Some of the ideas discussed in this blog are published in my new book called "The Stonehenge Bluestones" -- available by post and through good bookshops everywhere. Bad bookshops might not have it....
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Friday 9 June 2017

How not to move a bluestone monolith

How not to move  a bluestone.  I came across this old photo when sorting out my photos.  From the year 2000, on the occasion of the Millennium Bluestone Expedition which ended (as you will recall) with complete disaster.  On this rather gentle hill, the stone went completely out of control, and veered across the central reservation.  LUCKILY THERE WAS NO LOSS OF LIFE.

But the stone (which was rather a small one) ended up on the bed of Milford Haven almost as soon as it took to the water, and had to be rescued by the Royal Navy.  After being stored behind some sheds in Milford Haven docks for several years, it was taken off to the Welsh National Botanical Garden, where it still sits, rather forlornly, on its sledge.   I helped with the pull on land, and in spite of unlimited manpower, asphalt roads, modern ropes and harnesses, and rolls of low-friction netting, the whole thing was a shambles (and a scandal too, since over £100,000 of public money was expended on the experiment).  I had fun on my day of pulling, as did everybody else, but it proved to all of us involved that the bluestones were probably NOT pulled by human beings from Pembrokeshire to Stonehenge............


TonyH said...

.....and though the Stone was rather small, [ -comparatively speaking - to them Sarsens the Wessex Boys REALLY lugged],

.....They tried to drag it all,

.... Now they know how many "Blues" never made it close to Robin Hood's Ball! [ Quite near Ludgershall]

We're here to turn you on

To the Glacial Transportation Version of Events.


Myris of Alexandria said...

I think that dragging a la 1960s Hollywood sand and sandals extravaganza has lost traction recently and transport by some sort of free-swinging sling arrangement is now favoured.

The problem with ethnographic studies is that it relies on people and that MAY cause a downfall.

(I am not certain if the whole event was very PC you certainly could not do it now. Is it not a touch culturally appropriating, although not a bronzed oiled chest nor beturbanned slave master in sight, so perhaps not excessively so.

Of course these days in any rerun the work force would be eastern Europeans, between fruit picking jobs and, .. perish the thought -they might be successful.


BRIAN JOHN said...

A free-swinging sling arrangement?!! Favoured by whom? MPP for sure, but anybody else? The whole idea is daft -- sledges and carts were invented precisely because it was daft to physically lift very heavy loads when the ground could do the supporting. If you are desperate to have human transport, Neolithic men might not have been very bright, but they were surely not that stupid.....

TonyH said...

FREE - SWINGING sling arrangements surely depend VERY MUCH on the looseness of any loincloths loaned by the [ ?presumed ?innately superior?**] Wessex People; also upon the lengths of Chief Whips' whips [these days these extend right across the Irish Sea of course, ask louche lithe Theresa - she of the swingeing cuts and Oxbridge Geography Degree - like Brian!].

** DNA evidence still pending

Myris of Alexandria said...

D and the late W in their chapter also go for letting it hang freely. It all stems from motor cars being carried over mountains (in recent times). See earlier dire warnings against anthropologists.

In fact the idea is very, very, very early 20th century in origin. Complete with pictures. Judd I think?

I also think the 'Wessex people' if you mean Wessex II were whipping it out at an already built Stonehenge or at least one of the Stonehenges(Bluestonehenge tho' I am not too bought on this)with all its bluestone around.

Not certain there is a Neolithic 'Wessex', it is a BA fashion concept. Bring on the bling.


BRIAN JOHN said...

I just meant "Wessex" as a general guide to the area we are talking about -- is there a better handy label? Salisbury Plain is plainly no good, since Salisbury wasn't there then..... and neither is Wiltshire since neither Wilts nor shires had been invented.

TonyH said...

Alfred was Great (albeit not given that moniker till hundreds of years had passed since his demise) so, as he WAS King of Wessex, then Wessex seems like a good descriptive name. The great Leslie V Grinsell incorporated Wessex into his book title "The Archaeology of Wessex" long, long ago.......before the music died. His maps for each prehistoric period are models of their kind.

ND Wiseman said...

"Neolithic men might not have been very bright, but they were surely not that stupid..."

Yeah, cuz Avebury is so easy to understand ...

I've never been a passenger on the 'Slung Bluestone' ship, but I think that eventually we'll find the invention of the wheel to have been several centuries before the accepted dates.


Mike Caswell said...

Michael Parker Pearson discovered huge piles of pig and Auroch bones in the Durrington Walls village he unearthed.
People drove these animals from all over the country to attend the WINTER solstice ceremonies. I believe it was these slaughtered animals that were the mode of transport of the stones, not humans.