Bluestones of Stonehenge were Originally in a Monument in Wales

  • Thread starter BillTre
  • Start date
  • #1
BillTre
Science Advisor
Gold Member
2022 Award
2,222
7,371
The story behind Stonehenge continues to be further elaborated.

The bluestones of Stonehenge (smaller inner arc of stones) were originally part of a monument in Wales, at Waun Mawn (now a dilapidated monument).
Screen Shot 2021-02-13 at 1.12.34 PM.png


Screen Shot 2021-02-13 at 1.14.52 PM.png


Waun Mawn is near the quarry that was identified as the source of Stonehenge's bluestones.
The larger Stonehenge stones, further from the center were quarried nearby Stonehenge's location and added to Stonehenge hundreds of years later.

Science magazine news story here.
NY Times story here.

The Waun Mawn monument was in existence for hundreds of years prior to Stoenhenge and partly dismantled at the time of its establishment.
The team was able to determine when the sediment inside the socket holes was last exposed to light. The study suggested that Waun Mawn is the oldest-known stone circle in Britain, dating from about 3,400 B.C., and that the circle was dismantled shortly before the construction of Stonehenge in 3,000 B.C.

Researchers say the dismantling of Waun Mawn and the rise of Stonehenge could have been part of a larger migration from the Preseli Hills to the Salisbury Plain. Human and animal remains found at Stonehenge have chemical signatures suggesting their early years were spent on the Welsh coast. “We’ve got regular contact between the two regions,” Pollard says.

Back in the Preseli Hills region, radiocarbon dates and pollen evidence suggest that millennia of farming and human occupation ended around the time the Waun Mawn circle was dismantled. “Evidence for human activity drops around 3400 B.C.E.,” Parker Pearson says, though researchers aren’t sure why the people left.

The researchers say the migrants from Wales might have relocated the stones as a way to stay symbolically connected to their past—or to draw on their ancestors’ authority to claim a new region. “They’re bringing ancestral symbols as an act of unification,” Parker Pearson says.
 
  • Informative
  • Like
Likes Evo, pinball1970, Astronuc and 1 other person

Answers and Replies

  • #2
Brian John
3
1
Sorry to be a party pooper, but all of this is now shown to be an elaborate fantasy. Research in Sept 2021 failed to turn up any convincing evidence that the "lost bluestone circle" ever existed, and no link with Stonehenge has ever been established. The Interim Field Report by Parker Pearson and his colleagues reveals a desperate search for sockets and other confirmatory evidence, during which there were no discoveries of any significance. So the latest spin is that Waun Mawn was "an uncompleted and dismantled stone circle" -- which is another way of saying that some Neolithic people intended to build a giant circle of standing bluestones, but never quite got round to it. A claim that there are ten "emptied sockets" does not stand up -- the hollows in the ground are far too small and shallow ever to have held bluestone monoliths. Not for the first time in British archaeology, much ado about nothing.
 
  • #3
BillTre
Science Advisor
Gold Member
2022 Award
2,222
7,371
Got references or anything to back up those assertions @Brian John?
 
  • #4
Brian John
3
1
Yes. Already sent. I note that the original article was based on Science Magazine and NYT. Hmmm -- not exactly peer-reviewed sources?
 
  • #6
Brian John
3
1
A bit of confusion here over different threads. Herewith:
These are three peer-reviewed journal articles that will be of interest on the matter of bluestone quarrying and the "interpretative inflation" seen in the bluestone research:

John, B.S., Elis-Gruffydd, D. & Downes, J. 2015b. Observations on the supposed “Neolithic Bluestone Quarry” at Craig Rhosyfelin, Pembrokeshire. Archaeology in Wales 54, pp 139-148. (December 2015)
https://www.researchgate.net/publication/286775899_OBSERVATIONS_ON_THE_SUPPOSED_NEOLITHIC_BLUESTONE_QUARRY_AT_CRAIG_RHOSYFELIN_PEMBROKESHIRE

Barclay, G. J., and K. Brophy. 2020. “‘A Veritable Chauvinism of Prehistory’: Nationalist Prehistories and the ‘British’ Late Neolithic Mythos.” Archaeological Journal 1–31.
doi:10.1080/00665983.2020.1769399

Brian John, Dyfed Elis-Gruffydd and John Downes (2015a). "Quaternary Events at Craig Rhosyfelin, Pembrokeshire." Quaternary Newsletter, October 2015 (No 137), pp 16-32.
https://www.blogger.com/Press%20Notice%2010th%20November%202015%20%20===================%20New%20research%20undermines%20Welsh%20Bluestone%20Quarry%20theory%20========================%20%20Research%20published%20today%20in%20the%20peer-reviewed%20journal%20%22Quaternary%20Newsletter%22%20throws%20serious%20doubt%20on%20claims%20that%20there%20is%20a%20Neolithic%20%22bluestone%20quarry%22%20at%20Craig%20Rhosyfelin%20in%20Pembrokeshire.%20%20Since%202011%20archaeologist%20Prof%20Mike%20Parker%20Pearson%20and%20his%20colleagues%20have%20conducted%20annual%20summer%20digs%20at%20the%20site,%20not%20far%20from%20the%20village%20of%20Brynberian,%20and%20they%20have%20promoted%20the%20idea%20that%20some%20of%20the%20rhyolite%20bluestones%20at%20Stonehenge%20were%20quarried%20here%20and%20then%20carried%20all%20the%20way%20to%20Stonehenge%20by%20Neolithic%20tribesmen%20about%205,000%20years%20ago.%20%20In%202012%20Parker%20Pearson%20referred%20to%20the%20site%20as%20%22the%20Pompeii%20of%20prehistoric%20stone%20quarries.%22%20%20His%20theory%20arose%20from%20some%20very%20precise%20%22provenancing%22%20by%20geologists%20Richard%20Bevins%20and%20Rob%20Ixer,%20who%20discovered%20that%20some%20of%20the%20fragments%20of%20rock%20in%20the%20soil%20layers%20in%20and%20around%20Stonehenge%20could%20be%20matched%20closely%20to%20a%20flinty%20blue%20rhyolite%20rock%20exposed%20in%20a%20crag%20at%20Rhosyfelin.%20%20The%20archaeologists%20also%20discovered%20an%20eight-tonne%20elongated%20slab%20of%20rhyolite%20not%20far%20from%20the%20Rhosyfelin%20rock%20face,%20which%20they%20assumed%20had%20been%20quarried%20and%20then%20somehow%20left%20behind.%20%20Many%20tonnes%20of%20sediments%20have%20subsequently%20been%20removed%20by%20the%20archaeologists%20in%20their%20hunt%20for%20quarrying%20traces.%20%20Now%20geologist%20John%20Downes%20and%20geomorphologists%20Dyfed%20Elis-Gruffydd%20and%20Brian%20John%20have%20examined%20the%20site%20very%20carefully,%20and%20have%20come%20to%20the%20conclusion%20that%20there%20are%20no%20traces%20of%20a%20Neolithic%20quarry%20here.%20%20Instead,%20they%20interpret%20the%20rocky%20debris%20found%20during%20the%20archaeological%20dig%20as%20entirely%20natural%20accumulations%20resulting%20from%20intermittent%20rockfalls%20over%20a%20long%20period%20of%20time.%20%20In%20their%20new%20article%20they%20also%20describe%20a%20number%20of%20different%20landforms%20and%20sediments%20which%20can%20be%20related%20to%20the%20events%20of%20the%20Ice%20Age%20--%20and%20in%20particular%20to%20the%20last%20glaciation%20of%20this%20area%20which%20occurred%20around%2020,000%20years%20ago.%20%20They%20accept%20that%20there%20might%20have%20been%20a%20prehistoric%20camp%20site%20in%20the%20sheltered%20valley%20at%20the%20foot%20of%20the%20Rhosyfelin%20rocky%20crag,%20but%20they%20suggest%20that%20it%20was%20used%20by%20hunters%20rather%20than%20by%20quarrymen.%20%20Back%20to%20the%20glacial%20transport%20theory...%20%20Speaking%20about%20the%20new%20study,%20researcher%20Dr%20Brian%20John%20said:%20%20%22We%20have%20no%20argument%20with%20the%20geological%20work%20that%20links%20this%20site%20with%20Stonehenge.%20%20But%20we%20cannot%20accept%20the%20idea%20of%20a%20Neolithic%20quarry%20here%20without%20firm%20evidence%20--%20and%20in%20our%20considered%20opinion%20there%20is%20none.%20%20The%20features%20referred%20to%20by%20the%20archaeologists%20as%20evidence%20of%20human%20quarrying%20activity%20%28pivots,%20props,%20scratches,%20%22railway%20lines%22,%20hammer%20stones,%20platforms,%20revetments%20and%20so%20forth%29%20are%20entirely%20natural.%20%20There%20are%20no%20artefacts,%20bones%20or%20tools.%20%20We%20are%20also%20increasingly%20convinced%20that%20the%20rhyolite%20debris%20at%20Stonehenge%20comes%20from%20glacial%20erratics%20which%20were%20eroded%20from%20the%20Rhosyfelin%20rocky%20crag%20almost%20half%20a%20million%20years%20ago%20by%20the%20overriding%20Irish%20Sea%20Glacier%20%28Britain%27s%20biggest%20ever%20glacier%29%20and%20then%20transported%20eastwards%20by%20ice%20towards%20Salisbury%20Plain.%20%20Glaciologically%20that%20was%20perfectly%20possible,%20if%20not%20probable.%20%20We%20are%20confident%20that%20radiocarbon%20and%20other%20dating%20in%20the%20future%20will%20confirm%20the%20falsehood%20of%20the%20Neolithic%20quarry%20theory%20and%20the%20essential%20reliability%20of%20the%20glacial%20transport%20theory.%22%20%20ENDS%20%20Brian%20John,%20Dyfed%20Elis-Gruffydd%20and%20John%20Downes%20%282015a%29.%20%20%22Quaternary%20Events%20at%20Craig%20Rhosyfelin,%20Pembrokeshire.%22%20%20Quaternary%20Newsletter,%20October%202015%20%28No%20137%29,%20pp%2016-32.%20https://www.researchgate.net/publication/283643851_QUATERNARY_EVENTS_AT_CRAIG_RHOSYFELIN_PEMBROKESHIRE%20%20https://www.academia.edu/19788792/Quaternary_Events_at_Craig_Rhosyfelin_Pembrokeshire%20%20Contact:%20Dr%20Brian%20John%20Tel:%2001239-820470%20%20==================%20%20Press%20Notice%20Monday%2014th%20December%202015%20%20=====================%20%22Bluestone%20quarry%22%20archaeologists%20are%20accused%20of%20creating%20their%20own%20evidence%20===========================%20%20Earth%20scientists%20who%20have%20worked%20at%20a%20%22bluestone%20monolith%20quarry%22%20site%20at%20Craig%20Rhosyfelin%20in%20Pembrokeshire%20have%20suggested%20that%20the%20archaeologists%20have%20got%20it%20all%20wrong,%20and%20that%20%20the%20so-called%20%22engineering%20features%22%20on%20the%20flank%20of%20the%20crag%20are%20entirely%20natural.%20%20Further,%20it%20is%20suggested%20that%20members%20of%20the%20digging%20team%20have%20unconsciously%20created%20the%20very%20features%20that%20they%20have%20cited%20in%20support%20of%20their%20quarrying%20hypothesis.%20%20In%20a%20peer-reviewed%20paper%20published%20today%20in%20%22Archaeology%20in%20Wales%22%20journal%20%281%29%20%20Dr%20Brian%20John,%20Dr%20Dyfed%20Elis-Gruffydd%20and%20John%20Downes%20have%20described%20a%20set%20of%20%20Ice%20Age%20deposits%20and%20landforms%20at%20the%20site%20of%20an%20archaeological%20dig%20that%20was%20started%20in%202011,%20and%20have%20determined%20that%20there%20are%20no%20traces%20of%20human%20intervention%20in%20any%20of%20the%20features%20that%20have%20made%20the%20archaeologists%20so%20excited%20%282%29.%20%20These%20include%20features%20described%20by%20the%20diggers%20as%20a%20quarry%20face,%20a%20quarry%20spoil%20bank,%20a%20storage%20platform,%20props%20and%20pillars,%20stone%20rails,%20a%20%22proto-orthostat%22,%20a%20revetment,%20and%20an%20export%20pathway.%20%20Most%20of%20these%20are%20now%20dismissed%20as%20%22archaeological%20artifices%22%20unconsciously%20created%20by%20the%20archaeologists%20themselves%20during%20five%20years%20of%20highly%20selective%20sediment%20removal.%20In%20other%20words,%20the%20authors%20of%20the%20new%20article%20suggest%20that%20the%20%20archaeologists%20have%20created%20what%20they%20wanted%20to%20find,%20instead%20of%20describing%20what%20was%20there%20%283%29.%20%20This%20site%20has%20been%20described%20by%20lead%20archaeologist%20Prof%20Mike%20Parker%20Pearson%20as%20%22the%20Pompeii%20of%20prehistoric%20stone%20quarries%22%20and%20has%20caused%20great%20excitement%20in%20archaeological%20circles.%20%20The%20selection%20of%20this%20rocky%20crag%20near%20the%20village%20of%20Brynberian%20for%20excavation%20in%202011-%202015%20was%20triggered%20by%20the%20discovery%20by%20geologists%20Richard%20Bevins%20and%20Rob%20Ixer%20that%20some%20of%20the%20stone%20fragments%20in%20the%20soil%20at%20Stonehenge%20were%20quite%20precisely%20matched%20to%20an%20unusual%20type%20of%20foliated%20rhyolite%20found%20in%20the%20crag.%20%20This%20led%20the%20archaeologists%20to%20conclude%20that%20there%20must%20have%20been%20a%20Neolithic%20quarry%20here,%20worked%20for%20the%20specific%20purpose%20of%20cutting%20out%20monoliths%20for%20the%20bluestone%20settings%20at%20Stonehenge.%20%20Commenting%20on%20the%20new%20research%20paper,%20Dr%20Brian%20John%20says:%20%20%22The%20new%20geological%20work%20at%20Rhosyfelin%20and%20Stonehenge%20is%20an%20interesting%20piece%20of%20%22rock%20provenencing%22%20--%20but%20it%20tells%20us%20nothing%20at%20all%20about%20how%20monoliths%20or%20smaller%20rock%20fragments%20from%20West%20Wales%20found%20their%20way%20to%20Stonehenge.%20%20We%20are%20sure%20that%20the%20archaeologists%20have%20convinced%20themselves%20that%20the%20glacial%20transport%20of%20erratics%20was%20impossible.%20%20We%20are%20not%20sure%20where%20they%20got%20that%20idea%20from.%20%20On%20the%20contrary,%20there%20is%20substantial%20evidence%20in%20favour%20of%20glacial%20transport%20and%20zero%20evidence%20in%20support%20of%20the%20human%20transport%20theory.%20%20We%20accept%20that%20there%20might%20have%20been%20a%20camp%20site%20at%20Rhosyfelin,%20used%20intermittently%20by%20hunters%20over%20several%20millennia.%20%20But%20there%20is%20no%20quarry.%20%20We%20think%20the%20archaeologists%20have%20been%20so%20keen%20on%20telling%20a%20good%20story%20here%20that%20they%20have%20ignored%20or%20misinterpreted%20the%20evidence%20in%20front%20of%20them.%20%20That%27s%20very%20careless.%20%20They%20now%20need%20to%20undertake%20a%20complete%20reassessment%20of%20the%20material%20they%20have%20collected.%22%20%20The%20three%20authors%20of%20the%20new%20paper%20suggest%20that%20this%20fundamental%20error%20in%20interpretation%20might%20have%20been%20avoided%20if%20there%20had%20been%20greater%20cooperation%20in%20the%20Rhosyfelin%20dig%20between%20archaeologists%20and%20specialists%20from%20related%20disciplines.%20%20%20ENDS%20%20Notes:%20%20%20%20%281%29%20%20The%20article%20reference%20is%20as%20follows:%20Brian%20John,%20Dyfed%20Elis-Gruffydd%20and%20John%20Downes.%20%202015.%20OBSERVATIONS%20ON%20THE%20SUPPOSED%20%E2%80%9CNEOLITHIC%20BLUESTONE%20QUARRY%E2%80%9D%20AT%20CRAIG%20RHOSYFELIN,%20PEMBROKESHIRE%22.%20%20Archaeology%20in%20Wales%2054,%20pp%20139-148.%20%28Publication%2014th%20December%202015%29%20https://www.academia.edu/19788912/Observations_on_the_supposed_Neolithic_Bluestone_Quarry_at_Craig_Rhosyfelin_Pembrokeshire%20%20%20%20%282%29%20%20Mike%20Parker%20Pearson,%20Richard%20Bevins,%20Rob%20Ixer,%20Joshua%20Pollard,%20Colin%20Richards,%20Kate%20Welham,%20Ben%20Chan,%20Kevan%20Edinborough,%20Derek%20Hamilton,%20Richard%20Macphail,%20Duncan%20Schlee,%20Jean-Luc%20Schwenninger,%20Ellen%20Simmons%20and%20Martin%20Smith%20%282015%29.%20Craig%20Rhos-y-felin:%20a%20Welsh%20bluestone%20megalith%20quarry%20for%20Stonehenge.%20%20%20Antiquity,%2089%20%28348%29%20%28Dec%202015%29,%20pp%201331-1352.%20http://www.ucl.ac.uk/news/news-articles/1215/071215-stonehenge-bluestone-quarries%20%20%20%283%29%20%20Quote%20from%20the%20Conclusions%20of%20the%20new%20paper:%20%20%22It%20is%20suggested,%20on%20the%20basis%20of%20careful%20examinations%20of%20this%20site,%20that%20certain%20of%20the%20%E2%80%9Cman%20made%20features%E2%80%9D%20described%20have%20been%20created%20by%20the%20archaeologists%20themselves%20through%20a%20process%20of%20selective%20sediment%20and%20clast%20removal.%20An%20expectation%20or%20conviction%20that%20%E2%80%9Cengineering%20features%E2%80%9D%20would%20be%20found%20has%20perhaps%20led%20to%20the%20unconscious%20fashioning%20of%20archaeological%20artifices.%22%20%20Contact:%20%20Dr%20Brian%20John%20Tel:%2001239-820470%20brianjohn4@mac.com
 
  • #7
berkeman
Mentor
64,197
15,450
? Already sent WHERE? I don't see any reference(s)
He posted a link to his blog, which was deleted by me. He and I then had a PM conversation, where he posted the better links that he's posted here now.

BTW, he pointed out that all @BillTre has posted so far is links to popular press articles, so it would be good if Bill could also post the source article(s) here for discussion. Thanks.
 
  • #8
BillTre
Science Advisor
Gold Member
2022 Award
2,222
7,371
What is this about?
"interpretative inflation" seen in the bluestone research

Among the links in the articles I referenced are links to other articles. Below are two:

The original Stonehenge? A dismantled stone circle in the Preseli Hills of west Wales.
Mike Parker Pearson, Josh Pollard, Colin Richards, Kate Welham, Timothy Kinnaird, Dave Shaw, Ellen Simmons, Adam Stanford, Richard Bevins, Rob Ixer, Clive Ruggles, Jim Rylatt and Kevan Edinborough
Antiquity, Volume 95, Issue 379 , February 2021 , pp. 85 - 103
DOI: https://doi.org/10.15184/aqy.2020.239

Craig Rhos-y-felin: a Welsh bluestone megalith quarry for Stonehenge.
Mike Parker Pearson, Richard Bevins, Rob Ixer, Joshua Pollard, Colin Richards, Kate Welham, Ben Chan, Kevan Edinborough, Derek Hamilton, Richard Macphail, Duncan Schlee, Jean-Luc Schwenninger, Ellen Simmons and Martin Smith
Antiquity, Volume 89, Issue 348 , December 2015 , pp. 1331 - 1352
DOI: https://doi.org/10.15184/aqy.2015.177
 
  • #9
berkeman
Mentor
64,197
15,450
Among the links in the articles I referenced are links to other articles. Below are two:
Thank you Bill. Were those in the Science magazine article? All I found there when searching as a result of my PM conversation with him was links to other Science magazine articles. The NYT article appears to be behind a subscription wall for me.
 
  • #10
BillTre
Science Advisor
Gold Member
2022 Award
2,222
7,371
Were those in the Science magazine article? All I found there when searching as a result of my PM conversation with him was links to other Science magazine articles. The NYT article appears to be behind a subscription wall for me.
There were chains of links, which eventually lead to these articles, which are in a journal named Antiquity.
I don't recall which of the original Science news articles lead to which.
 
  • #11
berkeman
Mentor
64,197
15,450
Thanks Bill. As I told @Brian John in our PM conversation, it's best to always post a link to the source peer-reviewed article in addition to the link to the popular science article. (Especially if it takes multiple clicks through the popular science article to find the peer-reviewed article.) Thanks :smile:
 
  • #12
BillTre
Science Advisor
Gold Member
2022 Award
2,222
7,371
The NYT article appears to be behind a subscription wall for me.
Their policy on how this works keeps changing. It might only be a part-time pay wall.
Since I have a subscription, its not obvious to me what's going on with it.
It used to be that a non-subscriber could look at X numbers of articles/month. X has varied over time. It was at 4 or 3 for a while, but maybe it has gone away (X = 0).
 
  • Like
Likes Klystron and berkeman
  • #13
berkeman
Mentor
64,197
15,450
Thanks Bill. So do the articles posted by Brian in post #6 carry any refutation weight? I haven't read any of the articles yet to try to sort it all out myself. Still an interesting subject though...
 
  • #14
BillTre
Science Advisor
Gold Member
2022 Award
2,222
7,371
So do the articles posted by Brian in post #6 carry any refutation weight?

It involves some aspects of local geology and archeology which I am expert at.
Brain's arguments seem to be about:
  • (in one paper) about how the other guys did not interpret the local geology correctly. I can't really comment on disputes about this. Would need a geologist. This seems to me to be the strongest point however.
  • Size of holes in Wales doesn't match the size of stone in Stonehenge. In my glancing over the articles I could get to I did not find any measurements relevant to this. If the sizes don't match, this would be good to know.
  • One paper seemed kind of political to me; saying the first groups conclusions were involved in ancient of uniting England or Britain was bad because Brexit comparisons could be made. (?)
  • One paper I could not access.
 

Suggested for: Bluestones of Stonehenge were Originally in a Monument in Wales

  • Last Post
Replies
1
Views
86
Replies
15
Views
969
Replies
23
Views
866
Replies
1
Views
2K
Replies
2
Views
4K
Replies
4
Views
578
Replies
12
Views
2K
Replies
1
Views
239
  • Last Post
Replies
6
Views
737
  • Last Post
Replies
13
Views
136
Top