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Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Croyde - Saunton - Baggy Point erratics list

 Grateful thanks to Paul Madgett for permission to reproduce these two tables, from his 1987 paper written with Ann Inglis.  NB the 37 erratics listed are all classified a "boulders" with 25 cm or more on the longest dimension; Paul has mentioned that there are many more smaller cobbles and pebbles which have been found in the area, on the beach and in head deposits.

The creation of the list in Table 2 is all down to enthusiastic searching by two families -- with Abigail and Barnaby being rewarded with a stick of rock for every new and verified erratic discovered......

As it says in the Good Book -- "Seek and thou shalt find......"  I was struck by that yesterday, when I was grovelling around in the sleet and rain down at Broad Haven!

10 comments:

TonyH said...

"Ask and it shall be given".

Then there's all the Parables.... .......of the lost coin,Good Sheperd and his lost sheep, lost erratics, wandering wild Preseli geese, etc.

It is indeed, a good job that there are some Good Geomorphologists and Geologists!

BRIAN JOHN said...

I stand corrected! I knew it was something like that......

Mable of Andalucia said...

More like the parable of the blind leading the blind, or at least the blinkered leading the blind.

BRIAN JOHN said...

Don't be so cynical, Mavis. We are all aware that experts are brilliant and that non-experts are less so. But we are also aware that even "experts" get things wrong, or not quite right. We are not talking about precise provenancing here, but about informed opinions and approximate sourcing for hand specimens. Let's not forget that the old geologists pretty well sorted out all the main flowlines for glaciation in the UK without doing any thin section work -- they knew their rocks, described them well from field observations, and used their accumulated experience to work out more of less where erratics had come from. Any decent geologist who has been through a good degree course will have a reasonable stab at describing what he is looking at in the field -- and even I, with only a cursory knowledge of mineralogy and no expertise in looking at thin sections, got pretty good at knowing where Pembrokeshire erratics had come from. So long live the amateurs and the non-experts -- let them come up with the working hypotheses, and then let the experts test them.

Mable of Andalucia said...

Your last sentence has to rate as the most sensible thought published for a very long time, provided it's also allowed to apply to the human transport side of the coin, for the Neolthic people were your ancestors as well as mine, and to suggest that they were incapable of manipulating awkward and heavy loads over long distances simply indicates a very low opinion of their abilities.


BRIAN JOHN said...

Hmm -- the trouble with the human transport theory is that it has been proposed and developed by the so-called experts, and it's left to the so-called amateurs to point out how daft it all is, and how lacking in supporting evidenvce. As for our wondrous Neolithic ancestors -- I have a very high opinion of them. I reckon they were so sensible and switched on that they would never have been so stupid as to cart loads of stones from Wales if there were perfectly fine ones lying about in the immediate vicinity.

Mavis of Abbyssinia said...

Amateurs and experts, each group can criticize the other, but it’s not the principle of human transport that’s wrong, and it’s not always the aim of the amateur to prove the experts wrong. It’s some of the methods that have been proposed and demonstrated that are at fault, for the ideas and devices are rarely taken to a conclusion and tend to fall at the last fence, but we could discuss that topic until the cows come home.
You say that the human transport theory is lacking in evidence, but the evidence is there if we take account of the alignments at Carnac, Brittany, France, where over 3000 stones were erected without the aid of glaciers, or the transportation of the stones for the Egyptian pyramids, no glaciers there either.
Our wondrous Neolithic ancestors were working to a plan, and if that plan required stone from west Wales then that’s where they would obtain it, for the chalk bedrock which surrounds Stonehenge would be even worse than the poor quality, flaky, material of some of the bluestones.
When you say that “they would never have been so stupid as to cart loads of stones from Wales if there were perfectly fine ones lying about in the immediate vicinity”, you are probably referring to the bluestones supposedly found as erratics; however, just like the human transport theory, glaciers delivering bluestones to within easy reach of Salisbury Plain is equally deficient in supporting evidence.

BRIAN JOHN said...

Maureen of Addis Ababa -- or whatever your latest incarnation may be -- I beg to differ. You say: "...it’s not the principle of human transport that’s wrong.. It’s some of the methods that have been proposed and demonstrated that are at fault..." Circular reasoning. If the methods proposed are all inadequate in some way, or if geographical or social considerations got in the way, then you move from the facts to the principle and find the principle wanting. Of course, in some societies at some times people have moved big lumps of rock over large distances -- but here, in the Neolithic? Because things were done in Egypt by the pyramid builders, you cannot assume that therefore the moving of 80 bluestones from Wales to Stonehenge would have been a doddle..... In fact, as I have frequently said before -- and as Steve Burrows has said -- it seems to be a general rule in the British Neolothic / megalithic culture that people used their stones more or less where they found them -- either in natural rock outcrops or as glacial erratics.

Myrtle of Maenclochog said...

Just as I said originally, the blinkered leading the blind. Bored with this now.

TonyH said...

".....but we could discuss that topic till the cows come home"

Murgatroyd of Aberystwyth: (23rd January, 01.07 hours) now you have introduced the dreaded Red Herring of the Barbecued Beefburgers (John, "Enigma", 2008, pages 77-8) in your puny attempts to wriggle out of your circular reasoning. As far as the evidence goes, just two (2) cows (and PLEASE don't accuse me of sexism here) came from parts of - the still unrecognisable - Great
Britain where older rocks occur, not necessarily from specifically SW Wales.