After MPP's lecture the other evening, and the man himself had gone off to take a shower, a number of us had an interesting discussion on the possibility that the quarrymen at Rhosyfelin (let's assume for a moment that they were quarrymen, rather than hunters using a traditional camp site) were not interested in orthostats or standing stones at all, but were simply using the site to obtain shards or cutting implements with very sharp edges and with a rather attractive colour? A number of us were quite taken with this idea, and with the idea that travelling traders might well have been popular on Salisbury Plain if they turned up with bags full of such items.
"Flint tools are so boring, darling! Fred gave me one of those GORGEOUS blue cutters from Wales for my birthday, and when I skinned that ox at our last barbecue it worked a treat......... But then it got blunt and I had to throw it away. But he's promised to get me another one next time Dafydd Rhosyfelin comes round this way."
Too radical? Too crazy? A reminder of this from one of my earlier posts. Mike Pitts says: "It is notable that all the samples matched in this study to Craig Rhos-y-felin come from debitage and not from megaliths (although Ixer and Bevins (201111a and b) have suggested that buried megalith SH32e may also come from Craig Rhos-y-felin). One of the distinctive features of the rhyolitic rocks is that they are flinty – they have a good conchoidal fracture. That makes them relatively easy to break up, if they are standing as monoliths at Stonehenge. But it also makes them suitable for making portable artefacts. There are flaked bluestone ‘tools’ from Stonehenge (including some from the stone floor). Which of these are made from debris created when stones were dressed on site? Which are made from broken up megaliths? And which were made in Wales and brought to Stonehenge by people visiting, perhaps on a pilgrimage of some kind? Clearly the distinction has important implications for how we understand Stonehenge." As I suggested earlier, another question is this: "Which were made either in Wales or at Stonehenge from smaller stones that were deemed to be too small for use as standing stones?"
If we can just get rid of this obsession with orthostats and magaliths, we might get some serious progress in this debate, and find some common ground.......