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....
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Thursday, 25 October 2012

More missing Stonehenge stones

 Some of the stones from the collection.  The row of stones to the left of the number 5 are labelled as "diabase" -- but they all look different.  It looks to me as if there are at least 10 different rock types represented here........ not counting the flint flakes in the tin.  Some of the bits to the right of the tin may be the rhyolites referred to in the notes.

Many thanks to Pete Glastonbury for bringing our attention to yet another batch of material from Stonehenge that has gone missing.  Apparently it was sold off on Ebay about 6 years ago -- and goodness knows where it is now.......

Not all of the material in the collection came from Stonehenge, but there are written notes which describe the most interesting finds.  Extracts:

The gentleman in question (an archaeologist) assisted Col Hawley for a short time in 1921 with excavations around the inner and outer circles of Stonehange, a project which took Hawley a number of years
As a thankyou for his assistance Col Hawley gave this gentleman a number of specimens of items he had uncovered

The collection, which weighs around 8 kilos comes with a letter / statement handwritten by the previous owner which reads as follows:-

Stonehenge September 1921 Brockham End Nr Bath Specimens given to me today 13th September 1921 at Stonehenge by Col Hawley who is excavating the circular foss outside the rampart. While working with him this afternoon John found a very large vertebrae and found a large reindeer antler.

A. Fragments of Rhyolite B. Fragments of Diabase C. Fragments of sarsen stone ( hard) D. Fragments f shaley slate E. Fragments of sarsen stone (soft) F. Flint flakes from the foss

C&E and also quartzite pounding stones are relics of a xxxxxx bed of bagshot sand and are a land formation sometimes showing flaws from roots of palm trees E is the same as C with the absence of xxxxx xxxxx

The flint flakes are abundant and are surely the remnants knocked off in making flint tools

The sarsen stone may have been local when Stonehenge was built though not now found in the immediate ring. They form the largest standing stone and lintel and were also used for packing the bases of the standing stones underground

Rhyolite and diabase are two of the five kinds of stone used in the inner ring and inner horsehoe of smaller standing stones. All of these have been brought a long distance and the diabase has recently been identified as coming from Pembrokeshire

Shale slate is also a xxxx stone having less durable characters possibly they were originally standing stones.

Group of stones and pieces of stone Some labelled Stonehenge 1921 with letters that correspond to description on statement above.

Two lumps of rock with rounded edges -- labelled as "soft sarsen"

This is an intriguing group of fragments, which seems to include some pottery.  But some of the pieces look rather like the shales and mudstones which I find all over the place in North Pembrokeshire.......

Another interesting batch.  Again, some pottery pieces, but including some bits of shale and mudstone.  (The notes refer to "shaley slate" -- but these don't look like metamorphics......


Tony Hinchliffe said...

I wonder where Pete got the written notes from. Also, who took the the photographs? Was that you, Pete? We know what an ardent photographer you are of all things Stonehenge, Avebury, and elsewhere in Prehistoric Wiltshire.

Anonymous said...

Whoever bought it will treasure it so one just hopes that when their time comes the samples don't end up as junk in a skip. As Pete will confirm, I have chased material that has ended up in boot sales spread across Wiltshire in a similar situation. A lesson for us all - that is why I donate material as soon as I can to the Wiltshire Heritage Museum, rather than it gather dust in my place. Think on everyone!

Anonymous said...

I wrote to the ebay seller. The photos are his and appeared on ebay. By the time I found the sale there was only a day left.

chris johnson said...

@Pete. Did you buy it?

Must be difficult to be sure of the provenance.

I had a very nice arrowhead in my collection which my mother-in-law threw away while tidying up. Still feel guilty about not having donated it to a museum.

Anonymous said...

I didn't buy it. It went for £285

BRIAN JOHN said...

Well well -- let's hope that it was an anonymous buyer bidding on behalf of EH.......

Myris of Alexandria said...

I suspect that all the pottery is pottery and of mixed ages including some Roman: the 'black shales' may be black burnished ware. No idea what the limonitic material is, however. However,
I have been taking a look by cosmic chance at loose non-bluestone lithics from a number of sites in and around SH.Unstratified material.
One thing that is almost universally missing is shale/slate from Wales or elsewhere.
Metamorphics (ignoring the fact that all the Welsh material has been metamorphosed)are also almost totally absent.
I doubt your 10 different rocks.
One thing I have learned is that macroscopical id. of this material is for mugs and doubly so for a photographic id. I count myself amongst the fools that have done it and been quite, quite wrong.
The rubbish stones have something to tell us but what? and they are low down in the lithic queue.
Sent to me in a Pythian vision from Dr I and 'the great the sublime Apollo'.
How blessed am I to be favoured by both.

BRIAN JOHN said...

We will probably never know the truth -- the bloke who paid £285 has probably disappeared without trace, taking the loot with him. So all is speculation. Rubbish stones? Now that's a value judgment -- maybe they are actually the most important stones of all?

TonyH said...

Sting and Trudie, are you the anonymous buyers of this collection of Stonehenge vicinity material? Having recently donned my Sherlock Holmes cape and filled my pipe, I did some sleuthing and was struck to discover this coincidence, readers: Sting purchased Lake House, Wilsford-cum-Lake (adjacent to the Avon and fairly near the Avenue and so-called Bluestonehenge) around 1991. Regular readers will know that Lake House had outside it the Meteorite said to have been found in a barrow not far away. Previous owners of Lake House have had archaeological connections. Sting is rather keen on things prehistoric, and permitted an Iron Age/ Bronze Age dig within his own estate in the '90's. And what was that song "Fields Of Gold" really about??

Anonymous said...


Are you including the foliated rhyolite fragments among the rubbish stones found at SH? If so, interesting these are found so “low down in the lithic queue”.


m said...

Ah I am channelling!
Kostas Clarification
The rubbish stones -these are the bits of cement, Midlands dolerite road stone, New Age amethyst and rock crystal,plus the rubbish that inspired amateurs send through the post with insufficient postage and even less politesse. But amongst these second XI lithics (the term is really restricted to unstratified material mainly from the spoil of earlier excavations, anything from the plogh soil and anything sent through the post by senile grannies) are sub-sets of odd material that turn up too regularly to be initally dismissed.
By definition rhyolites will not be rubbish stones.
I hope the mists now are clearing-they are for me. We have a connection in the cosmic aether Kostas perhaps I am an ancestor of yours?

Anonymous said...


No doubt! In Truth we are all One!


BRIAN JOHN said...

You are very hard on grannies, Myris. They are only trying to help, as grannies (and grandads) tend to do........

Myris of Alexandria said...

Help Schmelp!

I tell it like it is.
Throughout history people:-

General Philip Sheridan 'The only good grannies I ever saw were dead'

'Will no man rid me of this meddlesome granny'. H. II Rex.

'How weary' stale' flat and unprofitable seem to me all the grannies of this world' Danish Prince

I could go on and no doubt shall. Let them declare a Fatwa but the truth must be told.

The path to Hell is paved with old ladies with poised crochet needles, poor eyesight and an inability to pay the correct postage. A pox on them.

Was the woman that overpainted the Christ painting recently not a granny trying to help?

Here in Egypt we know what to do with grannies we stuff them (a Wayne Rooney joke can be inserted here) and wrap them in bandages.


BRIAN JOHN said...

Yoy are on dangerous ground here, Myris. Beware the wrath of Hell's Grannies..........

The Rim Greaper said...

It is a sad fact that were it not for a pair of grannies doing unmentionable things with a pair of grandfathers, (or simply with stray men, as the case may be), then the world as we know it, wouldn't have a Myris.
Perhaps that wouldn't be such a bad thing after all.

Myris of Alexandria said...

Dear Rim Groper
Who is to know.