THE BOOK
Some of the ideas discussed in this blog are published in my book called "The Bluestone Enigma" -- available by post and through good bookshops everywhere. Bad bookshops might not have it....
To order, click
HERE

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Stonehenge: warm pools and congregating animals?



 At last!  The truth about Stonehenge.  Typical lead sentence:  The age-old secret of why Stonehenge was built where it was can now be revealed, according to historians.  How many times have we read that?


Here is an earlier post on the possible link between Stonehenge and an aurochs migration route:
http://brian-mountainman.blogspot.se/2013/04/stonehenge-and-aurochs-migration-route.html

But I seem to have missed this one, from the Daily Mail (it's a journal from which I seek to remain as far away as possible.......).  It suggests that the warm springs at Amesbury, which feed into the River Avon, might have enabled warm water pools to remain ice-free during very cold winters, leading large numbers of wild animals to congregate around them -- leading, in turn, to good hunting and to a desirable settlement site for Mesolithic hunters.    Mesolithic settlers first, and Neolithic settlers later, in this rather unauspicious landscape.  Well, that doesn't sound as daft as some of the other things we have discussed on this blog...... and it's a good deal more sensible than the periglacial stripes theory.....

'Stonehenge's secret revealed at last': Ice Age man was drawn to nearby pools which never froze over

Warm spring is just walking distance from the stones.  It explains why Mesolithic settlers were in the area.  Post ice-age wildlife would have flocked to the water

By Aaron Sharp

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2467237/Stonehenges-secret-revealed-Ice-Age-man-drawn-pools-near-famous-site-froze-over.html 
Published: 19 October 2013

The age-old secret of why Stonehenge was built where it was can now be revealed, according to historians.
The reason for the stone monument's location has remained one of the great unsolved mysteries of British prehistory, with no one theory accepted as correct.

But now a team of scientists working in Amesbury, a short distance from where the landmark sits on a hillside, believe the discovery of a warm water spring could be the key to solving the riddle.
A small series of shallow pools close to Stonehenge have remained undisturbed for tens of thousands of years.
Hidden in a private estate and s
urrounded by trees, the inconspicuous plot which sits alongside the A303 in Amesbury, is believed to be a mesolithic landscape dating back to 7,596BC.
It is fed by a spring which keeps the pools warm at a constant 11 degrees, even during the depths of winter.
Scientists visited the site in 2010 when temperatures were sub-zero and found that the water remained unaffected by the surrounding snow.
This gave them reason to believe that the area may have been one of great importance during and immediately after the ice age.
The warm water, it is claimed, would have been irresistible to passing wildlife who migrated north as the ice, which had previously dominated much of the earth's surface, retreated to the poles.
Andy Rhind-Tutt, chairman of the Amesbury Museum and Heritage Trust, who has surveyed the site over years, believes the springs are a vital to unlocking the mystery of Stonehenge.
He told The Times:  'The belief has always been that Stonehenge would not have been built here without there being something special about the area.
'We believe the answer lies in the springs which feed the River Avon. We came here in January when it was -10 degrees and the water was still tepid.
'The pools were surrounded by green grass when everywhere else was frozen.'
The discovery of water close to the neolithic monument also gave archeologists a candid look at pre-historic diets.

Archeologists from the University of Buckingham discovered fragments of an 8,000 year-old charred toad leg nearby.
The remains which were found alongside fish bones at the site are the earliest evidence of a cooked toad or frog anywhere in the world, scientists say.
Archaeologists unearthed the leg alongside small fish vertebrate bones of trout or salmon as well as burnt aurochs' bones (the predecessors of cows).
David Jacques, senior research fellow in archaeology at the University of Buckingham, said: 'It would appear that thousands of years ago people were eating a Heston Blumenthal-style menu on this site, one-and-a-quarter miles from Stonehenge, consisting of toads' legs, aurochs, wild boar and red deer with hazelnuts for main, another course of salmon and trout and finishing off with blackberries.
'This is significant for our understanding of the way people were living around 5,000 years before the building of Stonehenge and it begs the question - where are the frogs now?'

13 comments:

Constantinos Ragazas said...

Brian,

”Scientists visited the site [near Stonehenge] in 2010 when temperatures were sub-zero and found that the water remained [warm at a constant 11 degrees] unaffected by the surrounding snow”

Sounds like a geothermal hot spot !!! And so near to Stonehenge! Hmmm ...

Kostas

TonyH said...

I have heard a strong rumour that, like freely available plastic bags, the Daily Mail is no longer going to be readily obtainable in Wales, but kept on the Top Shelves of all respectable newsagents.

BRIAN JOHN said...

Don't get over-excited, Kostas -- there is much hotter water in Bath and Salisbury, and apparently no Stonehenges at either location.

Constantinos Ragazas said...

Brian,

Before this latest scientific evidence, I had mentioned geothermal hot spot at Stonehenge some years ago in your blog and elsewhere. This finding supports my hypothesis! But certainly does not prove it. Never thought otherwise …

Kostas

BRIAN JOHN said...

Latest scientific evidence? An observation that some pools of spring water are warm enough to resist freezing, and a frog's leg? Rather a jolly bit of speculation, I would say...

chris johnson said...

I recommend we discussed these warm springs some time ago in the context of Avebury. I was trying to find the thread. There were some pictures taken in the hard winter of 2012-13 which showed greenery around unfrozen water.

Constantinos Ragazas said...

Brian, quoting from your post,

”Scientists visited the site in 2010 when temperatures were sub-zero and found that the water remained unaffected by the surrounding snow”.

What scientists find is by definition scientific. Though by no means indisputable. The indisputable fact here is such geothermal hot spot exists and existed at Stonehenge. That supports my hypothesis.

Keep your jolly mood, Brian. It becomes you.

Kostas

Phil Morgan said...

Hello Chris,

I think the warm springs discussed earlier were in the ditch area of Silbury Hill, but I've been known to be wrong.

Phil

Constantinos Ragazas said...

...hmmm, more warm springs in the ditch area of Silbury Hill! Interesting!

Kostas

chris johnson said...

Thanks Phil. You are right. Do you remember which thread this was discussed in? The search facility seems limited for the comments.

BRIAN JOHN said...

You'll remember we had lots of bother with the search facility on Blogger. They have made it better than it was, but it still is not as good as it used to be in the good old days....... I have complained on the user forums, as have many others, but Google / Blogger seems unwilling to sort the problem out properly.

TonyH said...

We have llamas in fields on the Cotswolds above Bradford - on - Avon.Not sure how they got there, or HOW LONG AGO. The fields they are now in were once part of an ancient landscape going back to Romano - British, Iron Age or even Bronze Age times. Perhaps there is a subtle link here with the Mesolithic aurochs of Avebury.

TonyH said...

Chris,Steve Marshall wrote an article for Mike Pitt's and the C.B.A.'s "British Archaeology", July/ August 2013,issue 131, talking about the suddenly increased water levels in the Silbury Hill ditches, etc, after the previous winter's heavy rainfall. Don't have it to hand, someone else may.