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Sunday, 18 June 2017

Bluestone provenances - updated list

Tim Daw has kindly published this list on his blog:
based on evidence supplied by Rob Ixer.

As we have said many times before, the geological work has confirmed the large number of bluestone (and fragment) sources -- at least 15, and probably many more.  And there are multiple questions about the list which are still unresolved -- in spite of the great advances made by Bevins and Ixer in recent years.  For example, Carn Goedog MIGHT be a source for some of the bluestone monoliths, but the stones listed could also have come from other parts of a rather extensive outcropping dolerite sill.  There is no certainty that stones 34, 42, 43 and 61 have the same provenance -- they might have come from 4 different locations.  The fragments identified as having come from the Rhosyfelin / Pont Saeson area have NOT been assigned with certainty to "within a few square metres" at Craig Rhosyfelin, as claimed by Rob Ixer.  And we do not know that stumps 32d and 32e have come from there -- that is pure speculation.  The rhyolites E, F, and G and the volcanic rock samples referred to as "volcanics groups A and B" have probably come from the Fishguard Volcanic Group, represented by outcrops over a very wide area.  The Lower Palaeozoic sandstone provenances are unknown, and the assignment of the Altar Stone to the Senni Beds is, according to rumour, not as certain as Ixer and Turner have claimed.

We look forward to further work -- but in the meantime we need to take any claims that "the geology is sorted" with a pinch of salt. There's plenty to keep Bevins, Ixer and others occupied for many years to come -- and I share their frustration that EH will not consent to a properly controlled sampling programme for every one of the 43 bluestones known at Stonehenge.


Myris of Alexandria said...

Ah red-top writing of the fist (sic) order.
When Diana Dors was asked by the News of the Screws to deny that she had ever been a prostitute (there had never been a suggestion that she had been) she refused to deign that with a reply. Mind you she did not have the equipment or inclination to be a nun. Classical Dianas were also ample bosomed women, all that bow pulling.
Sadly blowsy bosomy good-hearted peroxide tarts are no more. Chavs just don't do it.
ah to the point.
The Pet Rock boys (who also refuse to answer any such question) have never claimed that all is solved and indeed this is the first time such a stupid idea has surfaced.

The pet rock boys have said that the 'first pass over the material' (Next Year Jerusalem)'has finished' The grouping and their possible geographical origins are still in play. They are just glossing the first pass.

Rumours of the death of the Senni Beds are exaggerated and have not reached the ears of the Pet Rock Boys. Still is the very best bet for the Altar Stone.

A couple of interesting pet Rock boy paper are in press and more in the prep stage.
You will especially enjoy the up-coming Antiquity paper ??early 2018.

BRIAN JOHN said...

Never claimed that the pet rock boys have made outrageous claims for their work -- for most (not all) of the time they are models of decorum and discretion. Of course, the work thus far moves things along, and more will no doubt be discovered. Senni Beds -- much discussion going on in Senni Bed circles -- I seek to find out more.

Look forward to more papers. As for something more in Antiquity in 2018, the suspension is killing me (as my wife charmingly says). I have lost all faith in the Antiquity editorial process, following the publication of that appalling article about Rhosyfelin. So I am not sure that any more enlightenment will be coming our way......

TonyH said...

Myris's favoured "Ferret Club News" is out - aka WANHM, Vol 110, 2017.

Pages 1 to 16: The petrography,geological age and distribution of the Lower Palaeozoic Sandstone debitage from the Stonehenge Landscape, by Rob Ixer, Peter Turner, Stewart Molyneux and Richard Bevins.



TonyH said...

I'm no geologist. Here are some extracts (not all in this one Post) from the Summary. Perhaps Myris may like to enlarge, fill in gaps etc?

"Spatially, as with all the major debitage groups, The Lower Palaeozoic Sandstone is widely and randomly distributed throughout the Stonehenge Landscape; temporally, ALMOST NONE OF THE DEBITAGE HAS SECURE NEOLITHIC CONTEXT BUT SOME MAY HAVE LATER ROMAN ASSOCIATIONS. THE DEBITAGE CANNOT BE MATCHED TO ANY ABOVE - GROUND STONEHENGE ORTHOSTAT BUT MAY BE FROM ONE OR TWO BURIED, AND, AS YET, UNSAMPLED STUMPS."

TonyH said...

"The lithology is believed to be from an unrecognised Ordovician (or less likely Silurian) source to the north or northeast of the Preseli Hills".

"Although there has been confusion within the archaeological literature between the 'Devonian' Altar Stone, Lower Old Red Sandstone (Devonian) Cosheton Group sandstone and the Lower Palaeozoic Sandstone, all three are very different lithologies with separate geographical origins."

Please direct any questions to Myris, not me, as he is a very good friend of at least ONE of the authors.

BRIAN JOHN said...

Many thanks for the info, Tony. Glad to hear this paper is out. Interesting points made -- if I am lucky enough to get a PDF from somewhere, I will happily report in more detail.

Myris of Alexandria said...

The paper has been available for months on Dr Ixer's site.
I think he sent Brian the pdf many many months ago. Funny how sorrow is always with us but luck, is, but fleeting.

If you read the paper (now where have I heard that before) it is all very SLOWLY and carefully discussed. The most recent paper on the Lower Palaeozoic Sst says nothing about the distribution of the debitage and its relationship to the up-standing orthostats that was not said in the debitage dilemma paper of 2012?

The problems in the literature between the three sandstones was first highlighted by Ixer and Turner in 2006/8 and often thereafter. The most recent Ixer et al paper just gives some definitive dating evidence. Significant micro-palaeo evidence.

The paper, for those who wish to see beyond reading dead dog scrumpy labels, is free.

I am most fascinated by the thought of a Senni Beds Cabal, do Donne a false beard and infiltrate such a group of insular men (other sexes are available)to ring the changes.

The elephant in the room is the Roman connection, ah the Whore of Babylon.


Read the literature!- I fear that will be written as my epitaph.

Myris of Alexandria said...

I hope Myris is a friend of all the authors, two of which he has known and worked with for almost 40 years. True one he does not know, other than by his exemplary reputation and as a colleague..

BRIAN JOHN said...

Myris, you did indeed send that PDF, which I sat on. (I thought it was not on my laptop here in Sweden, but I have now found it!) You may recall that you asked me not to flag up this research until it was safely published -- and being a man of honour I respected your request. Anyway, I'll have another look at it, and will assume the published version has not changed since the PDF was made.

Ah, Romans, elephants and whores -- there must be a suitable folk song somewhere.....

TonyH said...

Myris, I used the expression "he is a very good friend of" because my preferred singer - songwriter, James Taylor, uses similar expressions when alluding to himself in autobiographical songs all the time.

It is much appreciated that you frequently comment on this Blog, often acting as a gatekeeper of knowledge on Stonehenge and Preseli geological issues.

TonyH said...

Spike R.I.P. Milligan's epitaph to be found where he rests is "I told you I was ill!". He of course infamously walked (with his friends Harry & Peter) backwards for Christmas across the Irish Sea. Glacial folk memory?

BRIAN JOHN said...

Myris's epitaph will of course be "Read the literature!" That displays a rather touching belief that the literature is always right -- which it patently is not. Of course he always thinks that HIS literature is by definition correct. Other geologists to whom I have spoken (no names -- I am sworn to secrecy) don't necessarily share that view....... and I have serious doubts about bits of it too. I have already explained my reasons.