Mike Parker Pearson is still going on about his "periglacial fissures" at Stonehenge and about the "remarkable conjunction" of those he chooses to select and the alignment of the midwinter solstice sunset and the midsummer solstice sunrise. Like a dog in possession of a juicy bone, he is very reluctant to give up on the idea that these periglacial stripes were ultimately responsible for the location of Stonehenge, even though there are undoubtedly lots of other stripes in the area pointing in other (very inconvenient) directions. It has never been demonstrated that these stripes (now being called "fissures" for reasons that are not entirely clear) are unique in any way, or that they had anything to do with periglacial action. I am still rather convinced that they are solutional rills, maybe influenced by geological factors. It looks as if Profs French and Allen are due to publish on this in due course -- we look forward to seeing their paper when it is published.
Extract from: "Researching Stonehenge: Theories Past and Present"
Mike Parker Pearson
".................what is unmatched is the concentration of solstice sunrise/sunset aligned monuments in the Stonehenge environs, including Durrington Walls’ Avenue and its Northern Circle and Southern Circle, as well as Woodhenge and Coneybury henge.
The reason for this concentration may be linked to the presence of natural landforms at and in front of Stonehenge, aligned coincidentally on the midwinter solstice sunset and midsummer solstice sunrise and embellished by the ditches and banks of the Avenue itself. These take the form of unusually deep and wide periglacial fissures, flanked by two low ridges of chalk bedrock. Running parallel on the southeast side is a shallow gully. From examination of sections across the Stonehenge Avenue northeast of the Heel Stone, it appears that these features formed a corrugated surface about 30m wide. Although the length of the periglacial fissures cannot be determined without further excavation, the parallel ridges and gully run for about 150m from just west of the Heel Stone. Recent geophysical investigations (Darvill et al., 2012) have conflated the fissures with cart tracks running the length of the Avenue to its elbow, but our excavations in 2008 showed that the cart tracks are not only distinct from the fissures but are also not the cause of the ridges (since the area within the ridges is not hollowed out by traffic erosion). Nor can the ridges be explained as resulting from differential weathering of chalk bedrock where it was protected by the Avenue banks, since the banks were much narrower than the ridges beneath them.
Two other features are also aligned on this solstitial axis. The first of these is Newall’s Mound at the Avenue’s elbow, found to be a natural mound of clay-with-flints (Evans, 1984). The second is a mound within the centre of Stonehenge (Field and Pearson, 2010) that may well be a natural chalk knoll, given the height of bedrock on its south side as revealed in Darvill and Wainwright’s 2008 trench (2009: fig. 9).
As Charly French and Mike Allen have remarked, the periglacial fissures would have shown up as vegetational stripes at times of summer drought and beneath the shallow soils of the early Holocene landscape, providing prehistoric observers with a demonstration of the unity of heaven and earth through this remarkable conjunction (Allen and French, forthcoming). ......"
Reference: Allen M J, French C A I, Parker Pearson M, Pollard J, Richards C, Thomas J, Tilley C, Welham K. Geology and geomorphology. Stonehenge for the Ancestors: the Stonehenge Riverside Project, Oxford: Oxbow; 1 Forthcoming
Citation: Parker Pearson, M 2013. "Researching Stonehenge: Theories Past and Present". Archaeology International 16:72-83, DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5334/ai.1601