Brit Arch has joined in all the fun and games with a cover story in its Christmas edition. Since I am not a subscriber (I subscribe to too many things as it is...) I have no idea as to what the article within actually says, but I'm sure somebody will tell us.
What's interesting is the wording on the web site: "......... the claimed discovery of two sites in Wales from which different stones at Stonehenge were quarried." That's a bit less of a ringing endorsement than that given by hundreds of media articles, all over the world, in the past few days.
What's also interesting is the choice of the cover picture. Great stress is being placed in the "Antiquity" article -- and presumably in the Brit Arch one too -- on this particular location in the dig site. Some of the comments in the press releases have also directed attention to the single foliated rhyolite standing stone at Stonehenge, which is of course nothing but speculation, since all there was to look at long ago was a little cluster of stumps, none of which has been sampled and all of which are now invisible).
The "recess" shown above the white lettering (lower right) on the cover photo is now supposed to be the place from which one bluestone monolith, measuring 45 cm x 40 cm x 150 cm, was extracted through the use of wedges and taken away to the mysterious proto-Stonehenge which is currently causing such excitement across the world. (That would have been a very small, flaky and fractured monolith, far smaller than most of those at Stonehenge and even in local standing stone settings, but let that pass........) And to the right of the most obvious gap is the slab (on the right edge of the cover photo) which is supposed to have the "closest match" to the rhyolite debitage found at Stonehenge. Here is another photo, from the Antiquity paper, and a photo of mine:
As I have said many times on this blog, and as we say in our new article in AiW, the level of precision claimed for the provenancing here is illusory. See this post -- just one of many:
This is an extract from our new paper, to be published on Monday:
Parker Pearson has pointed out to many visitors the “exact location” from which an orthostat was taken from the rock face and hauled or carried off to Stonehenge. That assertion appears to be based on the statement from Ixer and Bevins (2011, 2014) that they had provenanced certain rhyolite flakes at Stonehenge to “within a few square metres” of their sampling point 8, near the tip of the Rhosyfelin spur. However, they have not adequately demonstrated that level of precision, either through published thin sections from Stonehenge and Rhosyfelin samples, or through analysis of a very dense pattern of sampling points. The Stonehenge rhyolite flakes could even have come from a section of the spur which has been removed by the processes of glacial entrainment. Also, the “shelf” from which the monolith is supposed to have been removed is heavily abraded by either meltwater or ice action, indicating that it cannot have been quarried during the Neolithic.
In any case, as far as I can see, the petrography of the foliated rhyolite debitage at Stonehenge is quite variable, when seen in thin sections, as is the petrography of the samples taken from the Pont Saeson - Rhosyfelin area. A confounding factor is that the rock face at Rhosyfelin coincides with a series of closely-spaced fracture planes, extending for about 50 south-westwards from the tip of the spur. Bits and pieces of the same fracture plane are exposed along the whole face, which means that widely separated samples will have an identical, or almost identical, petrography. I am sure that samples will have been taken, and that this will have been confirmed by the geologists. I would like to see that in print. So whatever the nature of the rock at point 8 (location 11) may be, the same rock will occur in many other locations along the rock face and in other locations along the valley side where rock exposures can no longer be seen.
In summary, the level of accuracy in the geological "spot provenancing" for this locality is another fantasy, cited repeatedly and deliberately by the archaeologists as part of their campaign to "prove" that this is a Neolithic quarry. No matter what they may claim, this is NOT scientific evidence.
Postscript: I forgot to mention that most of the geomorphologists who have visited this site have expressed incredulity that geological spot provenancing can have been "proved" here with the degree of accuracy claimed. They all say that you cannot claim that anything at Stonehenge (debitage fragments or monoliths) came from "recess number 4" without having a careful analysis (published and on the record) of a very tight density of sampling points across the rock face and across the wider Rhosyfelin / Pont Saeson area. Trust me on this, and ask them if you like.....