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Monday, 11 July 2016

The hunt for Proto-Stonehenge and the Holy Grail


Acknowledgement -- Google Earth image.  The farmed area to the east of Pont Saeson.  Pont Saeson is near the west edge of the image.  Rhosyfelin is top left.  The main road is clearly visible.  The "target" area is to the east of the minor road.  The farm shown bottom right is Pensarn.

More from the rumour mill.  We have had many posts before on this topic -- just look up "Bedd yr Afanc" and "Proto Stonehenge" by using the search box.  The set-up for the latest search (due in September) has been carefully planned; as the "evidence" for quarrying at Craig Rhosyfelin and Carn Goedog has been challenged and found wanting, the stakes have been raised and the Neolithic fantasy about those heroic quarrymen and monument builders has become ever more elaborate.  So now everything hinges on the discovery of the place where Stonehenge (or at least the bluestone part of it) was initially erected before being dismantled and removed in a proto-Ikea operation.  The thesis is that it is somewhere on dryish ground between the two "quarry" locations........

I have previously assumed that it is likely to be at Bedd yr Afanc, and some work has also been done in the vicinity of Tafarn y Bwlch;  but now a little bird tells me that the 2016 dig might well be in quite a different place,  south of the main road on the farmed land between Rhosyfelin and the upland common.  A satellite image of the general area is shown above.

The only clue we have on this closely-guarded secret is this:

From the recent press release that accompanied the publication of the 2015 "Antiquity" article by MPP et al:  "Prof Kate Welham, of Bournemouth University, said the ruins of a dismantled monument were likely to lie between the two megalith quarries. “We’ve been conducting geophysical surveys, trial excavations and aerial photographic analysis throughout the area and we think we have the most likely spot. The results are very promising. We may find something big in 2016,” she said."

So there we have it.  If you can see anything interesting on the above imagery, you are a smarter air photo analyst than I am -- but it will be interesting to find out (a) where exactly the site is, and (b) what "very promising" things have been turned up in trial digs and geophysical work.  Fantasies or facts?  All info gratefully received.  Watch this space......

14 comments:

Jon Morris said...

"Prof Kate Welham, of Bournemouth University, said the ruins of a dismantled monument were likely to lie between the two megalith quarries. “We’ve been conducting geophysical surveys, trial excavations and aerial photographic analysis throughout the area and we think we have the most likely spot. The results are very promising. We may find something big in 2016,” she said."

Interesting. If it turns out that they don't find anything in the areas that they are looking at, it won't necessarily disprove their ideas: It's a fairly big assumption that a monument would be located in a central zone relative to the source construction material. But it is a good logical starting point for a search if there is nothing else to go on.

I suppose they'll be keeping to a fairly tight area for the surveys to keep the costs down: Does anyone know exactly which areas (of ground) the geophys surveys covered?

BRIAN JOHN said...

My guess is that Adam Stanford (he of the aerial-cam) has been scanning various bits of territory and has found something that looks like a pattern in the ground -- probably something vaguely circular. A circular pattern of pits? That is obviously what they want. There are plenty of places where traces of stone removal can be seen in cropmarks, parchmarks and surface undulations. When does an indentation or a stone cast (left behind when a boulder is removed from a field) become a monolith socket? Ah, that, my dear Watson, is the fundamental question.........

TonyH said...

Toby Driver, author of "Pembrokeshire: Photographs from the Air" (approximate title) may also have been consulted by the Proto - Stonehenge Hunters and Geomorphology Deniers, because of his substantial archive of air photos.

TonyH said...

Then there was MPP's tantalising statement in his 2015 "Stonehenge: making sense..." book....

"If the "quarries" [my quotation marks!] were intended to supply local monuments then we can start the search for these potential local stone tombs by looking not far away from the sources of the rocks.......Nearly a mile south of Castell Mawr [there] is another access point [from the stream along which the known rock sources lie] where it is easy to walk out of the valley. GEOPHYSICAL SURVEY HERE HAS REVEALED WHAT MAY BE AN UNDISCOVERED MIDDLE NEOLITHIC 'PASSAGE GRAVE' TOMB. FUTURE EXCAVATION WILL REVEAL WHETHER THIS IS A LOCATION AT WHICH THE BLUESTONES WERE ORIGINALLY ERECTED [N.B. of course I have capitalised the more salient words].

As I do not know the local Preseli topography first - hand, all I can do is quote what is written in the latest MPP book mentioning the bluestone "quarries" and so on. Perhaps these words have now been superseded, as Brian is implying with this new Post, giving a surprise new potential location.

Hugh Thomas said...

Around 'four birdies ' have mentioned this area to me ,go along the lane off the main round fourth field on left. There is a rise in the ground and some stones, personally after all my footprints all over Preseli there are two other sites someone should look at ,both on the moor north of the ridge. One is not far from Mirianog Ganol ,west of Carn Alw ,the other on the plain between Hafod Tydfil and Waun Maun forming a very interesting alignment with several other sites in a straight row,MPP is missing the point of "why".
On another note I believe they are looking for sites without understanding the landscape around them. The answers are there if we observe long enough and 'why' will not be answered at the bottom of a pit .....

AG said...

Brian:

I hesitate to criticise your hypothesis (given your great knowledge of the area) But this time I think you've taken a rather parochial view, and that the Archies may well be onto something!

If you zoom out from the site and take a wider view; It becomes quite apparent that the site selected lies on an astrological transit line, between the derelict ruins of the former Woolworths in Carmarthen and the ancient library of Blockbuster Video in Fishguard!

I wouldn't wish to claim credit for this Idea! Other workers have reached similar conclusions with regard to Stonehenge!

Perhaps you could be kind enough to pass on this important data to Professor Welham and "The Team" I'm afraid I don't have her address!

Best Wishes

Al









Hugh Thomas said...

Actually AG it has more to do with the Neolithic supermarket STONESBURY'S where they has special BOGOFF offers on Bluestones.... In order to use a shopping mammoth you needed to put bluestone disc into the slot on the mammoth to release it's chain connected to other mammoths. Problem is all the mammoths have died out leaving no proof they were involved.... Also when Stonesbury's went bust Asda took over and when delivering a bulk load of stones the driver asked "Where do you want them guvnor? "
Slapping his out backside Stonehenge's designer said "Der der der der and der "..... I haven't got coat to fetch it is too warm..... :)

TonyH said...

As a former Librarian who trained (and courted my wife, more importantly) at Llanbadarn Fawr near Aberystwyth, I cannot let Alex's remarks on Astrological Transit Lines go undeveloped. Surely there MUST be a major Astrological Transit Line [or even an electricity line, underground or overground] between the intended Dig Site and the National Library of Wales, which of course is on the site of an as - yet unknown Neolithic henge, from whence came the as - yet unprovenanced Slaughter Stone, which did NOT come from Milford Haven, but from much further north.

All we have to do is locate the location at the Southerly end of the Transit Line, south of the future Dig Site Ms Welham is leading us so charmingly to in September. Doesn't really matter at all WHAT that location site contains, might even be the Ferry terminal at Fishguard, or Brian's renovated Study. This is getting really exciting!!

MoA of the IoA said...

Slaughter stone is a sarsen! It, like the Cuckoo stone,may have travel metres to its present find spot.

The only good thing to come out of Milford Haven is refined crude.
All this ley line nonsense was done a few years ago with super markets and done well. Fatal to repeat a successful joke.
M

BRIAN JOHN said...

You'll never stop successful jokes from being repeated -- sometimes they get better with age, and sometimes worse, and sometimes very different. I re-told a great joke once, which I thought was genuine Pembrokeshire humour, and was mortified when Rabbi Lionel Blue (remember him?) told exactly the same joke on the radio a few days later, as told to him by his old Jewish Mama........

BRIAN JOHN said...

Yes, Slaughter Stone and Cuckoo Stone are both sarsens, and were probably just stuck into the ground more or less where they were found.

TonyH said...

Slaughter stone did I put? Merely a slip of the old brain cell, Mr Myris, whoever you REALLY are! And, by the time I'd realised my error, it was too late to ALTAR it!! Bum bum, eh Mr Myris?

And as for that Radio Rabbi Lionel BLUE,.... that's surely an Uncanny Coincidence, what with the subject matter we Bloggers are engrossed in hereabouts (cue to whistle the X - Files theme...)

And as for Lionel's radio joke, surely he may have purchased one of Brian's excellent topographically - based Joke Books whilst on a Sabbatical in SW Wales?

I must come back later on the subject of the Cuckoo & Slaughter Stones being sarsens entirely local to the Greater Stonehenge Landscape, unless, that is, Mr John does that separate Post on that topic.....

BRIAN JOHN said...

Never fear, Tony. I am assembling some more info......

AG said...

I agree with MoA of IoA But surely its more fatal to plagiarise a Joke/idea?

Take MPP's plagiarism of Eddie Izzard's work. I hadn't realised before that the

Stonehenge, Welsh Quarry Joke was actually Izzard's not MPP's.

Izzard,E. Stonehenge 2006. Link www.youtube.com/watch?v=DiFq_nk8pE0

MPP really should have credited Professor Izzard! By not doing so, instead of

getting the big laughs he's merely generated lots of schoolboy sniggering from the

unruly types in the back rows; Takes me back to Saturday morning pictures.

By kicking open the fire exits to let in his vulgar, potless,geomorphology chums,

that John chap has ruined the whole illusion! I'll never take Flash Gordon

seriously again.


Note* If the Link doesn't work, one can google "Eddie Izzard Stonehenge"instead!

PS It is quite remarkable that "The Druids" have managed to keep the old pagan

cross-dressing/transvestitism traditions alive for all this time!