Tuesday, 24 November 2015

How Many Stones or Rocks Does Stonehenge Have?

There are 93 rocks or lumps of stone visible at Stonehenge now - not counting the buried and missing ones. All the stones are numbered on standard plans, see below.

Note, if a numbered stone is broken and two separate bits or fragments of it are visible then it counts as two stones etc.

I have checked this on the ground, but errors may remain, please comment if you spot any.

Stone No. Volume (m³) Estimated above ground weight (tonnes)Additional visible fragments
15.4513.08
28.0319.27
35.5513.32
46.6615.98
55.6413.53
65.5413.29
75.9714.32
8*0.651.56
9a/b0.250.291
107.0716.96
11†2.034.87
12‡6.3215.16
14‡2.916.98
15*1.313.14
169.823.52
19*1.653.96
214.6111.06
225.4713.128
234.9211.8
25*2.957.08
26*0.40.96
275.2112.48
289.0821.792
296.9516.68
307.7518.6
519.8623.66
5211.5427.69
537.5618.14
5412.2229.32
55a/b6.615.841
569.6123.06
5711.6427.93
5810.0224.04
59a/b/c*9.121.842
609.0121.62
911.162.78
930.561.34
95‡1.754.2
9612.4729.92
1011.884.51
1022.76.48
1051.593.81
1072.15.04
120*0.491.17
1222.76.48
127*0.61.44
1302.66.24
1524.8911.73
1547.2917.49
1563.78.88
1586.916.56
160*2.095.012
310.682.04
32‡0.381.14
330.170.51
340.110.33
35a‡0.00070.002
35b‡0.0030.01
36‡0.090.27
370.270.81
38
39‡0.160.48
40
41‡0.240.72
42‡0.10.3
43
44
45‡0.140.42
46†0.140.34
470.421.26
48‡†0.0660.16
490.371.11
610.320.961
620.411.23
630.41.2
64
65
66

67‡0.531.59
680.712.13
690.722.16
700.411.23
72*0.511.53
80 Altar Stone1
150
Totals:
85680.9628
Total Visible Stones 93








Stone 40g is not counted because all that is visible is a lead cap.

How many stones did Stonehenge originally have is a different question.

There are five Sarsen Trilithons which gives fifteen large Sarsen stones.
The outer ring of Sarsens is planned to contain thirty uprights and thirty lintels so that is 75 worked sarsens in total.
There are four sarsens outside the centre, the two Station Stones, the Slaughter Stone and the Heel Stone.
There are stoneholes for other stones matching these, another two station stones, a matching Slaughter Stone and a paired hole to the Heel Stone. (There are other holes such as the F,G and H holes which maybe were stoneholes.) These empty holes may have held other stones or maybe stones that were then moved, for instance the Heel Stone may have originally occupied Stonehole 97. So that is between five and ten other sarsens.

There is the Altar Stone, origin unknown.

And lots of bluestones and bluestone holes. There are 29 bluestones that are still visible, but the original number is probably around 80. They have been shuffled around the holes so it is hard to be sure but that is a reasonable estimate.

So Stonehenge may have had up to 165 stones originally. It also had a vast number of stone fragments and hammerstones used for packing.

Where are the missing stones from Stonehenge?
We don't know.
There is broken up bluestone, known as debitage, all over the site. Is this from stones being broken up for tools and talismen or is it the remains of shaping the stones?
We know bits have been knocked off the edges of stones, greatly reducing them in some cases but complete stones carted off for use elsewhere have not been found despite searches. So it is another Stonehenge mystery.

(Note this is an updated post combining previous published posts into one.)

4 comments:

  1. Though 21 of the stones have been manipulated in one way or another during the three restoration projects, according to an admittedly sketchy historical record, nothing at Stonehenge has been robbed within at least the last 500 years or so.

    While 40% of the Stones are missing, the greatest bulk of these have been the smallest of them. Only five of the outer Sarsen orthostats are gone altogether and none of the Trilithons or their lintels are absent.

    I believe only the uprights which had previously fallen were robbed, this being the path of least resistance. The same earthquake that I suspect brought down S-55 no doubt caused the collapse of others. Several of these are only remnants; evidence of easy picking. S-8, -9, -15 and -19 are the examples. Intact S-12 and -25 likely fell after the robbing period, while the slow recline of -14 is actually chronicled in several pieces of artwork from the 17th and 18th centuries.

    None of the standers in the northeast are missing or broken, and while this might be due to difficulty in destroying them, we know that those in the southwest were of less quality and, having shallow sockets, more readily succumbed to the ravages of time. Lintels scattered by fallen uprights could be collected without too much fuss, while the balance of situated lintels could have been brought down by a team of stout draft horses and good rope.

    Personally, I think the Romans did it.
    They broke up those that had fallen, plus a few lintels and Blues, then carted the rubble off to some distant, mundane venue that's now lost to the mists of time.

    Neil

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  2. "Personally, I think the Romans did it."

    My money is on ISIS or those damn Victorians with their hired hammers?

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  3. ISIS would use C-4, yes -- but good luck blowing up Sarsen.

    I was always appalled by the thought of a local cottage industry renting steel chisels to bored day-trippers for carving their names into the ages. But after searching the record it turns out that the colorful tale is apocryphal. There's no real evidence that this was the case. Though obviously steel chisels were used extensively through the years, there was no 'vendor's stall', so to speak, for some local to make a few lucky-bucks.

    Neil

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  4. You could be right Neil!

    But HANSARD 1803–2005 → 20 December 1976 → Commons Sitting → ORDERS OF THE DAY A speech by the Local MP (Mr. Michael Hamilton) may shed some light on the reasons for the destruction and removal?

    "In the last century my constituents hired out hammers to visitors to facilitate their task. We all have to live. I see my hon. 160 Friend the Member for Stretford (Mr. Churchill) smiling. It is a fact that wages in Wiltshire have always been below the national average. If visitors were too idle to chip away the pieces for themselves, instead they could buy pieces for mementos.

    Moreover, at this time of the year severe storms sweep across Salisbury Plain. It was on 3rd January 1797 that one of the finest stone arches—trilithons, as they are called—fell. When one trilithon falls, as with a plantation of trees the pressures on the remainder increase. On New Year's Eve of 1900 another trilithon fell. It must be said, if only in fairness to those prehistoric builders, that a contributory cause of these falls has been digging by treasure hunters in the past too close to their foundations."

    This is recently back up by a book 'The Stonehenge Letters' which suggests that "for two more shillings a day, guests could also hire hammers and chisles from the White Hart. It would appear that the hotel was still 'encouraging' those visiting Stonehenge to return from their outing with a small stone as a souvenir"

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