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Thursday 17 December 2015

The Bluestone Circle erratic assemblage

A journalist said to me the other day:  "But if the bluestones at Stonehenge are all glacial erratics, why are they all such beautiful pillars?"  I had to explain patiently that some of them (especially in the Bluestone Horseshoe / Oval) are indeed tall and elegant, but that those in the circle are a mottley collection of slabs, stumps, wedges etc -- many recumbent or partly buried and very unspectacular indeed.  They are for the most part heavily abraded boulders such as one might see close to any glacier front in the world.   For the record, above are some of the images from the wonderful "Stones of Stonehenge" blog site.  Click to enlarge.  For further information, go to the site itself.

The Stones of Stonehenge

A site with a page devoted to each stone at Stonehenge

As provenancing work continues, I'll try and update the details below.

Twenty stones in the Bluestone Circle:

31 -- damaged and heavily worn slab.  Standing.  Recent damage close to ground level. Spotted dolerite.
32 -- heavily worn slightly elongated boulder.  Fallen -- resting on another stone.  Spotted dolerite.
33 -- well worn short and stumpy pillar.  Standing.  Signs of shaping -- meant as a lintel? Spotted dolerite. From Carn Goedog?
34 -- well rounded small boulder, placed on end.  Spotted dolerite.  From one of the "other" outcrops?
35 a and 35 b -- irregular and well worn boulder, embedded in the ground and only just visible.  Spotted dolerite.
36 -- an irregular and heavily worn boulder, slightly elongated.  Modern damage on one edge.  Recumbent.  Mortice holes -- once used as a lintel?  Spotted dolerite.
37 -- smallish well-rounded boulder, slightly slab-shaped and set on end. Spotted dolerite.  From Carn Goedog?
38 --  smallish irregular boulder, well worn, fallen and under another stone. Ignimbrite / tuff.
39 -- another smallish boulder, well worn, slightly slab-shaped, with some later damage.  Leaning, almost recumbent. Spotted dolerite.
40 -- boulder?  Just top seen.  Rhyolitic tuff.
40g -- below ground stump -- irregular shape.  Lead cover.  Mica sandstone.
41 --  recumbent elongated boulder with heavy wear -- very well rounded edges.  Spotted dolerite.
42 -- recumbent wedge-shaped stone with heavy wear on edges. Spotted dolerite. From one of the "other" outcrops?
43 -- recumbent slightly flattened boulder with heavy wear on edges.  Spotted dolerite.  From one of the "other" outcrops?
44 -- heavily worn boulder just visible in the turf -- recumbent.  Unspotted dolerite.
45 -- recumbent elongated boulder with heavy wear on edges.  Unspotted dolerite.  From Cerrig Marchogion?
46 -- slightly slab-shaped boulder set on edge.  Flaky -- considerable recent surface damage.  Rhyolite.
47 -- slab with heavy wear on edges -- set on end. Spotted dolerite.
48 -- small recumbent boulder with heavy wear --  just projecting through the turf.  Rhyolite.
49 -- small irregular slab with quite sharp edges.  Upright.  Signs of dressing? Intended as a lintel?  Spotted dolerite.  From Carn Goedog?

NB.  In the heading I'm not calling them "glacial erratics" although I do incline towards that interpretation!  For the record, an erratic is simply a stone which is in an anomalous position, often a long way from its place of origin.  There are many processes that can transport erratics from A to B.

1 comment:

Sunhenge said...

I'd be interested in your view on new research - see

You have similar views!