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

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

In praise of "Where's the Path"

I think I might have mentioned this one before, but the incredible application called "Where's the Path" allows you to examine the landscape in great detail, using the latest satellite imagery, and to view it on a split screen with the OS map to the left.  You can choose what sort of images you want to look at, either side by side or full screen.  And in some ways, most useful of all, your pointer on the screen is always given a precise grid ref (ten-figure) and geographical coordinates in a box at bottom right.  This is the application which Rob Ixer and Richard Bevins used for fixing the locations of their Rhosyfelin sampling points.

You can zoom in and out of either image (right and left) and so the two images in the split screen do not always cover identical geographical areas -- but that does not matter greatly, because the cursor point is always in the right place, on both images. (And of course grid north is slightly different from true north.....)

Thoroughly recommended.....


The Stonehenge Enigma said...


Interesting application - Thank you.

As you look at the road through the area you can not be struck by the complexity of the U bend in the road.

If the land was as dry as today in this area in the past, then a much easier (and more direct) route would have been routed without impassible gradients.

The only reason this road meanders like it does is due to the best route being waterlogged in the past (probably Roman or Medieval) periods.

Reverse engineering the water table in this are will prove that the river was much larger in the past than today as seen at:

When such obvious landscape empirical evidence is so strong, we need to look at all likely alternatives including boat transportation.


BRIAN JOHN said...

Never mind about reverse engineering, Robert. All we need is evidence -- and there isn't any to support your idea of a large river in this valley -- except maybe subglacially, at the time of original valley formation.

The Stonehenge Enigma said...


So where is the logic for the kink in the road - dodgy Irish medieval builders again?

If empirical evidence of the roads path is insufficient support for a flooded past, what is?


BRIAN JOHN said...

I thought you were an engineer, Robert? There is a kink in the road because where there are steep slopes you build a road so as to minimise the gradient. All clear?

Chris johnson said...

This is a great app. Thanks.

It seems the stones analyzed are from the cursus area. I wonder if that has any significance? Around 6000 years ago the climate was colder and the river could have been frozen in winter, making it a bit easier to move big stones down to the sea.

BRIAN JOHN said...

Chris -- not sure how firm the evidence is for much colder winters when the stones were being built into Stonehenge. I have always been sceptical about the snow and ice theories -- since sliding big stones on ice is fine in theory, because friction is reduced -- but friction underfoot is also reduced for the poor sods trying to move the stones -- in addition to practical problems associated with freezing hands and feet, frozen ropes, and general discomfort......

Chris johnson said...

I will find a link. Several studies were done for the climate change work. The stonehenge time - say 2000-2500 BC was actually a warmer blip, whereas 4000-5000 BC closer to the mini-ice age some 300 years ago (skating on the Thames and all that). It does not take much of a change in our climate to change conditions on the ground radically.

As far as I know the cursus pre-dates stonehenge by a considerable period - although evidence is not abundant. There is also some recent speculation that the bluestones in the monument arrived in Stonehenge earlier - being erected close to the river and then moved to where they are now. And, who knows, maybe being moved several times during the long period of monument construction - we talk hundreds if not thousands of years.

A possibility for the latest results could even be that the fragments analyzed were actually brought along by a tribe from the Nevern Valley as raw material for tools and were never ever part of a monolith.

As you say, the new evidence does not invalidate your glacier theory but neither does it provide any support.

chris johnson said...

The link I promised:

number 5 on the home page "It's been hotter" - or in this case, colder.

BRIAN JOHN said...

Hi Chris

Thanks. See my post for 14 Nov 2010 -- URL as follows:

Anonymous said...

Brian and Chris,

Sounds like a 'local ice cover' to me! All this ice talk makes me feel all so warm inside!


BRIAN JOHN said...

A rosy glow brought on by fantasy, Kostas, and a refusal to look at the evidence in the literature. Because it may have been slightly cooler now and then in the Holocene does not mean that there was a "local ice mass" anywhere. Get real.

BRIAN JOHN said...

Kostas comment deleted.