THE BOOK
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....
To order, click
HERE

Thursday, 26 January 2012

That multi-million project...... whatever happened?



I recall seeing (on one of the multitude of Stonehenge videos on YouTube) some interesting pictures of Mike Pitts with a tape-measure, earnestly measuring up Stonehenge and saying this was in preparation for some great project which would involve a full-scale reconstruction of the jolly old ruin, which would allow all sorts of people to study it properly, free (presumably) of all those nasty constraints placed on research by English Heritage.   Was it a National Geographic video?  Can't remember now......

 Anyway, I was reminded of this when I came across this on the Ferriby Boats site:

"With projects such as a planned multi-million reconstruction of Stonehenge seeking to use full-scale replicas of the boats used to transport the bluestones from Wales, the experiment needs to continue." said John Davis, the Trustee who, with the support of local shipping businesses, helped bring the replica to the Humber. "The assessments made after initial trials on The Solent need developing into a more detailed evaluation of the boats' handling and load carrying abilities."

http://www.ferribyboats.co.uk/

http://www.archaeology.co.uk/the-timeline-of-britain/the-dover-bronze-age-boat.htm

So not only did we have plans (in 2009?) for the great reconstruction job,  but also a reproduction of the great stone-collecting voyages (assumed to have involved all those nice Ferriby-type boats) back in the Neolithic.

Does anybody know more about this project, and what happened to it?

27 comments:

Anonymous said...

What happened indeed....

and on other pointless questions, what happened to kajagoogoo?

Tim Rice

Anonymous said...

And where does your fist go when you open your hand = the same place as your lap goes when you stand up.

BRIAN JOHN said...

Well, this is all very mystical -- but not very helpful.

Anonymous said...

that was Foamhenge in 2005
I put a copy of the film up here
http://www.stonehenge-avebury.net/Media/StonehengeLive.html

I'm in there somewhere helping to Row a stone :)
PeteG

Anonymous said...

the Million pound reconstruction was
abandonded. Colin Shearing was spearheading this project after he bought a bluestone quarry.
I believe he now sells bluestone trinkets.
PeteG

chris johnson said...

I'll try and help you out.

I read somewhere that someone has funded a project in Cornwall to build a planked boat. We'll see what happens.

As I understand it the main evidence for planked boats post-dates stonehenge by a few hundred years - Ferriby. Nevertheless it might not be surprising should evidence be found that such boats are dated earlier. It seems there is evidence for plank making in earlier times.

For now I buy into your thesis that, even had such a boat existed, it would have been very risky to steer it around West Wales and up the estuary laden with one or more heavy stones considered to be precious cargo. Even more absurd is the notion that it went around Cornwall - has nobody been to Cornwall?

I can just about see why someone might want to navigate the English Channel in 1200 BC (Dover boat) with a precious cargo such as bronze, but I don't see the the economic imperative in the period between the closing of the land route in, say, 5000 BC and 3000 BC squarely in the neolithic. I could even imagine crossing the Irish Sea - just about - but taking on the tidal currents in the Severn estuary and the swirling vortex currents around Pembrokeshire is extremely visionary

Hopefully someone will give links or better opinions. Robert?

Geo Cur said...

Anyone know the site of the quarry ,source of the trinkets , may be ?

Geo Cur said...

Or alternatively ,the source of a group of rocks acquired /bought in the area .

BRIAN JOHN said...

Geo -- just type in "bluestone jewellery" and all will be revealed..... I suspect that Colin picks up the odd spotted dolerite boulder here and there (many local farmers have them in their hedges and fields) and simply chops them up into very small pieces.

BRIAN JOHN said...

Ah yes -- Foamhenge. Thanks for the link, Pete. Looks like 2 hours of viewing there..... not now, maybe later....

Geo Cur said...

Brian , yes , i had looked at the site a while ago ,but no info as to actual source and I seem to remember the mention of a "licence " .
Another couple of examples of bluestones being chosen this time , supposedly by dowsing ,are two replicas of Gors Fawr ,http://ibizastones.com/index.htm
and another
http://ibizastones.com/index.htm
It seems more likely that they were bought from a farmer who had some appropriate sized rocks in his field clearance .Of course at least half of the stones at Gors Fawr are not bluestones which makes the whole thing even more delicious .

chris johnson said...

Geo,
on a serious note - do you have any reference for the Gors Fawr stones. I cannot find anything..

I enjoyed the ibiza link btw

Alex Gee said...

Perhaps the planned millions were diverted to these people, who appear to have a similar mindset

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Creation_Museum

Geo Cur said...

Chris ,Burl suggests that there is only one bluestone in the circle Coflein differs ,apparently the replicas are all bluestone. The Surrey one is also out by quite a few degrees , info on the Ibiza configuration is zero . http://www.coflein.gov.uk/en/site/300422/details/GORS+FAWR+STONE+CIRCLE/

BRIAN JOHN said...

There's a lot on Gors Fawr on the various megalithic web sites. A very uninspiring little circle, but the location is stunning! As I recall, the stones are dolerite, spotted dolerite, rhyolite and other undetermined rock types -- all assumed to be locally sourced erratics.

Geo Cur said...

Brian , If Gors Fawr is a very uninspiring stone circle then I wonder what you might consider interesting -inspiring and very inspiring .If the landscape setting is stunning (Gors Fawr means great marshland /waste ) when it is not dissimilar to countless similar stone circle settings throughout Britain and not as impressive scenically than most , then what superlatives apply to Balmuick http://www.themodernantiquarian.com/site/3958/balmuick.html,

Castlerigg http://www.themodernantiquarian.com/site/70/castlerigg.html
Greenland
http://www.themodernantiquarian.com/site/172/falls_of_acharn_stone_circle.html
Pobuill fhinn http://www.themodernantiquarian.com/site/203/pobuill_fhinn.html

Loch Buie , http://www.cnoc-mor.co.uk/images/lochbuie-122.jpg
And so many others ?

Robert John Langdon said...

Chris

http://www.hwtma.org.uk/investigations-in-2010

A 8000 year old planked boat.

As Ireland, Isle of Man, Scilly, Wight, Channel, Orkney, Iceland, Shetland etc all show signs of early Mesolithic Cultures - the only way there was a boat (with sails Brian!!)even the last series with Neil Oliver had a reconstruction of a 'leather boat' with reed sail, as they explained the migration to Ireland.

RJL

chris johnson said...

Nice links Geo.
Gors Fawr is mentioned on several sites but there is little hard information that I have been able to find - I don't think there has ever been a dig and I never saw an estimate how big the stones actually are should the cover of bog and peat be removed. It might be more impressive than Brian thinks. It remains my favorite circle, perhaps because it was my first and perhaps because it still seems to "work" - although such an unscientific remark does not belong on these pages.

My personal preference is for the sites that are simple and embedded in their landscape: so Stoney Littleton is more impressive to me than Newgrange. I am always disappointed Brian has his attitude to Gors Fawr because it is almost on his doorstep and has many unanswered questions. I am grateful that he tells me what the stones are; there is a wide spread of opinion on other sites and I trust his judgment to know a dolerite from a rhyolite.

For those who don't know, Gors Fawr is a short down-hill stroll from Carn Menyn. So it is a real puzzle why the Gors Fawr stones are not all the same type - perhaps this is proof positive that our ancestors picked what was lying about rather than select a particular type of stone. Somehow I don't think so - stone age people would have been very aware of the difference between stones. Personally I would like to know a lot more about Gors Fawr, even though I am glad so many people have thought it sufficiently unimpressive to leave alone.

BRIAN JOHN said...

Well, this is all very subjective. the Gors Fawr stones are only about 2 ft high -- I don't believe they were once more impressive, since they are not surrounded by thick peat, but by normal grassy turf. There are other standing stones nearby, which are much taller. Personally, I find Pentre Ifan and Carreg Samson impressive, but not Gors Fawr or Bedd Arthur.

What is it that makes a site "sacred" or even "impressive"? Sheep, ponies and local farmers don't find Carningli impressive, sacred or magical in any way, but I do. It's all in the mind...

chris johnson said...

The stonehenge folk were definitely of the opinion that "Big is Better", at least in the final phase.

I am not that impressed by Pentre Ifan - apparently there are Indonesian villagers building such things today although they sometimes take a shortcut and move a capstone by truck instead of pulling on ropes from the quarry.

A stone circle with outliers such as the "Dreaming Stone" at Gors Fawr seems to me to achieve a more complex conceptual level - even when some of the stones seem to be only "two feet tall".

Not sure either about your discounting the nature of sedimentation at Gors Fawr. There is clearly a marsh. There are no natural springs that I have seen (sorry, holy wells), so I assume the wet nature of the place is due to water and sediments running off the Prescelly hills near Carn Menyn?

BRIAN JOHN said...

Well, Chris, there are people all over the world building Stonehenges too anything Mike Pitts and ITV can do they can do too........

I don't think that there is much peat around the stones at Gors Fawr, although the terrain is certainly rather wet....... so I don't think these are big tall stones with only their tips showing.

chris johnson said...

Brian,
thanks for your opinion which I value highly.

When you are right that they deliberately selected smaller stones of mixed provenance for the Gors Fawr circle then I am even more puzzled. There are many bigger stones close by, and a suitable blue dolerite crag conveniently located.

So when they did NOT want to make something big and did not want to make something blue, what on earth were they trying to do?

BRIAN JOHN said...

There are certainly plenty of big dolerite and rhyolite erratics lying around. Some of them were put up as standing stones. It's an interesting question -- why did they choose to use such little stones? Maybe it was a playcircle, built by children? (Well, why not? If modern kids build dens and playhouses and mazes out of pebbles, what did the children of our Neolithic ancestors do?)

chris johnson said...

Now now! Next you will be suggesting Gors Fawr was built by the Tylwyth Teg (little people).

Geo Cur said...

Grading of stones ,often towards the SW , is a feature found at some monuments,I recently mentioned RSC 's but it is also found in Clava cairns and even the short kerb stones of cairns .Small as the stones are at Gors Fawr they are clearly shortest at the north . GF is often compared to Fernworthy on Dartmoor Both have similar diameters (22.3 m & 19.8 m) and are close to circular ,Fernworthy is more obviously graded towards the south ,not as Burl suggests in "Rings of Stone "the stones rise to the north "

BRIAN JOHN said...

Tylwyth teg? Well, that had occurred to me, but in this august company I thought I'd better not mention it..... mind you, we have already discussed fairies a lot on this blog. Use the search box.

Anonymous said...

Well, Arthur Conan Doyle believed in fairies for a while (but did he also smoke opium like his hero, Sherlock? And are these two purported facts related in some way?).

George Alagiah