Monday 5 May 2014

The False Mortise Holes on Stone 156

On what was the top of Stone 156, which was the lintel on top of the Great Trilithon, there are two holes which roughly correspond to the mortise holes on the bottom of it. It is normally accepted that they were mistakes, that the stonemasons started chipping out the holes and then someone said," No, turn the stone over."

I'm not convinced, other theories are that they may have held the bottom of a second storey of trilithons or that they may have held burning pots, though no heat fractures have been found.

But whatever, I have been requested to post some pictures of them:

Click to embiggen


  1. Try and get those pictures to me a little faster next time, Tim. Sheesh ...

    Here's the deal - and perhaps you can illuminate this further. There's a distinct crown on L-156, meaning that it would have appeared as a graceful curve when sitting high above on the 2 uprights.
    But if you were to have carved the mortises on the wrong side, then the curve would arch to the interior of the Horseshoe, and that's no good.
    So yes, under these circumstances, the 'wrong' mortises really are wrong.

    Thanks very much my friend!

  2. The other stones do not show this high degree of error !!

    Holes are too small/shallow and totally in the wrong place - if they were a little out then the holes would be complete. I agree with Tim its for another purpose and the gulleys maybe a clue to there use!!


  3. Actually, the Holes are nearly in the right place - just on the wrong side. They're 'small/shallow' because the workers were told to stop banging at them before they were completed.

    This Lintel - like all the others - has a top and a bottom. We know that the bottom and sides were finely finished, whereas the unseen top was left rough. Unlike the other Trilithon Lintels, it also has a graceful curve in it. This curve would have appeared as slightly concave when the Stone was seated 26 feet in the air. We know that the end laying across the Altar Stone came off fallen S-55. (The mortise on the south end closely matches the prominent tenon on S-56.)
    When you put all this together it means that L-156 can only have been fitted one way.

    This also means that the incomplete scours on the unfinished top can only have been made in error.
    The only other purpose those gouges served were as birdbaths for 3,000 years.


  4. Neil - thank you for that academic view of Stonemasonry..

    You measure mark and then remove. Only when you take it to be finally connected you find the mistake.

    And as we don't see lots of badly measured pilot holes in the stonework lets give them the credit our ancestors deserve - they made very few mistakes as you suggest.

    To believe that 'someone' started to dig holes in the lintel then the senior mason came by and remeasured is interesting conjecture in social organisation terms but in reality complete nonsense.

    As you quite rightly pointed out - the top would be left unfinished - if you make a mistake on the holes (especially as they are so small) you would just dig new ones in the right position (even if both holes were in the wrong place, which is even more unlikely) as the upright stones would cover the mistake and make it unnoticeable.




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