Friday, 28 February 2014

Stone 19 and its hole

Last summer when it we had weeks of hot dry weather I noticed and published on this blog the discovery of some parchmarks in the south west corner of the Stonehenge outer sarsen circle - see

This provided the first evidence (though not conclusive) for the existence of stoneholes, and hence, the stones 17 and 18. 

The stoneholes for 20 and 19, as well as other recorded holes, showed up as parchmarks as well.

The top of Stone 19 still lies on the ground and I thought it would be interesting to compare it with the parchmark of its stonehole. And it is a fairly good fit for width, though of course the missing part of the stone may have been wider or narrower.

The parchmark from the south west.

The remains of stone 19 (stone to the right is a fallen lintel) the break would be about half way down the stone, the bottom half is missing.

The top of Stone 19

One oft the tenons, much eroded, on the top of stone 19.

(click any to embiggen)


  1. I Think the patchmark is far too small to take stone 19 you're comparing.

    If you look at the excavation data of the known sarsen stones still standing their 'footprint' which the patchmark outlines are normally twice the size in depth and 125% wider in width.

    Patchmark 19 is about (slightly larger) than excavated stonehole 13, which from the packing around the hole suggests a much smaller stone.


  2. Good point, but on checking I'm happy that it fits.If you consult your trusty Cleal look at Cutting 56 (pages 562 and 195 in my copy) you will see the stoneholes around stones 53 and 54 and note they are just about up to the edges across the width of the stones. From an engineering point you would make them so for stability. Also note the edges of the parchmark will not be exactly the edges of the hole.

  3. You could be right Tim!

    You see it on a day-today basis, whilst I have to rely on second hand material. Such as:

    But the picture from on the blog (which maybe deceptive) makes patchmark 19 look not only in the wrong position but the same size as the Z holes - which we know from excavation much smaller?

    I guess when geophysics obtain better devices of greater resolution to detect smaller aspects we will have a definitive answer.


  4. The Y&Z-Holes are narrower, yet much longer than the Stone-Holes, being that they're more like scooped gouges into the chalk underbed. See also Atkinson's images of Y- & Z-16

    I take pains to point out that a parch-mark's dimension does not a Stone-Hole make. There would be no telling what the actual seat looks like without a finely-tuned GPR, or - God Forbid - an actual excavation. But even then, the socket would exceed the size of the Stone for the sake of expedience. Packing stones tell the real story, ie: how many and how big.
    Stoneholes are all over the map, size-wise. (Including SH-13!)

    The find's the thing here, and we're fortunate that Tim found these last July - finally wrapping up a centuries-long debate.