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Some of the ideas discussed in this blog are published in my new book called "The Stonehenge Bluestones" -- due for publication on June 1st 2018. After that, it will be available by post and through good bookshops everywhere. Bad bookshops might not have it....
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Tuesday, 8 May 2018

Geochemical fingerprinting of the Stonehenge sarsens


At last, there is a chance that the origins of the Stonehenge sarsens might be sorted out.  The researchers are due to finish this project in about one year's time.  But it appears that they have already decided -- in line with what David Field has been saying -- that the sarsens have NOT all come from the Marlborough Downs.......


https://www.brighton.ac.uk/research-and-enterprise/groups/past-human-and-environment-dynamics/geochemical-fingerprinting-the-sarsen-stones-at-stonehenge.aspx


Quote:
The sources of the stone used to construct Stonehenge have been debated by archaeologists and geologists for over a century. The smaller Bluestones, derived from west Wales, have attracted most attention. In comparison, virtually no work has been done on the sources of the larger sarsen stones (silcretes) used to construct the central Trilithon Horseshoe, outer Circle and peripheral settings. Conventional wisdom suggests that, given their size, the sarsens were all sourced from the Marlborough Downs. However, petrological, mineralogical and laser-scanning analyses indicate considerable variability among the Stonehenge sarsens, making this assumption questionable.

9 comments:

tonyH said...

To quote singer Etta James: "At last!!"

tonyH said...

ooh,yeah,yeah!!


Go to:-

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S-0196RFM

Atlast
ooh yeah,yeah
At last the skies above are blue...

Neil Wiseman said...

Some Sarsens were probably near the site. I believe at least three - and possibly a few more.
Some Sarsens may have come from the Devon environs.
But I think most of the really big boys did, in fact, come from the north.
I am watching this analysis very closely.

Neil

BRIAN JOHN said...

Evidence for all that, Neil?

TonyH said...

Perhaps, Neil, some of the sarsens have BURRS embedded in them (prickly seed cases)? Ooh arrh ooh arrh.

Neil Wiseman said...

Hi Brian,

There is evidence that the solutional pit for the Heelstone roughly corresponds to the Stone-97 location, just a few yards to the north of its present position. I am among those who believe S-97 is now the Heelstone.
It is, if not quite, completely unworked. (I've detected with my own eyes evidence of rough tooling under the lower east lobe.) The overall roughness suggests that it was in position long before the other sarsens were present. I suspect that Stones -B & -C were also largely unworked, originally serving as 'skim stones' for S-97.
The two likely became the Slaughter Stone and now-missing Stone-E. These were the Entrance Stones, eventually straddling the new sunline into the henge. The setting pits for -B and the Slaughter Stone are the same size, while those of -C and -E are likewise similar, if smaller.

While the Slaughter Stone has certainly been worked, it's a rough job and out of keeping with the careful finish of most others. Upon its later role, the builders shaped it as best they could to conform.
The Station Stones are little more than lumps, minimally worked if at all. Like the nearby Cuckoo Stone, these are probably local.

Records of the few local deposits are admittedly sketchy but suggest that none of them contained the big stuff required for either the Trilithons or the Circle.

The beds in Devon may have contained large examples. To be fair, for various reasons I'm not convinced that these collections were actually used at Stonehenge. I include them only because it's possible.

This leaves the Fyfield and Marlborough Downs, which we know contained good-sized stones well into the Middle Ages. These beds are known to have been used extensively in Neolithic, as several of the remainder have polishing slashes in them. These marks are exclusive to that time period.

These proposals are based more on logic than physical evidence, which is scanty. I am watching this rock analysis very closely, and have no issue with being wrong with regard to the stones' provenance.

Neil

TonyH said...

Adam Thorpe, in his book "On Silbury Hill", which I recently recommended, describes David Field as (pages 184 - 85) "a more cautious archaeologist". Having met him at his lectures and also on walks, I'd agree with that description. He is a field archaeologist who's spent decades working on Salisbury Plain archaeology.

BRIAN JOHN said...

I've never met David, but I am very impressed by everything of his that I have read. Good solid old-fashioned archaeology with an emphasis on careful field observations and a merciful lack of wild fantasising. A world away from the narrative obsession of certain others who shall be nameless......

TonyH said...

David Field lives at Yatesbury, high up above Avebury and not far out of Calne. Drop him a line, sure it'd reach him.