Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Periglacial Stripes in the old Stonehenge Carpark?

I noticed today that as part of the demolition leading to the renaturing of the old Stonehenge carpark that a trench had been dug that I could see into.

Obviously surrounded by safety barriers but the section seems to show ridges of chalk interspersed with clay filled dips in the subsoil. Looks like classic chalkland periglacial stripes at this casual glance.

According to Cleal et al Wessex Archaeology found periglacial stripes near to this spot in 1988-89 but the report on the dig remains unpublished.

Click any to enlarge.


  1. Well Tim - if they were 'Periglacial Stripes' should the top soil not be a uniform colour in the cavities?

    The first picture clearly shows a mixture of top soil and chalk just above the solid chalk - leading us to 'deduce' that a force from above was acting on these areas, filling the cavities with this mixture. And it wasn't god!


  2. The cavities, which match on both sides of the trench so are stripes, seem to me to be filled with a fairly uniform mix of clay, flint and some chalk, a typical deposition. The top soil shows a clear ploughed profile.

    1. That maybe true Tim - but that's not shown in the pictures!

      There are clear colour variations showing varied deposits of chalk contained in the soil. The only reason this variation would occur is due to disturbance through either natural or man-made processes.

      The periglacial stripe theory is an interesting hypothesis, but it is only a hypothesis can never be a fully qualified fact unless you have a time machine. Unlike the Avenue being used as a road for horses and carts for over a thousand years is a fact as we have maps and drawings.

      As a scientist I favour the facts.