Certain geologists and archaeologists have claimed that the bluestones at Stonehenge were carried by Neolithic tribesmen from West Wales to Salisbury Plain. Further, they claim to have found two "bluestone quarries" in West Wales from which monoliths were extracted. Geomorphologist Dr Brian John examines the evidence on the ground, and concludes that the quarries are simply "figments of somebody's fertile imagination." He shows that the "engineering features" are entirely natural, and that the blocks of stone and other debris that ended up at Stonehenge were entrained and transported by glacier ice during the Ice Age. The quarrying hypothesis is falsified by the radiocarbon dating evidence too. The archaeologists are accused of promoting yet another Stonehenge myth........
Here is a YouTube link:
As background, if you want to read the articles which perpetrate the myth that Rhosyfelin is a Neolithic bluestone quarry, you can find them here:
On the so-called Craig Rhosyfelin bluestone quarry:
Rob Ixer and Richard Bevins, Archaeology in Wales 50, 2011, pp 21-31
This is the paper in which geologists Richard Bevins and Rob Ixer claim to have identified the source of certain foliated rhyolites in the Stonehenge debitage to "within a few square metres" on the Rhosyfelin rock face. This claim was unreliable when it was first made, and it remains unreliable today since no new evidence has been published to support it. (Note that they have never claimed that any of the existing fallen or standing stones at Stonehenge have come from Rhosyfelin.......)
This is the paper in which MPP and his team claim that they have discovered and analysed a bluestone rhyolite quarry used for the extraction of Stonehenge bluestones. It has been scrutinized and heavily criticised on this blog, and Prof Danny McCarroll said it was "one of the worst papers I have ever read."
Mike Parker Pearson, Richard Bevins, Rob Ixer, Joshua Pollard, Colin Richards, Kate Welham, Ben Chan, Kevan Edinborough, Derek Hamilton, Richard Macphail, Duncan Schlee, Jean-Luc Schwenninger, Ellen Simmons and Martin Smith (2015). Craig Rhos-y-felin: a Welsh bluestone megalith quarry for Stonehenge. Antiquity, 89 (348) (Dec 2015), pp 1331-1352.
Brian John, Dyfed Elis-Gruffydd and John Downes. 2015. OBSERVATIONS ON THE SUPPOSED “NEOLITHIC BLUESTONE QUARRY” AT CRAIG RHOSYFELIN, PEMBROKESHIRE". Archaeology in Wales 54, pp 139-148. (Publication 14th December 2015)
Brian John, Dyfed Elis-Gruffydd and John Downes (2015a). "Quaternary Events at Craig Rhosyfelin, Pembrokeshire." Quaternary Newsletter, October 2015 (No 137), pp 16-32.
These are the relevant articles on the so-called Carn Goedog bluestone quarry:
"Megalith quarries for Stonehenge’s bluestones", by Mike Parker Pearson, Josh Pollard, Colin Richards, Kate Welham, Chris Casswell, Duncan Schlee, Dave Shaw, Ellen Simmons, Adam Stanford, Richard Bevins & Rob Ixer. Antiquity, June 2018 .
and this paper published online:
Brian John (2019) Carn Goedog and the question of the "bluestone megalith quarry"
Researchgate: working paper
April 2019, 25 pp.
Carn Goedog paper.pdf
The offer is always open. If anybody wants to join me in looking at either Rhosyfelin or Carn Goedog, I live just a short distance from the sites, and I'd be delighted to show you around and consider any observations or hypotheses you might want to discuss. Just send me a message via this blog.........
PS. I have been accused -- today, on a Facebook group page -- of being a lousy archaeologist and of failing to understand the subtleties of interpretation which the experts (ie archaeologists like MPP) employ in their work. OK -- I probably am a lousy archaeologist, but I think I am a reasonably competent geomorphologist, and I hope that my observations and opinions might have some value for archaeologists. Shades of the debate last time I gave a talk at the Bluestone Brewery:
From my report:
"...........one or two members of the audience were quite outraged that I had the temerity to question the evidence presented by those terribly expert geologists and archaeologists, who were deemed to be honest and highly-skilled academics simply doing their best to collect evidence in the field. I should presumably have accorded them more respect and even deference.........
I could have reminded these good people that I am rather expert too, and know what I am talking about, at least for most of the time. But time was too tight for all that sort of stuff, so I contented myself with reminding the audience that when you do field research you are supposed to go through a process of data collection, data analysis, and interpretation before telling the world what your conclusions are. In contrast, the archaeologists who have been digging in our area for six seasons have demonstrated a cavalier disregard for the norms of scientific field research, and they deserve to be slated for it. (In fairness, the geologists have done things properly, so no problems on that score, apart with some quibbles on their interpretations.....)
I also reminded my enthusiastic critics that I have at least done MPP and his team the honour of referring to their work and examining it carefully. On the other side of the argument, from all the reports I have had of MPP's talks in the last year or two, the glacial transport thesis is simply ignored or dismissed out of hand as being "discredited." By whom, and on what grounds, is apparently never explained."
The other absurdity from that Facebook page is a comment that almost all geologists disagree with my criticisms of the "bluestone quarries." I assume that the writer was referring to earth scientists generally as "geologists" -- but he has clearly not read the literature or spoken to anybody other than the usual culprits. If he was to widen his circle of contacts he might be surprised.
"The experiments presented also indicate significant excursions of wet-based ice into areas of southern England, where little evidence of recent glaciation has been found. This may not present such a major problem given that our model indicates ice was at this extended limit for less than 1 ka. The experiments also provide support for a possible glacial mechanism for the movement of Preseli erratics as a transport trajectory which overrides parts of northern Pembrokeshire and was subsequently deflected south-eastwards across the Bristol Channel into SW England, cannot be completely discounted."
'Dynamic cycles, ice streams and their impact on the extent, chronology and deglaciation of the British–Irish ice sheet.'
Alun Hubbard, Tom Bradwell, Nicholas Golledge, Adrian Hall, Henry Patton, David Sugden, Rhys Cooper, Martyn Stoker
Quaternary Science Reviews 28 (2009) 759–777
That's a very cautious statement, but it does NOT agree with the James Scourse / Chris Green / David Bowen line that glaciation some distance to the east of the Bristol Channel was "impossible", and indeed among the specialists who have analysed the evidence on the ground we can cite Kellaway, Thorpe, Olwen Williams-Thorpe, Gilbertson and Hawkins, Keen, Hunt, Campbell, Harrison, Andrews, Stephens, Mitchell, Dewey, Maw, Croot, Bridle and a host of others. Sure, they have not expressed views on the "bluestone quarries" -- but their writings certainly describe an Ice Age context in which the glacial entrainment and transport of West Wales erratics by the Irish Sea Glacier was not just possible but probable.