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Sunday, 29 June 2014

Hutton and broken stones


 Rob Ixer, fallen sarsen and recumbent Altar Stone

From the latest Stonehenge sensationalist story, as featured in the world's media from Nairobi to Chipping Camden to Honolulu to Lhasa.....

Ronald Hutton:  ‘When they put up one of those great sandstone blocks in the outer circle, it slipped when it was being put in its hole, fell over and broke in half............They put one broken bit on top of the other broken bit, jammed a lintel on top and hoped they’d stay together. They didn’t, they fell over quite soon after.'

".........they built a trilithon – two massive upright stones with a lintel on top – but one of the uprights was not rooted deeply enough in the ground. ‘At some time, that stone skidded out,’ said the professor.  ‘It fell headlong across the altar stone, knocking the altar stone to the ground and breaking in half itself. That massive lintel tumbled down and still lies where it fell. They never tried to fix it."

I'm quite intrigued by these comments -- we have the old one about the Altar Stone having once been a standing stone which was then knocked over...... (Aubrey Burl thought it always was a LYING STONE rather than a standing stone.... and we have had big discussions about whether it might have been the original stone at Stonehenge around which all the others were placed while it was left in its recumbent position.)

Then the bit about one bit of a broken sarsen stone being placed on top of another..... is that pure fantasy?  Which sarsen is he talking about?

15 comments:

Jon Morris said...

Some interesting quotes:

[i]Professor Hutton said: ‘It’s a valid proposal [rebuilding Stonehenge] and there is this kind of sneaking wish than more archaeologists have so far liked to admit that to put up the great trilithon and this time anchor it properly would actually restore Stonehenge to its ancient glory - we’d get the point of the whole monument again.’[/i]


When I was younger, the purpose of studying History itself was often questioned: To young people, it can give the impression of being a vanity profession. The response which invariably came back was something along the lines of without knowing your history, you cannot avoid the mistakes of the past. Based on this advice, I managed to pull together sufficient motivation to scrape a “C” in a subject that, frankly, I didn't care for at all.

Perhaps ironic that a history professor, not knowing the history behind the meaning of Stonehenge, would seriously discuss repairing something that he believes to have been a mistake. This all based on something that he admits (in the same article) that he does not know the point of.


Whilst his opinions on Stonehenge are great fun, it would be much more interesting to have the professor explain what purpose is served by studying History.

Jon Morris said...

Then the bit about one bit of a broken sarsen stone being placed on top of another..... is that pure fantasy? Which sarsen is he talking about?

He's probably on about Stone 55

Tom Flowers said...

Once again Professor Hutton proves himself to be a complete idiot.

Hutton: The possibly failed experiment that was Stonehenge.
My Answer: It did fail, and was superseded by the greater monument of Silbury Hill.

John Wood was the first to suggest that the only people, who could dismantle Stonehenge in the way it was dismantled, were the Stonehenger’s themselves.
So did they take the stones back? - Sarsen stones were seeded throughout Silbury Hill like currants in a cake-- Magnus Magnuson.

Hutton: Builders insane?
Answer: Not at all; madly ambitious and over the top - yes.

Hutton: The Avenue that leads into Stonehenge is directly aligned on the solstice with the Heel Stone and missing partner acting like the sights of camera or a gun.
Answer: My 2001 photo of the solstice proves that Stonehenge is about 2.5-degrees away from the actual solstice. Stonehenge gathered its sunlight twice - the first time about two weeks before the 21st - and again two weeks after the solstice has passed.

Hutton: The winter solstice
Answer: The winter solstice is a provable red herring. At one metre thick and 2.5 metres high, Stone 67, if re-erected, would completely block it.

Hutton: The “Skidded stone”
Answer: The “Skidded stone” to what Hutton referrers to is stone 55, partner to 56 of the Great Trilithon. I amply covered this in my book “Stonehenge Secrets 2007” under the title of “The Saga of Stone 56,” where I proved it to be felled in 1620 by the Duke of Buckingham and his men. John Aubrey, who reported the incident, was not mistaken!

And as for Prof Hutton suggesting that the builders didn’t even bother to repair the great trilithon - the man is a couple of thousand years out with his timing!
There is absolutely no proof whatsoever that the Altar Stone ever stood upright. At sixteen feet long (=six megalithic yards) the Altar Stone probably replaced a pair of wooden posts that stood in front of it. Atkinson found the holes for these posts when excavating in 1965. The Altar stone may have been rolled back just the once, sometime in the past, its largest face now being on top.
www.therealstonehenge.com.

Tom Flowers said...

Once again Professor Hutton proves himself to be a complete idiot.
Hutton: The possibly failed experiment that was Stonehenge.
My Answer: It did fail, and was superseded by the greater monument of Silbury Hill.
John Wood was the first to suggest that the only people, who could dismantle Stonehenge in the way it was dismantled, were the Stonehenger’s themselves.
So did they take the stones back? - Sarsen stones were seeded throughout Silbury Hill like currants in a cake-- Magnus Magnuson.
Hutton: Builders insane?
Answer: Not at all; madly ambitious and over the top - yes.
Hutton: The Avenue that leads into Stonehenge is directly aligned on the solstice with the Heel Stone and missing partner acting like the sights of camera or a gun.
Answer: My 2001 photo of the solstice proves that Stonehenge is about 2.5-degrees away from the actual solstice. Stonehenge gathered its sunlight twice - the first time about two weeks before the 21st - and again two weeks after the solstice has passed.
Hutton: The winter solstice
Answer: The winter solstice is a provable red herring. At one metre thick and 2.5 metres high, Stone 67, if re-erected, would completely block it.
Hutton: The “Skidded stone”
Answer: The “Skidded stone” to what Hutton referrers to is stone 55, partner to 56 of the Great Trilithon. I amply covered this in my book “Stonehenge Secrets 2007” under the title of “The Saga of Stone 56,” where I proved it to be felled in 1620 by the Duke of Buckingham and his men. John Aubrey, who reported the incident, was not mistaken!
And as for Prof Hutton suggesting that the builders didn’t even bother to repair the great trilithon - the man is a couple of thousand years out with his timing!
There is absolutely no proof whatsoever that the Altar Stone ever stood upright. At sixteen feet long (=six megalithic yards) the Altar Stone probably replaced a pair of wooden posts that stood in front of it. Atkinson found the holes for these posts when excavating in 1965. The Altar stone may have been rolled back just the once, sometime in the past, its largest face now being on top.
www.therealstonehenge.com.

Tony said...

Ronald Hutton often pops up, wearing his 17th century garb, on TV documentaries wherever The Druids and/or Pagans need mentioning, e.g. Anglesey; or. at any rate, wherever HE feels the need to mention them.

TonyH said...

My Dream XI would definitely have Hutton opening with Jack Hobbs, with Don Bradman coming in number 3, and Gary Sobers the all - rounder. Not sure how any of 'em would perform at Stonehenge, it's sloping, see? like Lords. What d'yer mean, wrong Hutton??

GEOFFREY BOYCOTT

ND Wiseman said...

There’s been an enormous amount of conversation regarding the Altar Stone’s original position, and those who read my timorous drivel are aware that I’m convinced it was always recumbent.

Firstly, there’s no stonehole for it at either end, or on the monument’s axis.
Secondly, it’s not bisected by the solstice axis, but is a little to the northwest. I contend this is because it was originally centered on an S-97 axis ─ but that’s another story.

Thirdly, it’s not 90-degrees to the axis, but 80 ─ cocked up NW / SE, which puts it almost directly on the Winter Solstice Sunrise line. The 2 postholes positioned in front of it, also mentioned here by Mr Flowers, do the same thing. These flanking posts are also equidistant from the S-97 axis and this implies that the Altar Stone had been in place for a very long time ─ certainly pre-Sarsen and Station Stone ─ probably from the waning days of the elaborate interior wooden arrangements, just prior to the site’s original abandonment.

The arguments for an upright Altar Stone don’t explain these anomalies and infer that the light from either solstice would have been blocked by it. A great deal of care was taken to ensure the light from both events would pass cleanly through the monument, so having it blocked would be counter-intuitive. Though he argues for an upright Altar, Terry Meaden is correct with regard to the shadow cast by the Heelstone’s cone at Summer Solstice. It reaches its maximum extent directly at this location.

As regards a fallen bluestone situated before the Gt Trilithon. No evidence for a BS-66-‘A’, if you will, has ever been found ─ and would have been by Gowland in 1901, or Atkinson in 1953. -67 & -68 stand neatly in front of S-56, and -66 stood to the SE side of S-55. If there Was a -66-A, it would also have stood before -55, but Not on the axis. In short, there are no stone holes on the Solstice axis. (There Are 2 solstice-aligned postholes behind the Gt Trilithon, but those are also pre-sarsen / pre-oval.)

Clearly, the mention of the ‘Broken Sarsen’ refers to Stone-55. But this Stone ─ shallow as it was ─ didn’t fall ‘shortly after being erected’. I contend that it fell slightly more than 1,000 years ago in an earthquake, which is recorded. The event may also have brought down S-12 & -14. This is all a couple of thousand years after the meaning and purpose of the monument were lost, and has no bearing on the builder’s having to deal with such a disaster.

Neil

BRIAN JOHN said...

Thanks Neil -- very interesting and useful points....

Jon Morris said...

Bloody good summary Neil.

The arguments for an upright Altar Stone don’t explain these anomalies and infer that the light from either solstice would have been blocked by it. A great deal of care was taken to ensure the light from both events would pass cleanly through the monument, so having it blocked would be counter-intuitive.

Unless part of the design intent was to impose a new doctrine and thus incorporate, and at the same time block, the original meaning of events that had previously defined that location (eg winter solstice)


Though he argues for an upright Altar, Terry Meaden is correct with regard to the shadow cast by the Heelstone’s cone at Summer Solstice. It reaches its maximum extent directly at this location. .

The rising sun would, at that time, have been more to the north (at summer solstice) than it is now. This would cast a shadow slightly to the left of the centre, meaning that it would fall on Stone 1 (assuming a 10 metre tree line). The heelstone's shadow then would descend through the gap and, because of the off-set in alignment, eventually fall through the gap between 1 and 30. At the point it falls through the gap, it would cast its shadow slightly to the right of centre on a recumbent stone.

Wonderful thing CAD. (and also NASA's database). A lot of assumptions about tree-lines in the above though (these effect the apex of shadow-fall). You're welcome to the "photoshots" of it happening if of any use!

Jon

Tom Flowers said...
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Myris of Alexandria said...

Were there not two heelstones assoc with the avenue, I thought Pitts established the pit of the "missing" one or have I missed the point.
M

BRIAN JOHN said...

Well Tom, your modesty does you credit. It's good to know that while the rest of us faff about with romantic nonsense, somebody is doing some REAL science. Send me a copy of your scientific book when you are ready, and I'll enjoy having a look at it.....

Jon Morris said...

Were there not two heelstones assoc with the avenue, I thought Pitts established the pit of the "missing" one or have I missed the point.

The ditch around 96 (Heelstone) was probably dug after 97 was moved Myris. So the two are unlikely to have existed simultaneously.

ND Wiseman said...

Hi Myris,

There’s been an enormous amount of hoopla associated with the Stone/Hole-97 question, and it has created this great fount of conjecture and ─ to co-opt Mr Flowers’ phrase ─ romantic rubbish.

One of the most popular theories is that the 2 Stones ─ S-97 and the Heelstone ─ were discrete and stood together at some point in the past. One to the west of the Axis, the other on the east.

So sorry. Only one Stone, moved once.

The 2 holes are not perpendicular to each other, and they are different distances away from the Axis ─ changed obliquity notwithstanding. The depth of the S-97 hole is more shallow ─ meaning that it was higher out of the ground.

Now let’s look at Cleal’s exploded view of the area with regard to the shapes of both the -97 hole and that of the extant Heelstone. S-97 is flat on the west side. S-96 (the Heelstone) is flat on the north side. Both have a similar area of base. So then, I contend that when they moved it later to more appropriately do what they wanted with the sun-shadows, it was spun a quarter-turn when they replanted it.

Again with my monotonous drivel, but those who know my work will recall that one of my biggest contentions is that originally, Stone 97 was the kingstone by which the Aubreys and sightlines were calculated. Because the place was really just a fancy cemetery in the beginning, most (not all) of these sightlines are associated with the Moon. With an S-97 Axis, all the pertinent Aubreys align through the center of the monument.

With the shift to a Moon/Sun/Earth emphasis this stone was repositioned and the aligned Aubreys fell into redundancy; except for their calendar aspects ─ and even these didn’t last too much longer.

But yes, as Jon has said, the Heelstone’s henge was dug into the scour-socket for -97 and this means that the original hole is older.

Neil

Tom Flowers said...
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