Scientists locate exact source of Stonehenge stone but how did they get there?

19 12 2011

Scientists have located the exact source of the rock believed to have been used to create some of Stonehenge’s first stone circle.

Researchers have been able to match fragments of stone from around the 5,000 year old monument with an outcrop of rock in south-west Wales.

Stonehenge Bluestone

Photo: ALAMY

The work – carried out by geologists Robert Ixer of the University of Leicester and Richard Bevins of the National Museum of Wales – has identified the source as a site called Craig Rhos-y-Felin, near Pont Saeson in north Pembrokeshire.

It is the first time that an exact source has been found for any of the stones thought to have been used to build Stonehenge.

The discovery has re-invigorated a long running debate as to whether the smaller standing stones of Stonehenge were quarried and brought from Pembrokeshire by prehistoric humans or whether they were carried all or part of the way to Wiltshire by glaciers hundreds of thousands of years earlier.

Archaeologists tend to subscribe to the ‘human transport’ theory, while geomorphologists often favour the glacial one.

The debate is solely about Stonehenge’s smaller standing stones which are sometimes known collectively as bluestones. The larger stones, or sarsens, are accepted to have been incorporated into the monument several centuries later.

The remarkable find has been reported in the journal Archaeology in Wales and opens up the possibility of finding archaeological evidence of quarrying activity at Craig Rhos-y-Felin which would indicate humans rather than glaciers were responsible for transporting the stone.

Research over recent years by Tim Darvill of Bournemouth University and Geoffrey Wainwright, a former chief archaeologist at English Heritage, suggests that the Pembrokeshire stones may have had a particular ideological significance.

The outcrops where some of the stones come from are thought to have been associated with sacred springs and local Welsh stone circles.

By bringing those particular rocks the 160 miles from Pembrokeshire to Wiltshire, the builders of Stonehenge may have thought they were obtaining more than just plain rock.

Experts have suggested they may have regarded the stone as having supernatural powers.

By DailTelegraph Reporter – http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/environment/8964899/Scientists-locate-exact-source-of-Stonehenge-stone.html

Sponsored by ‘The Stonehenge Tour Company’ – www.StonehengeTours.com

Merlin says: “Surely experts can establish if they were moved by glaciers or man power?”

Merlin @ Stonehenge
The Stonehenge Stone Circle Website





Stonehenge Book Gift Guide

3 12 2011

As Mid-Winter approaches, it’s time to consider the accompanying consumerfest. Whether you’re buying gifts for someone else, or just giving yourself a year-end treat, the following is a list of books, in no particular order, that we have enjoyed throughout the year. You may too.

Note that not all of these are new books by any means, but they are books we’ve read, enjoyed and can recommend.

  • Britain BC: Life in Britain and Ireland Before the Romans – Francis Pryor. The first in a four-part opus spanning athe Ice Age to Modern Times, this books concentrates on the birth of Farming and Agriculture in Britain, a subject close to Pryor’s heart.
  • A History of Ancient Britain – Neil Oliver. A companion to the TV series, this book spans half a million years of human occupation, through several Ice Ages to the Romans, looking at the various objects left behind for us to interpret. A thoughtful read.
  • A Brief History of the Druids (Brief Histories) – Peter Berresford Ellis. Forget the romantic antiquarian view of the Druids, this books tells it like it is, using the latest research into classical sources to give a good general overview of life and society in the pre-Roman period.
  • A Brief History of Stonehenge – Aubrey Burl. Although titled ‘A Brief History’, the scope and detail in this book is remarkable. casting aside the more lunatic fringe ideas, this book deals purely in facts, but is no less readable for all that. The ‘Brief History’ series generally is to be recommended, whatever your historical period of interest.
  • The Modern Antiquarian: A Pre-millennial Odyssey Through Megalithic Britain – Julian Cope. First written in the 1990′s and recently re-printed, this book spawned a website of the same name that has gone from strength to strength. A series of extraordinary essays followed by a decent gazetteer of some 300 ancient sites to visit in Britain.
  • Standing with Stones: A Photographic Journey Through Megalithic Britain and Ireland –  “Across the length and breadth of Britain and Ireland lies an unsurpassed richness of prehistoric heritage. Standing with Stones is a personal voyage of discovery, taking the reader to over a hundred megalithic sites in a photographic journey through the British Isles.” Stunning photography and an easily accessible text make this book a must-have. A companion DVD is also available.
  • A Guide to the Stone Circles of Britain, Ireland and Brittany – Aubrey Burl. A superb gazetteer of stone circles. Provides what it says on the cover. In our view, an indispensible item.

Any of the above should provide a decent background to our ancient heritage. There are of course many more academic books we could recommend which go into fine detail about specific sites or time periods, but those above are targetted to a more general readership. If you think we’ve left anything important off our list, please add a comment to let us know.

Thanks to Heritage Action for the recommendations

Stonehenge Bookshop:
Please take the time to visit our online shop: http://astore.amazon.co.uk/stonetours-21

Sponsored by The Stonehenge Tour Company – www.StonehengeTours.com

Melin @ Stonehenge








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