THE BOOK
Some of the ideas discussed in this blog are published in my book called "The Bluestone Enigma" -- available by post and through good bookshops everywhere. Bad bookshops might not have it....
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Thursday, 8 September 2016

New Isles of Scilly glaciation paper now online



After much discussion with various colleagues, I have now completed this simple paper recording my observations from the Isles of Scilly in April 2016 and discussing the implications of the work.  I don't pretend that it is a reprint from a peer-reviewed journal.  I refer to it as a "working paper" in that it is still work in progress -- I would welcome comments and discussion.

The DOI is 10.13140/RG.2.2.36045.64486

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/307906030_The_southernmost_extent_of_the_Irish_Sea_Glacier_observations_from_the_Isles_of_Scilly 

Publishing this type of paper in mainstream geomorphology journals is very difficult these days, since many of them charge authors up to several thousand pounds if there are colour illustrations.  Research projects nowadays often budget for those anticipated costs.  The taxpayer ultimately pays......   It's also a rather difficult length -- not far short of 7,000 words -- and it uses no wizzo techniques.  Just good (I hope) old-fashioned observations.

Anyway, let's see how readers respond, and if it is deemed to be reliable and sufficiently worthy, I will prepare a shorter version for submission somewhere or other!

15 comments:

TonyH said...

Good! Something for any Scilly Islands archaeologists to chew over and bear in mind the, BEFORE rushing to interpretations.

BRIAN JOHN said...

I see that this has had 80 reads already -- people seem to be quite interested in the glaciation of the Isles of Scilly. We now need lots of bright young researchers to get to Scilly with their wizzo gadgets and dating equipment, to check out the sites that I have identified. Then it will be interesting to see whether they agree with my interpretations. I enjoy this sort of dialogue -- it's how science should be done.......

BRIAN JOHN said...

As far as I can see, the archaeology of the islands is not all that complex -- and the references I have seen appear to be quite sensible.....

I wonder if there are any references to the bluestone voyagers sailing by? Or maybe stopping off on their way to the south coast ?? (assuming they used the long-distance sea route....) Maybe there is a Neolithic dugout canoe with a bluestone in it, sunk and sitting on the bottom of one of the sounds between the islands? Now I must be careful. I will be giving certain people ideas for their next project.........

Myris of Alexandria said...

We had enough of this tripe from Steepholm in the Bristol Channel.
Arguing about possible sea routes is so last century.
Heads (up) of the Valleys.

I note that on your global ice reconstructions we do not see the ice moving inland from the Devon-Somerset north coast. No long dirty finger onto Salisbury Plain?.

Say once and fore all, are bluestones a direct glacial dump at SH or not?? then we can stop hearing about extraction pits for the bluestones. Time to abandon the conceit of an isolated Von D-esque collection of stones. Terminal or what?
Retraction time I think. How far did any glacier come to SH??

Tie for a proper rewrite of the book I feel for the 21st century


The Scilly Isles contribution is just that and good for you. This is what you should be doing, stick to what you know.
M

BRIAN JOHN said...

Very jolly that you should apparently be so wedded to the fantastical A40 transport route, on the basis of zero evidence. Well, that's your privilege.....

Maybe no great big lumps of bluestone on Steepholm, but it's not impossible. Steepholm will have a very similar suite of erratic cobbles, boulders and pebbles as the ones found on Flatholm, which is next door. So your trashing of the wild claims re Steepholm a few years ago contributes nothing to the glacial transport debate.

Your attention is wandering, Myris. Please read things more carefully. The reconstruction to which you refer is for the LGM or Devensian. That is obvious from the text. Other reconstructions, for ice pressing much further east into Somerset and even Wiltshire, are for the Anglian.

A possible moraine at Stonehenge? The jury is out. Nothing to retract. Let's not forget that there is more evidence in favour of that than there is for bluestone quarries, rafts and rollers.

Stick to what I know? Ah, pots and kettles......

TonyH said...

I think Myris (or whoever he may be) is turning into a Latter - Day Neil and/or Glenys Kinnock, with his Championing of the Heads of The Valleys as a Super Highway. Perhaps he's after a further injection of Regeneration for Merthyr Tyddfil, Ebbw Vale and the like?! Mind you, don't slip down on your backside, Myris, whilst negotiating those steep valley slides.

Bluestones on Steepholm or Flatholm? The search continues.....And the Anglian icesheet's deposits are most probably buried beneath subsequent layers, not only around Bath, but also Bradford - on - Avon, AND then onwards and more inland. Is this not quite likely, Brian? We've had detailed Posts about the Bathford/ Bathampton, Kingsdown near Corsham evidence.

TonyH said...

Don't panic, Mr Myris, Sir....you've had your day in The Sun....or was it The Mail?

BRIAN JOHN said...

If you look at my posts on Flatholm, you will see that there are plenty of erratics there, including boulders, cobbles and pebbles. Some of them seem (still to be verified) to have come from Pembrokeshire volcanics. Let's just call them bluestones, which is a nice convenient word for stones found in places where they apparently shouldn't be......

Remember that Anglian deposits are very unlikely to be found in a coherent state. It's difficult enough to find Devensian deposits in many areas affected by the Irish Sea Glacier, in spite of the fact that these deposits are only 18,000 years old. The Anglian glaciation was, as far as we know, 500,000 years ago. It would be almost a miracle to find deposits that old -- and yet there are tantalising traces here and there in Devon, Cornwall and Somerset.

TonyH said...

It's pretty hard finding the paimpsest traces of the Saxons or the Vikings around Bradford - on - Avon and on the border of North West Wiltshire, between 1,000 and 1,500 years ago: historians and archaeologists should therefore be capable of realising that uncovering traces of evidence of the Anglian glaciation is not at all straightforward either. Nevertheless, this does not mean evidence will not eventually be traced.

Science does not always readily reveal the Earth's secrets, but we do not have to instead make glib, simple statements about how the bluestones may have reached somewhere in what was so much later called Wessex [in Saxon and Viking times]. Human transportation may indeed have been part of the process, but it may yet be shown that the 5 -ton Pembrokeshire stones (so much lighter than the enormous Wiltshire sarsen stones) were given a generous lift by the processes of the Anglian glaciation half a million years earlier.

Myris of Alexandria said...

Yes the pet rock boys have authenticated igneous erratics from Steepholme but no bluestone. No we will not call them bluestones as that is silly/dishonest? Bluestone is best restricted in this context to orthostats or bits of potential orthostat found in the SH Landscape. Otherwise lets call the Shap Adamellite erratics found throughout N England bluestone as well or a bits of house brick or mouldy cheese. Indeed lets call everything bluestone.
You say there have been a number of glaciations I say there has only been one (I am parodying (sic) you here wrt number of genuine bluestone rock types found at SH).

Give us the consensus ice limits and then your ice limits for each glaciation a separate map for each (ice lobes and all). Facts and your interpretation of them

Do you believe that ice dumped the bluestones ss in Salisbury Plain? if not where, how close.
Since the demise of 'Agios Kostas, SH did not build itself so how far did ancient men move the stones. Cm, m, Km, Light years?
Figh on vagueness facts.
M

BRIAN JOHN said...

You have as many or as few glaciations as you like, Myris. That's what comes of not reading the primary literature.

On all those glaciation limits etc, it's all in the blog already. Very good search facility.

TonyH said...

My last comment above today should say, 6th word, ....PALIMPSEST....traces (that's got some of you scratching your heads..)

TonyH said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
BRIAN JOHN said...

Oops -- will reformat that -- something strange going on...

BRIAN JOHN said...

Tony's post again:

Myris, you have ignored in your 10.54 Comment my immediately preceding Comment at 09.43, i.e. we cannot ALWAYS have instantaneous facts at our disposal when dealing with the processes of one or several glaciation episodes. And you know as well as anybody that Science does not work like that. Science and Soundbites only tend to exist in the World of Michael Parker Pearson & Co, who seem tied to the notion of there being a dreaded Globalisation impulse for humanity, starting.... Way Back in the Mists of Time!!! A sort of Fox News version of real life.

From what I've pieced together from reading BJ's Posts on this Blog, VERY LITTLE detailed research has been conducted by the intrepid glacial geomorphologists into glacial limits for EACH glaciation in the band South of, say, Bath and Chippenham and East of, say,
Glastonbury.So Brian, if he does decide to put on any maps for you as requested, will no doubt feel that the maps are rather stabs in the dark, as the evidence is very much lacking as yet, either way.

The Glacial Limits of, say, the Anglian 500,000 years ago, or indeed the Devensian, doesn't HAVE to have necessarily been ON Salisbury Plain itself,or involved reaching it at all! Your intrepid human musclemen MAY yet have moved the stones for, say, 30 - 40 miles, the
Jury is still out...We don't have to have a Kostas Scenario of beached megaliths conveniently becalmed near modern Amesbury or Larkhill just for the collecting.

So any maps Brian shows you, as you requested, may not be of much consequence, through lack of research.