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Myths, truths and theories - Stonehenge
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moss
moss
2901 posts

Myths, truths and theories - Stonehenge
Sep 01, 2010, 07:26
A rather well argued lecture given by Brian John on his belief that the bluestones were transported by a glacial event and not by human effort.
Though the argument has reached saturation point on this forum, he is very interesting, and I noted the last time in Wales browsing through books, that he has written a lot of fiction books as well. Not that that has anything to do with his strongly held belief of transportation by glacier but towards the end of the lecture, he proposes that Stonehenge was unfinished and experimental........

"In the third of a series of Western Mail articles by speakers at this year’s Do Lectures, geologist and author Brian John debunks the ‘bluestone myth’ – the idea that prehistoric people travelled hundreds of miles in order to drag gigantic stones toSalisbury Plain

THIS story about the heroic neolithic tribesmen carrying scores of giant stones from the Preseli Hills to Stonehenge has now entered into British mythology.

It has become gradually clearer, over the last decade or two, that there is no evidence to support this story.

I want to inspire people to think very carefully about some of the myths that we as a community sign up for."..........

http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/2010/09/01/stonehenge-was-not-made-from-preseli-bluestones-91466-27175364/
Sanctuary
Sanctuary
4741 posts

Re: Myths, truths and theories - Stonehenge
Sep 01, 2010, 08:11
moss wrote:
A rather well argued lecture given by Brian John on his belief that the bluestones were transported by a glacial event and not by human effort.
Though the argument has reached saturation point on this forum, he is very interesting, and I noted the last time in Wales browsing through books, that he has written a lot of fiction books as well. Not that that has anything to do with his strongly held belief of transportation by glacier but towards the end of the lecture, he proposes that Stonehenge was unfinished and experimental........

"In the third of a series of Western Mail articles by speakers at this year’s Do Lectures, geologist and author Brian John debunks the ‘bluestone myth’ – the idea that prehistoric people travelled hundreds of miles in order to drag gigantic stones toSalisbury Plain

THIS story about the heroic neolithic tribesmen carrying scores of giant stones from the Preseli Hills to Stonehenge has now entered into British mythology.

It has become gradually clearer, over the last decade or two, that there is no evidence to support this story.

I want to inspire people to think very carefully about some of the myths that we as a community sign up for."..........

http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/2010/09/01/stonehenge-was-not-made-from-preseli-bluestones-91466-27175364/


Well for what it's worth I agree with him...without coming up with another plausible answer of course other than they must have been present in the area!! It has always just sounded too far-fetched to me UNLESS Stonehenge is far more important than even we have ever imagined. IF they really did bring them from Wales then the meaning of Stonehenge has been completely underestimated so far because to have done this in my opinion would have been of such HUGE importance that it would have meant life itself...or an Afterlife of course which I would think much more likely. What would you NOT do to be granted an Afterlife if you believed in such a thing. I personally think that believing that Stonehenge was for the ancestors is only the beginning and it went far beyond that in the mindset of Neolithic man. Dying was only the beginning.
thesweetcheat
thesweetcheat
6092 posts

Re: Myths, truths and theories - Stonehenge
Sep 01, 2010, 08:57
I don't really know anything about this to be honest, but John's theory would need to be supported by some basic geological evidence of glaciation in the area, wouldn't it? For instance, is there any sign of any other bluestones in the area apart from the ones in the monument, which all happen to be just the right size?
olly
97 posts

Re: Myths, truths and theories - Stonehenge
Sep 01, 2010, 08:58
Aubrey Burl i think is the first person to suggest the glacial theory. I think the neccesary ingenuity and dogged determination existed in ancient people to have achieved the transportation- there are also shreds of folkloric evidence pointing west. As an aside- getting stones for west kennet from the Bath area would have been quite a haul. Life was short in those days- they had to to figure out some insurance
TheStandingStone
218 posts

Re: Myths, truths and theories - Stonehenge
Sep 01, 2010, 09:28
If glaciers brought bluestone then wouldn't there be some more deposits lying around in the area?
moss
moss
2901 posts

Re: Myths, truths and theories - Stonehenge
Sep 01, 2010, 10:02
TheStandingStone wrote:
If glaciers brought bluestone then wouldn't there be some more deposits lying around in the area?



In answer to you both, TSC as well, yes there should be some evidence of Welsh bluestones elsewhere on Salisbury plain, and there is'nt, apart from one stone that appeared in a long barrow elsewhere, so I'm also on the side of transportation by human hand ;), as Olly says the Bath stones in WKLB show that it was perfectly feasible to move stones around over a distance.
I suppose what grabbed me about what he was saying, is that once a 'mythology' gets into place, it tends to get repeated and enters the compendium of 'truth', also his 'unfinished' Stonehenge could be the result of innovation over time, especially with new bluestone circle down the road thats just been uncovered. In fact you could use the argument that it was experimental to justify the bringing of an 'exotic' stone back, also its a very workable quarried stone, that just so managed to fall into convenient sizes...
thesweetcheat
thesweetcheat
6092 posts

Re: Myths, truths and theories - Stonehenge
Sep 01, 2010, 18:02
Thanks Brian, some thought-provoking ideas in your videos.

If the blue stones were carried by the Irish Sea Glacier, has any work been done (geologically rather than archaeologically, I guess) to work out where the position "west of Salisbury Plain" was? It still seems unusual that the bluestones that ended up at Stonehenge and other nearby monuments represent all the bluestones carried by the glacier. In other cases where glacial erratics are commonplace, they tend to be of many different shapes and sizes and there must have been some that didn't fit into the requirements of local monument builders.

Also (and I'm sure someone will have considered this previously) are there any other monuments elsewhere in the west of England that make use of bluestone dolorite? Most of the monuments in that part of the country tend to make use of various types of limestone (e.g. oolite) or sandstone. Not that this point is conclusive either way, but if bluestone was considered worth carting from Wales to Salisbury, wouldn't other, more local (en-route) monument builders have wanted to make use of it? Conversely of course you might expect a glacier to dump some other bits off along its course.

More questions than answers, me.
mountainman
90 posts

Re: Myths, truths and theories - Stonehenge
Sep 01, 2010, 18:06
Hi folks -- first of all, can I explain that I didn't write that Western Mail piece. It claims I said many things that I didn't say -- in fact I spoke on the phone to a journalist, and she "put it into my own words", having actually misunderstood quite a lot......

If you want to know what I DO say, have a look at my two YouTube videos:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7wEvLWkTBEc&feature=channel

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-f4c3F9iEaY&feature=channel

re glacial deposits on or near Salisbury Plain, there is a discussion and a review of the evidence in "The Bluestone Enigma."

Cheers

Brian
mountainman
90 posts

Re: Myths, truths and theories - Stonehenge
Sep 01, 2010, 20:39
Ah, this terrible term "bluestone"!! From all the work done by Rob Ixer, Richard bevins, Olwen Williams-Thorpe and many others over the past 20 years, there is now no doubt that there are at least 20 and maybe as many as 30 different stone types (and that means locations as well) represented in the "Bluestone" collection -- stones, chips, flakes and monoliths of all shapes and sizes -- at Stonehenge and in the broader neighbourhood. There are spotted dolerites, unspotted dolerites, ashes, shales, rhyolites, limestones, sandstones etc etc...... in my book they are ALL glacial erratics, maybe even including some of the sarsens, some of which could also have come from the west. This looks to me like a litter or scatter of stones spread over a wide area. There is (as yet) no sign of anything we might call a moraine, but glaciers don't always leave moraines where we would like them to be -- to the best of my knowledge, there is nothing anywhere in the UK that could be designated as a moraine marking the outermost extent of the Anglian ice that affected the UK around 450,000 years ago.

To those who are still inclined towards the human transport theory, and would like to think that our ancestors hauled stones from up to 30 different locations all the way to Stonehenge, why were all of these locations in the west? Why were there none thought to be suitable in the south, north or east? My answer is that they simply collected up whatever stones they could find, many of which happen to have been brought into the area by the Irish Sea Glacier.
cerrig
184 posts

Re: Myths, truths and theories - Stonehenge
Sep 01, 2010, 21:49
What about the Altar stone. How did that get to Stonehenge.
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