Wednesday 29 February 2012

More Photos From The Source Of The Stonehenge Sarsens

Grey Wethers and Sheep... imagine how many stones were here before they were harvested.

A split sarsen, the pock marks where the wedges went in are visible. One corner of the stone has been removed.

The Devil's Den - see for more info.

Tuesday 28 February 2012

Overton Down Experimental Earthwork

I visited the Experimental Earthwork on Overton Down, one of the youngest archaeological sites in the county.

The ditch section of the Overton Down Experimental Earthwork provides a dated record of the degradation of two free faces with opposing aspects of a ditch dug into the chalk in Wiltshire. The earthwork was constructed in 1960.

Its gradual decay has been closely observed since - tests and excavations have shown that it decayed quickly over a number of years but then stabilised, suggesting that many prehistoric earthworks may have reached something not unlike their present state quite soon after they were abandoned.

Sunday 26 February 2012

Stone 16 Spiral and Other Carvings

An extra picture to add to a previous blog post

Graffitied Stone at Stonehenge

It is "only" the famous milestone opposite the Heel Stone, but a lovely old object has been defaced and after cleaning it won't be the same. I suppose it shows why 24/7 security is needed at the monument.

The history of the milestone is on Mike Pitt's site here.

UPDATE 9th March 2012

The face of the stone has been cleaned.... but not the side!

Friday 24 February 2012

The Sarsen Bridge by the Bluestonehenge in West Amesbury

The Sarsen Bridge by *tewkes-ape on deviantART: "
The Sarsen Bridge by *tewkes-ape on deviantART"

Location: Amesbury, Wiltshire
This bridge is next to the site of Bluestonehenge which was a henge that stood at the terminus of the famous Stonehenge Avenue. Due to the amount of bluestone found at this site, particularly in the locations of standing stones that once stood at this site it is thought that some (but not all!) of the bluestone pillars (the smaller inner circle) at stonehenge once stood at this site.

In the first year of excavation of this site archaeologists originally thought that there might have been sarsen here (the material used for the large trilathons at stonehenge.) It wasn't for three weeks that they realised a massive lump of it was helping to support this bridge.

The Bluestonehenge archaeological team take up positions in the stoneholes, with the partially excavated henge curve in front of them. The small wooden overbridge and trackway to the Avon River is seen to the top left of the picture (Aerial-Cam photo, by Adam Stanford).

Wednesday 22 February 2012

Post Holes

I came across this plan of post holes connected up into yards. (Click it to expand it)

You could, I suppose, join the holes up into different formations and created a roofed central building suitable for rituals.

It reminded me of the mass of holes we find at Durrington where we know a lot of feasting, and hence a lot of slaughtering of livestock, occurred.

Maybe some of those holes are purely utilitarian as these holes are modern plans for Australian cattle handling pens.

Tuesday 21 February 2012

Desperately Seeking Sarsens

I spent some time exploring Amesbury, the nearest town to Stonehenge, searching for Sarsen stones used in old buildings. We are always told that the missing Sarsens of Stonehenge were broken up for building or hardcore. I have not found any Sarsens used on the farms around Stonehenge as they are in the Pewsey Vale and on the Marlborough Downs.

This Google Street-view map allows you to "walk" the streets of Amesbury from the comfort of your chair!

View Larger Map

Hair By Joanna is in The Old Post Office which is reputed to have a Bluestone slab. I presume it is the large stone threshold which is blueish. It isn't a "Bluestone" though, just a type of slate I think.

The Antrobus Arms is said to have four Sarsen steps. (Click any photo to expand it)

No, not Sarsen.

There are many walls in Amesbury made of odd stones and flints. Much of the Church is as well.

I've looked all round the Church's sure foundations, I have scoured the walls on roads and carparks, I can't spot any Sarsen.

If the Sarsens of Stonehenge were broken up for building stone then the stones are well hidden. If you know for any please tell me. And if the broken stones are not to be found it supports the idea that maybe the missing stones never were there and the circle was never completed.

Thursday 16 February 2012

A Sarsen Stonecutter family's tale

CROOK, Martin L FREE, Ian E T , Grey Wethers The Free Family in Marlborough and the Upper Kennet Valley c 1847 1998

FIRST EDITION limited to 300 copies; sm.4to., pp.xii,103; illustrations in half-tone & colour throughout including many facsimiles of 19thC documents & advertising ephemera; 3 sketch-maps & genealogy; new in printed laminated card covers. An interesting insight into both the social history of 19th & 20th century Marlborough and the Wiltshire stone-cutting industry. We are sole distributors of this book - trade terms available. (Book ref. 15074) £12.00

The Frees moved from near Hughenden in Buckinghamshire to the Marlborough area as the sarsens were not buried but scattered on the surface. They perfected a method of splitting the stones with a hammer and chisel to make squared kerbs and building stones. The family became a major business name in Marlborough. I have ordered a copy of the book.

Tuesday 14 February 2012

Stonehenge Spirals

Recently Simon Banton pointed out the spiral on Stone 16 to me. Today Charlotte Forward showed me the markings on Stone 56 which look similar.

This photo is from the inside of the ring looking South East - Stone 56, the tallest sarsen stone, is in the foreground with stone 16 behind. Click on the photo for a larger version.

I will leave any interpretation to your imagination.

Highlighted version of photo below.

Friday 10 February 2012

Random Sarsens in The Pewsey Vale

I spotted these lovely Sarsens on an abandoned bit of land in Bottlesford - the largest must be five feet long. I want to rescue them and give them a loving home.

It shows the difficulty of trying to find any crumb trail of Sarsens from their source to Stonehenge as there are so many still out in the wild.

Wednesday 8 February 2012

A Plundered Sarsen?

This Sarsen gatepost is one I put up at the entrance to my house. There is more of it underground than above, I know I dug the hole!
I bought it at a farm sale and discovered later it originally came from West Kennett, where the Avebury avenue of stones finishes. An avenue that is sadly incomplete as stones were robbed for other uses. The farmer promised me the matching other post but it is lost somewhere filling up a hole on a track. Such was the fate of many of these noble stones.

But around Stonehenge I have yet to spot a Sarsen gatepost or reused stone in the foundations of a barn or cottage.

Monday 6 February 2012

Seeing Beneath Stonehenge | Exploring the Stonehenge Riverside project with Google Earth

When this was first released there seemed to be some problems which I trust have now been solved.

For anyone interested in Stonehenge it is a must.

Seeing Beneath Stonehenge | Exploring the Stonehenge Riverside project with Google Earth: "Seeing Beneath Stonehenge uses Google Earth to transport you around the virtual landscape of this magnificent monument. You can interact with the exciting discoveries of the Stonehenge Riverside Project and learn more about the archaeology of this internationally important site.
Once you have downloaded the Google Earth layers you can:

• Take a virtual guided tour of the Stonehenge landscape
• Visit the Neolithic village of Durrington Walls, including taking a trip inside a prehistoric house
• See reconstructions of Bluestonehenge and the Southern Circle, showing how these monuments may have looked in prehistory
The tool is easy to use and requires Google Earth to be installed on your computer."

Download Seeing Beneath Stonehenge

Thursday 2 February 2012

Free Stonehenge Pictures

These are just some snaps from my phone taken over the summer.
I make no claims to their quality but you may enjoy them.
They are copyright free and royalty free, so feel free to copy and share them.

(The last two are of mushrooms - I like mushrooms!)