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Thursday 23 June 2022

SH62 -- Much ado about nothing very much

Stone 62 at Stonehenge -- a nice little shaped pillar made of unspotted dolerite.  Courtesy the Stones of Stonehenge web site.

 I have been sent a link to a new paper on the provenancing of Stone 62, one of the unpotted dolerites at Stonehenge.


Portable XRF investigation of Stonehenge -- Stone 62 and potential source dolerite outcrops in the Mynydd Preseli, west Wales. by Nick J.G. Pearce, Richard E. Bevins, and Rob A. Ixer.  Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports 44 (2022) 103525.

It's a highly technical paper, involving a huge amount of time and expense in pursuit of a wild fantasy by Parker Pearson -- namely that one of the pits at Waun Mawn has the same cross-section as stone 62 at Stonehenge.  So the geologists have been roped in to help establish that as something accurate and reliable!  It's extraordinary, the lengths that people will go to in order to cofirm their biases.  I have seen the pit at Waun Mawn, and so have many others, and I have not found anybody who "sees the imprint" as Parker Pearson does.

So the intention is to SHOW that Stone 62 was, once upon a time, in that rather shallow and nondescript hollow in the ground.  First, there is a need to show where SH62 came from.  It's a nice little shaped pillar which looks as if it might have come from eastern Preseli, where there is columnar jointing in the unspotted and spotted dolerite -- but it has clearly been shaped and dressed rather carefully at Stonehenge.

The  paper cites earler attempts at provenancing and sampling,  and reports the results of recent pXRF work in Preseli and at Stonehenge.  That work is quite interesting, and I was very interested to read of the multiple sampling work done on rock surfaces on the east Preseli tors and the attempts to unravel the bias that might be introduced to the work when comparing results from weathered and unweathered surfaces. 

Anyway, the work points quite convincingly not to Cerrigmarchogion -- as previously speculated -- but to the small crag called Carn Ddu-bach, not far from Carn Ddafad-las at the eastern end of the ridge.  This is not far from the prominent peak of Foel Drygarn.  Interesting -- so we have yet another bluestone source and yet another setback for those who stick quite irrationally to the belief that the bluestones were sacred and special, and that they came from Neolithic quarries.  The new source crag is around 6 km from Waun Mawn.

The rational thing at this point would be for the geologists to say "Multiple dolerite sources = glacial entrainment and transport."   One might also wonder why our heroic ancestors might like to cart lumps of unspotted dolerite from Carn Ddu-bach all the way to Waun Mawn when there are perfectly fine outcrops of the same rock type within a couple of hundred metres......

But not a bit of it.  Nick Pearce and his colleagues are made of sterner stuff, and they are sticking to the Waun Mawn fantasy as if their lives depend on it, while pretending to keep a distance.  It's all more than a little obsessive, and rather sad.


" Now that a source for Stone 62 has been established at approximately 6 km ESE of Waun Mawn (most probably at Garn Ddu Fach but possibly neighbouring Carn Ddafad-las), it is important to determine if any of the extant stones at Waun Mawn might have the same source. If confirmed, these outcomes may support the proposal of Parker Pearson et al. (2021), who suggested that Stonehenge Stone 62 once stood in stonehole 91 at Waun Mawn. Analysis of the extant stones at Waun Mawn is currently underway."

"IT IS IMPORTANT TO DETERMINE....." ???  Come off it, guys -- it is not in the least important, since the Waun Mawn fantasy has no archaeological or other value whatsoever, apart from the maintenance of MPP's rather ragged reputation.

This all brings to mind the Black Knight in "Monty Python and the Holy Grail" --  'Tis but a scratch!!".......


Tony Hinchliffe said...

"The fundamental things apply
As time goes by"

Great song from Hoagy Carmichael. Pity his wonderful lyrics have not penetrated the skulls of our intrepid heroes who slave away for Monsieur Parker Pearson.

Is this what the ' DISRUPTIVE THINKING ' trumpeted by UCL amounts to? Blimey O' Riley

Tony Hinchliffe said...

The quote " lions led by donkeys" seems to fit the bill.

Sorry chaps, but it just DOES.