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Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Where did the Rhosyfelin "proto-orthostat" come from?

We have had some discussion about the origin of that big rock slab Rhosyfelin.  There is some confusion out there.  Prof MPP and his colleagues think that it is now about 15m from its source.  That does not mean 15m from nearest part of the rock face, but the confusion is understandable, and the archaeologists should have made things clearer than they have.  Here is a pic of the relevant part of the face:


You can see the slab with the bucket on it.  MPP clearly does not think the stone has come crashing down from the high pinnacle at the top of the photo, but from one of the "fresher looking" exposures at the extreme right of the photo.  They would be about 15 m away.  He thinks it was quarried from there, and then manhandled or manoevred to its present position by being dragged along on these famous stone "rails"  -- on the subject of which we have spent enough time already......

Myris has informed us that only one rock sample has been taken from the slab itself, but maybe 20 or more have been taken from the rock face -- presumably with a view to establishing exactly where the slab came from.  We can also assume that the provenance has been established to the satisfaction of Drs Ixer and Bevins, who will be joint authors when the big paper is published in the autumn.  We'll see whether the petrographic evidence stands up -- there are certain aspects of it thus far that I have questioned on this blog!

Could the stone have got from one of the recesses on the right of the photo to its present position without human involvement?  I wouldn't see a problem with that -- the gradient is quite steep, and many stones in the neighbourfood have moved a long way from their places of origin, with the assistance of glacier ice, meltwater and periglacial processes.  There are some big slabs quite far out onto the valley floor, near the NE limit of the area excavated thus far.

Let's see the colour of the evidence......

49 comments:

Evergreen said...

If (if!) what we are looking at in that photo is a quarry are there not one or two (or three or four) 'giveaway' signs? Is it not possible to tell a rock that has become detached from an outcrop because of a natural process from one that has been intentionally removed by a Neolithic picnic loving human being? It would seem surprising (to me) if these two methods, with their distinct processes, did not produce anything by way of a tell tale signature here or there? Something on the rock?A little clue in a 'recess'? Professor Plum at the outcrop, with the antler?

I nearly put parenthesis within parenthesis at one point there, absolutely outrageous.

ND Wiseman said...

Oakie Doakie …

I have prepared a characteristically long-winded essay on certain aspects of Rhosyfellin, or however you spell it, with the merits of what-not, why-for and how-come. Those who know me can rightly assume that it's full of the patently typical: "In My Opinion" along with the obligatory "Therefore …" at the end ─ and upon receiving some timely clarification I'll have saved it for a rainy day. So stay tuned …
But let me take a step backwards first.

There is and has been quite a lot of fuss about this site-of-rocks, and while much of the discussion seems valuable, I'm the guy who likes to make up his own mind about such things.

But all I ever see is this big honking rock laying there amid a jumble of others which have clearly fallen from the face of the Craig, or whatever throat-clearing sound the Welsh have for it. Over on the left we see extensive excavation, as shown by the 'high water mark' of the original turf. It looks to me like there's been substantial disturbance, and though I'm pretty sure it's all been cataloged and documented yadda yadda, none of it is particularly helpful.

So, okay ─ where can I see pictures of this place before all the rummaging and rooting around began?

Neil
.

BRIAN JOHN said...

Hi Neil -- since Richard Bevins and his colleagues in the National Museum of Wales were the first to start taking samples from the locality in 2010 (as part of the ongoing bluestone provenancing exercise and attempts to map and understand the Fishguard Volcanic series) that's where I'd start if I was looking for 'historic' photos. Maybe Myris might have seen some? The photos I published the other day show very thick vegetation on the NW flank of the ridge, which MPP and colleagues systematically started to remove in Sept 2011. Maybe the National Park Authority has "before and after" photos? They are after all the planning authority, who must have supervised the dig. Dyfed Archaeological trust too?

All we can go on at the moment, in trying to assess the degree of "landscape change", is the high tide mark which we can clearly see on the rock face. And a lot of evidence of chain saw work on the gorse bushes and other tree stumps still left overhanging the face. The activity has also triggered quite a few rockfalls and debris slides, so there has been actual degradation of parts of the ridge as a result of what has been done 2011-2014.

What is acceptable and what is not? The NPA seems to have a pretty high tolerance threshold.

Dave Weston said...

Who is N D Wiseman who has difficulty with spelling and pronouncing Welsh?

Don't we all make up our own minds?

BRIAN JOHN said...

No big deal -- if I had a penny for every mis-spelling of Welsh place-names on this blog I'd be a very rich man by now, and would have retired to the country.

TonyH said...

Ernie Wise's real name was Ernie Wiseman, probably no relation to N.D. Wiseman, who, for those who don't know, lives in very rural Eastern Canada.

Ernie Wise was, of course, Eric of Morecombe's straight man for all those years. And, now, it's nice to hear Neil telling Story - Telling Mike PP straight what he thinks of the substance behind his outlandish claims for Rhosyfelin - in other words, "what he thinks of it so far". Most of us can swiftly recall Eric's immediate response to that!

And I agree with Brian: the National Park's Authority has shown an unbelievably high tolerance threshold for all the manhandling the MPP Team made to the existing Protected Landscape.

Some time, somebody will stand up and convince everyone - which includes all the gullible MPP fan base - that Emperor Parker Pearson is Wearing no Clothes, despite all his attempts to blind us with rapid - fire Pseudo - Science, with its complete avoidance of the contribution Geomorphology and Glaciology (NOT Geology all on its own) should be making to his researches.

I always thought that Universities existed to expand understanding, and that is done by COOPERATION between different Faculties and Departments. MPP and his crew are behaving like Politicians of one Party. All we get is his Party Political Propaganda, with its origins in hubris. Simon Cowell will be quaking in his shoes, he has competition!

chris johnson said...

It would seem to be an obvious step, having the ability to pinpoint provenance with such accuracy, to have traced exactly where the Picnic Table came from. Then one would be able to make good assumptions about how it was quarried.

The oracle is very quiet.

For dating purposes the obvious thing to have done would be to lift the Orthostat and examine underneath. That this has not been done speaks loudly.

Phil Morgan said...

A Google definition of a quarry is given as:

"A place, typically a large deep pit, from which stone or other materials are, or have been, extracted."

If only one, or perhaps two, large stones had been removed in prehistoric times, would that make Craig Rhos-y-Felin a true quarry?
Is there a disagreement over something that doesn't exist?

BRIAN JOHN said...

Chris -- the archaeologists are aware of the importance of finding out what's under the picnic table. They have excavated beneath it, by taking away as much fine material as they dare, while leaving the bigger stones (including those which are blessed by being referred to as "rails") behind. I suspect that they stopped digging when the whole operation started to get dangerous -- it would indeed be a sad thing if MPP or anybody else was to be crushed to death by an 8 tonne picnic table....... or even by a 4 tonne picnic table.

If they have found anything organic in the sediment beneath the stone, and if radiocarbon dates have been obtained, we will sure enough hear about it.

BRIAN JOHN said...

Phil -- when is a quarry not a quarry? I agree that we could all be making a lot of fuss about nothing in particular. If (as I think was distinctly possible) prehistoric folk might have taken sharp-edged stones from here in order to make flakes and cutting tools, would that make it a quarry? Probably it would, even if there were no heroic attempts to shift large stones. They would not have needed to do that -- plenty of sharp-edged debris lying around everywhere.

Evergreen said...

It's not so much MPPs interpretations I take issue with, it's more that he sometimes makes a choice to present those interpretations as fact when there are other possibilities to consider.
The 'proto-orthostat' is a good example in the book. ('smoking gun..' etc)

I don't want archaeologists to just record what they find, I do want them to join dots and come to conclusions, to build a picture. But I want to see exactly how and why they have come to those 'favoured' conclusions, together with a thorough discussion of alternatives.


BRIAN JOHN said...

Tend to agree with that, Evergreen. It is fairly clear that the archaeologists had decided this was a Neolithic quarry even before the first gorse bush was chopped down. A classic example of a ruling hypothesis........

BRIAN JOHN said...

In contrast, I really like the way that Dyfed Archaeology Trust people do their work -- careful recording and careful suggestions as to origins, with various possibilities weighed up. Then encouragement to others to do more work until such time as things become clear.

Phil Morgan said...

Some thoughts on the possible quarrying of bluestones, and perhaps a reason why.

If tasked with quarrying some 50+ stones from scattered sites in the Preseli area then, from a purely quarrying point of view, the least attractive sites would include Craig Rhos-y-Felin, Carn Meini, and Carn Goedog. All three present considerable difficulty when it comes to the safety of the workforce, and the preservation of the orthostats during quarrying and extraction from the site.

In previous threads I've referred to the excellent book 'Building the Great Stone Circles of the North', by Professor Colin Richards, and I am struck by the similarities between photos of the support provided to quarried monoliths in the Orkney Isles, and the 'rails' beneath the large slab at CRyF.
The photos also clearly show that the preferred method of quarrying was by prising the large slabs from the ground, (horizontal quarrying), as opposed to the popular theory of pulling the slabs downwards from an upright position, (vertical quarrying), in the Preseli region.


Why quarry in the first place, and why did the stones come to rest at Stonehenge?

1). If Professor Parker Pearson is correct, and the bluestones currently at Stonehenge originally formed a monument in the Preseli area, then why did the Preseli monument contain a mix of stones of different strengths, appearances, and weathering characteristics?

A possible reason could be as follow:

Perhaps a circle was formed at Preseli which included representative stones from different areas or families. Say two stones from CRyF, Carn Goedog, Carn Meini,Tycanol Woods and Blaen-y-Ffos. This would account for the mixture of stone types.

2). Why send a complete stone circle to Salisbury Plain?

Flint, being the universal tool of the time, would have been required by the Preseli people for daily use. However, naturally occurring flint is uncommon in Preseli just as bluestones are not found in the Salisbury region. Could a deal have been struck with the Salisbury people whereby a long term supply of flint would be provided in exchange for a complete bluestone circle?

I suggest that any quarrying conducted at CRyF, Carn Goedog or Carn Meini was restricted to perhaps two monoliths, and I also suggest that somewhere in the Preseli area there is a prehistoric horizontal quarry having dimensions capable of producing the bulk of the spotted, and unspotted, dolerite bluestones at Stonehenge.

Geo Cur said...



Phil ,
surely the quarrying at Vestra was related to the bedding plane and lateral fault lines , and there was little option to allow a preference for what you describe as vertical quarrying .

TonyH said...

Monsieur Parker Pearson sticks to his Ruling Hypothesis, but frequently uses the word "perhaps", whilst in the next breath claiming he has "found the smoking gun" or stumbled upon the terrific truth that our island was unified by the actions taking place at Stonehenge, Preseli, and the Orkneys. It is a case of hedging your bets, or having your cake and eating it - presumably from Chris's Picnic Table.

Dave Maynard said...

I remember being lectured on reciprocity when I was at Sheffield.

Something to do with islands in the Pacific who were in an exchange system, where some had useful items like rock axes and others had less useful things like bird feathers. By giving each other presents they evened out the distribution of resources.

Of course, these were all portable objects, that fit in a canoe.

Dave

Hugh Thomas said...

Before I set about exploring the Preselau area I was a strong believer in Human transport of the stones to Stonehenge. In my wanderings about the place (700 miles and counting, over 60 walks and 30,000 + photos later ), I simply just do not see it anymore. Oh there are wonderful apparently suitably shaped monoliths everywhere from Cerrig Marchogion , Carn Bica, Carn Menyn, Carn Daffadd Las, Carn Breseb, and especially Carn Goeddog. There are though few suitably shaped at Carn Alw, then there are the sprinkling of random monoliths littering everywhere else.
I have lost count of even the greatest sceptics resistance melting away when they see some these impressive tors... "Well if THEY did come from here they had to have gone that way... Or did it THIS way ".All the time looking at the modern landscape and forgetting it was probably different back then, more woods etc. ..Then back in the Tafarn Zinc its back to " Not a chance did they do it that way".
I can only personally imagine ice could have been the key in a Human transport scenario, these stones would moved better on a completely frozen surface. This is as far as my hypothetical scenario goes, because beyond anything practical it is only hype and theory with legend.
I wish I could say I had found something concrete on the surface to help but there is not, Carn Goeddog is the closest to anything you will find to support it, it is though on the northern slope and this is where the hype will be cultivated now it is known just how archaeologically busy it is north of here moving towards Craig Rhos y felin. The nearest sea entry is Newport bay , sailed them all the way round past Ramsey Sound through the bitches and Jack Sound did they ? They must have pretty powerful engines on those rafts. I feel there is something special about the area north and east of Carn Bica , only because it is so busy but none of it points to a heroic megalithic Ikea project. .

Phil Morgan said...

Hello Geo,
Agreed, for in the absence of explosives it is always easier to work to bedding planes, fault lines, and a free face. What I am trying to show is that even though the outcropping rocks at CRyf, Carn Goedog and Carn Meini look inviting and easy to extract, there are other factors that militate against that reasoning. Pulling rocks down from elevated positions is dangerous, for there's a limit to the amount of control that can be applied to a falling rock weighing several tonnes, and I'm sure that fracturing the rock would be frowned upon.
It is safer in all respects to lift the slabs from a level, or near level, position. The Scotland connection was included simply to show that the horizontal method works, and was practiced in prehistoric times.

BW Phil M.

Myris of Alexandria said...

Phil lovely to hear you again, but Geocur is correct as indeed you are about the building book, really worth the reading,not quite so certain 're the Christmass sic wrapping analogy.
But in Orkney they are exploiting the horizontal bedding and then the jointing, I wish Archies would use the correct nomenclature, (and geomorphologists too), whereas at CRyf they exploited the vertical foliation plane and the joint sets.
So nothing extraordinary.
M

BRIAN JOHN said...

So we go our separate ways -- Myris says: "........at CRyf they exploited the vertical foliation plane and the joint sets." Those are the words of a man who has abandoned scepticism / incredulity / scientific impartiality and who is now a fully signed up disciple of the Rhosyfelin Quarry belief system. As we know, Richard Bevins has also been criticised for the enthusiasm with which he promotes the Neolithic quarry idea. So be it -- and we look forward to seeing the colour of the evidence. Ain't seen anything remotely convincing in print thus far.

I try to be accurate in the way I use rock mechanics terms, and hope I have never used the word "bedding" when referring to igneous rocks...... But on the matter accuracy, Myris refers to "the vertical foliation plane." It's not vertical, and it's not one plane. As I showed in my recent post (24 May), there are multiple foliation planes, and they are discontinuous. I showed photos of them, and I challenge any rock mechanics expert to disagree with me on that. I refer to these as "sub-planar foliation fracture surfaces" - and that, according to my text books, is a pretty accurate description of what they are. Blocks have fallen off many of these surfaces, in many places along the rock face -- often with roughly horizontal joints acting as the "hinges" when the blocks have been pushed out by tree roots etc and have toppled over.

chris johnson said...

Phil, the health and safety aspect reminded me of the huts on the north side of Carn Goedog, just beneath the summit. I doubt anybody would build a little home in that location of their own free will and definitely not with children around.

The location looks like the kind of dumb location an army would choose to locate some sentries, or a serf owning aristocracy would choose to house some labourers. Never mind falling rock, there is a good chance of breaking a leg or twisting an ankle just clambering over those stones - unless you have a mountain goat gene.

Recollecting my visit there I am now a bit surprised by the lack of fallen pillars just below the summit. I might have expected to find more after the many millennia. The downslope areas looked relatively clean. I wonder if Brian and Hugh share my opinion here, or am I just imagining things again?

BRIAN JOHN said...

Chris -- I think I would disagree with you about the desirability of the site beneath Carn Goedog as a settlement site. It's perfect -- relatively sheltered from the south-westerlies, quite nice and dry, with reasonable animal grazing round about, springs not far off, and a fantastic view out across the landscape, which presumably will have been covered with scrub woodland and would have been good hunting territory. And a paradise for kids! Dens and adventures everywhere......

If one wants to fantasise, one might even think of a place like this as a summer settlement site, and Rhosyfelin as a winter settlement site, tucked down in the shelter of the gorge.....

BRIAN JOHN said...

...... and another factor I forgot to mention. Abundant building stone.....

chris johnson said...

Brian, your view is growing on me. There is a fantastic big spring close by.

The flat land Hugh brought to our attention would be a nice spot for a stone circle too. Plenty of stone handy and now gone missing ...

Myris of Aexandria said...

Brian by foliation plane I was not referring to any single entity but like the term bedding, was meaning an attribute of the rock mass/outcrop. I agree there are numerous sub-parallel foliation planes as there are joint planes and indeed joint sets exposed at CRyf. In this regard the outcrop could be either natural or equally anthropogenic. Vertical was mean to distinguish from horizontal, it would have been pedantic to give the correct orientation of the plane, vertical is close enough for the argument. You border on the disingenuous.
Dr Ixer des not always agree with Myris, indeed I doubt he would use 'quarry' as a short hand description in something that is lasting; one has a reputation to maintain the other has a reputation. I do know that he believes in the concepts of collective responsibility in publishing, publishing what you believe even knowing that you may believe something else when better data come along and accepting other authorities.
Oh and learning the correct jargon it speeds everything up and allows for adult arguments or we return to (may the Gods ever bless him) Kostas-style argument counter argument.
On balance Dr Ixer and I believe that CRyf and the proto-orthostat are, at least in part, anthropogenic and it is un-natural to think otherwise. it is however a big quarry for one or a most two SH orthostats.
It is the smoking gun that solves it everytime ask Martin Bolivar or better Winnie.
M

BRIAN JOHN said...

Ah, the deadly sin of collective responsibility! We will simply agree to disagree on assorted matters. What's for sure is that Rhosyfelin is now a quarry, after all that quarrying done by the archaeologists....... and the top end just might have been a quarry a century or so ago.

Phil Morgan said...

Hello Chris,
While touching on the subject of Health and Safety in the Neolithic, and temporarily off thread, I wonder about the periglacial stripes that form the Avenue entrance/exit from Stonehenge.
It is sometimes claimed that our ancestors would form rather large processions along the Avenue. If the stripes were exposed at the time of the processions then I believe the treatment of broken bones, particularly ankle bones, would be high on the agenda.

Hello Myris,
Good to hear from you, and hoping that you're both well on the Mediterranean shore.
In the Brecon area, south Wales, at the moment, checking several very large (+12 tonne) sandstone standing stones.
More to follow.
Go steady,
Phil

Evergreen said...

Have you been injured in an accident at work?

Mrs Durrington of Wiltshire tripped over on an ox shoulder blade, twisting her ankle. She was awarded 40 amber beads.

Mr Perry Glacial of Pembrokshire was struck on the head by a 4 or possibly 8 ton picnic table and was unable to quarry stone for 16 weeks. He was awarded 12 thumbnail scrapers and a small stone hedgehog.

If you've sustained an injury at work contact Stenness & Stenness. Our offices are a simple 3 month journey north. No tricky forms to fill in, just simply emit a low gutteral noise or leave a cup mark on our rock and we'll get back to you.

Apply now and we'll send you this Quartz pecking stone absolutely free.

Dave Weston said...

Perhaps the large lump of rock at Gryf was originally intended to be the, so called, Altar Stone of Stonehenge, the size is about right.

BRIAN JOHN said...

Ah yes -- they probably decided to sacrifice all those virgins at Rhosyfelin instead, thereby saving everybody a lot of trouble.

By the way, there's a nice flat stone (spotted dolerite) quite close to Carn Meini as well -- I was always told that it was referred to as "The Altar Stone."

Hugh Thomas said...

If by magic this rock outcrop and dig (done just for the hell of it ) occurred somewhere else in the country ( with no link to Stonehenge ) ,with the above scene being the result of it , what conclusions would an archaeologist and a geologist say about the scene as it is now? Would they be finding "rails " or layered fallen rocks from the outcrop ? Also what would the conclusion be as to how the big orthostat got to where it is now ?

Myris of Alexandria said...

If by magic Stonehenge did not exist, what would we aged, bored Wasps (and I include all 'Celts' of whatever size, weight or persuasion)argue about.
"finding layered fallen rocks" Have I by some mischance wandered onto a forum of Berkelian existentialists.
Pray the Gods this is not so and this question is but a jape or koan.
M

Hugh Thomas said...

Ha ha ... ;) Very good M, however we butter it up if the same scene was elsewhere it would be called a rock fall that got buried over time. Unfotunately the Jape could be the a possible visitor center selling Craig Rhos y Felyn sticks of rock and t shirts... The Koan will follow in further generations that with the advance of science, will prove we were daft enough to believe it... There are many things to discuss like the large core of black flint I have that may have come from the south of England... Found on the northern slope of Preselau oddly enough....Also how about a future ice age where the glacier moves stonehenge to France ? How would our descendants be pondering how they got those sarsens across the channel and a whole new bluestone mystery... In French.... :)

BRIAN JOHN said...

Hugh -- you raise a very good point. If it were not for the geological provenancing of a few bits of rhyolite debitage from around Stonehenge to the Rhosyfelin area, the archaeologists would never have looked at this site in the first place. After all, there are no hillforts, circles, standing stones or other man-made features to attract attention. And I quite agree -- even if they had looked at it, and found the big flat stone, the rockfalls and the smaller stones, nothing would have attracted a moment's attention as being anything "special". The whole thing is driven by the ruling hypothesis of the Neolithic quarry and the somewhat arrogant assumption that glacial transport of stones from one area to another would have been "impossible" because a chap called HH Thomas said so in his infinite wisdom a very long time ago.

chris johnson said...

Hugh, black flint core is very interesting. Perhaps you have a photo to share. When we see this here we tend to think of it as "North Sea", i.e. from the time before the flood = mesolithic.

On my tromp around Bryberian Moor I kept a very sharp eye open for anything resembling worked stone whether flint or anything else and saw - absolutely nothing!

Evergreen said...

Merely a touch of devils avocado here Brian, but given your position, what is your view on the abscence of bluestone erratics not only on the plain, but also further west? Why weren't bluestones used in the construction of other monuments in Somerset or Wiltshire? What are your thoughts on Stonehenge, as a unique and important monument, also happening to be the only circle to include stones from such a distant source?

Myris of Alexandria said...

It is a little more than a few bits, Cryf rhyolite is the most abundant rhyolite debitage in the Stonehenge landscape.
Before the pet rock boys there was void, after their discovery,there was a focus for exploration, an abnormal planar surface, a large monolith with an orientation that is problematical. A series of unrelated Pleistocene events or a nice example of Neolithic/EBA workmanship.
List other Pleistocene erratics/pebbles on Salisbury Plain and put that against a list of Neolithic/EBA sites found amongst the tank tracks.
Artefacts out of place, blue faience beads at Mycenae now what is that old saw about mountains and prophets. The bling bling book is a wonderful read, not easy but real scholarship.
M

BRIAN JOHN said...

Evergreen -- read the book and read the blog! All those questions, and many more, are answered already. Use the search facility if you like -- it works pretty well.

Myris of Alexandria said...

I think I have a bathroom suite in devils avocado.
I shall steal that.
M

BRIAN JOHN said...

Myris -- perhaps you will clarify. I thought that the most abundant rhyolite found in the debitage in that part of the Stonehenge landscape which has been investigated (important distinction) was from the CRyF / Pont Saeson area, and that only a proportion of that amount can be provenanced back to the CRyF rocky outcrop? Can you give us the actual figures? I'm a bit confused from the assorted publications.....

Abnormal planar surface? What's abnormal about it? There are many surfaces, not one.

Problematical orientation? What do you mean?

What's the relevance of number of prehistoric sites when compared with the number of foreign stone fragments on Salisbury Plain? I don't follow your line of reasoning..... You could just as well put the number of thatched cottages against the number of cows.

Myris of Alexandria said...

Ah sorry the blue beads are from Wessex, also found in Denmark.
Why apart from the gold, possibly, do all the raw materials for EBA bling come from the east, not Morganland east closer to East Ham.
M

Myris of Alexandria said...

Ah for Pont saison area, read Cryf, the speed that the early Cryf papers were written meant that they were out of date by the time they were published.
Almost all, figures are given in the on line publications, the rhyolite >95/8% is Cryf and likely to have come from the quarry face.
The total lack of any non-stonehenge erratic material from Salisbury Plain is a hole below the waterline than any 8 tonne orthostat could pass through.
There are two improbable explanations for the Cryf debitage at Stonehenge.
I think we choose different ones.
M

Evergreen said...

Brian, it's my birthday next week and I've already requested 'the field archaeology of dartmoor' and a Silbury cake with careful layering and internal marshmallow sarsens. I can't ask her for anymore. Have I earned a free copy or is that far too cheeky? If not, I'll have to wade back through the blog..

I might be repeating myself or I might be stupid, probably both, but Myris (and Brian), if, as suggested above, they exploited the foliation and the joint sets in terms of quarrying at Rhosyfelin, could it not be shown beyond doubt by what remains that the stones were removed by people? When somebody detaches a rock from an outcrop with simple tools, does it leave characteristic traces? From what I can gather the 'recess' has been found to be important in terms of a match but Brian has said it is too narrow to be the hole left by a SH bluestone. Does the recess bear any 'marks' of quarrying, if such a thing exists?

Phil Morgan said...

I wonder if Hugh's black flint core was a remnant of the Salisbury-Preseli exchange mechanism?

Possibly not.

BRIAN JOHN said...

Happy Birthday, Evergreen! Sorry I can't dish out copies of my valuable text in all directions -- or even just in some directions..... I'm trying to make an honest living from my writing. Ask your nearest and dearest to get a copy as your birthday present. Available online, or from any decent bookshop. Sadly, no Kindle version -- the layout is too complex for the Kindle uploading system to cope with! Extraordinary value for money, and many hours of pleasure.....

In defence of the archaeologists (this is becoming a habit) one would not really expect any traces of "quarrying" on a rock face -- assuming that slabs were already loosened by root expansion etc and the lack of metal tools. If I was a Neolithic quarryman I would probably have used long timber poles as levers, and maybe I would have banged in wooden wedges into fractures as well. Of course, the archaeologists say there ARE traces at Rhosyfelin, including stone "rails", pillars and props, scratches left by the dragging of one stone over another, splits and breakages on over-ridden stones, and so forth. In the view of the geomorphologists who have looked at the site, all of these "traces" are fantasies -- and they are all entirely natural.

BRIAN JOHN said...

Phil-- I'll reserve judgement on the black flint until I see it. Mind you -- all things (almost) are possible..... and there is after all a white limestone boulder from Northern Ireland in glacial deposits in Somerset.

Phil Morgan said...

Two things that are impossible, well perhaps impossible:

a). Striking a match on an ice cube, and
b). Knocking a nail in with a banana.

Pray for the return of Kostas to bring some sanity to this site.

BRIAN JOHN said...

Getting certain people to talk sense (no names mentioned) is also something as near to impossible as it is possible to get, if you get my meaning......