A Source of Stonehenge Bluestone

<b>Welsh Bluestones</b>
Welsh Bluestones

Stonehenge Bluestones a.jpg

Last September we had a holiday in Brynberian Pembrokeshire. Exploring the village on our first day we passed the Community Centre. A notice on the gate caught our eye. "A Source of Stonehenge Bluestone" it said. 'Talk by Professor Mike Parker-Pearson of University College London" "Archaeological Excavation at Craig Rhos y Felin". The speaker's name rang bells because of his TV appearances describing work at Stonehenge and Durrington Walls, but the name of this site was unfamiliar. The notice gave the date of the talk, which had taken place the previous week, and with a philosophical sign we continued on our way.

A few days later we took a walk to Carn Menyn, the supposed source of the Bluestones famously transported to Stonehenge in late Neolithic times. Here we encountered two other walkers and got talking about archaeology. We mentioned the talk we had so narrowly missed and they gave us more information as they knew someone who was involved in the excavation at Craig Rhos y Felin. Craig Rhos y Felin is a site thought to be an alternative source of the Stonehenge bluestones. The dig was aimed at finding evidence support this theory. In the event the major find seems to have been an entire bluestone of monolithic proportions that had been buried, and this was taken as evidence of the ritual closure of the quarry. Anthropological studies in other parts of the world apparently lent weight to this theory.

We noted the location of the site and paid it a visit. It turned out to be no more than a mile from where we were staying and was certainly a very special place. We approached via a country lane yellow with gorse, buzzards overhead and the croaking of ravens nearby. As the lane descended steeply to a ford the quarry appeared as a series of craggy rooks with the strata running pretty well vertical. The entrance lay at the level of a small stream and through the gate which was securely locked, we could see abandoned mechanical diggers and heavily churned-up ground. Too late for the lecture and to late for the digs! Nonetheless we were pleased to have located it and delighted to have been led to such a magical spot.

On our return I did some googling and found that the debate between those who believe in the human transportation theory (rafts over the Severn etc.) versus the glacial erratics (odd stones carried from the Pembrokeshire outcrops by the expanding ice of the sea Glacier) is still very much alive.

For a flavour of the issues try googling Craig Rhos y Felin and megalithic.co.uk.

Peter Johnson