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....
To order, click
HERE

Friday, 26 May 2017

Stuart Piggott at work (not Atkinson)


I love this picture from the Atkinson collection at English Heritage.  The great man is the one with the pipe.  This was taken in the good old days, before safety was invented.......

Postscript:  Originally I headed this post with a reference to Richard Atkinson  -- but thanks to Simon we now know that the fellow on his knees, smoking a pipe, wearing a natty boiler suit,  is Stuart Piggott.

42 comments:

Tom Flowers said...

It was also a time when archaeologists were still reasonably honest. (But not entirely)

TonyH said...

"Dick, does that magic substance in your pipe make to feel notably 'higher' than your good self already is up here?"

Myris of Alexandria said...

Is that Sherpa Tensing next to Atkinson?
Clue no use of oxygen tanks but powerful lungs.
M

A Pet Rock Boys popular round-up out soon.

TonyH said...

"Reggie, your love....is lifting me.....higher and higher.... than I've ever been lifted before!"

BRIAN JOHN said...

Sherpa Tensing? Certainly looks like it. The chap on the left, with the trilby hat and the macintosh, HAS to be from the Ministry of Works.....

Peter Dunn said...

This is better, no more boring old stuff about theories and invasions by Beaky People.
But what has Prof Atkinson lost up there that he, Sherpa Tensing and Inspector Harry “Snapper”Organs of the Min of Works are looking for and why is that man on the right just about to be sick over the side.
Answers on a postcard.
Oh! Who is the Reggie referred to in the song?

TonyH said...

Not sure who Reggie was....Reggie Maudling, M.P? Perhaps he's just a person who's feeling a little maudlin, one of those sentimental, nostalgic types, looking for a Past that never was but one that he dreams MIGHT have been.......(as I type "Camelot" is showing on telly with Richard Harris and Vanessa Redgrave in very fictitious roles). And it can't be Reg Dwight, later to become Elton John, surely not.

But, really, seeing Richard Atkinson gripping his pipe in his teeth SO tenaciously, puts me in mind of a much younger Graham Chapman, who at the time was probably constructing in his surreal imagination embryonic scenes that would eventually mature and appear in Monty Python

We really ought to get Stonehenge officianado (not in my dictionary), Julian Richards, to offer his opinion on the possible discourse and whether any humans were harmed during this trilithon trawl. Julian worked for English Heritage and indeed did a book in which historic photos like this appeared.

TonyH said...

Deary me, it's AFICIANADO.

TonyH said...

If in doubt, and if it definitely isn't a Rain Dance, then best to just plump for a 'ritual' explanation (though the chap in the seedy mackintosh looks like a refugee from Soho). Was it pre - Election, with MacMillan in power and Wilson in the wings, so to speak? Perhaps only Julian Richards knows.....

BRIAN JOHN said...

Are you working towards some sort of political unification theory here, Tony?

Peter Dunn said...

perhaps it's the unification party manifesto that has fallen down the crack between the lintels.

Or perhaps it is the profs turn in the annual crawling the remaining lintels race, Tensing is checking the profs fingers are not over the start line, the old cheat.

Is it Reggie Cray in the song?

TonyH said...

We used to have nearby neighbours, they actually did live next door to each other. One's dog's name was Ronnie, the dog next door was Reggie.(I kid you not this time. Believe me (I'm no fatuous politician - of any ilk).

As regards "Is it Reggie Kray in the song?". no it ain't, Peter. He was of course safely Inside at the time (and I don't mean inside the hallowed bounds of the Henge!).

Truth to tell, Reggie was just a name I conjured up out of the ether. You know, a bit like certain archaeologists' theories, unified or otherwise. The song was sung by Jackie Wilson, with great feeling.

Simon K said...

On http://www.silentearth.org/restorations-at-stonehenge-2/ the caption to the photograph reads:

"‘Mr T. A. Bailey, senior engineer, examining the lintels over stones 19, 20 and 1 of the outer circle. These stones were not moved by (Professor) Atkinson but had been straightened by Professor Hawley in 1920. These stones mark the entrance to Stonehenge.’- Historic England. The archaeologist Stuart Piggott can also be seen in the photograph, on his knees smoking a pipe."

BRIAN JOHN said...

Simon -- thank you so much for putting us right on this. It would seem that we were entirely up the gum tree. Maybe Atkinson preferred not to get into such risky situations!

Simon K said...

www.silentearth.org website has some fascinating photographs. I've not come across it until this evening.

BRIAN JOHN said...

That looks like an interesting site.

Neil Wiseman said...

Hi Gang

Apologies for my tardiness.
Sorry to disappoint, but the guy with the pipe is Stuart Pigott.
Richard Atkinson was the photographer. If memory serves, this was in April 1958.

Pigott and the engineers with him on Lintels 101/102 were checking to see if Hawley had 'got it right' in 1920 when the Aperture Stones had been adjusted.
No Harm Done, was the verdict. (Though they missed spotting a small chip on the lower north corner of Lintel-130!)

Best,
Neil

BRIAN JOHN said...

Thanks Neil -- which all goes to prove that even the most reliable of sources can be unreliable. Facts and alternative facts, my truth and your truth, and all that sort of thing.......

Peter Dunn said...

Spoilsports!

Neil Wiseman said...

Me Again,

If the picture was obtained from the EH photo site it should be noted that though their captions are unusually accurate in most cases there are still some wildly goofy errors. These sometimes transfer into the public consciousness, causing heartache and the rending of garments by those finicky enough to notice such things.

Between 1953 and 1964, Atkinson — an avid shutterbug — has left us a legacy of over 2,000 photographs depicting various stages of the Stonehenge investigations. Most of these are now curated by the photo team at EH.
Atkinson is credited for all of them — even though he's in more than a few!

Other errors in the caption include Stone numbers, listed as -19 and -20. Stone-19 is merely a remnant and -20 is actually missing; both in the west quadrant of the Circle. The Stones referred to in the picture are the sliver of -30 on the left, with -1 & -2 from there. Lintel numbers are correct.

Peter — the man on the right isn't heaving over the side. He's lighting a cigarette.

Your Pedantic Correspondent,
Neil

TonyH said...

I did attempt to submit a comment last night which appears to have got lost in cyberspace (unless Brian is using it for some nefarious purpose, such as recycling it for one of his Angel novels etc.).

The photograph may well appear in Julian Richards' book Stonehenge: A History in Photographs. I think this is based on a selection from all the English Heritage images.

TonyH said...

Peter, you asked a while ago about who was 'Reggie On The Lintels'. After a great deal of thought, I think the best candidate is actor, the late Leonard Rossiter, also known as Reggie Perrin.

Leonard famously starred in Arthur C Clarke's "2001: A Space Odyssey". Remember all those mysterious monoliths on the Moon, etc?

TonyH said...

Neil - that man you know to be lighting a cigarette (presumably you have inside information?) - this reminds me of the massive ad campaign that W.D. & H.O. Wills launched in the late 1950's:-

YOU'RE NEVER ALONE WITH A STRAND

This was an advertising campaign disaster!


Tony

Myris of Alexandria said...

Tensing again has been airbrushed from history. Shame on you Wiseman.

I thought the New Archaeology/postprocessualist archaeology was about the "little people" or artefacts as their shadows.
Actually it is about archies who have sucked -up third hand sociology (I blame liberal arts colleges in the Midwest)statistics and semiotics to talk about themselves or rather about how they should consider charting the cultural (forbidden word) ambience or rather how to counter any perceived ambience be it edic or etic before deciding to how to talk about themselves in a new and potentially earth-shattering way.
(Book reviewing not going well).
M

Did they ever, in the real world, give Tensing any sort of gong?

TonyH said...

Talking of Sherpa Tensing and his powerful lungs.......I gather Frank Sinatra used to swim for long periods underwater in his pool so as to strengthen his lungs for all those Frank songs of his.

Saw a one - off photo of Buzz Aldrin and Stonehenge which may be on the net somewhere. Perhaps Neil knows?

TonyH said...

Myris, there was a nasty rumour going round that after Sherpa Tensing met a rather irritable Duke of Edinburgh, he took up Qi Gong.

Neil Wiseman said...

Tony,

The man in the picture lighting a cigarette is shielding his match from the prevailing southwest wind in a stance which is universal. (Being a smoker, I can attest.)

Buzz Aldrin was a guest at Stonehenge with a group of astro-buffs in September 2015, if memory serves. Pete Glastonbury was involved in organizing the meet and took the iconic photo of Buzz in front of the stones, holding his shirt open ala Superman, sporting a tee shirt which blared: "Get your ass to Mars!"
I got a coveted invitation to that one, but sadly was unable to attend. Some big-wig American astronomer got my ticket.

Neil

TonyH said...

Neil

So, tell, which American astronomer wears a big wig? What colour? Trump-esque? Surely that one will be heavily patented.

[This message has now to wing its way to southern Sweden before it can Go Back To....I think... Massachussetts, Bee Gees style.]

Neil Wiseman said...

The Trumpesque toupee is unique and knows no nationality. If he ever even looked at the sky it would probably be to sue it for being above him.

Your message found its way to me because the Lights are Always on in Massachusetts ...

TonyH said...

Belated apologies to everyone who prefers to keep this a Donald Trump - free site.

PeteG said...

Neil old man, your memory is letting you down.
I did a special access for astronomers to see the lunar eclipse in September 2015.
Buzz Alrdin had already visited earlier in the year and I didn't take his photo.
However I did take a photo of an astronomer with the same t-shirt mimmicking Buzz.
Dr Ed Krupp of the Griffith Observatory in LA doesn't wear a wig.
PeteG

PS I was Nowhere near Wales two weekends ago and that is Not a photo of me in the hills!

TonyH said...

Massachussetts is one place I ain't been (sigh).

Pete, have you ever been to The Eponymous Festival. If so, who did you see? If not, who would you like to have seen e.g. the late Reg Presley (archaeology enthusiast) and The Troggs; photographer and some - time singer, Graham Nash.

PeteG said...

no I haven't. Reg was a regular at the Barge Inn, Alton Barnes.
During one quiz night the question "Who wrote Love is all Around?" came up to which Reg shouted out "That'd be Me then!"

TonyH said...

Reg must have written "Love Is All Around", whilst standing in the centre of Stonehenge. Gotta be.

Anyone else watched the wonderful "Detectorists", currently being repeated? My local library here in Wiltshire stocks the DVD, folks. (However, there's only one copy of the up - to - date official Stonehenge Guide in the whole of Wiltshire Library Service - and that's where the Archaeology Service is, in the History Centre, Cippenham!)

Myris of Alexandria said...

And the wonderful bootleg Troggs tape with all the door slamming.
After a little psychotropic mind altering, it was the tape to listen to. A firm folkie favourite.
"split yer hands"

Talking of witch(sic)Toni Arthur was called weird in this months issue of Fortean Times. Totally untrue, wonderful woman. 'Harken to the Witches Rune' Dave and Toni Arthur. Leader Records (Bill is still alive)has a folk song about the Stones of Stenness.
Was and is a lovely, lovely lady and Bill is just splendid Bill and should have got gongs galore.
M

BRIAN JOHN said...

Getting a bit marginal here, folkies -- but I suppose with runes and Stenness we can just about get away with it......

TonyH said...

But please bear in mind, my last comment DID draw attention to the curious Wiltshire Library Service decision to stock just ONE copy of the Official Stonehenge Guidebook, published and revised by English Heritage and written by Julian Richards!! THAT wasn't marginal! I think they would plead lack of funds.

Perhaps the Days of Dave - and - George - type Austerity are nearly over, and then, the great Wiltshire public may be as up - to - date on Stonehenge research as the average South American visitor to The Ruin on Salisbury Plain. What say you, Brian?

Peter Dunn said...

A bit marginal, sounds like they have had too many rides on the Marackesh Express. Graham Nash some time singer?

There is better interpretation and understanding of most sites than an EH guide, even written by Julian R. apart from many of the reconstructions which are usually quite good.

Tony... Detectorists briliant.

Myris.... American Gods, Ian Mchsane AKA Wodin briliant.

I must have missed the significance of the Troggs.

TonyH said...

That's some Hound Dog you've got there, Peter, ain't nuthin' but a....,last seen aeons ago on Windmill Hill, Knap Hill and Golden Ball Hill? What's his average m.p.h.?

TonyH said...

Peter, Brian and I like to monitor the text of the Stonehenge official E.H. Guide - in relation to its use of the MPP (et al) Ruling Hypothesis stating that glaciers couldn't POSSIBLY have been involved in moving the bluestones the majority of the distance from Preseli to Stonehenge.

Also, as far as the good ratepayers of Wiltshire are concerned, surely Julian Richard's revisions of the E.H. text in each new edition is money well spent to educate our local folk about recent discoveries, interpretations, and artistic reconstructions based on 21st Century digs and related research? At less than a Fiver it seems like a BARGAIN but not even Amesbury and Salisbury public libraries has a copy of the Guide in their stocks, such is the parsimonious attitude of stock contollers.

TonyH said...

Talking of reconstructions, recently visited the new Julia's House Children's Hospice in Devizes. Artists have produced wonderful recreations of shapes similar to those found on rocks carved by prehistoric man; also large scale photographs of Avebury stones.

Peter Dunn said...



I thought I had posted this earlier this week, getting used to a new laptop and windows 10
3rd time lucky
Tony, I only spoke to one person between Adams grave and Knap Hill, were you about to fly off into the blue was it last Tuesday? (now a week last) We, me and the hound were not at our best, she does not like mysterious things in the air and my other hound Horace died the day before. She is still quite a hound though and they both had rather high mph in their day.
You are right about the EH guide it would have many updates (mostly due to the Stonehenge Riverside findings) to the 2004 guide that I worked with Julian on, but I think there may have been more interference on the latest guide from EH/HE academics who have a very high opinion of themselves. The reconstructions as you mention should be based on the latest interpretations and discoveries and yet many seem to have details wrong or just not shown.
Shame the guide is not available in the public libraries no doubt due to austerity.
Julian is producing a revised “Story So Far” book too.
The paintings in the Hospice sound very interesting.