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Thursday, 7 February 2013

Paying for that mighty project

Spotted by one of our eagle-eyed observers.  Just in case anybody wondered how English Heritage plans to finance its wondrous Stonehenge Visitor Centre in these straightened times........

16 comments:

TonyH said...

No, this sounds more like a 19th Century private enterprise solution: I believe someone who lived in a hut at Stonehenge used to hire out hammers, at a price, for the purpose of enabling the new breed of tourists arriving by railway to acquire souveneers of their visit.

TonyH said...

Perhaps English Heritage will expand the search for Preseli bluestones by systematically kicking over and sieving ALL the molehills within a 3 - kilometre radius of Stonehenge. After all, that was what gave MPP & Co. (notably Colin Richards) the idea of looking for a "preparation ground" for all the orthostats across the main road from The Heel Stone. If they make the search radius at least 3 kilometres wide, we might learn something about whether or not glaciation was the means of transportation, too.

Constantinos Ragazas said...

Tony,

I recall previous conversations we had here concerning molehills and a huge pile of rhyolite fragments along the western side of the Avenue near the Heel Stone. Any more info coming forth from MPP and others on that?

I think Brian should do a follow up post on this and seek to answer the question where and how these rhyolite fragments came. And if other such similar piles have been found along the Avenue or at Stonehenge Bottom. Aren't these piles in fact what Miris has been referring to as rhyolite fragments found in the Stonehenge landscape?

Kostas

Myris of Alexandria. said...

I think that a number of thoughts have been conflated.
Pitts in 1980 thought about dressing floors close to the Heelstone and has returned briefly to that in the most recent Ixer and Bevins paper.
There are no huge piles of rhyolite fragments along the western side of the Avenue. There is debitage including some SH48 knock-offs but all these goodies must await detailed description in the lit.
The memoir containing all these data is 'coming along well'

Molehills schmolehills!!
M

BRIAN JOHN said...

I too was intrigued by Kostas's picture of a "huge pile" of rhyolite fragments........ a little poetic licence, maybe....

Constantinos Ragazas said...

Miris,

Your well crafted comments conceal more than they reveal.

“SH48 knock-offs” Is this a proven scientific fact?

And where are the rhyolite orthostats? Or the RC-dates from Rhosyfelin specimens? Has MPP bothered to collect samples from the top of the Crag? Maybe from high crevices? Maybe some fresh water shells whose dates could answer the question if the Crag was underwater at the time?

I am going on memory here re:pile. But I do recall having conversations about this. Maybe a year ago, with Tony and Brian. It was Tony, as I recall, that first mentioned such “pile of rhyolite fragments”. And responding to my questions he recalls this pile being along the western embankment of the Avenue. I will try to locate this in Brian's blog.

As for “poetic license” … Miris has that cornered! I admit however “huge” may be too big a four-letter word!

Kostas

m said...

Are there SH48 knock-offs
Both petrography and geochemistry show that one piece of debitage from the Pitts excavation close to the Heelstone is an 'exact' match.
See Thorpe et al 1990 and Bevins et al 2012.
Petrographically and geochemically other SH48 knock offs have been proven (most of this is in press)
See also Ixer's piece for mining planning -yet another knock off this time from Stone's stones.
So Yes very little doubt.
I leave poetic licence to Thomas the Rhymer
M.

Constantinos Ragazas said...

Myris,

It would be a real surprise if no stone fragments at SH traced to some stones at SH. Since the same process that brought the big stones could also have formed the small stones. The question as always is what was that process. Though 'knock-off' may itself not suggest 'human agency', it often is taken to suggest 'human agency'. What do you mean when you use the term 'knock-offs'?

The mystery here is what explains all the many other stone fragments at SH that do not trace to any standing stones. And why the SH debitage is so uniformly distributed and evenly mixed in the soil. No 'human agency' explains that. Don't you think?

Kostas

TonyH said...

Kostas

Regarding the "stone dressing area" for the sarsen stones, see pages 248 - 50 of MPP's 2012 book, Stonehenge. I really think you ought to get your own copy. You will recall the photo of Brian chuckling over his copy at Christmas 2012. Myris The Rhymer speaks poetically of Molehills Schmolehills......MPP's last book is published (in the UK) by Simon & Shuster.Some might call the book a Block Buster (MPP perhaps? - he seems to think of himself as a big hitter), or is that bluster?).

On page 253 of MPP's latest book. he says:-

In strong contrast to the number of sarsen pieces found (6500), only 40 (forty) bluestone chippings were found by Colin in his 5 x 5- metre trench. There were more bluestone chips in the avenue trench but only just over a hundred.

I think poor Myris must be literally wading through these 6,500 sarsen pieces, plus the 40 Preseli - sourced ones, as we speak.

I stand by my statement that an investigation of the hills created by the humble MOLE within a large radius of Stonehenge (taking in the Larkhill army village, for example) might reveal useful results. Ph.D topic perhaps??

Tony




Constantinos Ragazas said...

Tony,

I have located our past discussion re:pile of bluestone fragments (http://brian-mountainman.blogspot.com/2011/11/stump-66.html). Quoting from your 11 November 2011 22:38 comment,

"Turning to Kostas' query, I believe the bluestone chippings were found by the SRP Team, west of the Avenue near its junction with the Heel Stone, and ESE of the car park. They were originally noticed within mole hills, perhaps as far back as Julian Richards' time with English Heritage. The SRP Team examined a selected area and, as far as I know, did find bluestone chippings as well as sarsen ones."

I agree with your assessment of the humble Stonehenge MOLE.

Kostas

Myris of Alexandria. said...

The molehill material is question carried West Midlands road chippings comprising analcime-bearing olivine basalt/dolerite.
The 6500+ material Dr Ixer waded through was from the D and W excavation April 2008 and that was after removal of most of the sarsens.
All the bluestones from the Avenue have been catalogued and are overly described in the forthcoming memoir.
There are no mountains in the molehills just spring-loaded traps for the petrographically unwary. I cannot see that molehills would be any better than th etest pitting done for MPP et al. The landscape is littered with manuports (I think that is the word- my word of the month).
M
It is worth reading the Pitts 1980 paper on -long and dense but worth it. That is the original thought I think.
M

BRIAN JOHN said...

Have some doubts about molehills myself -- the moles of my acquaintance tend to shovel out the finest soil with very small stones and fragments. If they encounter larger stones that are too difficult to shove (ie the ones we might be interested in) they tend to navigate around them and leave them in situ. So molehills might give you a glimpse of a particular size range of fragments in the soil layer, but leave other size ranges undisturbed.
All this might be irrelevant, of course, if there is a variety of SUPER-MOLES on Salisbury Plain, which have developed supernatural powers as a result of contact over many generations with all those magical stones......

Constantinos Ragazas said...

aaaaah! Myris,

...what would we do without your expert knowledge! And what can we do with it?

Any word from MPP regarding the rc-dates from Rhosyfelin samples? And what sensible 'human agency' explanation is there for the homogeneous and uniformly mixed in dressing debitage? Located the orthostat source yet for all the foliated rhyolite 'knock offs' at Stonehenge? And what STRUCTURAL CONTROLS etched the Avenue stripes diagonally to the down slope?

The mole may mill the finer grain but may keep the larger stones for structural support of its palaces. The hill on the surface may mark the buried magic where bluestones can be found. I think that's what Tony had in mind.

Kostas

TonyH said...

Hmmm, SUPER-MOLES on Salisbury Plain.......need we look any further than Boscombe Down, just down the road from the Great Pile, where the Ministry of Defence has allegedly kept top-secret Spy Planes and where there have been rumours of the production/ use of rather dodgy gases and armaments over past decades?

Any moles coming into contact with such nefarious productions may have mutated into something potentially of great practical value to glaciologists based in west Wales.

And Kostas, The Wind In the Willows (with Mr Mole, etc) was on BBC Radio 4 this afternoon.....what an uncanny coincidence, after your last interpretations of my meaning. Watson, the game is on!

Constantinos Ragazas said...

Tony,

Mr. Mole knows where the stones are. But archies are too busy chasing after Alice in Wonderland.

Kostas

TonyH said...

Alice is a Clinical Anatomist and these 21st Century days she is Professor of Public Engagement in Science at Birmingham University, Kostas. I thought it was Ms Roberts who did the chasing after the archies.

Tony