Some of the ideas discussed in this blog are published in my new book called "The Stonehenge Bluestones" -- due for publication on June 1st 2018. After that, it will be available by post and through good bookshops everywhere. Bad bookshops might not have it....
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Friday, 20 May 2016

The great bluestone lift

 The eight-tonne bluestone monster from Rhosyfelin -- did they really aim to carry it away without sledges or rollers?  Hmm -- maybe not....

This wizard wheeze is now all over the media -- presumably as part of the MPP hypothesis that big bluestones are so easy to carry that they did not need to be moved with rollers or sledges from Preseli to Stonehenge.  I'm surprised that Barney thinks it will take 40 to 50 people to lift a one-tonne stone -- I should have thought that 20 people could do it rather easily, depending on the shape of the stone and how heavy the lifting accessories (poles, timber frame etc) are.  Maybe there will be carefully orchestrated excitement over how few people are required, as against what was anticipated......

Of course, a group of people carrying a smallish stone for a few metres arounf Gordon Square is one matter.  Carrying eighty 2 tonne or 4 tonne bluestones all the way from Preseli along the proto-A40 road is quite another.

Stonehenge experiment needs volunteers to help lift one tonne block
by StonehengeNews

Take part in Stonehenge experiment: How many people does it take to lift one block?

Anyone who has wondered what it took to lift a piece of Stonehenge into place has a chance to have a go themselves in a mass experiment.

Experts from University College London are seeking volunteers to help them lift a replica stone using prehistoric technology and brute strength.

Doctoral student Barney Harris, who is organising the event in Gordon Square near the UCL campus on Monday (23 May), said he believed it would take 40 to 50 people to lift a single stone, which at one tonne is half the weight of the smallest block at Stonehenge.

Mr Harris said: “We will be using a model of a sledge that might have been used, but other than that it will be people power. It’s on a much smaller scale than the real thing, but it will help us work out what it took to create it.”

The event, from 2pm to 4pm, is one of 80 being held during the university’s Festival of Culture next week.
Article Source: The Evening Standard

As part of the UCL Festival of Culture participants will have the chance to become part of an experimental team that will attempt to transport a large replica Stonehenge stone using Neolithic technology.


sciencebod said...

If human lifting/carrying power, headcount no object, can in principle AND practice (?) be used to keep the monoliths clear of the ground, rough tracts of country and gradients notwithstanding, then there's surely no need for sledges or trackways etc. The imperative is provision of practical user-friendly gripping points in sufficient number and location.

Here's what I proposed yesterday as a comment on that London Evening Standard article (and have mailed Barney at UCL this morning, seeking his opinion):

The problem is not so much the weight, given plenty of volunteers. It's packing in enough of them around one's bluestone or sarsen monolith, with plenty of handholds.

Suggestion: First make a close-weave net using authentic Neolithic "rope" (I believe they used bullrushes* or similar) to package up the block securely on all sides. Then attach lots of rope handles along both sides, every few inches, and MAKE THEM DIFFERENT LENGTHS. That way you can have two or more rows of lifters on each side, all overlapping so to speak, not stepping on each others' toes (though that's probably the least of their worries in the toe department). Will St.John'sulance be on standby?

Yes, wear steel cap boots, or the Neolithic equivalent. Er ...

*Afterthought: it may have been reeds, not bullrushes, that were the basis of Neolithic rope.

Colin Berry

PS: Has anyone suggested netting previously as a 'hold-all'? If so, apologies for unintentional plagiarizing.

Helen said...

That poor student organiser. Destined to be forever known as Barney Rubble...!

TonyH said...

Regarding the speculated A40 Proto - Highway: just hope those Good Ol' Boys, from Orkney or wherever [within MPP's Super - Kingdom] somehow created an appropriate proto - road camber, otherwise those GOB's (full of whiskey and rye or similar) may have ended up with excessive pelvic or cartilage wear on one side of their bodies.

But, hey, that's what's called suffering for your Art.

PeteG said...

Tim Daw still has a full sized concrete back trilithon replica on his land in Wiltshire just waiting for a team to try to erect them all together.
let's start Large!

BRIAN JOHN said...

I'm a bit confused, since there is a hint in one of the write-ups that something is planned for transporting a stone all the way from Preseli to Stonehenge....... well, that would be a nice way to divert attention away from all this quarrying nonsense. Sledges are rollers are just for wimps.. Real men just CARRY their bluestones.

TonyH said...

Whatever happened to Wiltshire's Tim Daw on this Blog? Come back, Tim. Otherwise there's only PeteG and me local to Stonehenge and Wiltshire.

Helen said...

Another moment in the media spotlight for Barney Rubble, this time over at the Telegraph:

"Stonehenge wasn't so hard to build after all, archaeologists discover"

Featuring a special guest appearance by the Ghost of Bluestones Past, of course!

PeteG said...

Major Premise: Sixty men can do a piece of work sixty times as quickly as one man.
Minor Premise: One man can dig a post-hole in sixty seconds; Therefore-
Conclusion: Sixty men can dig a post-hole in one second.

This may be called syllogism arithmetical, in which, by combining logic and mathematics, we obtain a double certainty and are twice blessed.”
― Ambrose Bierce, The Unabridged Devil's Dictionary