Friday, 29 November 2013

Silbury Hill: the Hill that stole Stonehenge’s Crown.
Tony Robinson..... All that anyone has ever found inside it is earth. Me: Not true. It’s true to say that people did bring soil from far-away places and built a small mound which became its core, but Silbury is mainly chalk. That is why, when the many exploratory tunnels recently threatened its collapse, chalk was used to stuff and seal it--And for good too, if archaeologists have their way. Don't want anyone prying!

Tony Robinson: But there isn’t any water here, is there? ....Da!
Me.... you should have seen it before it was built, Tony, for this mound hides two of the biggest moat-like ditches that flooded on a regular basis, and both were as large and as deep as to put Stonehenge’s ditch to utter shame.

The source of the river Kennet lies near the village of Winterbourne Basset, and is several miles to the north of Silbury hill. The northern section of the Kennet, or Winterbourne as some prefer to call it, flooded the plain around Silbury in 2001-- I think it was-- Not the Swallow-Head Spring, because that lies further downstream. So, for Jim Leary to claim the Swallow Spring as the source of the Kennet is totally wrong, it merely contributes to it, as does another spring a few hundred yards further along.
According to jimmy boy, Silbury was built as a way of worshiping the Swallow-Head Spring. What tosh!
Me.....That must be why Silbury was given nine triangular sides!


This is what I wrote in my book “Stonehengeology: Prehistoric Wiltshire Unravelled” 2012.

Where did Stonehenge’s missing stones go?

Thanks to Dr William Stukeley, we know how Avebury’s stones were destroyed. Some were destroyed in the Middle Ages by puritanical Christians’ who regarded the stones as pagan. Pits were dug alongside and the stones cast in and covered over. One poor fellow, a barber-surgeon, it is said, stood beneath a stone when it fell. His body was not recovered until Stone 9 of Avebury’s outer ring was reset by Alexander Keiller, the Scottish marmalade millionaire who owned Avebury in 1938.
The destruction continued into the seventeenth century by residents who built a church; St James; and a chapel from them. They also built houses and walls, and farmers used them when constructing their barns. Being harder than granite saved many of them from being smashed, and that is why several have survived. Another method of destruction was to topple them into a fiery pit of hay and straw, and when thoroughly heated, doused with cold water to shock and fracture, when mallets and sledge-hammers completed the job.

However, none of these methods of destruction has ever been found at Stonehenge - save perhaps for the Slaughter Stone. Indeed, it would seem that the only people capable of dismantling Stonehenge in the way that it was dismantled are the people who built it in the first place! But why would they destroy something as magnificent as Stonehenge unless it was perceived to be a failure, and had found something better? Silbury Hill-- the mound that grew and grew.

Stonehenge was for a long time regarded by archaeologists as the ‘flagship’ to the many stone circles, possibly 1,000 of them or more that were built while the fashion lasted. This no longer holds true. The real flagship that took the mantle from Stonehenge is the massive 130 foot high man-made geometric mound built near Avebury.

We know that Silbury contains many sarsens spread throughout its structure, enough of them to convince me that many of Stonehenge’s stones were returned from whence they came, and for that very purpose. We also know that sarsen stones were mixed in with the chalk revetment at the top (meaning a late date) and throughout the whole of the mound.

Sarsens were seeded right through Silbury’s primary mound like raisins in a cake - Magnus Magnusson.
One sarsen stone from the summit even appears to have been knapped into a rough sub-oval shape before being lightly pecked and ground, as if making a quernstone, and then, quite deliberately, split by a single blow. The Story of Silbury Hill. By Jim Leary and David Field of English Heritage.

I don’t suppose that everyone agreed to the deliberate destruction of Stonehenge and put up considerable resistance. I can well believe that some tried rebuilding Stonehenge as fast as it was being destroyed. Is that why Stone 10 of the sarsen circle is misplaced, and 11 is only half size? And is that why a beaker man was murdered and placed in the West Kennet long barrow before it was sealed up for good?

And was Stonehenge ever finished? Unless archaeologists excavate the remainder of its outer circle, or part of it, and in a truthful way, we might never know!
Professor Atkinson found a piece of Stonehenge bluestone on Silbury’s summit when excavating there in 1970. Somehow along the way, this piece of Welsh bluestone, known as ‘spotted dolerite,’ was allowed to become lost. This loss caused much debate and archaeological scepticism. Many said it wasn’t bluestone; others said that Atkinson did not find it in a secure context anyway. Others said it proved the bluestones to have been transported from South Wales to Wiltshire - formally the Kingdom of Wessex - by glacial action.

Atkinson’s bluestone has since been found hiding away in the Alexander Keiller museum at Avebury. A further three pieces were found on Silbury’s summit by the archaeologist Jim Leary during rescue operations to prevent further collapse of Silbury’s many tunnels. These three pieces were found to be part of the same block as that found by Atkinson.

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