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Some of the ideas discussed in this blog are published in my book called "The Bluestone Enigma" -- available by post and through good bookshops everywhere. Bad bookshops might not have it....
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Thursday, 8 December 2011

Seeing Beneath Stonehenge? Not quite.....



Thanks to Stonehenge News for drawing attention to this new site, made by the Sheffield University team with lots of collaboration, and with assistance from Google.  Google Under-the-Earth is an app which can be downloaded if you already have Google Earth -- it allows you to zoom around, getting rather giddy in the process, as you look at the Stonehenge landscape.

The new site (with various YouTube videos as well) gives you access to a lot of info from the recent Sheffield Univ projects led by MPP and his team, including carefully photographed scans of the trenches, and various animations as well. The key project is the Stonehenge Riverside Project.   So as a teaching resource, I can see this as very valuable.  I'm not sure what else it gives us -- and it certainly doesn't allow us to see beneath Stonehenge in the sense of allowing us to see exactly where the pits, stumps and other subterranean features are to be found..........

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Hidden dimension of Stonehenge revealed
by stonehengenews

A project directed by academics at the University of Sheffield has made the archaeology of the world-famous Stonehenge site more accessible than ever before.

Google Under-the-Earth: Seeing Beneath Stonehenge is the first application of its kind to transport users around a virtual prehistoric landscape, exploring the magnificent and internationally important monument, Stonehenge.

The application used data gathered from the University of Sheffield´s Stonehenge Riverside Project in conjunction with colleagues from the universities of Manchester, Bristol, Southampton and London. The application was developed by Bournemouth University archaeologists, adding layers of archaeological information to Google Earth to create Google Under-the-Earth.

The unique visual experience lets users interact with the past like never before. Highlights include taking a visit to the Neolithic village of Durrington Walls and a trip inside a prehistoric house. Users also have the opportunity to see reconstructions of Bluestonehenge at the end of the Stonehenge Avenue and the great timber monument called the Southern Circle, as they would have looked more than 4,000 years ago.

The project is funded through Google Research Awards, a program which fosters relationships between Google and the academic world as part of Google's ambition to organise the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful.

Professor Mike Parker-Pearson from the University of Sheffield's Department of Archaeology said: "Google Under Earth: Seeing Beneath Stonehenge is part of a much wider project led by myself and colleagues at other universities - the Stonehenge Riverside Project - which began in 2003. This new Google application is exciting because it will allow people around the world to explore some of the fascinating discoveries we've made in and around Stonehenge over the past few years."

Archaeological scientist Dr Kate Welham, project leader at Bournemouth University, explained that the project could also be the start of something much bigger:

"It is envisaged that Google Under-the-Earth: Seeing Beneath Stonehenge could be the start of a new layer in Google Earth. Many of the world's great archaeological sites could be added, incorporating details of centuries' worth of excavations as well as technical data from geophysical and remote sensing surveys in the last 20 years." she said.

Dr Nick Snashall, National Trust Archaeologist at Stonehenge said: "The National Trust cares for over 2,000 acres of the Stonehenge Landscape. Seeing Beneath Stonehenge offers exciting and innovative ways for people to explore that landscape. It will allow people across the globe, many of whom may never otherwise have the chance to visit the sites, to share in the thrill of the discoveries made by the Stonehenge Riverside team and to appreciate the remarkable achievements of the people who built and used the monuments."

You can download the application from the Google Under-the-Earth: Seeing Beneath Stonehenge site. The tool is easy to use and requires Google Earth to be installed on your computer.

Notes for Editors:
Google Under-the-Earth: Seeing Beneath Stonehenge was created at Bournemouth University by Dr Kate Welham, Mark Dover, Harry Manley and Lawrence Shaw. It is jointly directed by Dr Kate Welham and Professor Mike Parker Pearson at the University of Sheffield.

To find out more about the University of Sheffield's Department of Archaeology, visit: Department of Archaeology

The Stonehenge Riverside Project was a joint collaboration between Universities of Bournemouth, Bristol, Manchester, Sheffield and University College London. It was led by Professor Mike Parker Pearson, University of Sheffield, and co-directed by Professor Julian Thomas, University of Manchester, Dr Joshua Pollard, University of Southampton (formally University of Bristol), Dr Colin Richards, University of Manchester, Dr Chris Tilley, University College London and Dr Kate Welham, Bournemouth University.

This project has been supported by: The Arts and Humanities Research Council, the British Academy, the Royal Archaeological Institute, the Society of Antiquaries, the Prehistoric Society, the McDonald Institute, Robert Kiln Charitable Trust, Andante Travel, University of Sheffield Enterprise Scheme, the British Academy, the National Geographic Society, with financial support from English Heritage and the National Trust for outreach. The project was awarded the Bob Smith Prize in 2004 and the Current Archaeology Research Project of the Year award for Bluestonehenge in 2010.


Sponsored by 'The Stonehenge Tour Company'

23 comments:

The Stonehenge Enigma said...

Brian

Interesting if not compelling!

Mind, its taken 3 years to get this map, shame about not having a full report - awaiting the completion of the book no doubt.

Bluehenge seems to be a inconclusive as only a hand full of holes were excavated and half the circle surmised - if the geophysical images shown on Google earth are the best they have, then it need not be a circle at all - it could be a landing site for boats on the Avon.

And those periglacial stripes just will not rest easy with me at all - climate activity within a 20m strip of land and nothing outside - your the expert at this Brian, how many perfectly triangular 20m x 1000m periglacial stripes have you seen in your career?

RJL

Geo Cur said...

"it certainly doesn't allow us to see beneath Stonehenge in the sense of allowing us to see exactly where the pits, stumps and other subterranean features are to be found.........."

There are 116 Y,Z and Aubrey Holes , all subterranean and all clearly and accurately plotted . A very useful and fun addition to our appreciation and knowledge ,almost a dream a decade ago .Great stuff .

heavenshenge said...

I had a look at this too. It didn't seem to do much. I'm so used to zooping around Stonehenge in 3-D model-space that perhaps I was expecting too much.

Jon

BRIAN JOHN said...

Robert -- I agree that we need caution when we look at these "virtual reality"images. Garbage in, garbage out. there is of course a lot of interpretation dressed up (sort of) as fact......

As for those periglacial stripes, I too am intrigued by them. I have done a few posts before, in which I express my doubts...

Tony H said...

Point of information: Dr Nick Snashall, quoted as being National Trust Archaeologist at Stonehenge for National Trust, formerly held the same position at Avebury. She seems to specialise in Mesolithic and Neolithic flints in the landscape. She may well be still linked to Avebury, as the 2 World Heritage Sites are, effectively, a single entity.

Geo Cur said...

Tony , it looks like trench T44 may be the site that you had mentioned a wee while ago .Described as " vast amount of worked stones, with the majority of them being sarsen, flakes of different types of bluestone, and several pieces of spotted dolerite were recorded."

Anonymous said...

So what does explain those pesty periglacial stripes along a 20m by 1000m strip on the Avenue? Moats maybe?

BRIAN JOHN said...

That, I fear, would be right at the bottom of my list of possibilities. Why would you have a row of parallel moats? And whatever Robert may say, I have never seen any evidence that there was lots of water sloshing around anyway. The stripes MIGHT be periglacial, but I have not yet seen a proper comprehensive description of them, let alone a careful geomorphological analysis. If anybody knows about such a study, I will be pleased to hear of it.

Anonymous said...

What other possible explanations can there be for these? If there were no “water sloshing around” did men than made these stripes? For what purpose?

The Stonehenge Enigma said...

Anon

Cart Tracks in Germany and Bridle rods in Scandinavia used at the same time of Stonehenge's construction (Phase III) suggest it was what Hawley originally suggest when he first discovered them - a road with ruts.

So that's how they moved the stone - not quite rocket science, was it!

RJL

BRIAN JOHN said...

Robert

The confidence with which you make your pronouncements is thoroughly entertaining! It would just be nice if you had some EVIDENCE.....

The Stonehenge Enigma said...

Brian

Our history and influences are not contained in this small island as archaeologists and historian would have you believe.

We are happy to accept technology found in Scotland or Ireland would be shared by us in England - but not France, Germany, Spain or Scandinavia - even though in some incidences the distance is smaller.

The same little Britain attitude is shared by our politicians who would isolate us in obscurity in defence of our pompous island nation attitude.

RJL

Geo Cur said...

RJL , who are these archaeologists who suggest that our "history and influences are contained in this small island "?

BRIAN JOHN said...

Agree, Geo -- I'm not sure who these people are who deny any links between UK megalithic structures (and techniques) and those on the continent. Surely there have always been attempts to identify cultural links between Southern Britain and Brittany, for example, or between E England and Germany?

The Stonehenge Enigma said...

Geo

The entire archaeological dating system is constructed not around dates but elements of discovery - Bronze age, Iron Age etc. without regard to real dates.

British Bronze age is different to Germany Bronze age, which is different to Spanish Bronze age - why? Because they seen these as separate groups - its outdated and historically repressive.

To show the ridiculous nature of archaeological dating system we see in Brian's recent blog was about Bronze Age boats dated by the Spanish Bronze found nearby.

The FACTS are that at the time of Phase III at Stonehenge, Carts were in Germany and Animal teams in Scandinavia - So why has no 'liberal' archaeologist put them together as a solution to the Stone transport problem?

Is it because you need a road to use them on? So we are looking for a long thin straight trackway about 20m wide and a kilometre long.... can't think of one at the moment..can you?

RJL

Geo Cur said...

RJL , you have avoided the question about naming the archaeologists who suggest that our "history and influences are contained in this small island "?.

The B.A. boats were not dated from the Spanish sword . The site has been under excavation for some years and dates are derived from a variety of sources e.g. RC from grains from pots and dendrochronology dates from timbers posts and coring .
The terms used in Thomsen’s three age system and it’s sub divisions have their problems but relate to the development of a particular technology which differs from area to area thus the Neolithic began much earlier in the Middle East than it did in western Europe . Evidence for carts pre date phase 1 of Stonehenge ,in eastern Europe , there is no evidence that the Stonehenge Avenue saw the use of prehistoric carts .

Tony H said...

The Avenue at Stonehenge is not "a long thin straight trackway....about a kilometre long. The 'Stonehenge elbow' occurs less than 400 metres from Stonehenge. There is a curve in the route down to the River Avon.

Sorry to bore you with a GENUINE FACT, Robert. Your world view tends to be rather too distant.

The Stonehenge Enigma said...

Geo

Sorry to gave such a cryptic answer to your question - ALL published academic archaeologists have this 'Little Britain' mentality - as reflected by the accepted use of a outdated fundamentally flawed dating system, which does not take into account trading that has taken place since Mesolithic times and therefore irrelevant.

You play the same 'slight of hand' academic trick as most classic archaeologists with "dendrochronology dates from timbers posts" - why not dendrochronology date the boats?? - They stated what good condition they were in!

If they cannot, then they should not claim them as Bronze age - its deception.

And if, a straight road with groves on the floor and 20 tonne stones at one end is not sufficient evidence to prove the possibly of wheeled transportation - I can only suggest that you would be completely out of your depth, if you took up particle physics with it's 11 parallel universes - as there is far less empirical evidence of that possibility than the Stonehenge cart tracks.

RJL

Geo Cur said...

RJL , I didn’t see the answer as cryptic , just evasive , but if you really mean all (why capitals did you think we wouldn’t see it ?) in relation to contact within what is now the British Isles and Ireland and Europe since the Mesolithic –Neolithic transition you have clearly not read the literature .If you mean prior to that the evidence is slight but the consensus is that it was likely .
Dendrochronology , as was mentioned , was not the only means used to date the site . The boats may have been or will be dated using that method ,I don’t know ,do you ?

Whatever the (periglacial ?) stripes turn out to be they are not evidence of wheeled transport . The San Gwann “cart ruts “ in Malta are surrounded by a modern town , is that evidence of the route of the building material ?

I imagine you meant the 11 dimensions of M Theory rather than “11 parallel universes “ ,(the multiverse or “many worlds “ far exceeds 11 )as the name suggests it is only a theory with no empirical evidence and none expected in our lifetimes .

The Stonehenge Enigma said...

Geo

Wiki: " In these contexts, parallel universes are also called "alternative universes", "quantum universes", "interpenetrating dimensions", "parallel dimensions", "parallel worlds", "alternative realities", "alternative timelines", and "dimensional planes," among others."

RJL

Geo Cur said...

RJL ,odd that you should specify 11 universes when that is the precise number of dimensions ,certainly not not universes , in M theory and as far as universes go the potential ,according to the many worlds interpretation far exceeds 11 . A dimension in physics or maths something quite different from a universe .

The Stonehenge Enigma said...

Geo

I think you and your archaeological colleagues are in a different (maybe even parallel)dimension/universe.

RJL

Geo Cur said...

RJL ,you omitted ,as you are wont to do with evidence , whether I and my archaeological colleagues ( who might they be be ? ) are in a different universe from each other or from you or both .
According to the many worlds theory there will be a universe where your ideas will make sense , but clearly not this one .