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Thursday 12 February 2015

The Erratic Bluestone Circle

With grateful thanks to "The Stones of Stonehenge" blog site, the bluestones from the bluestone circle pictured above are (from the top) stones 31, 34, 35a, 39, 45 and 47

I've been having a good look at the splendid photos featured on "The Stones of Stonehenge" site, and had forgotten what a grubby and random collection of stones of all shapes and sizes they actually are.  Most of them are so heavily worn on their edges that they would not be out of place in a modern moraine close to a glacier snout.  The idea that they might have been quarried from a Neolithic quarry by our heroic ancestors is totally ludicrous.  We are looking at the traces of severe wear by natural processes -- either in a fluvio-glacial environment or ((much more likely) in a glacial one.

This is a collection of glacial erratics, or I will eat my hat.  From an examination of Simon's photos, here are my brief notes.  Any other observations would be welcome.

Nineteen stones in the Bluestone Circle:
31 -- damaged and heavily worn slab.  Standing.  Recent damage close to ground level
32 -- heavily worn slightly elongated boulder.  Fallen -- resting on another stone
33 -- well worn short and stumpy pillar.  Standing.  Signs of shaping -- meant as a lintel?
34 -- well rounded small boulder, placed on end
35 a and 35 b -- irregular and well worn boulder, embedded in the ground and only just visible
36 -- an irregular and heavily worn boulder, slightly elongated.  Modern damage on one edge.  Recumbent
37 -- smallish well-rounded boulder, slightly slab-shaped and set on end
38 --  smallish irregular boulder, well worn, fallen and under another stone
39 -- another smallish boulder, well worn, slightly slab-shaped, with some later damage.  Leaning, almost recumbent
40g -- below ground stump -- irregular shape
41 --  recumbent elongated boulder with heavy wear -- very well rounded edges
42 -- recumbent wedge-shaped stone with heavy wear on edges
43 -- recumbent slightly flattened boulder with heavy wear on edges
44 -- heavily worn boulder just visible in the turf -- recumbent
45 -- recumbent elongated boulder with heavy wear on edges
46 -- slightly slab-shaped boulder set on edge.  Flaky -- considerable recent surface damage
47 -- slab with heavy wear on edges -- set on end
48 -- small recumbent boulder with heavy wear --  just projecting through the turf
49 -- small irregular slab with quite sharp edges.  Upright.  Signs of dressing? Intended as a lintel?

And here's another thought.  If the archaeologists insist that Stonehenge was carefully planned, with  dolerites brought in for the bluestone horseshoe and everything else destined for the bluestone circle, the famous "proto-orthostat" lying on the ground at Rhosyfelin would be a complete anomaly.  With its sharp edges (typical of a rockfall slab) it is far larger than any of the other bluestone circle stones and completely different in its physical characteristics.  I am more convinced than ever that NONE of the Stonehenge bluestones was quarried from the solid rock -- in Pembrokeshire or anywhere else.  The stones at Stonehenge were already very ancient -- and heavily worn -- well before they were gathered up and built into the monument.  Some of them (especially those in the horseshoe) were of course damaged or dressed either before or after arrival at the site, but most of those in the bluestone circle appear to be largely in their natural state.

Just take one look at the Rhosyfelin stone, and compare it with the above photos (or any of the others on Simon's blog) and you will have to agree that the archaeologists are wasting everybody's time with all this quarrying nonsense.



Constantinos Ragazas said...


I am intrigued by the damage to stone 31 (first photo) at the bottom of that stone! What natural process and weathering could account for this?

In my view, such damage is likely human. Seems likely this stone was worked on to break it off at the bottom to use for some intended purpose. Leaving behind just a stump in the ground.

Looking at other stumps just breaking the ground surface, it is likely this may explain them also! Adding further evidence to my idea Stonehenge at some latter time (Roman? Medieval?) was a Rock Factory.


Myris of Alexandria said...

A most interesting post, one of your best.
It should be read alongside the recent scans. "SH Lasar Scan". Marcus Abbott et al, (FREE boys FREE, but long)on the web EH publication.
Ye how weatherd are the quasi-proto-orthostats at outcrop? compared with SH. If much different then an explanation is needed.
"I would say elves to him
but rather that he said it for himself"
Kostas I think everyone agrees that the orthostats were used as a stone quarry in post BA times.
or battering rams or shields for archers to hide behind(pace loopy French man on Britarch)
Kostas have you tried Britarch-you should- a sort of English mainly truth-seeking fringe HallofMaat.

BRIAN JOHN said...

Kostas -- there is nothing radical about the idea that Stonehenge was used at some time as a "rock factory." Everybody has been saying that for years. The debitage attests to that, and there has been much discussion (on this blog and elsewhere) about the idea of Stonehenge bluestones being used for tool manufacture. Of course, the tool making would need to be broadly contemoporaneous with the building and modification of the stone monument -- other damage came later. Many stones are clearly dressed and otherwise damaged. Just look at the images on Somon's site and you will see much evidence of "fresh damaged faces" mostly on the edges or corners of the stones in the bluestone circle.

Myris, the surfaces of the stones in the bluestone circle look VERY old to me. And the surface of the "proto-orthostat" at Rhosyfelin looks very young. I'll go back and have a look at the weathering crust one of these days. Thickness and characteristics of weathering crusts are difficult to quantify -- different faces will have different crust thicknesses. In the end, we are going to need cosmogenic dating to sort this out -- and even that is fraught with difficulty, as my friend Lionel Jackson has pointed out more than once.

Myris of Alexandria. said...

I have to say you make a good point.

Constantinos Ragazas said...

You write, "Kostas -- there is nothing radical about the idea that Stonehenge was used at some time as a "rock factory." Everybody has been saying that for years. "

That is my understanding also! I was primarily responding to Neil's earlier post on this idea. And thought to set him straight.


ND Wiseman said...


Stonehenge was certainly a Rock Factory at some point in the past. I see my term is now firmly established in the lexicon! lol


Constantinos Ragazas said...


Noticed how conciliatory Myris has been lately? I think Myris was peeking through the keyhole at MPP and his dates! And doesn't like what he sees!


Jon Morris said...

“If the archaeologists insist that Stonehenge was carefully planned, with dolerites brought in for the bluestone horseshoe and everything else destined for the bluestone circle, the famous "proto-orthostat" lying on the ground at Rhosyfelin would be a complete anomaly.”

Some parts of the Stonehenge construction were very carefully planned Brian. The current configuration of bluestone indicates a re-use of existing materials which may pre-date the earliest Sarsen phase: If a surveyor does not realise that materials have been recycled, the reasoning for the selection can appear odd.

When/if the original purpose of a particular size and type of materials becomes known, it should become obvious whether or not there would have been a need to specially source those objects (same as with any non-archaeological investigation project). At this point, your arguments will be justified (or not depending on who you ask and what their theory is).

If an archaeologist manages to work it all out (and has the resources to publish), it will be a massive coup for archaeology. Though I suspect it will not be done in our lifetimes. Have you thought about how to archive your site so that some of the arguments can be looked back over? (It's easy for a blog to become lost)


BRIAN JOHN said...

Jon -- some will always say that size and shape were immaterial, and that stones were brought from Pembs to Stonehenge because they were magic, or because they were totems or represented the spirits of the ancestors. Fantasy -- the last resort of the charlatan. Why is there no sign in Wales of "special" or magic stones being brought in for the building of stone circles of chambered tombs? It didn't happen.

Yes, of course, the stones have been moved about many times, and some have been broken or destroyed in the process. As I have always argued, that was probably because they never had enough stones, and messed about many times with what they had, when the costs of fetching more stones from further afield outweighed the benefits.

Archiving this site? Never thought of it. How does one do that? Well, I suppose it has some value, with over 630,000 hits so far... so somebody must be reading it!

Myris of Alexandria said...

Kostas indeed I know the CRyf dates
and sometime soon so will everybody else.
No I am happy to acknowledge all good data,Kostas.

Constantinos Ragazas said...


"Kostas have you tried Britarch-you should- a sort of English mainly truth-seeking fringe HallofMaat."

Send me the link! Hope Hermione is not behind it, however! She does not like what I have to say about Stonehenge and has banished me from HallofMaat!

All Brian ever did was to block some of my posts! Brian is my man!


Jon Morris said...

Hi Brian

I'm not sure of the best way to archive data such as this, especially if you have a lot of it. It's something I've been thinking about as I'm not sure how to archive my own stuff. Sites are automatically archived to some extent (eg your blog-site). But this is very haphazard and only a partial capture.