Thanks to Robin Heath for these photos -- published in various places, including here:
There is also an article with the following title:
Moving the Stonehenge Bluestones; at last a successful method is demonstrated!
I won't reprint the article, since it's full of inaccuracies. No matter -- the main point is that the Discovery Channel team from the US of A was determined to get their nice little project off the ground, and set up this experiment at Gwbert, near Cardigan. The location was probably chosen in deference to Mike Parker Pearson, who now thinks that the Stonehenge bluestones were taken out to sea from the North Pembrokeshore coast, and not from Milford Haven. (The Discovery Channel producer made contact with me some months ago, but when I tried to explain to her how ice worked, she quickly lost interest. Glaciers are clearly not sexy enough for an American TV audience. A pity -- I was looking forward to a trip to Greenland with a film crew........)
You can see the method here -- a big wooden frame built between HWM and LWM in a tidal estuary, and a system of rolling logs and ropes to lift the stone on its cradle and to move it along on the raised "rails". Then as the tide rises the boat is floated in beneath the stone and its cradle, and when the cradle fits snugly in the bottom of the boat, you release the ropes. Then, with the cradle and stone fitted snugly into the bottom of the boat, the boat floats free and goes zapping off to the mouth of the River Avon, or wherever.......
This is not the first time we have boats, stones, cradles and tides invoked as a means of lifting and shifting bluestones. But this one does have the merit of being quite simple and straightforward.
But now to the problems. First, the Ferriby boat is far too late -- the three Ferriby boats are dated to c 2,000 BC or younger, and they are always thought of as Bronze Age. If the bluestones were moved by human beings from Wales, they must have been moved around 4,500 BC, if MPP is to be believed. that's 2,500 years before the Ferriby boats were built. It's easy to say, ah yes, boats with sewn planking COULD have been built much earlier than the ones at Ferriby -- but I and many others have serious doubts about that that was possible without metal tools. Second, I still have problems with the use of long and strong ropes -- such as those used on the famous Millennium Pull in the year 2000, and the ones used here in this experiment. Did our Neolithic ancestors have the technology to make ropes like this? I have never seen any evidence that they did..........
But what the hell. These guys have had a lot of fun on this experiment, and the TV programme will probably give an hour of innocent escapist fun to TV viewers worldwide when it is shown.