Some of the ideas discussed in this blog are published in my new book called "The Stonehenge Bluestones" -- due for publication on June 1st 2018. After that, it will be available by post and through good bookshops everywhere. Bad bookshops might not have it....
To order, click

Friday, 25 November 2011

Milford Haven -- the great bluestone hunt

One of the interesting sections in that film (see previous posts) was to do with the great efforts made by the film's producers to find bluestones on the bed of Milord Haven, in order to validate a find made around 1970 by a diver called Pinot Antoniassi (correct spelling?).  When diving in the Haven in association with a big project to deepen and widen the deepwater channel used by oil tankers, he discovered what he thought were 3 bluestones, in about 30 feet of water off Angle Bay.  He assumed that these "bluestones" had slipped off a raft or other Neolithic vessel when rough water was encountered near the mouth of the Haven.  The find made great headlines in the local press at the time, and perpetuated an old myth about "lost bluestones" on the bed of the Haven.  Well, went the theory, for all the stones that made it following the hazardous voyage from Milford Haven, there must have been many more that were lost -- and where better to be lost than just off Angle Bay, where the swells from the open sea were first encountered by the voyagers?

For the film, a team of divers did a lot of sonar scanning work, and looked through the sedimentary records associated with the channel deepening project, before coming up with a list of 21 sites where large stones seemed to be sitting on the sea floor.  They homed in on the best of these, near the edge of the deepwater channel.  They dived down, found the stones, and saw immediately that they were not at all pillar-shaped, but very irregular, with jagged edges.  They seem to have decided immediately that they were not "lost bluestones" at all, but probably shattered boulders of bedrock which were by-products of the blasting work in the channel.  At any rate, in order to keep the interest of the viewing public alive, they took a large sample off the biggest stone and brought it ashore.  Prof Bowen must have known it was local Carboniferous Limestone the moment he set eyes on it, and he could have tested it with a few drops of acid,  but of course in a dramatic gesture he had to cart it all the way up onto Carn Meini, where (for the cameras) he compared it with a lump of spotted dolerite and declared it to be a red herring, or a lump of Carboniferous Limestone, or whatever -- much to the disappointment of all concerned. 

So that was that.  An interesting episode, but singularly unhelpful to the cause of those who believe in heroic Neolithic seamen taking 80 or more stones out of Milford Haven and across the Bristol Channel.  Almost as chaotic, one might think, as the great Millennium Stone Fiasco of the year 2000, in which many enthusiastic folk (including me) tried to deliver a lump of bluestone from Mynachlogddu to Stonehenge.  That one ended up on the floor of Milford Haven too........ but that's another story.


Anonymous said...

I recall seeing a documentary on the Millenium stone.
Does anyone have a copy?

Anonymous said...

Suggest you get the 85-year-old (but still very active and in-tune!) TONY BENNETT over from the U S of A to sing: "I lost my Heart in Milford Haven..." to the tune of "I lost my Heart in San Francisco".

Who knows, you may raise enough money to search the Bristol Channel for MORE bluestones (erratics or dressed - you pays your money, yer takes yer choice).And I'm sure Jools holland would introduce TB for you (that is, Tony Bennett, not tuberculosis).

{A very young-at-heart] MRS WHEELER