Some of the ideas discussed in this blog are published in my new book called "The Stonehenge Bluestones" -- available by post and through good bookshops everywhere. Bad bookshops might not have it....
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Saturday, 5 December 2015

Stonehenge -- stone setting dates

 This nice little plan from the EH web site shows the current thinking on the dates of the stone settings at Stonehenge. 

Some people (including Prof MPP) think that there were bluestones in the Aubrey Holes, which means that there must have been bluestones available for use on the site around 5,000 years BP.  However, EH does not appear too keen on this idea, since they suggest that the stones (all of them, ie sarsens and bluestones) arrived at the site around 4,500 years BP, with the bluestones initially set into two arcs, in the Q and R holes.  Note that these are not thought to have been complete circles.  The suggestion seems to be that there were not 80 bluestones, as is often suggested, but around 60.  The Altar Stone is shown as being in place at this time.

Then the idea is that the stones were rearranged around 4200 yrs BP into an outer bluestone circle (which was far from being a perfect circle) with a bluestone oval open to the NE except for a few scattered bluestones here and there.     In the plan for this period 82 bluestones are shown -- which presumably means that EH thinks that a further batch must have been imported between 4500 BP and 4200 BP.

Presumably EH explains away the fact that there are now only 43 known bluestones at Stonehenge by saying that almost half of them must have been taken away or destroyed during or after the abandonment of the monument by those who revered it.

Now then -- let's see how the proposed quarrying schedule for Rhosyfelin fits this EH scheme, when the Antiquity paper is published next week.


Myris of Alexandria said...

The debitage within the excavated AH includes all of the major lithic groups, excluding
AH7 as being disturbed Lower Palaeozoic sandstone, Volcanic A, Cryf rhyolite, spotted dolerite are all recorded.Including AH7 there are also knock offs.
Trouble is knowing where in the AH the debitage was.

BRIAN JOHN said...

Interesting, Myris -- so the interpretation could be that the stones and the debris were always there, as a morainic trace or as an assemblage of erratics, even at the time of the earliest work on Stonehenge. Is there any reason to doubt that as a thesis?

BRIAN JOHN said...

Anthony Johnson refers to "quantities of bluestone fragments within the bank rubble" -- that's rather interesting. He also says there has been "hardly any archaeological investigation of the bank", although we know it is made mostly of chalk rubble excavated from the ditch. The ditch was thus the source of the stuff thrown up to create the bank. Has anybody ever systematically looked for bluestone fragments or other foreign material within the bank?

Myris said...

You must remember most of the debitage material is flaked and does not look morrainic.
The big Cleal book should answer that question of yours.

BRIAN JOHN said...

Quite so -- but I wonder what those bits of bluestone in the embankment looked like? Nothing looks morainic when it has been smashed up and redistributed.

TonyH said...

I expect the highly important Cleal [et al] book is available, in various conditions, second - hand on Amazon. Why haven't I obtained a copy yet, come to think of it. Christmas present?

TonyH said...

Wonder HOW MUCH BLUESTONE is hiding under the various Neolithic long barrows in the Greater Stonehenge Landscape e.g. the very famous long barrows at the Winterbourne Stoke crossroads, to the W OF Stonehenge and adjacent to the A303 (and en route to the new Visitor Centre)?

Of course, PeteG has recently pondered on the existence of OTHER bluestones still contained within Boles Barrow, some distanc WNW,in Heytesbury parish, and relatively close to the Salisbury Plain escarpment, whence the Anglian Ice Sheet may have skidded to a halt.

BRIAN JOHN said...

When I last looked at the price of the Cleal book, it was £65 -- and nothing cheaper, second hand. Think I'll give it a miss.......