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

Monday, 19 January 2015

Stone 69


Specially for Kostas -- here are the 2 pics from the Atkinson EH collection.   When I used the top one before I omitted to label it properly.  Anyway, I agree it is seriously weird.  Over to you to give us your discourse......

54 comments:

Cnstantinos Ragazas said...

Thanks for that Brian!

Stone 69 was obviously extensively worked on and shaped that way for a purpose by people. The question is when and for what purpose! I am arguing this purposely carved shape of stone 69 does not make it suitable as an orthostat. Just look at its base! The shape defeats the purpose! The base would make such orthostat set in a pit very unbalanced and weak and prone to snapping where the base is most thinned out.

As a minimum, we can agree the extensive work done shaping the base does not add any value to this stone as an orthostat. So why would Neolithic people expand so much time and energy chiseling away at this rather hard stone with stone hammers? Makes no sense!

Further, look at the top! Again extensively chiseled to form a wedge. For what purpose? As a tenon to a mortised lintel stone? Why a wedge and not a knob? As was purportedly done for sarsens. And why smooth out the sides of stone 69 to make them boxed shape? When so many other bluestones were left as were?

There must be a sensible explanation to stone 69. An explanation that can consistently account for all these characteristics.

I am arguing stone 69 was made to be used as a ramming stone in a military apparatus. Likely by the Romans, but possibly by Medieval people. The wedged top was the front of the ramming stone. While the flanged bottom was the attaching end secured to the apparatus by heavy trunks (on all sides) fixed in place so the stone would not dislodge when rammed into a fortress door. Notice further the “ramming wedge” would have been vertical while the “attachment flange” fixed in the apparatus horizontal.

This makes sense. The weakest points in a massive fortress gate consisting of vertical trunks would be the vertical joints between such trunks. A “ramming wedge” aligned vertically and in parallel with the gate trunk joints would thus be most effective in breaking through the gate. And, of course, for most effective and efficient use of such ramming apparatus the ramming stone had to be a pillar, well balanced and boxed, and made of very hard stone as dolerite is.

All these are characteristics of the bluestones, and in particular stone 69.

Kostas

Constantinos Ragazas said...

... and one more observation! If you notice the carvings on each side of the "flange" at the bottom of stone 69 in the photos do not align! This supports my contention stone 69 was meant to be a "ramming stone" fixed in a military apparatus. Were the extensive carvings on each side of the "flange" to have lined up, this would weaken the stone and make it less effective as a "ramming stone".

Kostas

chris johnson said...

Quite clearly intended to be a mermaid's tail.

Constantinos Ragazas said...

... or a 'barmaid's tale' to deflect the 'inconvenient truth' for all those drunk with prehistoric delusions.

Kostas

Myris of Alexandria said...

Kostas, lovely thought and 69 is a important bluestone.
One tiny tiny thoughtette,where are these wooden doors that the Romans were set on storming.The native Britons did not have such structures, was the pallisade, perhaps?
Another worry why is there no sign of metal on the stone, were these echte
Roman Neolithic 're-enactors.
One of your best Kostas, please keep them coming.
M

BRIAN JOHN said...

Everybody agrees that it's very strange. The shaping of the top is unusual, but the shaping of the base -- and the creation of that extraordinary "fish tail" -- is weird. What are the conventional explanations, leaving the Romans to one side? I'm keen to learn.....

Geo Cur said...


" I'm keen to learn....."
See "The Dig site " scroll to . 1/11/2011 .

BRIAN JOHN said...

Geo -- good to hear from you! I'm mystified by that reference of yours...... have you got it wrong?

Geo Cur said...


Yes .
"The Dig Site "24/9 2011 .
Scroll to comment 1/10/2011 .

BRIAN JOHN said...

Ah -- all is revealed. What do you think of that strange "fishtail"?

Geo Cur said...


It's a keel ,as mentioned in the comments and refs .

BRIAN JOHN said...

Ah yes, but why? And why don't the other pillars also have keels?

Geo Cur said...



Often it is only one stone in a monument that is keeled .I can't think why one should be keeled and not the others .We might have a better idea if we knew the subterranean profiles of all the orthostats .

Constantinos Ragazas said...

Myris,

You write, "where are these wooden doors that the Romans were set on storming?"

Did I say Romans? I only said Romans or Medieval people. Or everyone in between! Embracing Chris's "mermaid's tail' will put you in a slippery grip.

It may not have been heavy wooden gates that needed to be rammed open. But heavy wooden fortress walls that needed to be broken. We do know from Julius Caesar tree trunks were used in Gaul for fortifications and in military operations.

Yet another observation! The trunk of stone 69 was shaped as a box to fit most snugly in such a military ramming apparatuses. Secured in place by trunks on all four sides.

But like a pariah, an unpopular theory can never be good. No matter how right it is!

Kostas

Geo Cur said...


"Did I say Romans?"

"Likely by the Romans "
Looks like it .

Worth mentioning that stone 53 ,a sarsen , six times the weight of stone 69 ? has an even more pronounced keel .
The nonsense about a stone battering ram , the absence of anything to batter and the keeling was addressed (pun intended ) earlier . If I wasn’t so aware of the failure to RTL I might have thought that the whole idea was Ramilsonina inspired .

The only new point was the dressing .
Fine transverse tooling is found on all of the six complete standing Bluestones in the Horseshoe except 68 , which has a tongue and groove joint and was pick dressed .

Constantinos Ragazas said...

"In boats and ships, keel can refer to either of two parts: a structural element, or a hydrodynamic element. " (http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keel)

So stone 69 was a boat? Really?

Brian, can you post the passage in Geo's reference for those of us that can't look it up? Since "keel" as commonly understood does not make sense for stone 69.

Geo, good to see you have been following me around the Net! After my banishment from the Hall of Maat your job is not complete!

Kostas

kostadinos@aol.com

BRIAN JOHN said...

Kostas -- you know perfectly well that a keel is a flattish projection beneath something more bulky. The interesting question is "what was it for?" given that it had nothing to do with streamlining or fluid flow.....

Constantinos Ragazas said...

Brian,

I have already given my explanation for that "flattish projection beneath something more bulky" for stone 69. The same consistent explanation for all other characteristics of stone 69. And an explanation that makes sense and is supported by historical records.

Can you post the passage Geo uses for comparison?

Kostas

Geo Cur said...


"The interesting question is "what was it for?"

One explanation was to be found in one of the refs from the same post in 2011 .
"“As the southern face of Stone 1 was exposed it was seen that the W. edge of the
stone had been 'keeled'. This feature is visible on several Perthshire standing stories
which have subsequently fallen, thus permitting the base to be studied. 'Keeling'
consists in undercutting the edge of one face between 1 ft. and 2 ft. from the base.
The protruding horizontal edge then rests on ground level, producing a stability
which could not be achieved by simply inserting the foot in a socket “

Constantinos Ragazas said...

Geo writes, "Often it is only one stone in a monument that is keeled .I can't think why one should be keeled and not the others".

Geo does not know, but I have an explanation! Consistent with everything I have been saying on this!

Ramming stones would be sought wherever such stones could be found. And if a stone has been finished as a ramming stone, it would be taken away to be used in a military ramming apparatus.

What we find at a particular site would be unfinished ramming stones. And since one such stone would be worked on at a time, one such stone thus would be found at a site.

Kostas

kostadinos@aol.com

BRIAN JOHN said...

There we are, Kostas. You have all you need from Geo.

Geo Cur said...


"that makes sense "
It doesn't ,for various reasons .

"and is supported by historical records."
What record(s) ?

Geo Cur said...



I said I don't know why one stone should be keeled and others not .
That does not apply to Stonehenge and stone 69 as more than one stone is keeled .It also doesn't apply to a great number of sites simply because we are unaware of the subterranean profiles of the vast majority of stones in stone circles etc . We are only aware of the small percentage that have been excavated or collapsed exposing the entire profile .

Constinos Ragazas said...

"'Keeling' consists in undercutting the edge of one face between 1 ft. and 2 ft. from the base. The protruding horizontal edge then rests on ground level, producing a stability which could not be achieved by simply inserting the foot in a socket “

This just does not make sense! If 'keeling' was needed for supporting orthostats, why all other orthostats were not similarly 'keeled'?

Further, such 'keel' structure described in the quote is NOT what we see for stone 69. So what is the explanation for this?

I have proposed one that explains all the weird characteristics of stone 69. Including, why only one such 'keeled' stone is found in a particular site. Not my observation, mind you. But Geo's!

Kostas

kostadinos@aol.com

TonyH said...

It is PATENTLY OBVIOUS to those with eyes to see and with open - to - the - Universe, New Age eyes that what we have in this old photo of Stone 69 is NONE OTHER than the Dolphin God, which confirms my Theory, shared with many New Agers such as Myris' alter ego, etc, etc, that Dolphins DID act as Guides to the Neolithic Argonauts who heroically traversed Cardigsn Bay, St George's Channel and the Severn Sea to bring their precious cargo of several score* bluestones from Mount Olympus to Stonehenge via the Kennet & Avon Canal, oh, sorry, that part at least is incorrect.

*in truth, the Neolithic Argonauts probably sailed off with SEVERAL HUNDRED such Bluestones, but only about 30% ever reached Stonehenge.

TonyH said...

Welcome back, Geo Cur! But Beware the Ides of March and the Ideas of Kostas. Do not allow your B.P. to be raised, treat all as gentle amusing stimulation.

BRIAN JOHN said...

Geo -- with respect to keels you say "Often it is only one stone in a monument that is keeled" -- then in a later post you say" It also doesn't apply to a great number of sites simply because we are unaware of the subterranean profiles of the vast majority of stones in stone circles etc . We are only aware of the small percentage that have been excavated or collapsed exposing the entire profile." That's all a bit self-contradictory, if I may say so. You are really saying you don't know how frequent this keeling business is, because the evidence just isn't there......

Also, I am not at all convinced by this idea that the keel gives greater stability. LESS stability, in my book. A huge amount of effort in chipping away stone to make the keel, and you end up with a pillar that is top-heavy and much more likely to fracture at ground level. And I don't think the overlapping bits resting on the ground surface would improve stability either. Far better, I should have thought, to have a massive base well below ground level, so as to resist the tendency for increased sinking and hence the prospect of knocking any arrangements seriously out of alignment.

I have learned, from building jetties in Sweden, that tall narrow-based posts tend to sink or get heaved up, whereas things with a much greater base cross-section resist the heaving / sinking scenario much better, even if the weight of the post is the same.

TonyH said...

Surely, this whole "keel" Debate, and in particular the issue of greater or lesser stability thus achieved, overlooks one important piece of documentary, albeit semi- "mythical" evidence.

Geoffrey of Monmouth, that reputable source, insisted that the Stones of Stonehenge were brought over from IRELAND by magician Merlin. So, you see, it could've been the IRISH navvies who, in reality, had a real go at erecting the Bluestones, and maybe they just got confused. Some of my best friends are Irish, by the way.

Geo Cur said...

"Further, such 'keel' structure described in the quote is NOT what we see for stone 69. "

It is what we see .Look at the sections on p249 of the Cleal book .


"I have proposed one that explains all the weird characteristics of stone 69. Including, why only one such 'keeled' stone is found in a particular site. "
Nobody has taken the "proposals " serioulsy .
There are more than one keeled stone at the site (same book p. 252 sarsen stone 53 (that'll knock a few doors down ) so that suggestion bites the dust .

Geo Cur said...

It is not a bit self contradictory and of course the evidence is there ,look at the refs .
How can we know how frequent it is if only a small percentage of orthostats from the total have been excavated or examined on collapse ?
I never said it was frequent , I said it exists and here are some examples like stone 69 (in 2011 complete with refs ).
We only know of keeled stones that have been excavated or have collapsed .The excavated and collapsed stones are a very small percentage .Some of these excavated /collapsed stones are keeled .Sometimes they are the only stones that have been excavated or collapsed at the monument .Sometimes they are the only stone among others that have been excavated /collapsed .Other times there are more than one stone in the monument that is keeled .

Stability is what has been suggested by one excavator , others have suggested a facilitation in tipping and erection .

Geo Cur said...



Hello Tony , just looking in ,not staying .

Myris of Alexandria said...

Now is the time to read Cavarfy's poem
The ides of March. Salutary for us all.
My second most favourite poem of his.
It is pure irony.
M

Constantinos Ragazas said...

Geo writes, "It is what we see [stone 69] "

What we see is the "mermaid's tail" is tapered some to the body of the stone. Not at all the kind of "horizontal lip" that would produce any kind of support from falling.

But Brian has the stronger argument on this! And he does not often support my ideas in his blog! Such heavy carving of the base of stone 69 only weakens the stone and makes it very unstable when set in a pit.

As for there being more than one "keeled orthostat", I doubt if any other looks anything like stone 69. But if there were, perhaps in some bigger "ramming stone factory" like Stonehenge there may have been more than one stone worked on at any one time! Sensibly explaining your dull point!

As for "Nobody has taken [my] "proposals " serioulsy", that does not make them incorrect! Just not popular.

Kostas

kostadinos@aol.com

Constantinos Ragazas said...

Geo writes, "Stability is what has been suggested by one excavator , others have suggested a facilitation in tipping and erection".

Brian, help me out here. How can a keel help in the erection of a keeled stone? Any tipping is welcomed!

Kostas

BRIAN JOHN said...

Since Geo was simply passing through, not staying, another thought from me. I too find it difficult to know how the tipping of a keeled stone into a prepared pit would have been easier -- more difficult, in my book, because more of the weight would have been at the top end of the stone, making it much more difficult to raise it and let in slide into the pit.

The other idea -- that a keeled stone could have been slid in sideways, as it were, into a prepared slit in the ground (just the right shape for the keel) also sounds a bit daft to me. To cut a narrow slit to a depth of maybe a metre in the ground surface is much harder than cutting a hole with an approx square shape -- especially with primitive tools. Admittedly this might give some extra stability by having undisturbed ground against the long faces of the keel once the stone is in position -- but really, would all the effort of creating the keel in the first place have made any sense?

Quite a dilemma......

Geo Cur said...


It is what we see if you RTL And look at the refs provided e.g."Look at the sections on p249 of the Cleal book ."
The same applies to "(same book p. 252 sarsen stone 53 " .
Two stones with the same type of keling as is found elsewhere in stone circles and stone arrangements .
If you don't read the refs , as in 2011 ,and present day how can you know what is being discussed .

BRIAN JOHN said...

Geo -- not everybody has the Cleal book.

Geo Cur said...


Whether the mechanics make any sense to anyone here or not doesn't change the fact that the keels exist and have been recorded at various sites and that is what is seen with stone 69 and stone 53 for that matter . It seems to have made sense to the various excavators and one engineer .

"“As well as the sides of stones one should also note the possibility, first put forward by Kilbride-Jones (1934), that the bases of many of the circle-stones were 'keeled' or shaped into a rough beak which enabled them to be erected more easily. He noticed stones like this at Loanhead of Daviot and Old Keig. Similar shaping can be seen at Cothiemuir Wood on one of the fallen stones and at other ruined sites.”
“Kilbride-Jones (1934) has demonstrated how these pillars were 'keeled' at their bases to provide an easy fulcrum;”
The Recumbent Stone Circles of Scotland : Burl

A.Regnaul, B.Sc.(Eng., Lond.), A.R.C.Sc., M.I.E.E.2 .Wrote an appendix on the mechanics of the worked stones for a 1934 Kilbride -Jones paper on stone erection in PSAS 1934-35 .

Geo Cur said...


"not everybody has the Cleal book."

Failure to RTL is no excuse for dismissing the content .

It is freely available .

BRIAN JOHN said...

Geo -- I too get frustrated by people who have not read the literature. But if everybody had read the literature, there would not be any need of teachers -- so shall we just accept that some are better-informed than others?

I'm not at all convinced by this fulcrum / pivot theory. Agreed that a notch placed over the pivot could increase stability by stopping the stone from sliding forward while being raised, but in my view the loss of weight at the foot of the stone would make the raising even harder because of the location of the stone's centre of gravity. And all you need is a notch -- not a keel created by the removal of a lot of stone from not just the pivot side of the stone but the other side as well......

I'm not expecting you to have a pat answer to this dilemma -- but it is certainly intriguing...

Constantinos Ragazas said...

Geo, instead of making references to where the "clear and convincing" explanations can be found, why not make these arguments here. And let us all consider them for what they are worth.

Appealing to RTL otherwise is an escape and an excuse from seriously engaging the discussion.

Brian, if a keel on one side of an orthostat can be used as a fulcrum to raise the orthostat into a prepared pit, why not put a heavy log or stone in its place? And avoid all the effort chiseling and weakening the orthostat? I agree with you having keels on both sides of the orthostat for the purpose of ease of erection just does not make sense.

Perhaps Brian you can put up those sections of the Cleal book Geo is referencing in a separate post so we can all consider them here. As you have often done with other passages in the past.

Kostas

kostadinos@aol.com

BRIAN JOHN said...

Sadly, Kostas, I don't have it either. I have heaps of Stonehenge books, but not that one..... maybe somebody will send me a review copy?

Myris of said...

I bought one as a Christmass present.
They are not cheap but available second hand and it is on line.
M

Myris of said...

I bought one as a Christmass present.
They are not cheap but available second hand and it is on line.
M

Geo Cur said...



There was no mention of a "clear and convincing " explanation ,it sounds suspiciously like a made up quote.
If the evidence is visual i.e. sections how can they be argued for ? It is certainly ridiculous to argue against them if you haven't seen them .
The Cleal book is vavailable free online it was even listed here ,see 30 October 2014 .
There is no serious discussion ,certainly not about battering rams ,nobody here takes it seriously and nobody who knows anything about Stonehenge , standing stones or Roman and medieval weaponry would treat it seriously either .

BRIAN JOHN said...

Free online? That sounds like an offer too good to turn down..... but where? I can't find it. Link please?

Geo Cur said...


"The Cleal book is vavailable free online it was even listed here ,see 30 October 2014 ."

Have a look at the above ,click on the link ,scroll down to Cleal .

BRIAN JOHN said...

Quite right you are, Geo. Here it is for free download in PDF format:

http://archaeologydataservice.ac.uk/archives/view/eh_monographs_2014/contents.cfm?mono=1089007

The trouble is that it is 141 MB, which would certainly cause my broadband and computer to give up in disgust. But for any of you out there who have superfast broadband, by all means go for it.....!

Constantinos Ragazas said...

Geo writes, "There is no serious discussion ,certainly not about battering rams ,nobody here takes it seriously and nobody who knows anything about Stonehenge , standing stones or Roman and medieval weaponry would treat it seriously either . "

Why should we expect any "serious discussion" of ramming stones or Roman and medieval weaponry by anybody in any Stonehenge book that seeks to promote their prehistoric narrative for everything Stonehenge?

These are the same "experts" that don't "seriously" consider glacial transport. Or bother responding to Brian's repeated calls for inclusion of geomorphology, glaciology, geology and other diverse disciplines in any credible research related to Stonehenge.

Any explanation for 'facts on the ground' different from their 'ruling hypothesis' gets ignored. As is also any 'facts on the ground' that does not fit their narrative. Any bets on when MPP will reveal to the world ALL the Rhosyfelin rc dates he's been keeping? Or samples for the "right" dates have not been found yet!

But be that as it may. What explains stone 69 found lying on the Stonehenge ground? How did it get there? So intact and undamaged, after being removed from its secure pit setting without snapping at the base? And where is such a distinct pit fish-tailored to fit stone 69 standing for 5000 years?

Any ideas why stone 69 was taken from its pit in the first place? If not to be used for a purpose? And shaped for that purpose? By people that had a purpose for using it? Which may have nothing to do with its 'original purpose'? If there ever was an 'original purpose'? Do you know, Geo, of an 'original purpose' for stone 69? Does Cleal et al or other experts know of an 'original purpose'?

I confess. I know no 'original purpose' for stone 69. But I am damn confident of a 'secondary purpose' for stone 69. An abandoned "ramming stone" in a stone factory clearly would be found in just such a place and state.

Kostas

Geo Cur said...

The problems with the hilarious suggestion were answered in 2011 .
Simply Battering rams were not made of stone but wood .
There was nothing to batter in the area ?
Despite your claim that it " is supported by historical records." None have been forthcoming and none are expected .
It hasn’t been treated seriously here , and wouldn’t be treated seriously by anyone who knows anything about Roman or medieval weaponry /technology . There was no suggestion that the authorities on Stonehenge might be considered authorities in that area .

Stone 69 was not “ found lying on the Stonehenge ground “ . It was removed ,after careful excavation , from it’s socket to enable the re-erection of fallen trilithons 57 and 58 .
I am shocked that you know of no original purpose for stone 69 , surely you can provide a “common sense “ explanation .
Wasn’t it one of the stones slung off the glacier edge , around a hot spring , by local people maintaining the tradition of “stone hanging” ?

Constantinos Ragazas said...

GeoCur,

What gives ramming power to a ramming apparatus is the weight and rigidity of the ramming head. Know of any tree trunks weighing some 2 tons and just few meters long and stiff as stone? Of course when you run out of readily available dolerite pillar stones you will use what you can get.

Was stone 69 originally found firmly set in its pit? Or lying under fallen stones buried in debris? Any pictures of the pit where stone 69 was originally set? There should be if what you say is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth! So help you God.

Brian, it would be appropriate at this point to post on the excavation history of stone 69.

Kostas

BRIAN JOHN said...

Kostas -- kindly pay attention. Geo has explained that stone 69 was lifted from its pit to allow remedial work, and then put back again. The photos are all there, in the EH Atkinson collection......

I'm calling an end to this thread now, since 50 comments is enough to be going on with. The military apparatus - ramming stone idea has had a good run for its money, and has elicited no sympathy from anybody. If you want to push this fanciful nonsense any more, please do it on some other blog.

Constantinos Ragazas said...

Brian,

I am trying to read up on stone 69 and see the pictures myself to resolve this issue with Geo. But when I tried to download the Cleal book available online, I got this message from my Chrome browser:

Warning: Something Is Not Right Here!

Suggestions anyone?

Kostas

TonyH said...

Kostas, although I don't possess a copy of the Cleal book, I would recommend you ask your local U.S. public library to provide you with a loan copy to read. They may say that you are able to read it within the library building only. I am sure the U.S.A library networks must have some copies of this landmark book.