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Saturday, 10 December 2011

The Sandstone Bluestones

The traditional Stonehenge Plan -- click to enlarge

It's often erroneously stated that all of the bluestones at Stonehenge are igneous, and that they all come from the Carn Meini area.  Well, that just ain't so.  We know about the Altar Stone (numbered 80 on this plan and overlain by fallen sarsens) -- but there are two other sandstones as well -- numbered 40g and 42c.  Their positions are marked in yellow on the plan.  There is probably no significance in their locations -- although it has often been said that in the final settings of bluestones the hardest dolerites were chosen for the bluestone horseshoe, and the softer and more variable rhyolites and ashes (and sandstones) were left in the outer bluestone circle.  I have argued before that this, of course, was never completed, because the builders ran out of stones.

What do we know about stones 40g and 42c?  Not a lot, apart from the fact that they are both buried stumps, and are labelled as "micaceous sandstone" -- probably of Palaeozoic age, and probably from somewhere in South Wales.  Sampling is urgently needed -- English Heritage, are you listening?

If you are a romantic soul who likes to think that the bluestones were chosen because of their magical or healing properties, then the sandstone bluestones become a bit of a problem.  Maybe they were replacements for igneous bluestones lost in transit?  Or maybe they were deemed to be magical not because of their petrographical characteristics, but because of WHERE they came from?  Then again, they might just be glacial erratics, picked up like all the other stones from the general neighbourhood of Stonehenge?

54 comments:

The Stonehenge Enigma said...

Brian

As one of those 'romantic' bluestone healing people types - I have no problem with stone 40g and 42c.

The temple was constructed AFTER the use of the healing stones went out of fashion - The original 'Phase I' circle would have used the Aubrey Holes and Ditch/Moat.

I would suggest the type and location of the stones for the later construction was therefore more random - consequently, stones 40g or 42c were not part of the original bluestone circle.

RJL

BRIAN JOHN said...

Robert --
you say: ".....stones 40g or 42c were not part of the original bluestone circle."

I can see absolutely nothing to support that statement.

Anonymous said...

Why call the "sandstone bluestones" bluestones? Because of their location in the Stonehenge architecture?

BRIAN JOHN said...

Anon-- well, traditionally anything that isn't sarsen in the Stonehenge settings has been referred to as bluestone. It's nonsense, I know, because the term has NO geological meaning -- and there are at least 30 different rock types represented.
It's one of my little missions in life to remind the world of that fact -- in spite of those who pretend that all of the "bluestones" have come from the Carn Meini neighbourhood.

Anonymous said...

So Brian, the bluestones had no magical or healing power and neither did the place(s) from where these came. Furthermore, the bluestone circle was never completed, as also the sarsen circle. And these stones were not carried by people from Wales, but gathered by Neolithic men from the vicinity brought there by glaciers.

So why was Stonehenge ever (not) built?

BRIAN JOHN said...

I wish I knew! What was Avebury for, or Carnac, or Silbury Hill? All we can say, I suppose, is that they were not "utilitarian" -- but maybe they were all just mad follies built by power-crazed tribal leaders who just wanted to leave a legacy and mystify people...

Anonymous said...

Neolithic “mad follies”! Or perhaps modern fantasies?

BRIAN JOHN said...

Anon -- yes, or maybe a combination of both....

Geo Cur said...

Neolithic “mad follies”! Or perhaps modern fantasies? "

As in similar cases of ignorance /mystery the suggestions tell us more about the commentators than the problem .

Tony H said...

I suspect Fred and Wilma Flintstone knew the real purpose of the micaceous sandstones: clearly they were needed by both Fred and his buddy Barney Rubble (did they both originate in West Wales? We do not YET know...). In the age before even hand - shavers, micaceous sandstones were necessary to sand down and smooth a man's hairy face before certain ritual ceremonials, of which we know very little....

IF I am correct, then the next step must surely be for Hanna-Barbara Cartoons Inc. to consider re-dubbing the cave-person's voices with lilting Welsh accents, and removing the nasal North American. I'm there are must be quite a few Welsh actors who would jump at the opportunity.

Anonymous said...

Wasn't it William Stukeley who observed "Each Age gets the Stonehenge it deserves"?

Clearly those who contributed the sandstones gave what their Age deserved.

SANDstones?? Surely...no, impossible.........symbolic of Egyptian contact in pre-history?

VON DANIKEN

heavenshenge said...

"What was Avebury for, or Carnac, or Silbury Hill? All we can say, I suppose, is that they were not "utilitarian"

Do you mean as in based entirely in a utility; If so, what's the basis for that assumption Brian?

Anonymous said...

In "ignorance /mystery the suggestions tell us more about the commentators than the problem”.

I agree with that. In the dark we see our fantacies.

Alex Gee said...

As in similar cases of ignorance /mystery the suggestions tell us more about the commentators than the problem .

As does anonymity?.

BRIAN JOHN said...

I tend to agree with that last comment, Alex -- since I am intrigued that while Robert, you and a few others submit comments with proper names attached, others prefer to hide behind anonymity. Why? Could it be that some are afraid that they will be got at by the heavies? Which heavies? Are there some out there that I do not know about? Or maybe they are worried that their colleagues might not approve of their participation in such a subversive blog forum? Hum hum -- that does not exactly inspire confidence in the way that some parts of academia might work...

Personally, I accord greater respect to those who do use their own names, since I cannot tell (sometimes) whether those who label themselves as "Anon" are contributing on the basis of expert knowledge, or are simply being facetious, or are simply stirring the pot.......

In addition, it is sometimes very difficult to know which Anon is which!

So come out into the open, please, all you good people, and let's enjoy an honest discussion on matters of mutual interest -- without fear of retribution.

Anonymous said...

If arguments and ideas only are important, why dshould the name matter?

heavenshenge said...

Not sure the name should matter. In another forum, where I'm more or less the expert in some of the topics (unlike here), it's quite nice for people not to be able to find out who you are: If they did, they might be intimidated.

Though, as far as I can tell, the one thing that everyone agrees about, concerning Stonehenge, is that they all disagree with each other what it's for.

and where the stones came from

;-)

Geo Cur said...

"If arguments and ideas only are important, why should the name matter?"
Agree ,and also agree that multiple anons can become confusing .What's wrong with a pseudonym , even if it is constantly changing ?
L. Messi .

Alex Gee said...

Brian
I'm glad you agree. The reason for my comment was to encourage a more honest debate.

I disagree with the views of Kostas and RJL and have dismissed their "research" as nothing more than Pseudo-Science. I have however, to respect their strength of character and personal integrity. At least they have the courage of their convictions, and don't hide behind the cowardly cloak of anonymity.

Anon and Heavenshenge: Identity is important because it reveals conflict of interest. Who would take a scientific paper seriously, if the author remained anonymous??

e.g. Is GCU "in two minds" an expert on carbonate rocks? or some poor unfortunate suffering from schizophrenia??

Is Geo Cur, GW or TD in disguise? who can tell?

On other internet forums, is Heavenshenge an intimidating expert in embroidery or some esoteric sexual practise? :-) Perhaps they'd like to enlighten us?

Tony H said...

Personally, I quite like a bit of surrealism. If it was good enough for Spike Milligan or Marty Feldman, then it's good enough for me. And, furthermore, one of our greatest living exponents of surrealism dabbles in surrealism regularly on the satirical topical News show, "Have I Got News For You". He is Paul Merton.

And can we be certain we may comment openly without fear of retribution

Tony H said...

"Could it be that some [anonymous contributors] will be [otherwise] got at by the heavies? Which heavies?"

Megaliths HAVE been known to fall, albeit only rarely, ,say, once in a Century (think of the so-called 'barber-surgeon' at Avebury in the Middle Ages).

Whistle-blowing has always been a potentially dangerous activity. Why do so many M.P.'s and Civil Servants hide behind anonymity's Cloak when going to the press to help achieve their ends?!

Conversely, there are some folk who simply enjoy the limelight, hence they display their names, and more, despite simultaneously revealing alarming gaps, or black holes, in their knowledge.

The Stonehenge Enigma said...

I believe that Brian has a tendency to be over 'zealous' in his deletion of the comments posted.

Both Kostas and I have been victims of Brian Putin's editing in recent posts.

I take it as a person complement when arguments are edited out, others may take to an anonymous route.

RJL

Anonymous said...

I agree with Geo Cur. Better to use pseudonyms to avoid confusion. Best to highlight the argument than the proponent. Ideas should rise and fall on their own. Makes it less personal … what science should be!

John

Geo Cur said...

"Is Geo Cur, GW or TD in disguise? who can tell? "

Does it matter ? If any of the above have anything to add to the debate ,surely that is what counts not what names or pseudonyms they might use .

Is RJL , Alex Gee ?
I don't really mind/care what name anyone uses ,I'm more interested in what they might have to say .

Anon .

heavenshenge said...

"On other internet forums, is Heavenshenge an intimidating expert in embroidery or some esoteric sexual practise? :-) Perhaps they'd like to enlighten us?"

Alex: If you click on the user profile of a blog user, whatever 'handle' they use, you can see more about who they are. 'Heavenshenge' is just a name associated with a novel that I wrote: It is easy to use this account rather than create a new one just to sound less anonymous.

Who I am is on the blog: Jonathan Morris. There's a lot of information on that blog, particularly on the blog page itself. In some circumstances, my qualifications can intimidate other writers (I'm a Fellow of various institutions). In circumstances where they might intimidate (mostly sites associated with sustainability and engineering), I post more anonymously than I do here.

I agree that identity is important but, for example, I have no idea who "Alex Gee" is. Posting using a real sounding name does not make you less anonymous?

BRIAN JOHN said...

Well, this is all very interesting! In reply to Robert, I have probably deleted or spammed no more than half a dozen contributions over the past year -- and only do so when I am thoroughly fed up with a point being laboured ad infinitum, where somebody has consistently failed to take account of what is being said by others, or where frequent requests for supporting evidence have been ignored. Isn't that what moderation should be? Since I take responsibility for this blog, I'll continue to act as I see fit in this respect. Robert, you can say what you like on your own blog, but not on mine.....

Geo Cur said...

Alex Gee , could you clarify “ honest debate “ ? if it meant non anons replying to requests for clarification of earlier comments I would be all for it e.g. I’m still waiting for an explanation for what I said that "appears" to agree with "Flaky " archaeologists .Odd that I have only had this problem with non anons .

Jon Morris said...

Interesting and dead useful: Just realised that I can make my posting name my real name, so that it's not identified with the account!

Jon

Anonymous said...

An “honest debate” is when all views are aired without retribution.

Geo Cur said...

Anon , the question was in relation to “.The reason for my comment was to encourage a more honest debate. “

How does the use of pseudonyms or anons either stop views being aired or retribution ? . Any examples of the latter ?

Anonymous said...

Geo Cur,

I agree with you! The use of pseudonyms or anons does not stop views from being aired. The crucial question, however, is whether views will be aired if not anonymously! The lack of posts from Kostas in recent discussions may be an example of this. I think Robert's comment on 11 December 2011 22:53 points to that possibility. Perhaps Brian can explain.

John

BRIAN JOHN said...

John

I'm very happy to allow views to be aired, with or without names attached. The reason why Kostas has gone missing from this site is not because he signs his contributions with his own name but because I have got fed up with the site being used for the endless promotion of views that are unsupported by evidence in the field. Kostas -- both on and off the record -- has accused me of acting like a Stalinist or Chinese dictator and of trying to "censor" honest debate! My answer to that is that this not about fundamental human rights, and that if he or anybody else wants to promote their own ideas they can jolly well go and do it, on a blog site of their own. It's a free world.

It's not easy, trying to manage a blog so that it remains fresh and entertaining -- and informative -- without becoming a vehicle for ideas that have very little or no scientific basis. And it's also quite hard, when somebody seems quite impervious to the points being raised by others, to know when to pull the plug! Every now and then, I have pulled the plug, and have no regrets.

BRIAN JOHN said...

John

I'm very happy to allow views to be aired, with or without names attached. The reason why Kostas has gone missing from this site is not because he signs his contributions with his own name but because I have got fed up with the site being used for the endless promotion of views that are unsupported by evidence in the field. Kostas -- both on and off the record -- has accused me of acting like a Stalinist or Chinese dictator and of trying to "censor" honest debate! My answer to that is that this not about fundamental human rights, and that if he or anybody else wants to promote their own ideas they can jolly well go and do it, on a blog site of their own. It's a free world.

It's not easy, trying to manage a blog so that it remains fresh and entertaining -- and informative -- without becoming a vehicle for ideas that have very little or no scientific basis. And it's also quite hard, when somebody seems quite impervious to the points being raised by others, to know when to pull the plug! Every now and then, I have pulled the plug, and have no regrets.

Anonymous said...

In Iain M Banks tremendous Culture novels a GCU is an all-knowing all-powerful artificial brian (sic) running a space vessel called a General Contact Unit- they typically have ambivalent names often darkly ironic,
See how it is all destroyed when explained. They are generally benign but implacable hence-

My publication list is for all to see just go to my web-site (try Ixer in Google) and it carries many tens of carbonate-related papers some of value! In none of these do I mis-understand or misuse the technical jargon in order to appear more erudite than I am.
ex-GCU In two minds now Myria a poor scholar in the Serapeum of Alexandria.
(I leave THAT to here.
Shame on you for ruining the fun and not seeing the content behind the gloss.

Anonymous said...

Brian,

How can we be sure that the reason you have banned Kostas from these 'honest debates' is because you don't like his views?

Robert referred to you as “Brian Putin”. Should he also be banned? Where do we draw the line? Does it matter what the rest of us feel about this? And can we have an 'honest debate' with only some views aired?

John

Tony H said...

For information: from my researches on the web, I can confirm that Alex Gee is a real person and not a pseudonym. So that's one less..........

BRIAN JOHN said...

John -- or Kostas (whatever your name is) (see the problem?)

This is all very interesting and entertaining! I appear to be feared and loathed in equal measure, presumably on the basis that I wield mighty powers and exert a malign influence over others. I assure you that I'm quite a pleasant fellow really.......

As for Robert, I have spammed a couple of his comments too -- for the same reasons.

If you really want to know why our old friend Kostas is no longer with us (at least, not with that name) you just have to type the name into the blog search box and do a little on-site research. You will see his many contributions, unexpurgated. You will quite soon, I think, come to see why I have finally run out of patience and have been overwhelmed by weariness.

(And by the way, I don't like his views either, since he has consistently failed to provide a scrap of evidence to support them, in spite of innumerable invitations to do so.)

Anonymous said...

I fear that the person who has recently addressed his comment to 'Brian' and signed himself 'John' could be suffering from a split personality. This is, after all, Brian John's blogsite!!

THE RIPPER,WAPPING

Tony Hinchliffe said...

To all unbelievers,I can confirm that Brian is still the same affable, generous-spirited but highly intelligent chap he was, many years ago, when he was my (quite young) Personal Tutor in Durham University's Geography Dept. And even then, he was warning us all against believing the simplistic tale of prehistoric men trundling bluestones from Pembrokeshire to Salisbury Plain, and demonstrating his own glacial theory during Geomorphology lectures.

Trust the cheque's in the post, Brian.

Anonymous said...

Brian,

I have! And all I can ascertain is that Kostas believes that nature may be more responsible for the prehistoric earthworks than we currently think. Certainly a legitimate view that should be aired in any 'honest debate'.

But an unpopular and controversial view! And that is the problem. How do we know if your actions are not motivated by an instinct to silence what you don't like to be thought?

Shouldn't the rest of us determine if Kostas arguments are nonsense or not? Or you think you need to protect us!

John

BRIAN JOHN said...

"Shouldn't the rest of us determine if Kostas arguments are nonsense or not?"

My dear fellow, the rest of you determined that long since, if you will just read through some of the threads. Some people were already threatening to do violent things to Kostas (or to me!) if I did not do something about it. It was incumbent upon me to protect him from harm. So I did the kindest thing possible.

Anonymous said...

So it was intimidation that forced Brian to ban Kostas for his own protection! That explains everything!

Why not use a 'principled defense' to protect descending views? We do what we do and find excuses for what we do!

John

Geo Cur said...

Rather than being concerned about “ hiding behind a cloak of anonymity “ ,shouldn’t the concern for “ honest debate “ be more centred on content and avoiding fatuous comments like “flaky ” when unaccompanied with no supporting argument .

Geo Cur said...

Sometimes posts go astray and merely need to be re-sent so not necessarily deleted .
I did reply to a request for info on the Jo- Mama Stonhenge connection which never appeared , I doubt it was deleted so here goes again .
Danny Kortchmer ,guitarist with the band aka Ronnie Pudding bass player with the Thamesmen was subsequently replaced by Derek Smalls and the rest is (pre ) history ,all the way to 11 ( on the volume control not universes ).

BRIAN JOHN said...

John -- or Kostas -- or whoever you are, I was not responding to intimidation. I was simply acting to protect the health of the community occupying this little piece of the blogosphere......... so it was ultimately an act of compassion.

Tony H said...

GeoCur

As a keen James Taylor fan, I read your recent post (at 23.48 on 13/12/11) mentioning Taylor's old friend Danny Kortchmar (Flying Machine) with interest. However, I am somewhat befuddled by what you said about a Jo Mama/ Stonehenge connection. Did Kortchmar make a recording about Stonehenge?

In July 2010 I paid an "Inside The Stones" visit to Brian's 'jerry-built old ruin', and amongst our party was a U.S. guitarist who plays with Joni Mitchell, amongst others. Perhaps its the good vibes that attracts them?........

Anonymous said...

Brian, “John -- or Kostas -- or whoever you are” …

Banning Kostas has put you in the dark! A natural consequence to suppressing descending views. I am not Kostas, and I am not John!

We all feel we are doing the 'right think'. It's what permits us to do the 'wrong think'! Descent then becomes the mirror to our deepest self-contradictions. We can either ban all mirrors or improve our outlook through them.

Another 'platform' Brian? John

BRIAN JOHN said...

John

I presume you mean DISSENT? If you don't like the way this blog is run, there are many others to choose from.

Lucinda Prior-Permission said...

A lot of fuss over nothing I fear.

I would not be known to any contributor to this blog, other than 'GCU in two minds', even if I used my correct name.

The section I'm currently typing in clearly tells bloggers to choose an identity, so just follow the instruction and keep taking the tablets.
Ho, ho blutty ho, now isn't it then.

Anonymous said...

“dissent” of course! Was that too confusing to follow? Sorry! John

BRIAN JOHN said...

Thanks all for your contributions -- but since none of this has anything to do with sandstones of bluestones, calling a halt on this thread.

Executive decision, no doubt thoroughly approved of by my dear friend Vladimir Putin, who calls himself "Anon" when it suits him...

And thank you, Kostas, for your private message. Appreciated.

Geo Cur said...

Could I squeeze this one in Brian ? It is a response to a question and does involve Stonehenge if not bluestones or sandstones directly .

Tony , slightly esoteric but D.K. played the part of Ronnie Pudding (bass player in the Thamesmen ) in the classic film Spinal Tap , after being replaced by Derek Smalls the band changed their name and recorded the infamous " Stonehenge " .If you have never seen the film it's an hilarious take on the nonsense that was much of "rock " in the early 70 's .
Incompetent innocence ,with Danny on bass .
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I-BYzaDwNoE .
To incompetent pompous innocence .
With his replacement
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eqeq12TdW58

Tony H said...

GeoCur

Thanks for that about DK. I believe he produced, wrote and played on that GREAT song, "Boys of Summer", for Don Henley. Incidentally, I think you & I should get together and re-write the song's lyrics to give it a contemporary, Irish, glacial, Stonehenge feel.Tim Darvill might want to feature on guitar,as I understand he plays in an archaey band on the (not-very) quiet. Will take a look at your Spinal Tap extracts. Was Derek Small a dig at Eric Clapton aka Derek & the D's??! DK was recently in fine form playing for Taylor & Carole K at tha Troubadour, L.A., & on t'telly.

BRIAN JOHN said...

Enough, please! Personally I prefer Spike Jones....