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Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Chips off the old block: the Stonehenge debitage dilemma




It's all happening out there, folks.  Thanks to Rob Ixer for this.  Another paper about to be published........ adding yet more to the debate on multiple sources for the orthostats and debris found in the Stonehenge area.  Again we look forward to seeing the full paper.......

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CHIPS OFF THE OLD BLOCK: THE STONEHENGE DEBITAGE DILEMMA

Rob Ixer and Richard Bevins

In a change in emphasis away from determining the ultimate geographical origin of the Stonehenge bluestones (but complementing this work) this paper discusses the relative position of the standing stones and their debris within Stonehenge and it immediate environs.

This is the first paper to discuss in any detail the loose lithic bluestone material ‘debitage’ and further to try to relate the distribution of this abundant material to the standing/ lying and buried orthostats.

Debris from the Altar Stone and orthostats Stonehenge 48 and 38 have been recognised and found to be numerically very rare but widely distributed throughout the Stonehenge Landscape and not just close to their parent stone. However, as most of the occurrences are in disturbed archaeological contexts it is not possible to say when they were separated.

The very common and very widely distributed ‘ rhyolite with fabric’ debitage, identified by Ixer and Bevins as coming from Craig Rhosyfelin, is not associated with any above-ground orthostat but may be from buried orthostat SH32d or SH32e.

It is suggested that relating spotted dolerite to a named orthostat may be difficult but the forthcoming paper by Bevins et al may indicate that this might become easier.

It may be that post medieval collecting is responsible for the distribution of the rare named orthostat debris. But this may not be so for the Craig Rhosyfelin debris.

A suggested order for the sampling of the buried orthostats is given and a plea is made for this to happen.

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