Tuesday 29 January 2013

Hill's Sarsen Route Revisited

A review of:

The Sarsens of Stonehenge: The Problem of Their Transportation

Patrick Arthur Hill
The Geographical Journal
Vol. 127, No. 4 (Dec., 1961), pp. 488-492
Published by: Wiley
Article Stable URL:http://www.jstor.org/stable/1792802

Hill's theory on the sarsen route is:
Route.—-In the only study of the transportation problem to date, Atkinson (1956) suggested that the Stonehenge sarsens originated on the Marlborough Downs because the largest outcrops occur there today. According to him, selected sarsens were dragged to Avebury, “blessed”, then dragged one at a time on sledges over hardwood rollers to Stonehenge. To avoid the steep descent of the Chalk escarpment Atkinson swings his route westwards to cross the Vale of Pewsey at its narrowest point (Fig. i).
Using this route Atkinson (1956, p. 115) calculated that the eighty-one sarsen stones were moved one at a time, at an average speed of half a mile a day and the task occupied 1500 men for ten years. Later he suggested that the minimum hauling party for the heaviest stone would be 100 men, increased to 450 up Redhorn Hill (written communication, 1958). These figures are for the haulers only and do not include the additional men required to shift the rollers and steer the sledge.
Despite the advantages there are six objections to Atkinson’s route. (i) The labour requirements are large. (ii) The route is 4 miles longer than necessary. (iii) A surprising number of sarsens outcrop south of the Kennet—many admittedly are smaller than those on the Marlborough Downs, but this may simply mean that the larger stones have been removed. (iv) Avebury does not lie on the direct route to Stonehenge. (v) It would be easier to have the stones blessed in situ. (vi) The ascent of Redhorn Hill is unnatural, unnecessary, and more than negates any advantage of the detour.

A possible alternative route, based on field work undertaken during 1958, is suggested (below). It has the following advantages: it is shorter than Atkinson’s route and is essentially downhill for 17 of its 21 miles. It would account for the pebbles of opalescent quartz found in some of the Stonehenge sarsens, because opalescent quartz is found in sarsen outcrops at Lockeridge (oral communication from R. J. C. Atkinson, 1956) which is en route. It also connects with the Avenue at Arnesbury and there is thus no need to explain how the sarsens were dragged across the Avenue. This alternative route may be divided into five stages. (i). A steady but gentle climb for 3 miles from Lockeridge (500 feet) to the saddle (708 feet) between Walker’s and Knap Hills, with a possible subsidiary route at Huish. (ii). A slide or slides down the chalk escarpment. (iii). The crossing of the Vale of Pewsey. (iv). The journey down the Avon valley. (y). The journey up the Avenue from Amesbury. For the moment, with the exception of stage (ii), we may assume that the stones were hauled in the “conventional” manner on sledges over wooden rollers......

...The free slide invoked for stage (ii) is the easiest, fastest and safest way of lowering the sarsens the necessary 150 feet. The actual positions of the slides are conjectural. The ones shown are thought to be the most likely. They are the steepest and the short est and are the nearest to the gaps through the Downs. They are sheltered from the westerly winds and are also partly sheltered from the sun. The slides may have been over snow, grass or bare chalk and the sarsens may have been slid downhill on their sledges, or they may have been tipped off and slid downhill on their own to accumulate at the bottom to await the next stage of their journey. Along the Avon valley, stage (iv), the route would lie east of the river to avoid the two tributaries. If the depth of water were the same as today (2 feet) the stones could not have been floated, they must have been dragged and at places, to avoid river bluffs, they may have been dragged through the water. The number of river crossings is unknown; meanders may have changed position. On the basis of today’s positions, only one or two crossings are necessary. The idea that the stones might have accumulated at staging points is logistically attractive. Each stage of the route presents special problems and each, for maximum efficiency, might have been the responsibility of one group of workers. Eating and sleeping arrangements would be simplified, and the distance that each group would have to travel would be reduced.

Climate.—The reasoning so far has assumed that the climate and vegetation in 1500 b.c. were essentially the same as today. Climates, however, have changed repeatedly in the past and are changing today. .....
Conclusions.—Whether the sarsens were hauled over rollers or sledded over snow or slush, the route postulated with a slide or slides down the chalk escarpment appears to be the easiest and most logical. The suggestion that the accumulation of snow was greater at the time the sarsens were moved cannot be proved—but it cannot be disproved.

(Click for larger)

Hill was correct to challenge Atkinson's route for the reasons he gave. But he missed the largest problem with Atkinson's route, it crosses the Vale of Pewsey through a marsh and over an unnecessary hill.
Hill worries too much about the difficulty of pulling a large sledged weight across dry ground. More recent research by Julian Richards and Mark Whitby (1997) showed that a 40 tonne stone on a sledge on a greased track could be moved up a 1 in 20 slope by 130 individuals. His suggestions of ice tracks and packed snow are not supported by climatic data nor are they needed for practical reasons.

His route from the base of the Marlborough Downs and down the Avon Valley is problematical. He admits the water is too shallow to float the stones, and the Vale and river valley would have been a swamp before the river was canalised. A swamp with trees is not an easy route.

The route I suggested in The Origin Of The Stonehenge Sarsens leaflet minimises all theses problems and takes the most practical aspects of Atkinson's and Hill's routes. 

It follows Hill's route across the Marlborough Downs, though I think the stones would have been brought down the gentle routes above Alton Barnes and Stanton St Bernard rather than launched over the steepest slopes. It then follows the narrow watershed between two branches of the River Avon to Marden Henge (where any blessing could take place - pace Atkinson) where the river is the narrowest and easiest place to cross, and the least marshland has to be crossed of any point in the Vale.
It then goes up the escarpment at Chirton Maggot, or one of the other similar benign slopes before joining Atkinson's route across the Plain.

A modified map showing the three routes and land below 400 and 350ft contours.

Monday 28 January 2013

A Dagger on Stone 30?


R. E. Kaske
Vol. 31, (1975), pp. 315-316
Published by: Fordham University
Article Stable URL:http://www.jstor.org/stable/27830990

... In May 1972, on a casual visit to Stonehenge, I noticed what appeared to be an incised cartwheel with eight spokes, low on the southeast side of stone 30, within the main entrance; this same apparent design was immediately recognized by my wife and son, with no prompting from me. When I re-examined the area in July 1974, I was astonished to find not oniy that I could see no cartwheel, but that I could see nothing which might plausibly have led me to think of a cartwheel. This striking discrepancy between two clear visual impressions of the same surface made me suspect that some delicate trick of lighting must be involved, and I accordingly visited Stonehenge at night to explore the problcm with the help of crosslighting. Instead of a cartwheel, there emerged the outline of what appears to be another dagger — generally similar to those found elsewhere on Stonehenge, but carved in relief and set within a rounded depression that I suppose may be partly man-made:

This dagger, like the others on Stonehenge., is approximately vertical with the point downward. It is about four inches tall and about one and three- quarters inches across at its widest part (the horizontal top of the blade). The surrounding depression has a horizontal diameter of about six and three-quarters inches, and presumably about the same vertical diameter; the rightmost point of its circumference is about eight inches from the outer edge of the stone (toward the road), while the presumed bottom point of its circumference is about sixteen. inches from the ground. On the blade of the dagger, the angle formed by the left vertical line and the horizontal top line has been chipped, apparently rather freshly. The handle is short, stumpy, and rectangular, like those on the other daggers of Stonehenge....

UPDATE : A photo taken by torchlight March 2013:

 Click for larger - Photo Peter Squire

The area was thickly covered in lichen at the time of the Laser Scan and it is hard to make out but there is a shape in relief, standing out by about 4mm, in a rough circle. It doesn't seem to be a figment of the stoneworking but it is very unclear.
The spot is marked here.

(A previous note here referred to a different area)

Wednesday 23 January 2013

A Second Dagger on Stone 23?

UPDATED - With conclusion.

An interesting article came my way...


R. E. Kaske
Vol. 31, (1975), pp. 315-316
Published by: Fordham University
Article Stable URL:http://www.jstor.org/stable/27830990

He is mainly talking about a dagger carving on Stone 30 which I will deal with another day but he includes a picture of the dagger carving on Stone 23 - no credit or date for the photograph is given, but the other photographs in the article were taken in 1974.

A very clear dagger. But is it the dagger that was originally spotted and confirmed by the recent EH laser scan report?

From the Laser Scan Report:

Stone 23
On New Year’s Day 1954, Dr O.G.S. Crawford identified a carving of a small dagger on the SW side of Stone 23 (F364, see Figure 14). This carving is commonly illustrated as appearing on the SE interior face of the stone as Crawford simply described the carving as being on the S face (e.g Cleal et aI. 1995, 30, Fig.17); this is incorrect. A superb photograph of the carving appears in Crawford’s 1954 article on the carvings that he discovered and this shows a short blade with a clear handle and pommel. This carving exhibits a deeply incised outline, but the central area has not been lowered by pecking
This technique of manufacture was not employed on other prehistoric carvings, but there is no reason to suspect that this carving is not prehistoric.

I recently examined the stone and blogged finding this dagger at http://www.sarsen.org/2012/10/stone-23-dagger-carving.html 

Another photo taken by torchlight to show details is at: http://www.sarsen.org/2012/10/new-photo-of-stone-23-dagger.html


Close examination of the stone and carving, and rotating and scaling the picture lead me to the conclusion it is the same carving, just looking very different.

Click pictures to enlarge.

Sunday 20 January 2013

A Missing Sarsen Magically Reappears!

Atkinson in his book "Stonehenge" says the following:
Several writers on Stonehenge in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries express a belief in the former existence of stone just inside the bank on the south—west side,  neighbourhood of Aubrey Hole 28, which would marked the prolongation of the axis, and incidentally the approximate point of midwinter sunset. No one has ever seen this stone, though Mr. W. A. Judd, one of the leading nineteenth-century authorities on the lithology of Stonehenge, reported that he had found its stump ‘still in the earth, about a foot under the surface’. A later search made with a sword and an auger by the then owner of Stonehenge failed to confirm this claim, and the existence of this stone must remain problematical.

When I went to work yesterday morning the pixies had re-created the missing stone - magical!

(click for larger)

Tuesday 15 January 2013

The Mystery Mound of Stonehenge

The 1899 (and 1877) OS maps of Stonehenge show a "mound" to the south of the monument near to what is now the A303 where the old track to Springbottom Farm crosses the road.

Here's a detail from an aerial photo taken in 1944 looking south west; the yellow circle in the marked version show where the mound should be. Am I imagining a visible trace of it?

This black and white photo was taken in 1922. Again there seems to be a trace.

And in the recent Lidar image?

In all of them the "mound" looks like similar in size to the nearby barrow. Is that what it was?

On the ground investigation. Just where expected there seems to be a  very small mound still there. obviously it is hard to judge on an uneven field with tussocky grass but I thought I could find it, and also a hint of a circular ditch around it, as in the pictures above. It might be imagination but it is worth further investigation.
I scuffed a patch of snow away on the top of the small rise:

The National Library of Scotland offers a side by side georeferenced view of old OS maps and modern satellite imagery.

 I have never found any reference to this mound or what it may have been.

Click pictures to embiggen them.

2021 Update - checking the Stonehenge Landscapes EMI Project: magnetic data plot.it would appear that a water pipe was laid through the feature for the aerodrome early in the twentieth century. There might be a hint of a ring ditch though. 

Magnetometry survey

Mesolithic Finds at Countess Farm

A snippet about Mesolithic finds at Countess Farm from a Highways Agency supplied paper obtained from http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20140603113921/http://www.highways.gov.uk/our-road-network/archaeology/library-of-archaeological-reports/area-2-archaeological-reports/

With the ongoing discovery of Mesolithic finds just south of the A303 here I thought it interesting.
Much more of course in the full paper.

UPDATE  May 2014

With more news of David Jacques' fantastic Mesolothic finds at Blick Mead near Vespasian's Camp I thought it worthwhile adding a diagrammatic map showing his finds and these earlier ones.


Archaeology on the A303 Stonehenge Improvement

Wessex Archaeology 2008

Chapter 2

Late Mesolithic and Early Neolithic Activity and Environment

Matt Leivers, Philippa Bradley, David Norcott, and Chris J. Stevens
with Michael J. Allen, John Crowther, Phil Harding, Jessica M. Grim, Richard I. Macphail, and Sarah F.Wyles


The Early Mesolithic saw the transition from a largely
open late glacial landscape to one dominated by forest.
Pollen evidence for this period comes from sediments
within the Avon valley adjacent to Durrington Walls in
the north-eastern corner of the WHS (Cleal et al. 2004),
the basal deposits of which were radiocarbon dated to
c. 8280–7200 cal. BC (8640±200 BP; GU-3239).
This indicated a forested landscape dominated by pine
woodland with birch, hazel, oak, and elm colonising a
landscape previously dominated by herbs, grasses, and
reeds. This pine woodland was itself gradually replaced,
almost certainly during the course of the Mesolithic, by
hazel and incoming oak and elm (Scaife 2004).
Little direct evidence for Mesolithic hunter-gatherer
activity has been forthcoming from the region.
Excavations in the visitors’ car park at Stonehenge
provided confirmation of human activity in the
landscape during the Early Mesolithic (Allen 1995)......

Late Mesolithic activity (c. 6000–4000 BC) in the
Stonehenge region is almost unknown. Approximately
30 artefacts are recorded by Wymer (1977), although
there is some doubt over the chronological significance
of some of these (Allen 1995). Incontrovertibly
Mesolithic pieces include five tranchet axes and a
smaller number of perforated mace heads (Darvill
2005). Understandings of the environment are little
better: in 1995 Allen wrote that ‘nowhere in the
sequence is the Atlantic (late Mesolithic) represented’
(Allen 1995, 62)......

In this light, the recovery of Late Mesolithic
flintwork with good contextual associations from the
A303 Stonehenge Improvements is very important.The
material was recovered from trial trenches and test pits
at Drainage Treatment Area (DTA) 6, west of Countess
Farm, Amesbury, in Area V (Figs 6 and 7). The site lay
on the lower slopes of the valley side at the back of the
higher floodplain of the River Avon, in an area of
mapped calcareous gley alluvial soils (Frome 1 soil
association) on chalky and gravelly river alluvium....

Trench 3

Situated towards the western limits of the site,Trench 3
was orientated approximately north-west to south-east
across the terrace edge (Fig. 7). In the northern half of
the trench modern soils directly overlay weathered chalk
or coombe deposits, whilst to the south a c. 0.25 m-deep
reddish-brown buried soil was revealed, containing
quantities of Late Mesolithic worked flint, and formed
on alluvial sediments deposited during overbank
flooding episodes. A series of four 1 m² hand dug test
pits, numbered 3A–D from north to south, was
excavated through this soil to establish the northern and
southern limits of the flint scatter (Fig. 7). The test pits
were excavated in 150 mm spits in order to record a
vertical profile of the flint scatter, and in one pit (3C)
the buried soil was sampled for micromorphological
analysis. The same sequence was also sampled and
assessed for pollen but counts were insufficient to
enable any statistically reliable interpretations.


A total of 226 pieces of worked flint and 180 fragments
of burnt unworked flint (3425 g) was recovered. The
flint scatter was found to be confined predominantly
within the relict soil just off the terrace edge (test pits
3B, 3C and 3D); it did not extend onto the terrace edge
itself (test pit 3A).Worked and burnt flint was recovered
throughout the depth of the soil, although greater
numbers of worked flint were present within the
uppermost spits, notably in test pit 3C; worked flint was
also recovered from overlying and underlying colluvial

Raw material and condition

The raw material comprises locally available chalk flint.
The condition of the material is mostly very good, with
little or no edge damage; cortication is light or absent. A
little possible usewear was noted on one flake. Twelve
pieces of worked flint were burnt and a little burnt
unworked flint was also recovered. The majority of the
burnt flint (both worked and unworked) came from test
pits 3B–D. Some material is in less fresh condition, with
rolling and edge abrasion apparent (eg, from overlying
colluvium and topsoil). Here cortication is more
variable; the flint is also chronologically mixed with
most of it probably being of Bronze Age date....


Mesolithic activity in the Stonehenge area is scarce
(Cleal and Allen 1995, 470–3; Darvill 2005, 39–40, map
F). Only a little Mesolithic material was recovered from
the investigations along the A303: possible Mesolithic or
Neolithic soft hammer struck flakes and blades were
also recovered from fieldwalking immediately south of
the A303 at Longbarrow Crossroads (WA 1992;
2007b); soft hammer struck blades were found during
archaeological evaluations at Countess Roundabout
during works associated with the proposed Stonehenge
Visitor Centre (WA 1995).
A Mesolithic pit has been found at Boscombe Down
which may be akin to those found in the Stonehenge car
park, of Early Mesolithic date (Cleal et al. 1995; Allen
and Gardiner 2002). Further to the north on Salisbury
Plain a little Mesolithic material was recovered from
excavations along the military Southern Range Road
(including refitting blades from Boreham Farm
Bungalow; Ellis and Powell 2008, 141) and a small
assemblage of Mesolithic flint came from Breach Hill
(Harding 2006, 87). The lack of Late Mesolithic
material from the wider area simply reinforces the
importance of the finds from Countess Farm, the valley
location perhaps being significant. However, there are
limitations given the size of the assemblage recovered
and the small areas investigated by the test pits. These
results highlight the potential of this location but only
further investigation will enable better characterisation
of this activity.

Four ways to see the Stonehenge Triangle - Update "Five ways"

 1899 OS Map

Modern Aerial

Geophys from English Heritage

Lidar from English Heritage
Click any picture for a larger version.(You can then flick through them at speed)

The marked "Mound" on the OS Map at the bottom centre is a mystery to me, any ideas?

Monday 14 January 2013

Archaeological Reports - Highways Agency

The Highways Agency has a large number of archaeological reports that have been commissioned for various road schemes across the country. They are available on request as emailed pdfs.

Of course my interest is mainly in the Stonehenge area so I requested and was sent two.

A303 Stonehenge_Archaeology on the A303
A303 Stone­henge improvement_Historic Land­scape Survey

The link to the page is:

Area 2 Archaeological Reports - Highways Agency:

Which lists lots more interesting ones.....

  • A303 Stone­henge improvement_Historic Land­scape Survey
  • A303 Stone­henge Improvements_Manuscript Maps
  • A303 Stone­henge VII_geophysical survey
  • A303 STONEHENGE_Archaeological sur­vey 2001_Areas A B C and D
  • A303 STONEHENGE_Archaeological sur­vey 2001_Areas K L M N and O
  • A303 STONEHENGE_Archaeological sur­vey 2001_Field eval­u­a­tion strategy
  • A303 STONEHENGE_Archaeological Survey_Archaeological Eval­u­a­tion Report: Area C1
  • A303 STONEHENGE_Archaeological Survey_Archaeological Eval­u­a­tion Report: Area P
  • A303 STONEHENGE_Archaeological Survey_Archaeological Eval­u­a­tion Report: Areas 1,2,3 and 4
  • A303 STONEHENGE_Archaeological Survey_Archaeological Eval­u­a­tion Report: Areas A,B,C and D
  • A303 STONEHENGE_Archaeological Survey_Archaeological Eval­u­a­tion Report: Areas L and O
  • A303 STONEHENGE_Archaeological Survey_Archaeological Eval­u­a­tion Report: Areas R and T
  • A303 STONEHENGE_Archaeological Survey_Archaeological Eval­u­a­tion Report: Drainage Treate­ment Areas 2 and 6t
  • A303 STONEHENGE_Archaeological Survey_Field Eval­u­a­tion strategy
  • A303 STONEHENGE_Archaeological Survey_Quantification and Assess­ment of Archae­o­log­i­cal Sur­veys Archive
  • A303 STONEHENGE_Archaeological Survey_Stage 2 Field­walk­ing Survey
  • A303 STONEHENGE_Archaeological Survey_Till Val­ley Auger Tran­sect and Test Pits
  • A303 STONEHENGE_Archaeological Survey_WSI for Field Eval­u­a­tion Area C1
  • A303 STONEHENGE_Archaeological Survey_WSI for Field Eval­u­a­tion Area P
  • A303 STONEHENGE_Archaeological Survey_WSI for Field Eval­u­a­tion Areas A,B,C and D
  • A303 STONEHENGE_Archaeological Survey_WSI for Field Eval­u­a­tion Areas K,L,M,N and O
  • A303 STONEHENGE_Archaeological Survey_WSI for Field Eval­u­a­tion Areas Q,R,S,T and U
  • A303 STONEHENGE_Archaeological surveys_Area C1
  • A303 Stonehenge_Archaeology on the A303
  • A303 Stonehenge_environmental statement
  • A303 STONEHENGE_Fieldwalking sur­vey and Envi­ron­men­tal Sampling
  • A303 STONEHENGE_Geotechnical Site Investigation_Archaeological Watch­ing Brief
  • A303 STONEHENGE_Ground Inves­ti­ga­tion 2002: Archae­o­log­i­cal Watch­ing Brief
  • A303 UPGRADING AMESBURY TO BERWICK DOWN_Archaeological Assess­ment stage 2

Friday 11 January 2013

A history of the Marlborough Downs in a photograph.

(Click for larger)

The Marlborough Downs east of the A361, south of the A4 and north of the Wansdyke are a wonderful lonely space to explore. Old maps show many ditches, dykes and enclosures with Sarsen stones dotted around. The old sheep runs were ploughed up during the twentieth century and many of these features were obliterated.
But now the downland is being recreated in parts and the plough lies rusting. But the loss of heritage is lamentable. Badgers, rabbits and moles are also busy at work returning tumuli and banks to featureless downland.
But enough remains to fascinate, do visit.

Tuesday 8 January 2013

Stonehenge Fences - The Case Law

House of Lords - Director of Public Prosecutions v. Jones and Another (On Appeal from a Divisional Court of the Queen's Bench Division)

Attorney-General v. Antrobus [1905] 2 Ch. 188

(Lord Antrobus was the owner of Stonehenge and had fenced it off and started charging for entry)

 ...The owner of the land had enclosed the monument by fencing on the view that this was necessary for its protection. The Attorney-General wished to remove the fencing in order to keep the place open so that the public could visit it. The action failed, because there could be no public right of way to the monument acquired by mere user or by the fact that the public had been in the habit of visiting it. At p. 198 Farwell J. said that the jus spatiandi--the right to walk about or to promenade--was not known to our law as a possible subject-matter of prescription. At p. 206 he said that the public had no jus spatiandi or manendi--the right to stay or remain--within the circle. In In re Ellenborough Park [1956] Ch. 131, in which it was held that the jus spatiandi, in regard to a right to use a pleasure park, could be acquired by grant as an easement, Lord Evershed M.R. observed at p. 163 that Farwell J.'s rejection of it may have been derived in part from its similar rejection by the law of Rome, and that there was no other judicial authority for adopting the Roman view in this respect into English law. But as to the matter of public right he went on at p. 184 to say this:

"There is no doubt, in our judgment, but that Attorney-General v. Antrobus was rightly decided; for no such right can be granted (otherwise than by Statute) to the public at large to wander at will over an undefined open space, nor can the public acquire such a right by prescription."

Although the use of these Latin words may seem out of date in present circumstances, they serve nevertheless as a valuable reminder of the place which the right to assemble must occupy in the context of the law relating to real property. Easements and public rights to land which are acquired by user or by dedication are limited rights, as against the occupier or owner of the land which is affected by them. They are granted or acquired for a particular purpose only, and they are not to be confused with the use of the land for other purposes. Thus a right of way or passage is entirely different from a right to walk about or a right to remain in one place. The law recognises that a right of way or passage may be acquired by user or by dedication. But it takes a different view of the right to walk about or to remain in one place. These are not rights which the public can acquire by user or by dedication. If rights of this kind can be acquired at all they can be acquired only by express grant. So they cannot be included among the rights of access which the public can enjoy as of right without the consent of the landowner.

Stonehenge Panorama

English Heritage has released a complete panoramic view of Stonehenge from the centre, move around with your mouse.

Opens in a new window - Stonehenge Panorama

Sunday 6 January 2013

Warmer and wetter 4,500 years ago

12/2012 - Silbury Hill, Wiltshire: Palaeohydrology of the Kennet, Swallowhead Springs and the Siting of Silbury Hill - English Heritage Research Department Report

The modelling results have recreated a palaeohydrology for the Avebury and Silbury area and indicate that there was a wetter climate in the area. This would have generated higher river flows and most importantly higher groundwater levels, which would have sustained the local populations through dry summers. Also, the raised water table would have ensured waterlogged ground in places, which when coupled with increased vegetation and tree cover would have provided a more sustainable environment and better soils for crops in the area. Thus the study indicates that there would have been wetter and warmer conditions in 4000-4500BP

Download report: Silbury Hill, Wiltshire: Palaeohydrology of the Kennet, Swallowhead Springs and the Siting of Silbury Hill

Interestingly, the changes predicted for the 4000-4500BP period by the Bridge CGM are actually quite similar to the predictions of future climate change in the UK (Wilby et al 2006), which implies that we are moving back to a 4000-4500BP climate in the UK.

Of course this is around the period when the Sarsen stones are presumed to have been transported from the Marlborough Downs nearby and across the Kennet to Stonehenge. Can we please not mention sliding them on ice down the frozen Avon again; that theory is just not compatible with the climatic evidence.

A History of Stonehenge Excavations

A comprehensive, though probably not complete, list of Stonehenge excavations - based on http://eprints.bournemouth.ac.uk/9689/7/151-158_appendix_1.qxd.pdf, with the publications of their reports.

1620. Duke of Buckingham had an excavation made
within Stonehenge.

1633–52. Inigo Jones conducted the first ‘scientific’ surveys
of Stonehenge.
Jones, I, and Webb, J, 1655, The most notable antiquity of Great
Britain vulgarly called Stone-Heng on Salisbury plain.
London: J Flesher for D Pakeman and L Chapman

1666. John Aubrey surveyed Stonehenge and produced his
‘Review’ in 1666, where he described the prehistoric pits,
later known as the Aubrey Holes.
Aubrey, J, 1693 (edited by J Fowles 1982), Monumenta Britannica.
Sherborne, Dorset: Dorset Publishing Co

1721–4. William Stukeley surveyed and excavated
Stonehenge and its field monuments.

1721. William Stukeley discovered the Avenue extending
beyond Stonehenge Bottom to King Barrow Ridge.

1723. William Stukeley discovered the Cursus.
Stukeley, W, 1740, Stonehenge: a temple restor’d to the British
druids. London: W Innys and R Manby

1798. William Cunnington dug under the fallen stones
(numbers 56 and 57) at Stonehenge.

1805–10. William Cunnington dug at Stonehenge on
various occasions.
Cunnington, W, 1884, Guide to the stones of Stonehenge. Devizes:
Bull Printer

1839. Captain Beamish excavated within Stonehenge.

1874–7. Professor Flinders Petrie produced a plan of
Stonehenge and numbered the stones.
Petrie, W M F, 1880, Stonehenge: plans, description, and theories.
London: Edward Stanford

1901. Professor William Gowland meticulously recorded and
excavated around stone number 56 at Stonehenge.
Gowland, W, 1902, Recent excavations at Stonehenge.
Archaeologia, 58, 37–82

1919–26. Colonel William Hawley extensively excavated in
advance of restoration programmes at Stonehenge for the
Office of Works and later for the Society of Antiquaries.
Hawley excavated ditch sections of the Avenue, conducted
an investigation of the Slaughter Stone and other stones at
Stonehenge, and rediscovered a number of Aubrey Holes
through excavation.
Cleal, R M J, Walker, K E, and Montague, R, 1995, Stonehenge and
its landscape: twentieth-century excavations (English
Heritage Archaeological Report 10). London: English Heritage.
Hawley, W, 1921, Stonehenge: interim report on the
exploration. Antiquaries Journal, 1, 19–41
Hawley, W, 1922, Second report on the excavations at Stonehenge.
Antiquaries Journal, 2, 36–52
Hawley, W, 1923, Third report on the excavations at Stonehenge.
Antiquaries Journal, 3, 13–20
Hawley, W, 1924, Fourth report on the excavations at Stonehenge,
1922. Antiquaries Journal, 4, 30–9
Hawley, W, 1925, Report on the excavations at Stonehenge during
the season of 1923. Antiquaries Journal, 5, 21–50
Hawley, W, 1926, Report on the excavations at Stonehenge during
the season of 1924. Antiquaries Journal, 6, 1–25
Hawley, W, 1928, Report on the excavations at Stonehenge during
1925 and 1926. Antiquaries Journal, 8, 149–76
Pitts, M, Bayliss, A, McKinley, J, Boylston, A, Budd, P, Evans,
J, Chenery, C, Reynolds, A, and Semple, S, 2002, An Anglo-
Saxon decapitation and burial at Stonehenge. Wiltshire
Archaeological and Natural History Magazine, 95, 131–46

1929. Robert Newall excavated Stone 36.
Newall, R S, 1929, Stonehenge. Antiquity, 3, 75–88
Newall, R S, 1929, Stonehenge, the recent excavations. Wiltshire
Archaeological and Natural History Magazine, 44, 348–59

1935. Young . Car Park area.

1950. Robert Newall excavated Stone 66.
Newall, R S, 1952, Stonehenge stone no. 66. Antiquaries Journal,
32, 65–7

1952. Robert Newall excavated Stones 71 and 72.

1950–64. A major campaign of excavations by Richard
Atkinson, Stuart Piggott, and Marcus Stone involving the
re-excavation of some of Hawley’s trenches as well as
previously undisturbed areas within Stonehenge.
Atkinson, R J C, Piggott, S, and Stone, J F S, 1952, The excavations
of two additional holes at Stonehenge, and new evidence for
the date of the monument. Antiquaries Journal, 32, 14–20
Atkinson, R J C, 1956, Stonehenge. London. Penguin Books in
association with Hamish Hamilton. (second revised edition
1979: Penguin Books)
Cleal, R M J, Walker, K E, and Montague, R, 1995, Stonehenge and
its landscape: twentieth-century excavations (English
Heritage Archaeological Report 10). London: English Heritage

1966. Faith and Lance Vatcher excavated within Stonehenge
Vatcher, F de M and Vatcher, H L, 1973, Excavation of three
postholes in Stonehenge car park. Wiltshire Archaeological
and Natural History Magazine, 68, 57–63

1968. Faith and Lance Vatcher Geophone and floodlight cable trenches.

1978. John Evans re-excavated a 1954 cutting through the
Stonehenge ditch and bank to take samples for snail
analysis and radiocarbon dating. A well-preserved human
burial lay within the ditch fill. Three fine flint arrowheads
were found amongst the bones, with a fourth embedded in
the sternum.
Atkinson, R J C and Evans, J G, 1978. Recent excavations at
Stonehenge. Antiquity, 52, 235–6
Evans, J G, 1984, Stonehenge: the environment in the late Neolithic
and early Bronze Age, and a Beaker burial. Wiltshire
Archaeological and Natural History Magazine, 78, 7–30

1978. Thom and Atkinson. NE side of Station Stone 94

1979–80. George Smith excavated in the Stonehenge carpark
on behalf of the Central Excavation Unit.
Smith, G, 1980, Excavations in Stonehenge car park. Wiltshire
Archaeological and Natural History Magazine, 74/75
(1979–80), 181

1979–80. Mike Pitts excavated along the south side of A344
in advance of cable-laying and pipe-trenching. In 1979, he
discovered a pit belonging to a previously unknown stone
close to the Heel Stone. Geophysical survey identified pits
along the course of the Avenue. In 1980, Pitts excavated
beside the A344 where he discovered a stone floor and the
only complete prehistoric artefact assemblage retained from
the monument.
Pitts, M W, 1981, The discovery of a new stone at Stonehenge.
Archaeoastronomy, 4, 17–21
Pitts, M W, 1982, On the road to Stonehenge: Report on
investigations beside the A344 in 1968, 1979 and 1980.
Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society, 48, 75–132

1981. The Central Excavation Unit excavated in advance of
the construction of the footpath through Stonehenge.
Bond, D, 1983, An excavation at Stonehenge, 1981. Wiltshire
Archaeological and Natural History Magazine, 77, 39–43

1994. Wessex Archaeology. Limited Auger Survey.

2008. Timothy Darvill and Geoffrey Wainwright set out to date the construction of the Double Bluestone Circle at Stonehenge and to chart the subsequent history of the bluestones and their use at the monument.
The Antiquaries Journal / Volume 89 / September 2009, pp 1-19

Thursday 3 January 2013

West Amesbury House - Sarsen Stone Foundations?

From the Wiltshire Archaeological and Natural History Magazine Vol XI May 1868

I AM not aware of any instances in the immediate neighbourhood of Stonehenge, of church towers having large blocks of sarsen stone in their foundations, though there are many instances of it in the Pewsey vale and its vicinity.
My father resided for twenty-five years in West Amesbury House, and I have often heard him express his conviction, that a considerable quantity of fragments of the stones of Stonehenge were built into its walls. I could myself point out pieces of stone in the garden wall, which appear to be precisely similar in quality to the stones of the outer circle.
The house has undergone great alterations since my father lived in it. One of its wings was taken down about 1824 or 5, and about twenty-five years since, the court in front was filled up by building some rooms, so that it might not now be so easy to discover the original materials. It is now the farm house. Stonehenge stands on the estate, so that the builder of the house was the owner of that monument.
As to the time when some of the stones disappeared; it is most probable (if it was ever completed,) that a long period intervened between the destruction or removal of the first, and of the last of the missing stones. Inigo Jones, in his work on Stonehenge, which was written in 1620, according to the short account of his life prefixed to the edition of 1725, says, “Those of the inner circle, and lesser Hexagon not only exposed to the fury of all devouring age, but to the rage of men likewise, have been more subject to ruine. For being of no extraordinary proportions they might easily be beaten down or digged up, and at pleasure made use of for other occasions, which I am the rather enduced to believe, since my first measuring the work, not one fragment ,of some of then standing are now to be found.” Jones’s Stonehenge, p. 63, original small folio of 1655; p. 42 ed. 1725.—W. C. K..

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