This is my fourth annual presentation at Small World Theatre, Cardigan. If this looks like your kind of thing, then you’d be most welcome. Based on past presentations, it would probably be better to book well in advance.
To all the attendees who have made this one of my favourite venues over the years, (well, it is held in an Iron Age fort after all!), I hope to see you there again this year for some more interaction and to share some of my recent work with you. Robin.
This lecture presentation introduces a new theme into the prehistory and proto-history of South and West Wales. It combines my own recent work with that of earlier work, now much neglected, undertaken by the renowned Aberystwyth archaeologist Prof E G Bowen.
For almost a century an often heated debate has rumbled on, following Dr H H Thomas’ discovery suggesting that many of the bluestones found at Stonehenge had originated in the Preseli Hills of West Wales. Various geologists and even some archaeologists (e.g. Burl) have suggested that these stones were not fetched to Stonehenge at ‘vast expense of toil’, but instead were transported by glacial action. They would tell you that the jury is still out on the matter of how the bluestones arrived at Stonehenge.
Some years ago, the quarry at Craig Rhos y Felin became the focus of work led by professor Mike Parker Pearson. The claim was made that some stones from this quarry petrologically matched a number of stones at Stonehenge. This work was duly written up in Antiquity, Volume 89 Issue 348 – contributors listed were 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. Continue reading “A Sideways Glance at the recent ‘Breakthrough at Stonehenge’ news story.”
THE PRESELI CONNECTION
PART THREE of the STONEHENGE – WOODHENGE tryptych
Part One and Two of this tryptych revealed an unexpected geometrical relationship between the location of Stonehenge and that of its sister henge monument, Woodhenge. Part Three now expands this new evidence. By comparing data from the megalithic landscape around Stonehenge/ Woodhenge with that from the megalithic landscape in and around the Preseli Hills of West Wales a new type of connection emerges, one that links the ‘bluestone’ culture of the Preseli Hills of West Wales with that of the Wessex culture, specifically the Stonehenge landscape shown above (but perhaps even Avebury and elsewhere). Continue reading “Stonehenge – Woodhenge (Part Three)”
A New Perspective
by Robin Heath
THE HISTORY OF THE STORY
The large number of stone circles found in the English Lake District of Northern Britain are among the oldest known, Aubrey Burl suggesting that the construction of Castle Rigg, its most visited ring as being ‘around 3200 BC’ [Burl 1995]. Many of these circles are in fact non-circular and most of the survivors are very large – over 100 feet in diameter. Their design geometry includes many of the ‘flattened circle’ geometries first discovered by Alexander Thom, [Thom, 1967], and which he named Type A and Type B flattened circles.
The Type A’s perimeter shape is based on hexagonal geometry, whereas the Type B is based on the division of a diameter line by three, which can be understood as based on a vesica piscis construction. These two types of flattened circle are fundamentally different. However, examples have been found where a definite geometrical change has made to the standard design. One example of this is the Type D flattened circle, whose geometry will be explained later.
This article focusses on the locations of the major Lake District circles and their relationship to other megalithic sites in Britain. It demonstrates that knowledge of Astronomy, Geometry and Metrology were all subjects that fell well within the capabilities of the circle builders.
Wooden Books new compilation hardback, MEGALITH- Studies in Stone, was duly launched over the summer solstice celebrations at Avebury and at Stonehenge. The sun dutifully arose from a perfect azure sky at 4:52 am ( First Flash). Fabulous!!
The new year has brought me an opportunity to revise and update the first edition (2000 AD) of Stonehenge, one of those little sparkly Wooden Books, a genre founded by John Martineau.
PART TWO – A SPECIAL RELATIONSHIP
In Part One a single action began a process of investigation – I made a measurement of two physical realities. The first was the length of a line connecting Stonehenge centre to Woodhenge, centre, and the second was the angle of orientation that this line makes with respect to an east-west line, termed a co-azimuth angle. This second part of the article shows where that single action can lead a researcher into understanding presently unsuspected purposes within the designs of, in this case, Stonehenge and Woodhenge.
PART ONE – A LOST LEGACY
Soon after the distinguished Welsh archaeologist Maude Cunningham and her husband finished work excavating the site we now know as Woodhenge, in 1929, the locations of each of the site’s many revealed postholes were marked with grey concrete bollards. The best that can be said of this action was that it ensured their original exact positions were recorded for posterity (see Alexander Thom’s photograph below, from 1958, courtesy of Eoghann MacColl).
Visually, Woodhenge is neither a pretty nor an impressive site, unlike its nearest neighbour, Stonehenge, some 1.9 miles to the southwest. VIsitors to Woodhenge tend not to linger around this site, and soon slope off to nearby Durrington Walls, to the north, or Stonehenge, to the southwest. This article claims to lift the present Cinderella status afforded to this Neolithic class II henge and timber circle monument, by identifying a previously unrecognised significance in its geodetic placement with respect to Stonehenge.