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Tuesday, 23 October 2012

The Stonehenge Mound

I have been looking again at the excellent Field and Pearson report from 2012: Stonehenge, Amesbury, Wilts Archaeological Survey Report (EH Res Dept Report 109-2010.)  Easily downloadable from the web.  The image above is one of more than 400 available from the Wiltshire Heritage Museum:  http://bitly.com/QErQwC.  The EH Report is available here:  http://research.english-heritage.org.uk/report/?14951

I was struck yet again by how measured and responsible the whole study is, compared to some of the wilder things that have appeared in print over the past few years.  Again, I was reminded that some people in quite responsible positions within EH incline towards the view that the sarsens (and maybe the bluestones too) were all collected up from within a limited area around Stonehenge, and that the stone monument was probably never completed (as the believers in the "immaculate" Stonehenge would have us believe).............  It's good to know that there are some archaeologists around with whom I share common ground.

What took my eye on my latest reading was the section on the Stonehenge Mound -- seen quite clearly on the 1873 painting above, and on the detailed contour map.  Note that the mound is very subtle -- the contour interval is just 25 cm -- but Field and Pearson suggest that it might have been more prominent at one time.  They discuss at some length the proposition that the mound is man-made from debris thrown up during the various construction phases -- but there is also the possibility that it is a natural feature, now less prominent than it might have been when the site was first selected for assorted building projects by the inhabitants of Salisbury Plain.

I'd like more evidence.  Do we know what the mound is made of?  Do we know how deep the sediments are from surface down to chalk bedrock?  And -- whisper this very quietly -- could it even be a last remnant of a mound of glacial sediment?  A moraine, in short........







11 comments:

Timothy Daw said...

David Field developed the idea into a three mound/stone theory because the central mound is in line with North and South Barrows. More at http://www.sarsen.org/2012/01/three-original-standing-stones-of.html

Anonymous said...

Or the mound only exists as there was a path from the centre of the monument to the southern exit of the ditch, before the Sarsen's arrived.

Shush...

Bjork

Anonymous said...

Brian,

The 1873 painting of the SH mount is very interesting. I recall also seeing another similar painting from the 1700's I believe showing some sarsens with a very distinct built-up of soil deposits on the inside of each of the sarsens. Know anything about the existence of such early paintings of SH? I can't find it now on the internet.

Kostas

Wiltshire Heritage Museum said...

Please note that the report is copyright of English Heritage and that the image of the 1873 painting is provided courtesy of Wiltshire Heritage Museum. Could you please credit the Museum and provide a link.

We are an independent charity with only a small amount of public funding. We have a deficit of tens of thousands of pounds and need all the profile and visibility we can get to help us become more sustainable. It does not help when we are not credited and we are not given the weblinks that help with our SEO.

Thank you.

Wiltshire Heritage Museum said...

We have 404 prints, drawings and paintings of Stonehenge in our collections, including the painting shown on the blog. See
http://bitly.com/QErQwC
to see catalogue records and some digitised images.

BRIAN JOHN said...

Dear Museum

Sorry about that -- I have provided links before, and am happy to do so again. Will alter the post accordingly.

Anonymous said...

Wiltshire Heritage Museum

Copyright:-

In the United Kingdom and many other Commonwealth countries, a notion of fair dealing was established by the courts or through legislation.

Fair dealing uses are research and study; review and critique; news reportage and the giving of professional advice (i.e. legal advice).

Kavanagh QC


chris johnson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
BRIAN JOHN said...

No point in overreacting here -- WHM suggested a citation and a bit of a puff and I was happy to oblige on both counts!! The fair use tradition in the UK is perfectly sensible -- ie acknowledgement and citation is fine, as long as there is no commercial interest. If I was using a WHM pic to make a postcard or a calendar, to make money, that would be a different matter.

Speaking personally, hundreds of my photos and maps (many of them pinched off this blog) have popped up in all sorts of unexpected places. No point in getting upset about it. I take the view that if somebody is stupid enough to put a picture up onto a web site or blog, it effectively becomes a part of the "creative commons" from that point on. No matter what copyright law may say, the genie is out of the bottle, and it ain't going back in again...

Tony Hinchliffe said...

Wiltshire Heritage Museum may recall that VERY RECENTLY Brian gave a mention to Pete Glastonbury's current photographic exhibition at its Museum. As a member of the WHM'S Society, the Wiltshire Archaeological & Natural History Society, I was pleased to see this free bit of extra publicity given to both The Museum & to Pete Glastonbury, and hope a few more members of the public will be coming through the Museum's doors as a result! Some of us do draw attention to the displays, exhibitions and talks that occur at both of Wiltshire's leading Museums of prehistory, at Devizes & also Salisbury, and quite often an interesting blog debate ensues.

TonyH said...

Do we need to take a close look at the geomorphological formation of the so-called "Hampshire" River Avon near Stonehenge, particularly between Durrington and Amesbury? Check out Mike Parker Pearson's descriptions of river cliffs, etc, etc, in his Magnum Opus (notably where he describes Andrew Chamberlain's canoe trip downstream from Durrington). I haven't looked at the river at all closely there, has anyone else reading this?