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Thursday, 10 September 2015

Lower Palaeozoic sandstone at Stonehenge


I found this illustration in one of Rob Ixer's publications.  It's rather pixellated, but it shows an erratic fragment (size not known) of a buff-coloured Lower Palaeozoic sandstone found at or near Stonehenge.  The geologists seem pretty certain that it is from the Lower Palaeozoic, which means that it's probably Ordovician or Cambrian,  or could be Silurian (there are some Silurian sandstones in Pembrokeshire, in the central part of the county and on Skomer Island).  At the moment the money seems to be on NW Pembrokeshire as a source, and we await with interest the next Ixer / Bevins geological paper which might shed light on the provenance of this fragment and some other related fragments from Stonehenge.

28 comments:

Myris of Alexandria said...

The next paper from the pet rock boys is their volcanics Group A paper aka almost all of the volcanics with sub planar texture. The Lower Palaeozoic sandstone paper will be multiauthored, sandstones are tricky rocks, it has been dated by its microfossils. It has an odd distribution in the Stonehenge landscape.
M

BRIAN JOHN said...

Thank you Myris -- gradually the pieces of the jigsaw fall into place. All we need now is some cooperation from EH in allowing some of the stumps and standing bluestones to be sampled......

Myris of Alexandria said...

All the non dolerite standing stones have been sampled. It is the buried stumps that need sampling.
M

BRIAN JOHN said...

But not the dolerites? Were they deemed to be less important?

Myris said...

Need to ask the main OU team, those who are still living!. Just OWT.
M

BRIAN JOHN said...

Oh dear -- is it really just Olwen left? I suppose it was 25 years ago........

Myris said...

Just Olwen and the two minor contributors, Ixer and Thomas left.
Most of the others died at a very young age.
M

Geo Cur said...




"in an assemblage of erratic stones and other debris that is best interpreted as a glacigenic deposit."

Is more circular than the Stonehenge ditch or even a Tetley tea bag ,and doesn’t provide the evidence in answer to "whilst leaving not a shred of evidence from anywhere else on Salisbury Plain"

BRIAN JOHN said...

Nonsense, Geo. If you were to see those stones in a pile or even in a scatter, that's exactly what you might call them if you were a geomorphologist. You would of course add that some of them have been shaped. No problem with that.

Er, is there a shred of evidence on Salisbury Plain or anywhere else in support of the human transport theory? The best that proponents can do is to say "They could have done it if they had wanted to, and therefore they probably did" -- or else "Glacier transport was impossible. Therefore all that's left is human transport as a possibility, and because that's all that's left it becomes a certainty....." Doesn't get much more circular than that.....

Can you do any better?

TonyH said...

See: "VIRTUOUS CYCLE AND VICIOUS CYCLE", Wikipedia.

.....and apparently "Virtuous Cycles" is a bicycle shop in Indiana. Honest.

And Bristol is the Green Capital of Europe with virtuous cyclists in abundance.

We do seem to be getting ever closer to The Truth vis a vis the Bluestone Enigma, and Myris is doing his bit on Truth's behalf, thank you. Myris, you may get The Freedom of Stonehenge, Bristol, and Preseli.

TonyH said...

Bring on the Formation of Rhosyfelin Geomorphologists (preceded by the New Romantics of MPP Archaeology). September 2015 looks like being quite an eventful month.

TonyH said...

Above Collective Noun has acronym FRhoG.

Geo Cur said...



It's not nonsense . The comment "in an assemblage of erratic stones and other debris that is best interpreted as a glacigenic deposit." is circular ,that was the nonsense .

chris johnson said...

Plenty of evidence that early man moved big stones and bigger than the bluestones. And if you can move a stone 10 yards you can move it 150 miles - given a very good reason and there was plenty of time in those days.

The curse of Stonehenge is a new one. Mike seems in robust health and long may he prosper; Dr Ixer too.

Myris of Alexandria said...

No I am but n 'umble'seeker of the TRUTH, there is one greater than I. Kostas.
I know that Dr Ixer wants definitive geomorphological and archaeological descriptions in the peer reviewed literature so that informed arguing can begin.
M

BRIAN JOHN said...

Geo, you misunderstand, and my patience is sorely tied. Erratics are not by definition glacial in origin. Erratics are simply stones which are in places where they would not normally be expected. They could be put in place by landslides, tsunamis, floods, or a wide range of other processes. The statement was not circular. It was perfectly straightforward and rational. It said what it meant and meant what it said.

BRIAN JOHN said...

Chris -- they could have done it if they had wanted to, and therefore they probably di?!!! Here we go again. Some evidence would come in handy.

BRIAN JOHN said...

Myris -- just be patient. You won't have long to wait.....

Myris of Alexandria said...

Oh I thought erratics were glacial by definition.
I shall check.
What you say has some sense.
M

Geo Cur said...



Brian , we know the definition of erratic and we also know that you believe that the method of transport of the bluestones was by glacier not tsunami or flood etc .You may have meant what you siad and it is trying to have to repeat that the comment , "in an assemblage of erratic stones and other debris that is best interpreted as a glacigenic deposit." is circular .The evidence for the validity of the assertion ,the stones are “best interpreted as glaciagenic “ assumes the validity of the assertion that the stones are erratics , is a very obvious and simple example .You started with what what you finished .

You said it . I never said your straw man comment "They could have done it if they had wanted to, and therefore they probably did" ,which is little different from " A glacier could could have entrained the stones and therefore it probabaly did " except humans could have transported the stones but glaciologists tell us that have no glacier did entrain stones to the site ,so while both comments are evidence free ,one could be true whilst the other is not .

TonyH said...

Thus far, since the days of amateur archaeologist JFS Stone and maybe before, the landscape of what is now referred to as Greater Stonehenge i.e broadly from the Upper Cursus in the NW to the Cuckoo Stone to the NNE and Fargo Plantation to the NNW OF Stonehenge, and all points S and E to the Avon, has been the subject of scrutiny, and miscellaneous findings of "erratic" stones (by Brian's recently remarked definition above, to include non - glacial material) listed and categorised, and that has included findings from plundered barrows.

From a scientific and geomorphological and geological viewpoint, it would be marvellous if this scrutiny of the so - called Greater Stonehenge Landscape could be EXTENDED by a circumference of say, five miles N, NW, W and NE of the Old Ruin, then we might well find further evidence of unusual "erratics" in the landscape.

English Heritage's Julian Richards did his well - known fieldwalking trawl of the "smaller" Stonehenge Landscape back in the '80's. We all need something now for the early 21st Century to make some giant leaps for Man beyond the realms of Conventional, or Received Wisdom, let's face it, that is based upon Myth and Imagination and Speculation and Hearsay. These all - too - human traits limit our expectations to Human Transportation as the only "true account" about Bluestones (and while we're at it, SARSEN stones as well). On this latter point, see my recent comment under the very recent Durrington Walls radar survey).

TonyH said...

We live in Exciting Times, in the Autumn of 2016.Even Merlin would be sitting up and taking notice - perhaps he is, along with Arthur and the rest. I think the Mist will be slowly clearing to reveal.......

BRIAN JOHN said...

Round and round we go. Geo, no glaciologist has ever said that "no glacier did entrain stones to the site." Glaciologists (who are very sensible people) have more sense than to tempt fate in that way. As Myris frequently implores us, please go off and check your primary sources.

Myris of Alexandria said...

JFS Stone FSA May have been an untrained archaeologist but he was no amateur, a man of his time, he thought Greeks and perhaps even Egyptians had ?directly influenced Wessex II, I am not certain, but should! What that is in today's money, Mature Bronze Age, Early Mature Bronze age. Read his lovely Wessex book.
The pet rock boys have, of course, many of the exotic stones collected by Richards on his walkabouts and they will be written up. There are no great changes from the reported lithologies. Originals are on line at EH.
There is little or no evidence either way. But find a quarry quarries and the balance is tipped and the truth Libra-ated.
M

Geo Cur said...



Brian , note I never used quotes about what we can infer from the glaciologists and
the inference wasn't circular or a straw man .
From my limited experience of the primary literature I doubt that there is a suggestion that the bluestones were transported by glacier to the site of Stonehenge , or that there was a glacier capable of entraining them present at the site , hence my comment .If there is something in the primary literature that suggests otherwise you surely would have have mentioned it .
I imagine, like archaeologists , there is no shortage of glaciologists who are not very sensible .

Myris of Alexandria said...

Sixty years ago J.F.S. Stone, and greatly influenced by his work on blue faience beads, wrote of a ‘short-lived (rich) Wessex Culture’ followed by ‘a barbaric twilight in the pale reflected glory of the Ancient East’ a vista whose shade still haunts the popular understanding of dead-rich Bronze Age Wessex.

There is a direct link between Dr Stone and his field walking and the finding of the CRyf quarry. His stones packed in the famous 'shoebox' were the one that first alerted the pet rock boys to the riches hidden amongst the fox gloves of the northern slopes of the Preseli hills.

D.H.L eat your heart out.. purple prose never Tyre of it.
M
M

Myris of Alexandria said...

We live in Exciting Times, in the Autumn of 2016.Even Merlin would be sitting up and taking notice - perhaps he is, along with Arthur and the rest. I think the Mist will be slowly clearing to reveal....... "the triumphal entry of the SS Titanic into New York Harbour" Apologies to Bored Of The Rings. (Read the secondary literature here)
M

TonyH said...

A little TOO cryptic and obscure, perhaps even cynical for me this time, Myris. At least I gave you a route into talking about Jack Stone, and "gave the dog a bone", so to speak... What's that about the SS Titanic? t'WAS launched and sunk the year my father was born, and the year after Bingham discovered Machu Picchu, Peru. By the way, it is no less than Prof MPP who refers to Jack Stone as an 'amateur archaeologist' during the 1930's and 40's(Parker Pearson, Stonehenge, 2012, p.158).

And I didn't even realise foxes wore gloves, even in Preseli.