Friday 20 January 2012

That's a Relief!

I've been waiting for an excuse to put up a photo of the Stone Age icon. What good's an archaeology blog without at least one shot of Stonehenge to its credit!
I'd long given up hope of anyone ever pinpointing the geographic origin of the gigantic stones erected in the inner circle at Stonehenge. But now, with the aid of sophisticated computer modelling, dogged persistence, and laser-accurate isotopic characterization of rock outcrops across the west of Great Britain, we can all take comfort in the fact that the mystery has been solved! We now KNOW where the rock came from. They've narrowed it down to somewhere within a 230-foot (about a 70.104-m) stretch of rhyolite at Craig Rhos-y-felin near Pont Saeson, Wales. Fantastic! Bloody marvellous! Jolly good show!
     And to give you some idea of how crucial a successful conclusion to the search has long been to the intellectual, spiritual and emotional well-being of many of our colleagues and members of the interested public, I give you this report gleaned from the SA news ticker. These rocky revelations can be found on a web site called Social Anxiety Support
     I'm tellin' ya. You. Can't. Make. This. Stuff. Up!
Genuine screen capture. No fooling!
This is, indeed, millennial news! Think of it. Lives have been spent in the search for the source. Generations of effort squandered. Now those long-since retired or expired researchers and their kin are able to rest, knowing that their quest, while not fulfilled on their watch, has finally been completed. [Moment of silence, please.] 
     Quoted in an article in Sci-Tech, one of the Principal Investigators had this to say

'Being able to provenance any archaeologically significant rock so precisely is remarkable,' Rob Ixer of Leicester University said.
'However, given continued perseverance, we are determined that we shall uncover the origins of most, if not all of the Stonehenge bluestones so allowing archaeologists to continue their speculations well into a third century.'

At least he hasn't lost his sense of humour after all that XRF-ing (or whatever) and so on!

[Clears throat.] 
I don't want to throw cold water on these phenomenal findings. But I think it needs to be said that researchers are still left with the [one would think] rather insurmountable question of how those rocks ended up on the Salisbury Plain in the first place. And I believe the jury's still out. It's quite possible that they were whittled out of 'glacial erratics' that had been fortuitously deposited in the area as the ice sheets were ablating at the end of the Pleistocene, and not, as so many have speculated, hewn out of the parent rock, rolled on logs down to the sea, rafted across the Bristol Channel on those same logs, and rolled the rest of the way to Salisbury [which actually wasn't there at the time, nor was the A303, which makes me think they would've had a pretty rough go of it]. I'm confident that I'm in no danger of having to cough up the goods when I say, 'A 24-carat golden Marshalltown to the one that solves that riddle!' Baby steps...

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for visiting!

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.