Monday 17 June 2024

The Collapse of the Glacial Transport theory

Newall's Boulder - found at Stonehenge

John's key argument that the boulder that was sourced from Craig Rhosyfelin in Wales and found at Stonehenge was glacially transported is this: 

In seeking to understand how the Newall Boulder might have been transported from its original place of origin, a number of key features need to be explained: 
  • 1. a crude bullet shape, with a pointed nose and a blunt back end 
  • 2. at least five major facets and several smaller ones 
  • 3. abraded surfaces and edges 
  • 4. fracture scars on the flanks and especially at the lee or blunt end 
  • 5. apparent streamlining prominent on one facet 
  • 6. faint crossing scratches on one facet and weathered parallel scratches on another 
  • 7. minor crescentic gouges and microfeatures (chip marks or chatter marks) attributed to pressure exerted at particular points. 
On the basis of its shape the Newall Boulder is classified on the Powers six-category scale as sub-angular (Powers, 1953). In general, clasts in periglacial slope deposits and rockfall fragments tend to be sharp-edged or angular, simply because they have not travelled far. This boulder is clearly not simply a broken piece of rockfall debris 

E&G Quaternary Sci. J., 73, 117–134, 2024 124 B. S. John: Stonehenge bluestone erratic


The evidence, including many photos, shows that the boulder is identical to those still at Craig Rhosyfelin. They are abraded, rounded, scarred, have apparent streamlining etc.

The simple conclusion is that Newall's boulder shows no signs of glacial transport from Wales to Wessex. John fails to provide any evidence that it differs from its siblings still at Craig Rhosyfelin, he failed to compare them, and unless he can then his whole hypothesis collapses.

John's photo of a boulder at Craig Rhosyfelin

The same photo with the Newall Boulder from Stonehenge added as a photographic layer 




Two more photos of similar boulders at Craig Rhosyfelin


Newall's boulder compared to the tip of in situ pillar at Craig Rhosyfelin

Saturday 15 June 2024

A well travelled ceremonial macehead from West Kennet

 A fascinating study of another stone brought into the ancient Wessex landscape.



"While it is not possible to suggest a geographical origin for the rock at this stage of research,nonetheless it is very exotic for this region. The nearest in situ sources are c. 150 km away, and would be Cornubia in southwest England, or southwest Wales;other possibilities include North Wales, the English Lake District and northeast England. Fine-grained acid to intermediate microporphyritic rocks are widespread within ‘highland’ Britain from Cornubiato Scotland and this would include the Cheviot Hills of Northumberland, which is the source of the lumps of granodiorite (‘grus’) recently excavated from the Late Neolithic post-holes of the West Kennet Palisade located 1 km to the south of the WKAOS (Gillings et al.2022; Ixer et al. 2022)....

The production of the WKAOS macehead is in keeping with many other maceheads in Britain. Its manufacture involved a series of techniques (pecking, grinding, boring, polishing etc.) that were used in the production of a number of different tools and ornaments. This is not to say, however, that its making did not require skill and certainly it would have been a labour intensive process. No use-related traces are visible on the surviving surface of the macehead, yet there are clear traces that emerge from the relationship between the macehead and its wooden haft. What our analysis highlights is that the hafting of the macehead was not one single moment in its life, but was repeated multiple times...." 


https://www.researchgate.net/publication/381305309_Tsoraki_C_R_E_Bevins_R_Ixer_N_Pearce_J_Pollard_and_B_Chan_2024_Object_histories_in_prehistoric_Britain_a_stone_macehead_from_the_West_Kennet_Avenue_occupation_site_Southern_Britain_In_A_Verbaas_G_Lang

https://www.sidestone.com/books/artefact-biographies-from-mesolithic-and-neolithic-europe-and-beyond

Tsoraki, C., R. E. Bevins, R. Ixer, N. Pearce, J. Pollard and B. Chan 2024. Object histories in prehistoric Britain: a stone macehead from the West Kennet Avenue occupation site, Southern Britain. In A. Verbaas, G. Langejans, A. Little and B. Chan (eds), Artefact biographies from Mesolithic and Neolithic Europe and beyond. Papers in honour of prof. dr. Annelou van Gijn, pp.169-182. Analecta Praehistorica Leidensia 52. Leiden: Sidestone Press.. 10.59641/pp090sb. 

Friday 14 June 2024

Are these the fingerprints of the builders of Stonehenge?

Newall's Boulder is a small rhyloite joint block found at Stonehenge, transported there from Crag Rhosyfelin and now in Salisbury Museum which has many fascinating features, it is described at https://www.sarsen.org/2024/06/the-real-story-of-newalls-boulder.html and in more detail at Bevins et al 2023 , and in various posts on this blog.


Photo of hands holding Newall's boulder from Dr Brian John

One of the stand out features is the presence of small Tufa growths on the surfaces, including the "fresh" broken surfaces which are presumed to be from after the block was brought to Stonehenge.



Tufa deposits are the white patches on the block. The block came from an acidic soil but in the chalk of Wessex deposits of Calcium Carbonate can grow. In our homes we know the curse of limescale. Tufa and limescale are both formed through the precipitation of calcium carbonate from water, but they differ in their formation environments and characteristics.

Details of Tufa deposits on part of the block

Microorganisms play a multifaceted significant role in the formation of tufa. Research suggests that diverse microbiota colonize tufas and actively participate in the rapid formation of these carbonate deposits. Pedley, H. & Rogerson, Mike. (2010). Introduction to tufas and speleothems. Geological Society, London, Special Publications. 336. 1-5. 10.1144/SP336.1.

Because the formation of tufa depends on many factors it is rare on buried blocks of stone in the chalk. They need air and water, a certain amount of warmth and usually an organic starter, which is sometimes incorporated in the deposit.

This tells us that the block was buried in loose chalk, the bases of the megaliths are in compacted chalk which are anaerobic, but the fill between them didn't need to be compacted. (I think where it was found was recorded)  And that is was contaminated by organic matter.

It is pure speculation but could that contamination be from the builders dirty fingers as they dumped the broken block?






 







Wednesday 12 June 2024

The real story of Newall's Boulder

By kind permission of Current Archaeology here is the real story of Newall's Boulder:

Victorian gifts: new insights into the Stonehenge bluestones 

The recent rediscovery of a series of rock samples collected during the Victorian period has allowed new analysis of some of the stones of Stonehenge. Rob Ixer, Richard Bevins, Nick Pearce, and David Dawson explain more.


(Click on images to make them readable)




Click to embiggen


The peer reviewed paper is: Bevins, R., Ixer, R., Pearce, N., Scourse, J., & Daw, T. (2023). Lithological description and provenancing of a collection of bluestones from excavations at Stonehenge by William Hawley in 1924 with implications for the human versus ice transport debate of the monument's bluestone megaliths. Geoarchaeology, 38, 771–785.https://doi.org/10.1002/gea.21971

Saturday 8 June 2024

Stonehenge revisited: A geochemical approach to interpreting the geographical source of sarsen stone #58 - Review

In the best traditions of science another team, (Hancock et al, 2024) has reanalysed Nash et al's data from the sourcing the Stonehenge Sarsen paper (Nash, D. J., Ciborowski, T. J. R., Ullyott, J. S., Pearson, M. P., Darvill, T., Greaney, S., Maniatis, G., & Whitaker, K. A. (2020). Origins of the sarsen megaliths at Stonehenge. Science Advances, 6(31), 1–8. https://doi.org/10.1126/sciadv.abc0133) . Data that was freely shared with them.

Nash et al compared the chemical analysis of Stone 58 of Stonehenge with sarsens across southern Britain and found the nearest match was West Woods near Marlborough.

Their analysis generally agrees with Nash's except they disagree over the accuracy of the probable sources identified. As Nash et al state there isn't a precise match and Hancock et al believe there is more uncertainty in the results and wouldn't say West Woods is close enough to be proclaimed as the source.

They conclude: "None of the 60 sarsen samples from 20 locations represents a clear match for the three chemistries measured from the Phillip's core sample out of stone #58. Notwithstanding, we can use the Phillip's core data to eliminate potential sarsen source samples from a large number of the selected sites based on significantly different trace element chemistries. ...

Based on the chosen elemental concentration data, the Wiltshire sites of Clatford Bottom (site 3) and Piggledene (site 4), with West Woods (site 6) a distant third, are, along with three other sites, potential sources of stone #58, even though none is geochemically identical..."

The weakness of both papers is, as they both admit, more, many more, samples are needed. And more samples are and will be gathered.

But their reanalysis of the data is well done and presented and to be commended.

However when they stray out of their lane and start theorising about glacial transport of sarsens their unfamiliarity with the historical geology of southern Britain is painfully exposed. Their source material seems to be mainly a sensational magazine article.

It is a shame when papers such as these feel the need to bloat themselves by adding conjectures from outside the authors' areas of expertise. They unnecessarily weaken their argument and damage their own reputations.   

The magazine source


Hancock, R. G. V., Gorton, M. P., Mahaney, W. C., Aufreiter, S., & Michelaki, K. (2024). Stonehenge revisited: A geochemical approach to interpreting the geographical source of sarsen stone #58. Archaeometry, 1–19. https://doi.org/10.1111/arcm.12999

The Altar Stone's Chemical Secrets to be Revealed

The Altar Stone is a gray-green micaceous sandstone, otherwise known as Stone 80. It is anomalous in its composition, size, and weight when compared to the other bluestones. A recent publication by a team of geologists, which included Professors Bevins and Andò, proposed that the Altar Stone be declassified as a bluestone. Based on X-ray and Raman analysis in the laboratory on fragments of the stone using a Renishaw inVia Raman microscope, they hypothesized that the stone did not originate from the Anglo-Welsh Basin, as previously thought. Instead, they are looking at other possibilities for where the Altar Stone originated, such as rocks of the same age or younger in Northern England or Scotland, for which Raman spectroscopy will help elucidate the source....



A versatile portable Raman laboratory. The Virsa Raman analyzer at Stonehenge, powered by a portable battery pack (left). The flexible Virsa SB200 stage carefully positioned close to the Altar Stone (right). The inset shows the Virsa probe focusing on a region of the Altar Stone. 

Sergio Andò, Marta Barbarano, Jorge Diniz, Richard E Bevins, Nick J G Pearce, Investigating the Secrets of Stonehenge with Raman Spectroscopy: Provenance of the Ancient Altar Stone, Microscopy Today, Volume 32, Issue 3, May 2024, Pages 28–29, https://doi.org/10.1093/mictod/qaae025

No Evidence of Glacial Transport of Newall's Boulder

** In this and other posts I have used the phrase Glacial Transport to mean the Glacial Transport of Welsh rocks to the Stonehenge Area, which is what the argument is about. That the boulders in the Pembrokeshire hills have been shaped there by the action of ice is a given and not in dispute.**


It seems there I have caused some confusion, so let me put it in simple direct language.

Here is rock found at Stonehenge. It is called Newall's boulder

Scientists have matched its chemistry to Craig Rhosyfelin, which is where it came from.

Some people say it was transported by a glacier which accounts for its shape and scratches.

The same people also say that rocks that are still at Craig Rhosyfelin "may or may not be "identical" with the Newall Boulder, but who cares anyway?"    

Photo from Dr John of a different boulder at Craig Rhosyfelin

But I care and ask, "If the boulders at Craig Rhosyfelin are identical to the one at Stonehenge doesn't that mean that how it got there didn't leave any signs on it? 

Yes, only if it can be shown that between leaving Craig Rhosyfelin and arriving at Stonehenge the boulder was shaped and scarred by a glacier can it be claimed to be evidence of glacial transport (from Wales to Wessex).


Another photo from Dr John of the boulder at Craig Rhosyfelin with a photo of Newall's boulder added, can you tell them apart?.

Thanks to Dr John for confirming there is no evidence of glacial transport of Newall's Boulder 

UPDATE: And again he confirms it:

There is no way you can look at one clast at Rhosyfelin and another at Stonehenge and say "This one has not been subjected to glacial transport and this one has".........

That having been said, there are certainly abundant glacially-transported clasts at Rhosyfelin that do display typical "diagnostic" surface features.

My new paper makes a very simple point: namely that the Newall Boulder displays a number of features that are characteristic of glacially transported clasts. I cannot understand why that should be such a problem for some people......


So boulders at Rhosyfelin have been shaped and scarred by Glacial Transport, so a boulder from there (pace Dr John "from near there" in his view) found at Stonehenge showing identical diagnostic features can't be said to prove that it was the journey to Wiltshire that shaped it.



  

Bibliographic Negligence in John's 2024 Paper

 "A small bullet-shaped boulder of welded tuff was found in a Stonehenge excavation in 1924, and apart from a brief examination by geologists from the Institute of Geological Sciences (IGS) around 1970, it has been stored out of sight and out of mind. Its geological source is uncertain. Following a detailed examination of its shape and surface characteristics it is now proposed that it has been subjected to glacial transport and that it has had a long and complex history."

Quote from: John, B. S.: A bluestone boulder at Stonehenge: implications for the glacial transport theory, E&G Quaternary Sci. J., 73, 117–134, https://doi.org/10.5194/egqsj-73-117-2024, 2024.

Not so:

The Open University study included an analysis of Newall's RSN 18 sample in their geochemical investigation of the Stonehenge bluestones. In July 1985, they detached a fragment measuring 10 × 7 × 3.4 cm from RSN 18 for analysis and thin sectioning .. and referred to this sample as OU2 in their published outputs ( Thorpe et al., 1991; Williams‐ Thorpe & Thorpe, 1991).

Quote from: "Bevins, R., Ixer, R., Pearce, N., Scourse, J., & Daw, T. (2023). Lithological description and provenancing of a collection of bluestones from excavations at Stonehenge by William Hawley in 1924 with implications for the human versus ice transport debate of the monument's bluestone megaliths. Geoarchaeology, 1–15. https://doi.org/10.1002/gea.21971 "

As John knows the Open University team examined it in 1985, he mentions their sampling later in the paper. This disregard of antecedent research was defined by Eugene Garfield, Editor Emeritus of The Scientist, as “bibliographic negligence” or “citation amnesia”. Gallagher R. Citation violations. The Scientist 2009;23(5):13.

But more egregious is that he doesn't cite here the Bevins et al (2023) paper which provides evidence of a geological source but is also a complete detailed examination of the boulder which he relies on. The casual reader of his Abstract would assume that John, as the author, performed the only examination. Which would be very misleading.   

UPDATE The Bevins et al 2023 paper was preceded by a detailed article by them in Current Archaeology in 2022 https://the-past.com/feature/victorian-gifts-new-insights-into-the-stonehenge-bluestones/ which should have been cited before the full paper came out. (Dr John notes the 2023 paper came at a relatively late stage in the editing of his manuscript).



Misrepresentations and omission in John's 2024 Paper

 
"It is probable that Stonehenge was built where the stones were found, as suggested by Judd (1903) and Field et al. (2015), and this is supported here by the preliminary analysis of the Newall Boulder."

 The present author (John, 2018a) pointed out that the bulk of the Stonehenge bluestone monoliths are not elegant and carefully selected pillars but highly abraded and weathered erratic boulders and slabs of many different rock types, probably collected from within the Stonehenge landscape (Field et al., 2015). 

References:

Judd, W.: Note on the nature and origin of the rock fragments found in the excavations made at Stonehenge by Mr Gowland in 1901, Wiltshire Magazine, 47–61, 1903.

Field, D., Anderson-Whymark, H., Linford, N., Barber, M., Bowden, M., Linford, P., Topping, P., Abbott, M., Bryan, P., Cunliffe, D., Hardie, C., Martin, L., Payne, A., Pearson, T., Small, F., Smith, N., Soutar, S., and Winton, H.: Analytical Surveys of Stonehenge and its Environs, 2009–2013: Part 2– the Stones, P. Prehist. Soc., 81, 125–148, https://doi.org/10.1017/ppr.2015.2, 2015.

John, B. S.: The Stonehenge Bluestones, Greencroft Books, 256 pp., ISBN 978 0905559 94 0, 2018a

Quote from: John, B. S.: A bluestone boulder at Stonehenge: implications for the glacial transport theory, E&G Quaternary Sci. J., 73, 117–134, https://doi.org/10.5194/egqsj-73-117-2024, 2024.

The two references can be found at :

https://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/item/156701#page/77/mode/1up

https://www.academia.edu/88343805/Analytical_Surveys_of_Stonehenge_and_its_Environs_2009_2013_Part_2_the_Stones 

There are serious problems with this key claim from John (2024). He provides three references, one to his own book and one to a note, not a peer reviewed paper, that is over 120 years old and is based on outdated scientific methods. It is near worthless. 

The important one is Field et al, which provides a comprehensive review of possible sources of the Stones of Stonehenge.  Its conclusions however are:

"The ‘bluestones’ have long been considered to derive from off-site sources, principally the Preseli Hills of south-west Wales over 200 km awayField et al. (2015) p.126

"Field examination coupled with analysis of the laser scan data, however, indicates that at least three different types of sarsen are present, potentially indicating that the stones originate from several sources.Field et al. (2015) p.129

"If, as seems potentially the case, some of the sarsen is local to the site, or derives from a variety of locations and thus not all the subject of a long and difficult journey, it is possible to start investigating and discussing the varied biographies of individual stones. ... The question of the bluestones is another matter and the current research into their source suggests that new and perhaps more decisive data may soon be forthcoming (Bevins et al. 2012; 2014; M. Parker Pearson 2009; pers. comm.)." Field et al. (2015) p.144

John's statement is not supported by this reference.

More importantly he has not referenced the latest and most scientific analysis of the sarsen stones sources - David J. Nash et al. ,Origins of the sarsen megaliths at Stonehenge.Sci. Adv.6,eabc0133(2020)DOI:10.1126/sciadv.abc0133 - a study he was well aware of before writing this paper, see: https://brian-mountainman.blogspot.com/2020/07/sarsen-sources-and-instrumental.html 

Nash et al provide evidence that the sarsen stones of Stonehenge were not found where the monument was built and so is extremely relevant to the paper. It is essential for understanding the nature of a paper which investigates the sources of the stones of Stonehenge.

A failure to cite relevant papers can be the result of ignorance but when done knowingly it is wilful omission.

"An author should cite those publications that have been influential in determining the nature of the reported work and that will quickly guide the reader to the initial work essential for understanding the present investigation"

https://www.eg-quaternary-science-journal.net/policies/obligations_for_authors.html








Friday 7 June 2024

The Phenomenon of Color Change in Swans: An Equatorial Hypothesis

The Phenomenon of Color Change in Swans: An Equatorial Hypothesis


Abstract

This paper explores the hypothesis that the journey of swans from Australia to England, specifically their crossing of the equator, induces a color change from white to black. This hypothesis is based on the assumption that swans in Australia are originally white and that the observed black swans in England are a result of this transformative journey. The study aims to investigate the potential environmental, physiological, and genetic factors that could contribute to such a phenomenon.

Introduction

Swans are known for their majestic appearance and are typically associated with a pristine white plumage. However, the introduction of black swans (Cygnus atratus) to England from Australia has led to intriguing observations. This paper posits that the journey across the equator is responsible for the color change in swans, transforming them from white to black. This hypothesis challenges the conventional understanding of swan coloration and seeks to explore the underlying mechanisms that could support such a transformation.

Background

Swan Species and Coloration

Swans belong to the family Anatidae, and their coloration is primarily determined by genetic factors. The most common species, the mute swan (Cygnus olor), is known for its white plumage. In contrast, the black swan (Cygnus atratus) is native to Australia and is characterized by its black feathers. The assumption that swans in Australia are originally white forms the basis of this study. 

Equatorial Crossing and Environmental Factors 

The equator represents a significant geographical and environmental boundary. The journey across the equator involves exposure to varying climatic conditions, changes in daylight hours, and potential alterations in magnetic fields. These factors could theoretically influence the physiology and genetics of swans, leading to observable changes in their plumage. 

Hypothesis

The central hypothesis of this paper is that the journey of swans from Australia to England, particularly the crossing of the equator, induces a color change from white to black. This transformation is hypothesized to result from a combination of environmental stressors, physiological adaptations, and potential genetic mutations triggered by the equatorial crossing. 

Methodology

Sample Collection

To test this hypothesis, a sample of swans will be collected from Australia prior to their journey to England. These swans will be documented and monitored for any changes in plumage color during and after their journey.

Environmental Monitoring Environmental conditions during the journey, including temperature, humidity, and magnetic field variations, will be recorded. These data will be analyzed to identify any correlations with changes in swan coloration.

Genetic Analysis

Genetic samples will be collected from the swans before and after their journey. These samples will be analyzed for any mutations or changes in gene expression that could be associated with plumage coloration.

Results

Observations of Color Change

Preliminary observations indicate that swans arriving in England from Australia exhibit a noticeable change in plumage color, transitioning from white to black. This supports the hypothesis that the journey, particularly the equatorial crossing, plays a role in this transformation.

Environmental Correlations

Initial data analysis suggests a correlation between changes in environmental conditions during the journey and the observed color change in swans. Specifically, variations in magnetic fields and exposure to different climatic conditions appear to be significant factors.

Genetic Findings

Genetic analysis reveals potential mutations and changes in gene expression related to melanin production, which could explain the observed color change in swans. These findings suggest that the equatorial crossing may trigger genetic adaptations that result in black plumage.

Discussion

The results of this study provide preliminary support for the hypothesis that the journey of swans from Australia to England, particularly the crossing of the equator, induces a color change from white to black. The observed correlations between environmental conditions and genetic changes suggest a complex interplay of factors that contribute to this phenomenon.

Implications

If confirmed, this hypothesis could have significant implications for our understanding of animal physiology and adaptation. It may also prompt further research into the effects of equatorial crossings on other species and their potential for inducing phenotypic changes.

Limitations

This study is based on the assumption that swans in Australia are originally white, which may not be accurate. Further research is needed to verify the initial coloration of swans in Australia and to explore alternative explanations for the observed color change.

Conclusion

This paper presents a novel hypothesis that the journey of swans from Australia to England, particularly the crossing of the equator, induces a color change from white to black. Preliminary findings support this hypothesis, suggesting a complex interplay of environmental, physiological, and genetic factors. Further research is needed to confirm these findings and to explore the broader implications of this phenomenon. John 2024 hypothesises a similar phenomenon occurs on boulders brought from Wales to Wessex where, whilst they appear to be identical at the source and destination, he derives significant conclusions from palimpsests of the journey. 

References

John, B. S.: A bluestone boulder at Stonehenge: implications for the glacial transport theory, E&G Quaternary Sci. Journal 73, 117–134, https://doi.org/10.5194/egqsj-73-117-2024, 2024

Anon 2024 AI generated text and figure

Wednesday 5 June 2024

Natural Pathways in the Stonehenge Landscape

Having featured Joseph Lewis's work on Natural terrestrial corridors to Stonehenge -  https://www.sarsen.org/2024/04/natural-terrestrial-corridors-from.html   I must note a much earlier work of similar work on a more local scale which is still of interest:


Click image to enlarge - original and much more in:

Bellavia, G. (2002). Extracting ``natural pathways'' from a digital elevation model:. In: n.e. Archaeological informatics:. Oxford: Archaeopress. pp. 5-12.

Stonehenge Multicircuit Parch Marks Update

It is reported that since 2013 there has been further investigations into the parch marks at Stonehenge, see: https://the-past.com/shorts/the-picture-desk/seeing-the-invisible-stonehenge-wiltshire/

This image shows a terrain-flattened Digital Elevation Model of Stonehenge derived from UAS survey....
Analysis and interpretation of the results with Heather Sebire and Mark Bowden are ongoingText: Adam Stanford / Image: Survey data: Adam Stanford, GIS Analysis: Dr Scott Williams, SUMO GeoSurveys"

More at the link above, and for a full size version of the image: https://i0.wp.com/the-past.com/wp-content/uploads/2024/05/Stonehenge_Anomaly-A3.png

One of the most interesting aspects of the Model is how it shows the bank between the Y and Z holes clearly. It is the irregular orange circle outside the stones between the blue dots which are the Y and Z holes. (Orange is a bank, blue a hole)

This bank was described in  Field, D. et al. (2014) ‘Analytical Surveys of Stonehenge and its Immediate Environs, 2009–2013: Part 1 – the Landscape and Earthworks’, Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society, 80, pp. 1–32. doi:10.1017/ppr.2014.6.

"Immediately within each circuit of depressions is an extremely low bank identified as both a surface expression and GPR response. As with the depressions this feature is not precisely circular in plan but has a series of sinuous bulges and relatively sharp angles. The nature of these banks cannot at present be determined."

When we were investigating the parch marks in 2013 I noticed marks in a circle in this area and wrote a post, copied below about them.

From the model it seems that the bank isn't a continuous bank but a series of mounds and the parch marks we plotted are between the mounds. In this portion the  orange mounds can be seen to be in line between the z and Y holes. 



Fascinating, I look forward to the results of the analysis of the model and other data.

-------------------------

Original Post from 30 August 2014:

Parch mark plan from English Heritage as published on http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-wiltshire-28967538 - Colour enhanced for clarity. Click any to enlarge.


In July 2013 various parch marks were showing up at Stonehenge - as reported on this blog and professionally at http://antiquity.ac.uk/ant/088/ant0880733.htm The most noticeable were the stone hole marks between Stones 16 and 21.

But the Z and Y holes were also showing up well. Walking round them I noticed there seemed to be extra marks that were also in a circular pattern. They were jokingly called the Daw Holes as it seemed they were a product of my overheated imagination. But over the next week as the weather changed some became more noticeable and then they faded. As they were fading Mark Bowden and Sharon Souter from EH GPS mapped them as best we could. Some were more certain than others, some were quite doubtful but until the next spell of similar weather the plan above is as accurate as we will get of the phenomenon. 

It was noticeable that the Z and Y holes that had been excavated and those that hadn't appeared the same, and that the other parch marks were very similar to the known holes.

I realised that the marks might have more modern causes, the most obvious being the Fire Garden for the Olympics, but they didn't seem to coincide with any installations so I am certain that was not a cause.

One reason for some of the marks may be the larch poles used to prop the stones up in late Victorian times. Sharpe's aerial photograph shows them well and can be overlain to some degree of accuracy onto the plan (As stones were leaning it is not completely accurate.) 




Apart from the poles for Stone 7 they don't noticeably line up with the marks but I would treat any marks near where the poles were installed with scepticism.

But this still leaves a lot of unexplained marks forming a rough ring equidistant between the Z and Y holes.

The wobble in the ring of Y holes (outer ring of marks) in the south east corner might be explained by reassigning Y6, Y7 and Y8 to the middle "Daw hole" ring and noting the faint marks further out as possible Y holes that were missed by Hawley.


What the marks show and from when is a new mystery of Stonehenge.

The conclusion of the Antiquity paper is: “The new discoveries do tentatively allow further consideration of the multicircuit post settings envisaged by Gibson (1998: 41-44) and comparison with Woodhenge and the Sanctuary as well as Stanton Drew (David et al. 2004) but in the absence of dating evidence this remains speculative. The more diffuse marks around the periphery of the site might offer support for Pitts’ (1981) suggestion of an outer ring of stones. However, again, more research is needed to clarify this issue. This emphasises the potential for new discoveries about Stonehenge (one of the most widely researched monuments in the world) through non-invasive as well as invasive techniques.”


Worthless claims of glacial transport.

 A reminder that any claim that a boulder at Stonehenge shows signs of being glacially transported is worthless unless it explains how it differs from identical boulders found at the source. If that is what they look like in Wales then if they are the same in Wiltshire then their transport hasn't left any evidence on them.


Click to embiggen aerial photo of Craig Rhosyfelin

Tuesday 4 June 2024

Ongoing Work on Stonehenge Parchmarks

 I am very pleased to see that investigations into the parchmarks at Stonehenge continue:

https://the-past.com/shorts/the-picture-desk/seeing-the-invisible-stonehenge-wiltshire/

"For more than a decade, Adam Stanford and English Heritage have periodically recorded the parch marks that appear at Stonehenge in the summer, when conditions are right. Until recently this involved oblique low-level aerial photography via mast, kite, or drone. However, our team have now utilised new UAS (drone) RGB, multispectral, and thermographic survey methods – with illuminating results....

This image shows a terrain-flattened Digital Elevation Model of Stonehenge derived from UAS survey....

Analysis and interpretation of the results with Heather Sebire and Mark Bowden are ongoing."

More at the link above, and for a full size version of the image: 

https://i0.wp.com/the-past.com/wp-content/uploads/2024/05/Stonehenge_Anomaly-A3.png

Text: Adam Stanford / Image: Survey data: Adam Stanford, GIS Analysis: Dr Scott Williams, SUMO GeoSurveys