Friday 15 July 2022

Detmar Blow and the Meteorite - Andrew Ziminski's Theory.

In 2013 I theorised that the big pit in front of the middle trilithon may have once held the Lake House meteorite.

The Lake House Meteorite a 92.75kg stone landed about 30,000 years ago, no crater has been found so it may have been onto the Ice Age ice at that time, and may not have been anywhere near Stonehenge. About 10,000 years ago it was exposed to the elements and started weathering. About 4000 years ago it was buried in the local chalk before being dug up in probably Victorian times.

My theory was that this strange stone was brought to Stonehenge very early on, it was buried in the holiest central position in recognition of its unique qualities. A generation or so later it was decreed that some leader's tomb, or other place was more fitting for it and so like the Stone of Scone it was moved to please the leader. This involved excavating the pit to find and remove it. The pit was then filled in and the bluestone horseshoe erected.

I think the pit isn't for erecting something or burying something, it looks more like a quarrying pit used to extract something heavy that was already buried  in front of the Great Trilithon. To bury or erect a stone a steep sided hole fits the purpose, but to drag something out a shallow slope is needed, in the absence of lifting gear,

Our Victorian diggers then found it in its secondary burial place in a barrow.

It is remiss of me that I have not mentioned Andrew Ziminski in his brilliant book The Stone Mason refines this theory by wondering if instead of Rev.Edward Duke or his ilk finding it in a barrow in the early part of Victoria's reign it was actually found by Detmar Blow in the big pit in the centre of Stonehenge. Detmar Blow was not only entrusted with the 1901 remedial work at Stonehenge, which involved with Gowland the excavation to the edge of the big pit as they straightened Stone 56  but he was also in charge of restoring Lake House in 1898 and subsequent work there. The theory being that it was found and removed in 1901 during Gowland's excavations by Blow and taken to Lake House as a curio.

There doesn't seem to be any record of the meteorite at Lake House before 1905 so Andrew's theory is appealing.

Stonehenge by Mike Parker Pearson in Chapter 8 p.129 - 132 discusses the large pit in the centre of Stonehenge:

He pieces together evidence about it from excavations by Atkinson, Hawley and Gowland and concludes it dates to 2440-2100 BC, after the Great Trilithon was erected and that it was filled back up in prehistory because a bluestone was set into it as part of the inner oval of bluestones.

Atkinson thought it was the ramp for the erection of Stone 56 - photos below - but MPP shows it wasn't. The dark area of the ramp can be seen on the side of the excavation leading down towards the base of 56 but  it is too shallow to be of use and doesn't join up to Gowland's excavation around the base of 56.

MPP declares the purpose of this huge pit, estimated as 12 metres long, 5 metres wide and 2.4 metres wide to be a "complete mystery". The size is very approximate as edges haven't been found.

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