Monday 25 November 2013

Mark Anstee Stonehenge Print

Mark Anstee – limited edition

Stonehenge Grand Tour Souvenir

Following his year long residency at Stonehenge, Mark
Anstee has made a souvenir for fellow grand tourists.

‘Stonehenge Portal’ – is a limited edition print from his
silverpoint drawing of an accidental trilithon. The drawing
was made at Stonehenge between March and July 2013
and took 132 hours to complete.

The edition comes ready mounted and wrapped in a
protective cardboard shell.

Title: Stonehenge Portal
Limited edition 150 (+15 artist proofs)
Print size 190mm x 190mm
Mount size 305mm x 305mm
Box size 335mm x 335mm
Digital print on 310gsm Hahnemühle German Etching
Paper with light-fast archival quality inks.

A certificate of authenticity issued by the printer is
included. The edition is strictly limited to just 150 prints.

The mount is a 2.6mm conservation mount board in
antique white.

Each print is signed and numbered by the artist, and the
artist’s personal monogram is stamped on the print and
its accompaniments.

Price - £115.00 (+ p&p)

Please get in touch at

Stonehenge Grand Tour is at or

Sunday 24 November 2013

Channel 4 - Walking through History - Stonehenge - The Route

Channel 4 - Walking through History - Stonehenge

Wiltshire is home to arguably the greatest concentration of prehistoric monuments in Europe, if not the world!

The 45 mile route begins at Windmill Hill before heading south to spend the first day walking amongst the stone circles of Avebury.

Download the walk;

The download includes full day by day walking instructions with accompanying history guide.
Discover how the famous monuments of the area are connected and what they can tell us about life, and death, in Neolithic Britain. The walk takes us across some of the most beautiful landscape in the south west, as we uncover the actions of our ancestors here between 4000 and 2000BC.

Day 1

Avebury Stone Circle
Avebury Stone Circle
A gentle first day with plenty of time for admiring the monuments encountered along the route.
  • Windmill Hill to Avebury via Avebury Stone Circle and the Sanctuary

Distance: 6.5 miles

Day 2

West Kennet Long Barrow
We up the pace as we hunt for hard evidence of our elusive ancestors at Silbury Hill and the West Kennet Long Barrow. We skirt the Marlborough Downs and head up and over Milk Hill for some more modern mysteries, like crop circles.
  • Avebury to Honeystreet, via Silbury Hill, Swallowhead Springs, West Kennet Long Barrow, Field of Sarsen Stones, Milk Hill and the Alton Barnes White Horse, and Adam's Grave.

Distance: 15.5 miles

Day 3

The Avenue
The Avenue
We follow our ancestors down the River Avon to the greatest prehistoric monument of them all – Stonehenge.
  • Honeystreet to Stonehenge via: Durrington Walls, West Amesbury Henge and the Avenue

Distance: 23.5 miles

The Map

OS Explorer Maps 157, 130 (1:25k) or OS Landranger 173, 184 (1:50k)
All distances are approximate so allow plenty of time

Friday 22 November 2013

Craig Rhos-y-felin is the likely major source of Stonehenge rhyolitic bluestones

Bluestone sources are very much in the news this weeks as Rob Ixer and Richard Bevins release news of their work. Confusion is reigning as journalists fail to point out there are many different types of "bluestone", Brian John has published a list:

A quote from Bevins: "I don't expect to get Christmas cards from the archaeologists who have been excavating at the wrong place all these years." has been taken as a put down of the work Mike Parker Pearson has being doing at Craig Rhos-y-felin. But as Bevins and Ixer's paper from earlier this year makes clear the "Bluestones" at Craig Rhos-y-felin are rhyolites and the new source discovery at Carn Goedog is of spotted Dolerite - see and for more detail:

Here's the abstract of their earlier paper;

Carn Alw as a source of the rhyolitic component of the Stonehenge bluestones: a critical re-appraisal of the petrographical account of H.H. Thomas

(Click for larger)


Stonehenge rhyolitic bluestones were sourced by Thomas (1923) to Carn Alw, Wales.
Recent geochemical investigations have questioned that west Wales source.
The original thin sections studied by Thomas have been re-investigated in this study.
Thomas's proposed provenance of the Stonehenge rhyolites to Carn Alw is disproven.


The source of the Stonehenge bluestones was first determined in the early 1920s by H.H. Thomas who was an officer with the Geological Survey of England and Wales. He determined that the so-called ‘spotted dolerites’ could be petrographically matched to a small number of outcrops in the Mynydd Preseli district in south-west Wales. The bluestones, however, comprise a number of additional lithologies, including rhyolite and ‘calcareous ash’, as well as various sandstones. Thomas was convinced that the volcanic lithologies in the bluestone assemblage were all sourced from a small area at the eastern end of the Mynydd Preseli, with the rhyolites originating from the prominent outcrop known as Carn Alw. Recently, provenancing of these rhyolites to Carn Alw has been questioned on the evidence of whole-rock geochemistry. This raised concerns over the original petrographical attribution. Accordingly a re-investigation was undertaken of the rhyolite petrography by re-examining the original specimens used by Thomas. Three of the original four thin sections studied by Thomas were re-examined, along with a newly made thin section from the fourth of Thomas' rock samples as the original thin section could not be located. The new petrographical evidence demonstrates convincingly that the two pairs of thin sections from the Preseli and Stonehenge as examined by Thomas do not match despite his contention and argues strongly that Carn Alw is not the source of the Stonehenge rhyolites which Thomas described. This reinforces the geochemical evidence presented recently and supports the contention that Craig Rhos-y-felin, to the north of Mynydd Preseli, is an important source of rhyolitic debris in the Stonehenge Landscape. Nevertheless, there remain uncertainties over the provenance of other Stonehenge rhyolites (and dacites), including four of the orthostats themselves.

Wednesday 20 November 2013

Carn Goedog and Craig Rhosyfelin Aerial View

Carn Goedog - White Circle - and Craig Rhosyfelin - Yellow Circle - Aerial View

Carn Goedog is the likely major source of Stonehenge doleritic bluestones

Journal of Archaeological Science

Carn Goedog is the likely major source of Stonehenge doleritic bluestones: evidence based on compatible element geochemistry and Principal Component Analysis

  • a Department of Geology, National Museum of Wales, Cathays Park, Cardiff, Wales CF10 3NP, UK
  • b Institute of Archaeology, University College London, London WC1H 0PY
  • c Institute of Geography and Earth Sciences, Aberystwyth University, Aberystwyth, Wales, SY23 3DB


Stonehenge doleritic bluestones were first sourced to Carn Meini and Cerrigmarchogion in west Wales by Thomas in 1923.
Thorpe et al. in 1991 used incompatible element geochemistry to in part support Thomas’s attribution.
These attributions have been re-assessed using compatible element geochemistry.
Nearby Carn Goedog is now clearly identified as the major source of Stonehenge doleritic bluestones.


The Stonehenge bluestones were first sourced to outcrops in the high parts of the eastern Mynydd Preseli in SW Wales by H.H. Thomas in the early 1920s. He recognised the distinctive ‘spotted dolerite’ from his fieldwork in that area and suggested that the tors of Carn Meini (also known as Carn Menyn) and Cerrigmarchogion were the most likely sources. In the early 1990s, in a major contribution to our understanding of the Stonehenge bluestones, the geochemistry of a set of samples from Stonehenge monoliths and debitage was determined and compared against the geochemistry of dolerites from the eastern Mynydd Preseli by a team from the Open University led by R.S. Thorpe. They argued that the majority of the Stonehenge dolerites could be sourced from outcrops in the Carn Meini-Carn Gyfrwy area, based on the concentrations of the so-called ‘immobile’ elements (elements which are not affected by rock alteration processes), in particular TiO2, Y, and Zr. However, these elements are incompatible during crystallization of mineral phases in basaltic systems (that is they do not enter into the mineral phases which are crystallizing but are concentrated in the residual liquid) which severely hampers their use in discriminating between different pulses of an evolving magma (as is the case of the doleritic sills emplaced high in the crust and now exposed in the Mynydd Preseli). An alternative strategy in this study re-examines the data set of Thorpe’s team but investigates the concentration of elements which are compatible in such basaltic systems (that is elements which do enter into the crystallizing mineral phases), namely MgO, Ni, Cr and Fe2O3. On the basis of the abundances of these elements on bivariate plots and also by using Principal Component Analysis on the dataset available and various sub-sets we identify three compositional groupings for the Stonehenge doleritic monolith and debitage samples and conclude that the majority of them (Group 1 of this paper) can be sourced to the prominent outcrop in the eastern Mynydd Preseli known as Carn Goedog. We also offer potential sources (with one exception) for those Stonehenge dolerites which appear not to relate to Carn Goedog.


  • Stonehenge
  • Bluestones
  • Dolerite
  • Compatible element geochemistry
  • Principal Component Analysis;
  • Provenance
  • Mynydd Preseli
  • Wales

Figures and tables from this article:

Fig. 1.
Simplified geological map of the eastern Mynydd Preseli showing the locations of the main outcrops and the geographic locations of the analysed samples used in the geochemical plots in this paper. Geological detail based on British Geological Survey (2010).

Fig. 2.
Oblique aerial view of the eastern Mynydd Preseli looking approximately westsouthwest, showing the nature of the terrain and a number of the key geological outcrops. Photo courtesy of Sid Howells.

 Go to for more

Tuesday 19 November 2013

New Research on Bluestone Origins

New research has established that stones from Wales were definitely used in the building of one of the world’s best known prehistoric sites at Stonehenge – but that they came from a hill a mile away from the place previously assumed to be their source.

A team of three geologists including Dr Richard Bevins, Keeper of Natural Sciences at the National Museum of Wales in Cardiff, have identified a hill called Carn Goedog, about three miles from Crymrch in the Preseli Hills of Pembrokeshire, as the site from which 11 stones known as spotted dolerites were somehow transported to Stonehenge in Wiltshire.

Together with his colleagues Dr Rob Ixer of University College, London and Professor Nick Pearce of Aberystwyth, Dr Bevins will next year have a peer-reviewed paper published by the prestigious Journal of Archaeological Science.

Monday 18 November 2013

Building Stonehenge in a time of Climate Change

(Click here for a full sized print (3000 pixels wide, suitable for printing).

...The upper part of the poster shows three ice core records. The top record is actually a composite reconstruction of six Greenland ice core records4. The middle chart is the most recent portion of the Vostok Antarctic ice core record, the entire Vostok 400,000 year record is show in the upper left of the poster....The bottom large chart is the actual temperature, calculated from a single central Greenland ice core.

Just below the Central Greenland ice core record the “Bond” cooling events over this 18,000 year period are noted7. The Bond cooling events average around 1,500 years apart and some are more dramatic than others. The 8.2, 5.9 and 4.2 kiloyear events were major events8,9, with dramatic cooling and they were huge disruptions for civilizations around the world. Others, like the 2.8 kiloyear event in the Iron Age were hardly noticed....

5.9 Kiloyear Bond Event

About 5,900 years ago the Sahara became a desert (The 5.9 kiloyear event or Bond event 4) and this very severe drought also ended the Ubaid empire and caused a huge migration of people from the Sahara region in search of food and water. The people migrated to river valleys, such as the Nile Valley in Egypt, in order to be close to water. Claussen, et al., 199936 has suggested that this drought was caused by a severe cooling event that occurred at the same time. The Sahara never recovers from this event. But, since the drought forces people into river valleys, larger cities are built and societies become more complex.

Following the end of the 5.9 kiloyear event and the end of the Holocene Thermal Optimum, around 4,500 years ago the earliest Egyptian pyramids are built, Stonehenge is constructed in present day England and the first large cities appear in India. The earliest Mayan cities appear a little over 600 years later around 3,900 years ago.

4.2 Kiloyear Bond Event

The 4.2 kiloyear event was a very cool period in the Arctic (the Bond Event 3) and it caused a very severe drought in the Middle East. This period caused a sudden collapse of the Egyptian government, famines and social disorder. Similar disruptions occurred in the Akkadian Empire, the Indus Valley and in China.

Around 3,300 years ago, the great Bronze Age civilizations in the Middle East collapsed. These included the Mycenaean’s, the Hittites and the Egyptian New Kingdom. This sudden collapse was probably caused by another extended and severe drought. The onset of this drought coincides with a sudden and extended cooling period in the Central Greenland ice core data. In general, most large scale droughts in the last 18,000 years appear to be associated with cooling in the Arctic. This marks the end of the Minoan Warm Period.

Thursday 14 November 2013

Stoneholes 17-20 - first detailed photographs   is the public depository of the detailed photographs of the Stonehenge Stonehole parchmarks I took this summer and some of the adjacent ones.

The photographs are taken from a stepladder to give as near vertical aerial shots as possible. Each hole is marked by a numbered or lettered card (not always clear due to glare).

Wednesday 13 November 2013

Stonehenge Winter Solstice 2013

Managed Open Access

The celebration of the Winter Solstice at Stonehenge will take place at sunrise
on Saturday 21 December 2013 (approximately 08:09 hrs).

English Heritage is pleased to be offering ‘Managed Open Access’ for those
who wish to celebrate the Winter Solstice peacefully

Visitors will be allowed into the Monument when it is considered sufficiently
light to ensure safe access. Entry will be available from approximately 07:30
hrs until 09:00 hrs when visitors will be asked to vacate the site. All vehicles
must vacate the area by 09.30.

Access might not be possible if the ground conditions are poor or if it is felt
that access might result ¡n severe damage to the Monument.

Toilets are available at Stonehenge for the duration of the access although
these facilities will not be available prior to access commencing.

Public car parking will be made available on Byway 12, the old Visitor Centre
Car Park and along the A344.

Disabled parking will be in the old Visitor Centre Car Park, and will require a
special permit.


New theory of a Winter Solstice Sunrise Alignment - Stonehenge and the Winter Solstice leaflet (ISBN 9780957093010)
(Background on the Winter Solstice Sunrise Alignment theory is here)

Thursday 7 November 2013

All Cannings Long Barrow

A lot is happening at Stonehenge at the moment as we prepare for the opening of the new visitor centre, wait and see!

On a personal note I'm neglecting the blog as I am in the process of building a working Long Barrow at All Cannings.

This is going to a be a magnificent interpretation of a traditional Long Barrow in which niches for the deposition of cremated remains in urns will be available to the public.

There is a Facebook group - - and I will try to update here on the progress as well.

Ten tons of sarsens being laid out ready for the Long Barrow.