Some of the ideas discussed in this blog are published in my new book called "The Stonehenge Bluestones" -- due for publication on June 1st 2018. After that, it will be available by post and through good bookshops everywhere. Bad bookshops might not have it....
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Thursday, 15 May 2014

Perched blocks -- who needs sculptors?

I did a post the other day about the fine sculpture in Kensington Gardens, London -- well, more of a boulder placement than a sculpture, much discussed with due reverence for the intentions of the sculptors and the nature of the setting.  The sculptors admitted that they were trying to mimic nature, having been inspired by seeing perched erratics in Norway.

So, feast your eyes on some other works of nature -- many locations and many origins.

Hampi, India

One of the perched Norber erratics in Yorkshire

One of the castle kopjes of South Africa

Perched erratic boulder, Newfoundland

Perched boulder, New South Wales, Australia

The Devil's Doorway in Wisconsin

Rocklands, South Africa, where huge boulders are used by the mad free-climbing fraternity for their exploits

Boulders on soft sediment pillars, New Mexico, United States

Lego man castle kopje, South Africa

Castle Kopje, South Africa

Perched erratic block, North Salem, New York State, USA

Dragon's Head, Phu Phrabat, NE Thailand

The biggest of the perched erratic blocks, Phu Phrabat, NE Thailand

Another perched erratic block, Phu Phrabat, NE Thailand


chris johnson said...


Constantinos Ragazas said...


These are amazing photos! Thanks for that. So what makes the dolmens different from these?


TonyH said...

Quite a few PERCHED boulders amongst these great photos.

But can any of them be classed as RED HERRINGS?

The Wild Goose, sorry Quarry, Chase, continues in Brian territory......join the League Against Frenzied and Expensive Sport

Davey said...

These pictures are amazing and not stuff i've seen before.

Close to home there is also Cantilever stone on Glyder Fach in Snowdonia and much nearer to home there is that shed sized boulder perched on smaller stones near Garn Fawr on Mynydd Dinas.

BRIAN JOHN said...

Thanks for the comments, folks -- yes, that's a nice stone on Glyder Fach, Davey. I seem to remember something similar on Tryfan? Kostas -- there has been some speculation that the perched erratic in New York State is a dolmen. Nice idea, but rather dubious. You would need room under the capstone for a chamber of some sort, and some evidence of human interference (particularly signs of burials) before you could call something a dolmen or a cromlech. That having been said, I reckon that some of the cruder features, sometimes called "sub-Neolithic burial chambers", have simply involved the opportunistic use of convenient perched boulders or slabs of rock that happened to be supported by some smaller stones, allowing a chamber to be created by burrowing underneath. That may be what has happened at Garn Turne.

Helen said...

And for every breathtakingly beautiful natural sculpture the universe sends us, there's always someone who wants to vandalise it - your post reminded me of the Goblin Valley incident of last year; this video still makes me angry:

Constantinos Ragazas said...


I accept the basic stone formation for dolmens may be natural! And only opportunistically used by prehistoric people for burials. Much like people using caves for burials. They did not built the caves. Just used them.


BRIAN JOHN said...

Don't distort things, Kostas. I said SOME are probably natural -- most have clearly been "built" and have involved the movement of stones and the use of levers etc to get capstones into position.

Helen said...

Forgive this tangential comment, but I've just come across a website with some rather lovely stone balancing art by Michael Grab at which I thought you might enjoy.

BRIAN JOHN said...

Thanks Helen -- great fun! And of course there are all the famous things created by Andy Goldsworthy......