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Monday, 21 April 2014

Rhosyfelin "hammerstones" -- seek and thou shalt find...

I've done a previous post on the occurrence of rounded pebbles at Craig Rhosyfelin, and today I wandered along the river bank for a few minutes,  looking for things that archaeologists, in their infinite wisdom, might refer to as "hammerstones."  I found four very quickly, on the river bed and upstream of the Rhosyfelin dig site.  The pebbles have all come from the till and fluvio-glacial gravels exposed in the river banks. I am sure that similar pebbles -- and many rounded stones that are larger and smaller then the ones in the photos -- also occur in the till and in the overlying deposits investigated by the archaeologists.

Let's think straight here.  The occurrence of stones like these in the sediments exposed during "The Rhosyfelin Quarry Hunt" does not prove that there was a quarry here.  However, some of the stones could well have been discovered by past inhabitants of the site and used for breaking or shaping stone.  Also, we cannot preclude the possibility that past inhabitants might have collected rounded stones from the banks of the river and used these as hammerstones at the camp site being investigated. 

All the "convenient" stones I have seen and collected are entirely natural, and require no human intervention at all when it comes to explaining why they are where they are.

Even if some of the "hammerstones" have genuine percussion marks on them,  that does not prove that they were used in quarrying operations designed to obtain large stones for transport to Stonehenge.  They are much more likely to have been used in local tool-making, or for crushing animal bones, beating fibrous plants or crushing fruit.

1 comment:

tonyH said...

For those who are sufficiently inclined to take a visit, the Salisbury Museum in Cathedral Close, and near former Prime Minister Edaward Heath's house, has a good collection of hammerstones discovered at Stonehenge.
Now if Ted Heath had been a glacial geomorphologist rather than a politician and sailor, I think his shoulders may have been thoroughly shaking in characteristic fashion at some of the conclusions our intrepid archaeologists have leapt to, like old goats [or sheep] whilst scrambing around at Rhosyfelin.

But, lest we forget, they are our Official infallible interpretors.