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Monday, 29 July 2013

Stripes at West Kennet Avenue?

Many thanks to Pete Glastonbury and Tim Daw for the following pics:


Both of our colleagues have mentioned the discovery of "periglacial stripes" at West Kennet.  Not sure that I can see anything obvious in these photos which would lead me to say that these features are reminiscent of the strange stripes in the Stonehenge Avenue.  Maybe they are just very subtle here? 

From Pete Glastonbury:  On the West Kennet Avenue dig today the Between the Monuments project uncovered periglacial stripes.  The dig is being run by Dr Mark Gillings and Dr Josh Pollard.
The dig started with a lightning storm, which always bodes well in archaeology, and today they uncovered the edge of Mr Keillers trench last dug 79 years ago!


Would Pete and Tim care to convince us that there are stripes there?  We'll leave to one side for the moment the idea that they may be "periglacial" -- that term seems to be thrown about all the time, without the archaeologists having any clear idea what it actually means or what the processes of formation are supposed to have been.

20 comments:

Anonymous said...

this is what Dr Mark Gillings told me today while showing me the trenches.
I will go back in a few days to see how these stripes look then.
PeteG

BRIAN JOHN said...

Thanks Pete -- I would be rather interested to know why he uses the word "periglacial"........

Anonymous said...

I think it's the Archaeological buzz word of the moment.
I'll ask Mark when I next see him,
PeteG

Anonymous said...

These features can be seen on Google Earth (including a possible road!) going W - E.

The features seem to disappear at the end of field boundaries.

Suggest plough features.

TonyH said...

Mark Gillings and Josh Pollard are on board for the continuing excavation, headed by MPP, at Clatford near Marlborough, as the English part of the Stones of Stonehenge Project, August 10th - 24th(the Welsh part being later on at Rhosyfelin in September).

Go to:-

www.ucl.ac.uk/archaeology/administration/common/fieldwork/projects/

where they will continue to attempt to demonstrate, amongst other things, the existence of a Neolithic road crossing the river Kennet and heading in the direction of.........Stonehenge.

Mark Gillings is a colleague of Rob Ixer at the University of Leicester. Both Pollard & Gillings are veterans of Avebury area excavations, notably the finding of the western Avenue in the 1990's.

Anonymous said...

These features could, of course, be the eagerly - awaited (by Vince of Brum, amongst others), of an Alien Landing Strip. Whoever they were, they used Peterborough ware pottery.

Titter ye not!

F HOWERD

Anonymous said...

Shurely these stripes are ley lines.

Myris of Alexandria said...

Ah word spreads slowly via our Imperial courier service.
Dr Ixer is even more mired with disreputable colleagues as he is an Hon senior research associate at the Institute of Archaeology UCL, so is directly associated with MPP.
His status at Leicester University has not changed nor his gratitude to that establishment.
Dr Gillings I do not think he knows or has met.
Of more universally interesting news
I hear that debitage has been recognised from another Stonehenge
Orthostat making three orthostat parents now.

BRIAN JOHN said...

Ah -- I wondered what the UCL link was. A man has to accept an honest crust whenever it is offered......

It will be good to hear more about orthostats and debitage -- after all, if the orthostats have been bashed about a bit, one would indeed expect lots of bits and pieces from them to be lying around in the debitage. The only argument that might be affected here is the one that says that the orthostats were dressed far away, in their places of origin, before being brought to the Stonehenge site.

Myris of Alexandria said...

Sadly with hon appointments there is no money, so no crusts, just the honour and commitments.
It is hoped that an initial paper on just all of this stony orphan and parent work will be published in Dec.
I have heard it said by the cognoscenti that the debitage may have a mixed origin both natural and anthropogenic. Wise words
M

Anonymous said...

back at the dig today and the trench has been cleaned ready for photographs.
I spoke with DR Ros Cleal who told me that their geologist has said these are the best periglacial stripes he has seen apart from those as Stonehenge.
PeteG
http://www.peteglastonbury.plus.com/WKAday10.jpg

BRIAN JOHN said...

What do geologists know about periglacial stripes? What are the processes supposed to have been? Rather too much loose thinking going on here, methinks......

Anonymous said...

what else could they be Brian?
PeteG

BRIAN JOHN said...

The two most obvious alternatives are (1) that they are solutional rills on the chalk surface and beneath the regolith. and (2) that they are the outcropping strike planes of chalk beds that are rich in flints -- as we see very often in the S Coast chalk cliffs. I have done quite a few posts on this debate -- just put "periglaciqal stripes" into the blog search box.

TonyH said...

These periglacial stripes may have been something to do with the Marmalade Millionare/ Archaeologist, Alexander Keiller of Dundee. Perhaps they were some kind of grandiose folly-like art statement he sought to literally run through the entireity of "his" Avebury landscape in the 1930's, aiming to remind future generations of archaeologists that Chunky Scottish Keiller Marmalade had impacted upon a future World Heritage Site in Northern Wiltshire. Just an idea.

TonyH said...

Myris, @ 08.20 hours, 01/08/13

Leicester's Dr Mark Gillings, however, spoke well of Dr R Ixer's work for the Stonehenge Riverside Project when I met him 12 months ago, even if the two have in fact not met, as you suggest. He will be back still hunting for a Neolithic road allegedly used for the movement of Avebury area sarsen megaliths very soon, with Josh & MPP.

Constantinos Ragazas said...

Very interesting, Brian! Can't tell from the photos if these stripes are contained within an “avenue” or not. Also, how are these stripes oriented and positioned relative to the WKLB? And do these “stripes” follow the gradient down slope?

If I were to venture a guess, and in the absence of an “avenue”, I would expect these “stripes” to be running down slope and naturally disappear at the bottom.

Kostas

Anonymous said...

Myris,

Much appreciated all you tell us here. But can you now tell us how those troublesome foliated rhyolite fragments in the Stonehenge debitage get to Stonehenge? Anything else is not as telling as this.

Kostas

Myris of Alexandria said...

Dear Kostas
So many questions (but super to see your return,like Penelope,my thimbles were showing sign of extreme wear).
The white spots are probably metamorphic alternation spots after primary feldspar. Now they're mixtures of albite,epidote group minerals,muscovite/white mica,chlorite and relict primary feldspar plus the odd chrome-rich spinel.
How did the rhyolites reach Stonehenge?
I can only return to Robert Frost
"I would say elves to him
But it is not elves exactly and
I would rather
He said it for himself"
From memory, so may not be word
perfect.
Were I as allknowing as Sublime
Apollo I would not spoil all this fun and tell. Where would we all go,
What would we do -await the barbarians- sorry could not resist-
Must rush to the gates in my finery.
M

Constantinos Ragazas said...

Myris,
… so it was “elves” that brought the fragments to Stonehenge! As Brian and I have been arguing all alone. Though differently. As to the barbarians, they will not seize writing books and givings us cause to call.
Kostas