM ref you quote sounds interesting - do you have a summary?

Tony

Constantinos Ragazas said...

Myris,

I am immune to “name calling”, as Brian can well attest. Why? Because personal attacks are not arguments to further our understanding of Stonehenge. What I am only interested in, since this is not about me. Nothing else matters. I count on the integrity of Brian to allow me to respond to such attacks. Without some intellectual integrity by some sometimes, we'd all be unwitting pawns in a False World created by those with power. Descending views are the only sure antidote to such dogmatic poison feeding. We've seen this repeated often in History. Such personal attacks have become the “sign of validation” of unpopular truths.

Descend is the “black sheep” in a society of believers. It can never be right, just as the “golden boy” of popular myths can never be wrong. But let me try to clear an obvious misunderstanding in your last comment. By “isolated episodes”, I mean the calving of a group of erratics by Nature. Weathering is one such cause.

None of us know for sure how Salsibury Plain looked like at the time of the making of these prehistoric sites. And even the most science-based view is still speculation. I argue that the land was covered by an ice sheet (perhaps just 8-10 meters thick). Robert Langdon argues that it was inundated with water. Brian argues glaciers brought the bluestones to Stonehenge. Many others argue that Neolithic men dragged these stones over 250 km to Stonehenge. Where lies the fantasy?

Kostas

Anonymous said...

http://www.peteglastonbury.plus.com/Clevedon.jpg

On the level summit of Walton Down, about half-a-mile north of the village of Walton
in Gordano, near Clevedon, a path, not much frequented, leads through a remarkable
circle formed by a low bank and a ditch, which strongly reminds one of the circle
recently discovered near Abury, although the stones, which form so striking a feature in
the latter, are wanting on Walton Down. The existence of this circle is well known to
local antiquaries, but it does not appear to have been described, and as it appears to
me to deserve notice - both on its own account and because it serves to illustrate the
one at Abury- I venture to submit a description of it.
It is situated in an elevated position, just opposite the beautiful and singular Camp of
Cadbury, separated from the ridge which carries this and the Brough Walls by a broad
green valley; Worle Hill and the Mendips are in full sight. The diameter of the circle
inside the bank is about 344 feet, but varies a little in different directions on account of
the irregularity of the outline. The average height of the bank may be put at about 20
inches, the depth of the ditch at about 14, so that the difference in level between the
bottom of the ditch and the top of the bank averages nearly 3 feet, but although the
circle upon the whole is well preserved, the variations in these respects are
considerable. The width of the bank at the base is about 7 feet, that of the ditch at the
top about 4, but the latter has probably been filled up in the course of time to some
extent.
At the southern extremity of the circle is an opening, evidently designed as an
entrance. On both sides of this the bank is turned abruptly outwards and continued
some way together with the ditch, both becoming gradually effaced, at the same time
these banks diverge, forming a very graceful approach. On the western side the bank
can be followed about 35 feet, on the eastern side twice as far. The width of the
approach between the banks in the spot where both are distinctly visible, is about 17
feet, but the actual entrance into the circle is only 7 feet wide, from the base of the
bank on one side to the base of the bank on the other.

pt1

Anonymous said...

At the northern extremity of the circle, rather to the east, there is another opening,
giving access to a quadrangular enclosure beyond. The width of the opening is the
same as that of the entrance just described - about 7 feet - but there is a difference,
that the bank here ends abruptly on both sides of the opening, without being continued
out from the circle; the enclosure is about 318 feet long, by nearly 20 feet wide, inside
the bases of the bank. The banks forming the long sides are joined on to the circle; the
western bank is very irregular and in places effaced, but the eastern enclosure is
formed by a rather stronger bank with a ditch on the north side, and with an opening in
the middle of the same width as the previous one. Through this opening a second
enclosure is reached, very much like the first and of about the same width but only half
the length - about 153 feet. The banks and ditches surrounding it are, like those of the
preceding enclosure, of somewhat slighter dimensions than those of the circle,
excepting the terminal bank of the whole, which is as high as any portion of the circle.
The lateral banks of the second enclosure are not direct continuations of those of the
first, but separated from them by the terminal ditch of the first enclosure. The end bank
of the second enclosure shows an opening like the preceding ones, of the same width,
and this bank, with a ditch in front, is continued for some distance beyond the sides of
the enclosure; on the eastern side the prolongation beyond the north-east corner of the
enclosure can be followed for something like 150 feet in a straight line; on the west
side the prolongation measures about 130, but it is not straight being curved towards
the extremity towards the north. The ground inside the second enclosure is very
uneven, the rock coming to the surface in many places; and it may be remarked
generally that the irregularities of the whole construction are in some measure due to
the natural unevenness of the ground.

Anonymous said...

It should be added that a line drawn from the
middle of the last towards the north would not be straight; the axis of the first
quadrangular enclosure deviating to the north-east, that of the second to the
north-west. To the west of the second quadrangular enclosure, at a distance of about
100 feet is a small circle formed by a very shallow ditch for a short space; the diameter
inside the ditch may be put at 47 feet; there is a depression in the middle, but it
appears to be natural.
To the east of these earthworks near the east brow of the ridge some others appear,
forming the three sides of a rhomboid enclosure, the fourth being open. The west side
- about 90 feet long and nearly 3 feet in height, with a shallow ditch in front - runs
nearly due south and north; the souther extremity being nearly 100 feet distant from
the circle, and the northern about 90 feet distant from the nearest point of the eastern
bank of the first enclosure.
The second side of the rhomboid figure runs north-east, forming an angle of about 120
degrees with the west side; its length is 114 feet, and from its north-eastern extremity
the third side runs backwards, north to south, under an angle of about 60 degrees,
consequently parallel with the first-described side, but the length of it is only 64 feet,
and it ends abruptly. It does not appear for what purpose the last-mentioned earthwork
could have been executed in modern times, nor is there anything about it indicating a
different date from that of the circle.
The differences between this ancient monument and the Abury circle are plain enough.
The works at Walton are more complicated and more easily traceable, partly because
the earth thrown out of the ditch is here formed into a little bank or mound, partly,
perhaps, because the vegetation is different and less likely to level up the ground than
at Abury. The limestone rock comes to the surface in many places at Walton, and the
banks contain - as does indeed the whole surface of the down - numerous fragments,
but there are no appearances of stones set down on purpose. At the same time the
similarities are very striking, and they are evidently of one and the same family of
monuments; the presence on Walton Down of that little circle to the west, so exactly
recalling the two which are plainly though faintly observable at Abury, is to say the least
of it a remarkable coincidence. I do not think that any archaeologist who may have
gone away from Abury with some little doubt in his mind as to whether a circle really
has existed there, could continue to entertain any such doubt, after having seen that on
Walton Downs.

Anonymous said...

By “isolated episodes”, I mean the calving of a group of erratics by Nature. Weathering is one such cause.
Enough!
Kostas, I never stood on ceremonies,
Yet now they fright me. There is one within,
Besides the things that we have heard and seen,
Recounts most horrid sights seen by the watch.
A lioness hath whelped in the streets;
And graves have yawn'd, and yielded up their dead;
Fierce fiery warriors fight upon the clouds,
In ranks and squadrons and right form of war,
Which drizzled blood upon the Capitol;
The noise of battle hurtled in the air,
Horses did neigh and dying men did groan,
And ghosts did shriek and squeal about the streets.
O Kostas! These things are beyond all use,
And I do fear them.
Your pal Myris.

Tony H said...

Thanks, Pete, for your recent contributions on Clevedon.Fascinating.

Tony H

BRIAN JOHN said...

Kostas -- you say: "By “isolated episodes”, I mean the calving of a group of erratics by Nature. Weathering is one such cause."

What on earth do you mean by this? I am mystified...

Geo Cur said...

Pete , there is an oval enclosure approx 380 feet in diameter and other earthworks marked on the present large scale OS map and 1986 6 inch to the mile map .It can be seen on GE too at
51.459819 -2.824060 .The area has scheduled ancient monument status and described as " Slight univallate hillfort, two avenues, saucer barrow, regular aggregate field system and associated earthworks on Walton Common " What was/became of the building in the print ?

Constantinos Ragazas said...

Myris my friend,

You are drawn to Poetry as I am drawn to Reason. We have a Common Ground! As both are drawn from Spirit. But why such phantasmagoric horror in your rhymes? Are you suggesting the Apocalypse of our Civilized World were we to learn that Nature is more dominant than Man? I find that liberating from our current nightmarish existence. Do we need 'supermen' to find value in our humanity?

Kostas of Macedonia

Constantinos Ragazas said...

Brian,

Allow me to explain. Consider a rock outcrop along the bank of an ice sheet. With weathering, a whole flank of matching erratics along the rock outcrop could fall onto the ice surface at once. This is an example of an 'isolated episode'.

There are other ways such calving of a 'matching group of erratics' can occur. Landslides and avalanches would be among these. In past posts you have also discussed 'a whole quarry of erratics' calved at one time and carried as a whole by glaciers.

If we examine the outer sarsen circle at Stonehenge, it is very evident that these huge stones match in their outlines and features. This group of sarsens I believe were calved by Nature as a 'matching group of erratics' in an 'isolated episode'.

What I am suggesting explains why the sarsens of the outer circle at Stonehenge match so well.

Kostas

BRIAN JOHN said...

Kostas -- please look at a map and consider the terrain. There is NOWHERE where a group of sarsen stones could have fallen onto an ice surface anywhere within the area of sarsen occurrences -- the terrain is totally unsuitable. Another example of one of your theories being totally divorced from the real world.

Constantinos Ragazas said...

Brian,

The scenario I gave was only to illustrate what I meant by an 'isolated episode' of the calving and entrainment on the ice surface of a 'matching group of erratics'. Certainly there are many variations of such occurrences. For example, the outcrop strata may not flank the ice sheet vertically but rather horizontally and be exposed just above the ice surface with the stratum seam flush with the ice surface. When the stratum breaks off, the sarsen would not 'fall' on the ice surface but 'flow' onto the ice surface along with meltwater.

I have not seen the terrain at Marlborough Downs from where the Stonehenge sarsen are said to have originated. But I have seen the exposed strata at Portland Bill just south of Stonehenge along the coast. There are many sarsens just lying below the topsoil and exposed there with exact same size and shape as the sarsen at Stonehenge. I have pictures to show you of these! If anything close to what I've seen is also the case along Marlborough Downs farther North, then what I am suggesting could have happened. It would certainly explain why the Stonehenge sarsen of the outer circle match so well in texture and outline.

Kostas

BRIAN JOHN said...

Kostas -- you are quite incorrigible! Yet another fanciful scenario involving processes unknown to science. We all know about the Portland Bill sarsens -- please see all the work Ian West has done on these -- go to Google and type in "sarsens portland bill ian west" and enjoy your reading.......

Constantinos Ragazas said...

Brian,

I am incorrigible because I am driven, like you, to know the truth of Stonehenge! What makes sense!

Thanks for the reference to Ian West. Through it, among other things, I've learned about “stromatolites”. These might help Geo make 'natural sense' of the “cup-marks on stones” and of decor designs etched on rock by “primitive hands”.

Are the exposed sarsen strata at Marlborough Downs horizontal and facing south, as these are at Portland Bill? Love to see photos of these – tried Google Earth but unsuccessfully.

Kostas

BRIAN JOHN said...

I've added another pic of the Altar Stone to this original post. For Desperate Daniel and others.......

Geo Cur said...

Kostas ,there are a variety of natural markings and geological effects that appear to look similar to genuine rock art ,I can assure you that I am aware of those that appliy to these Islands and not likely to confuse them .

Constantinos Ragazas said...

Brian,

Your 'incorrigible' comment has been ringing in my ears! You deserve a more thoughtful response.

I have been following and contributing to your blog for nearly two years now. Ice has brought us together and ice is keeping us apart! But we are on the same path seeking the truth of Stonehenge.

Something you should understand about me and why blocking some of my posts cannot dissuade me. I just don't yield to another person's opinion. Even expert opinions, since even these can and have been wrong. So I only trust what makes sense to me. Only a clear and convincing well reasoned argument can persuade me. And thus far, I have not heard a sensible and consistent explanation of Stonehenge and of these prehistoric sites to convince me humans built them. Though I acknowledge humans used them over the last five millennia.

The only explanation that makes sense to me is that Nature was primarily responsible for all these land features and ice was the agent. This is my honest view. I know it is not popular! As I know it needs to be represented in any honest discussion on Stonehenge. Because it is unpopular! Often, truth lies hidden in what we don't want to believe!

Kostas

BRIAN JOHN said...

Kostas -- the word "incorrigible" is one of the milder ones which has gone through my mind when confronting one or another of your contributions to our debates! I'll leave you to imagine what the other words might be.....

Please spare us the protestations about your respect for the truth, your ongoing search for explanations and your respect for science etc etc. We have all had quite enough of all that -- and please accept that every single contributor to this blog is also involved in an honest search for explanations! So there is nothing unique about your position, apart from your reluctance to accept that Neolithic man was capable of creating Stonehenge.

There are many elements of your arguments which smack of Creationism and Intelligent Design. Will you please he honest and tell us whether you are motivated by respect for scientific principles or by religious belief? It would not be a bad idea for us all to know where we stand......

You say: "And thus far, I have not heard a sensible and consistent explanation of Stonehenge and of these prehistoric sites to convince me humans built them." In saying that, you are turning your back on centuries of work and on perfectly rational (for the most part!) explanations of phases of occupation of the landscape by Mesolithic, Neolithic and Bronze Age peoples -- supported by pollen analyses, radiocarbon dating, studies of artifacts, megalithic structures, bone and tooth studies, geomorphology and soil studies, geology and so forth...... that, if I may say so, is intellectually dishonest on your part, for you are failing to show due respect to the thousands of honest scientists who have accumulated this evidence over the years. The evidence DOES stack up, even though there are disagreements around the edges. Only you are enlightened, and all others are either charlatans or fools?

Please forget your fantastical hypothesis, and go off and do some serious reading!

I wonder whether your problem is to do with the dating of Stonehenge? Do you believe that the Universe was created around 6,000 years ago? In that case, I suppose you could accept that Chartres Cathedral was built by humans, as too was the Coliseum in Rome. But you might have problems over the Pyramids, Stonehenge, Avebury, Ile Carn and the other wonderful sites in Brittany because human beings weren't necessarily around at the time, since the Earth had only just been created? So the only explanation for old and complex features is "intelligent natural processes"??

If you are stuck inside a straightjacket, Kostas, please either get out of it, or leave the rest of us in peace.

Anonymous said...

Ah Kostas has come clean he is a Macedonian and lives too far from our Great Library and centre of knowledge.
(Visitors seem to take any note of the notices about lighted candles.
Persepolis first by another Macedonian then......

He is to be forgiven for his gross errors.

Myris of Alexandria.

Dan said...

Desperate Dan, a simple man, says "thanks" to Brian for the extra photo.
Dan

Constantinos Ragazas said...

Brian,

I know you rather make this 'about me'. But it isn't. I will indulge you just this one time. Afterward, I will not speak about me again in your blog.

I was born in Western Macedonia, Greece in 1943. My father was hanged by retreating Nazi troops when I was about a year old. This event changed our life forever. My most formative years, and what have become the foundation of all I am and know, were the years growing up in my hometown between 1943 to 1954 with my mother and sister. These were at the same time very difficult years and also very wondrous years. Greece at the time was engaged in a civil war and my hometown was an army outpost in the very edge of the fighting. My first ride was on an army tank. And my subsequent joy rides were in military jeeps.

I came to the States with my family in 1954 when I was eleven. Graduated from Penn and Penn State with degrees in Mathematics. Taught at an independent boarding school near Princeton for about thirty years where I raised my family. I have two grown up daughters, one married one about to marry in a month. I am now retired (as you are) pursuing intellectual interests I've had for a long time and looking after my elderly mother, now 90. I am naturally drawn to 'enigmas' and Stonehenge is one of the biggest. I have no 'personal agenda' in any of my intellectual pursuits. Just the truth. I have been by nature and profession a “problem solver”. That is all that is motivating me here!

(continued in next post)

Constantinos Ragazas said...

(continued from previous post)

Specifically to your questions, you write …

“...please accept that every single contributor to this blog is also involved in an honest search for explanations! So there is nothing unique about your position, apart from your reluctance to accept that Neolithic man was capable of creating Stonehenge.”

I do accept that every single contributor to this blog is also involved in an honest search for explanations! I have never doubted this. But my unpopular views makes it necessary to remind others this also holds for me! As Geo often pointed out, I am the only one in this blog to believe that Nature may be more responsible for these prehistoric sites than we currently think. It is a view that should be considered and be represented in any honest debate. In our debate, I am representing this very unpopular position. Should I not? Would you not? And do I need an official certification or invitation to argue for Nature? Is raising questions and making reasoned arguments in an open and honest debate unwelcomed intrusions? What would that say about such debate? Neither fair nor balanced!

“There are many elements of your arguments which smack of Creationism and Intelligent Design. Will you please he honest and tell us whether you are motivated by respect for scientific principles or by religious belief? It would not be a bad idea for us all to know where we stand......”

Ahh Brian, your rejection of my views is distorting your views of me! I am as far from Creationism and Intelligent Design as anybody can be. Although I do believe in Creativity and in Intelligence. As in Poetry and Reason. You would be closer to hitting the mark on this if you were shooting blindly and behind your back! Probably you were!

(continued on next post)

Constantinos Ragazas said...

(continued from previous post)

I am motivated by respect for scientific principles and particularly Mathematical Reasoning. And I have no religious belief, though I also do not believe in the infallibility of Science. I am as level headed as a person can get and trust only what makes sense to me – while admitting I do not know much and always open to know more!

“ you are turning your back on centuries of work and on perfectly rational (for the most part!) explanations of phases of occupation of the landscape by Mesolithic, Neolithic and Bronze Age peoples”


I am not arguing against the occupation of the landscape by Mesolithic, Neolithic and Bronze Age peoples. Only raising questions with reasoned arguments whether people made that landscape. I believe Nature did! I have many reasons to think so! I also question whether the population was large enough and organized enough and economically affluent enough to engage in such massive public works. Can't sweep these questions under the palace rug, Brian.

“intellectually dishonest on your part, for you are failing to show due respect to the thousands of honest scientists who have accumulated this evidence over the years.”


The evidence may show people existed in the UK during the Mesolithic and Neolithic but I don't believe it shows people built these prehistoric sites. This is an elaborate assumption. If I am wrong, the indisputable raw evidence will prove me wrong. Is it more intellectually dishonest to raise the question than not to raise it at all?

“Please forget your fantastical hypothesis, and go off and do some serious reading!”


Brian, were I to be arguing with Fundamentalists about Creationism, I would be told to go off and read the holy scriptures! Your advice is no different! Can we talk about the raw evidence here? Like real people and real Nature? The 'facts on the ground'!

“Do you believe that the Universe was created around 6,000 years ago?”


See my comments above!

“ But you might have problems over the Pyramids, Stonehenge, Avebury, Ile Carn and the other wonderful sites in Brittany”

I have no problems over any of these! Perfectly logical and consistent with my views. Not room enough here to elaborate. But if you don't insist on blocking my posts, I'd be happy to share my thoughts on these! Without filters and without distortions, please!

“If you are stuck inside a straightjacket, Kostas, please either get out of it, or leave the rest of us in peace.”


Brian, this is below the belt and beneath my dignity! So I wont respond. But it is revealing that you feel arguing for Nature is disturbing the peace! Why so?

Myris of Alexandria: The Great Library was built by Macedonians. Your metaphor is befuddled! But I forgive the errors in your way!

Kostas

BRIAN JOHN said...

Thanks Kostas -- for the personal details, which were not at all expected. Kind of you to share with us those very sensitive and difficult matters.

Your replies clear up some questions -- and thanks for your replies.

That having been said, I still think that you are stuck in a straightjacket, and I still think you show great disrespect to the thousands of scientists who have painstakingly assembled evidence about the building and dating of Stonehenge.

In effect, what you are saying is "I don't believe all that stuff, because it's written by experts, and experts are often wrong." Put in another way, "I don't believe it, even if it's true."

In the light of your protestations about scientific integrity and the pursuit of truth, I fear that you do not come over to me as a proper scientist at all -- since you choose to reject a hypothesis (actually a miriad of hypotheses) which are underpinned by many thousands of attested facts -- and choose to put in its place a wild hypothesis based upon processes that have never been observed in nature.

BAD SCIENCE, Kostas. I have said it before, and I will say it again. And if we go on rabbiting over the same old ground, without you bothering to do some serious reading, I fear that there will be many more of your posts that I will have to block.

BRIAN JOHN said...

Kostas -- comment rejected. I am not making "personal attacks" -- I am simply fed up of going over the same old ground and getting nowhere. Until you come up with some actual evidence to support the "natural processes" which you insist on believing in, I am not giving you any more space.

I question lots of expert opinions, on the basis that they are contradicted by evidence on the ground and by physical laws that are well understood.

The difference between you and me is that I am a geomorphologist by training and you are -- as I understand it -- a mathematician.

Don't get me wrong. I have great respect for mathematicians -- when they are talking about mathematics.

Constantinos Ragazas said...

Brian,

The inherent self-contradiction in your position will ultimately undermine your efforts seeking the truth of Stonehenge. Your personal attacks and treatment of me in your blog betray a lack of intellectual honesty and courage. That 'smart-ass Graham Norton' twisting your ideas and insulting you on national television is now you! It saddens me to say that you are not the person I thought you were and were perhaps at some point.

Kostas

BRIAN JOHN said...

Farewell, Kostas. My patience is exhausted...

Tony H said...

I have recently taken another look at Aubrey Burl's "Stonehenge" (2006).On page 139, in Chapter 7, after mentioning the Altar Stone, Burl says:

'Another & almost unmentioned stone argues against human transportation. A gritty and unglittering sandstone was found by Hawley on 29 April 1920, deep in Aubrey Hole 1, earlier than the bluestones. It came from neither Wessex nor the Cosheston Beds. Known as OU9, the awkward piece mutates in 'Stonehenge In Its Landscape. On pagee 99 it is a bluestone, on page 377 a Cosheston Beds sandstone, and on page 394 a silicified rock. It is sandstone - but not from the Cosheston Beds. It is an awkward but indisputable fact of which most geologists seem unaware.

It would be most informative to have the views of Rob Ixer on this stone, if he can be asked.

BRIAN JOHN said...

Look out for a post from Charles Dickens, Darth Vader, King Neptune or Micky Mouse...... or maybe from all of them, and a few others besides.

Anonymous said...

Were I to have the 'family' life and fame of Mr Dickens, the power over planets of Darth Vader, the gill capacity of Poseidon (no Latin nonsense here)or even the ears of Micky I would..........
I am, but the recently bereaved Myris.
The ssts of Stonehnege I think are the best part of the bluestone story and so will be last-told.
THe Altar Stone is a Devonian Sst from Wales it appears to be totally absent from the debitage despite earlier claims.
There are two buried orthostats that are sst, there are lots of different ssts in the debitage and rubbish on the surface of SH amongst which is a Paleozoic sst that, as in really good detective novels, is subliminal (John are you a good novellist?)and you will have to wait to see.
I have not seen any sst in the little Aubrey Hole material I have seen but this ex-Cosheston sst (ex as in it has been incorrectly identified see the 2nd appendix in Thorpe et al 1990/1)is the Marachino cherry on the over-iced cake.
We are still in Advent mode- reading Micah good geological name there.
Myris

BRIAN JOHN said...

Thanks Myris -- info much appreciated! Two buried sandstone orthostats? Now that is seriously interesting -- would you care to give us their numbers? You are among friends, and we promise not to tell anybody......

So if we include the Altar Stone that makes 3 sandstone "bluestones" out of the 43 that we know about.

Am I a good novelist? Off topic. Don't ask me -- but having sold around 60,000 copies I hope that says something! But I try to steer well away from fiction on this site -- what we are after is the truth.....

That reminds me -- must try to get another chapter written today....

Anonymous said...

Where are you on the Proust/Joyce (will we ever be free from Greek travelogues?)/Eliot-Mills and Boon scale?
The two buried stumps are 40g and 42e.
Edward Casaubon (now that IS too close to the truth!)

BRIAN JOHN said...

Ah, thanks for that info. ATKINSON SAYS 40g and 42c are Cosheston sandstone -- ie 42c instead of 42e. Your mistake? Williams-Thorpe et al say 42c as well, describing it as "sandstone, mica bearing."

Wouldn't it be nice if you could get permission to sample those two? Their locations are well recorded on the plans.

Where are the novels on the scale of things? Proust I have never read -- tried Joyce, and found him totally unreadable. Tried Mills and Boon, too, years ago, just for fun -- and found that totally unreadable too. Judge for yourself -- just type in "On Angel Mountain" into Mr Google, and all will be revealed...

Anonymous said...

Woops 42c cannot read my own scribble-Ignore all Cosheston Sst refs probably quite wrong. The Cosheston sst samples I have seen are LOWER Paleozoic sst.


All three are supposed to have written the greatest novel two in the English language the other an abberation.
Myris

Anonymous said...

Woops 42c cannot read my own scribble-Ignore all Cosheston Sst refs probably quite wrong. The Cosheston sst samples I have seen are LOWER Paleozoic sst.


All three are supposed to have written the greatest novel two in the English language the other an abberation.
Myris

Anonymous said...

What are the dimentions of the altar stone?

BRIAN JOHN said...

About 16 ft long, about 4 ft wide and about 2 ft deep -- ie a flattish pillar shape. It's never been properly excavated, so the shape might be much more irregular in reality. It's generally assumed that at one time it was standing, but I think I'm right in saying that no pit or socket has ever been found.