Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Ace2Ace carpet cleaner - one truly amazing invention!

 I'm not in the habit of promoting commercial products, but I shall now make an exception. Why? Because I'm truly gobsmacked at what it does, what it achieves within the domestic environment.

I'll do this posting in instalments. First, here's a snapshot, taken a few minutes ago, of the product in question, i.e. the Ace2Ace carpet cleaner:

I've shown the device (hand, not power-operated) alongside what it's picked up from my household carpets (despite recent vacuuming!).

More to follow...

2nd Instalment (July 21, 21)

Enter Ace2Ace into search engines, and what do you see? Answer: prominent references to "pet hair removal" from carpets.  Indeed, that's how I first came across the device. Our two new(ish) cats had been leaving visible hair on our carpets, it had not been vacuuming up as easily as expected. Answer: I deployed an old-fashioned clothes brush initially, noting it was better than the vacuum cleaner, but not entirely successful. Thus the initial internet search under "carpet" and "pet hair", thus the initial introduction to Ace2Ace, followed by a payment of £13.99  to a well-known internet provider, and next day delivery.  

That's when I got the surprise of my life. Why?  Because while the device did indeed scoop up pet hair, consigning in to a compartment, it did much, much more that that, of which there's scarcely a mention in the online literature.

The Ace2Ace device rejuvenated my ancient carpets (inherited from a predecessor). How, you may ask?

Answer - by removing more than pet hair - much much more!  Yes, scarcely visible in situ with the naked eye, but oh-so-visible when viewed in the  Ace2Ace collection compartment - which needed re-emptying at regular 5 minute intervals!

I have just given a mention, correction,  plug,  ;-) to this site and its latest posting. Where?  On my Shroud of Turin website:


Apols.  (I'll spare you the reasons, except to say this: website visibility via a major internet search engine doth play a role!).

Hare's a piccy showing the compartment in which the fluff is collected. It is easy to access - one simply lifts a flap on the topside of the device:

Third instalment (July 22, 2021)

It's hard to know how best to sum up the internal geometry of the Ace2Ace carpet cleaner. It's both simple AND complex at the same time. Yes it looks simple, viewed intact from the outside, or even with the 'fluff collecter' flap opened to reveal and dispose of what's been collected. It's when one takes a closer look that one sees the simplicity (combined with effectiveness ) of its design. Why do I say that?

First, when you look at the underside, what do you see? Answer, at first sight it looks like a cylindrical roller lined with short stubby bristles, designed to dislodge hair (and dust!) from carpets. But no - the dislodging surface is not  a single continuous  bristle-lined cylinder. That's why one doesn't use the tool for long continuous runs across a carpet. There are in fact TWO wide strips of the 'dislodger'  mounted on the cylinder with intervening gaps.  That's why one uses the tool as if a paint roller, i.e. rolling back and forth over a shortish distance. That engages each of the strips in turn - one on the push stroke, one on the pull, gathering detritus  onto the separate strips each alternately and in turn.  But that alone would not transfer the muck to the collector. How is that achieved one might ask? Answer:  simple - but one has to look carefully within the guts of the tool to find the answer.

4th instalment, July 23

So let's see what the Ace2Ace is able to collect from a carpet, correction, a marked-out square metre of carpet.  

I've chosen a stretch of carpet that is not noticeably strewn with pet hair, despite having one of our two kittenish-cats in attendance:

Next step - use a pair of steel rules to mark out a square metre:

Next step: take a close-up photo of the Ace2Ace with an emptied fluff-collecting compartment:

Here's the fluff  collected and stored from just half that square metre of carpet:

Now move to the unbrushed left side of the carpet (with t'other pussy in attendance):

And here's what one sees inside the fluff-collecter  compartment after doing both halves of that marked-out square metre!

So how does the fluff get from the roller strips to the collecter compartment?  One has to peer closely into the narrow gaps between the cylinder and its outer casing (I did consider trying to get a piccy but thought better of it). In short, the answer is both simple yet ingenious from a mechanical point of view: the fluff-acquired cylinder makes contact with two additional strips of  bristly/stubble coating on the inside of the casing. They  gently and efficiently scratch off the fluff, the latter being dumped into the collector compartment. 

As indicated earlier, I find the combined  efficiency and mechanical simplicity of the Ace2Ace simply gobsmacking.   It's not to be seen purely as a device for collecting pet hair. As stated earlier, it picks up months, nay years of microscopic grey fluff and dust, giving one's ageing carpets a new lease of life. The  Ace2Ace inventors have maybe not qualified  (yet) for a Nobel Prize.  But a  consolation Loud Bell Prize of some description, internet- or  (better still) MSM-mediated - is definitely warranted!

I'll leave it there for now.  Comments welcome...

July 26, 2021: Back again. Why?  While keeping an eye open for interesting new additions to the shelves in retail outlets, here are two more to which I intend to give brief exposure. (Strictly interest only - no commission payments whatsoever, whether invited or received!).

I'll start with  a piccy of the two new additions,  parked side-by-side, taken just a few minutes ago:

One is a unusual Chilean white wine (from a  climate-blessed grape-growing zone region slightly inland from Valparaiso which wife and I visited in  late 2018).  The other is a novel vertical floor-standing outlet for electrical appliances.

More to follow hopefully  in a day or two. 

(My mind right now is preoccupied with yet another retail product that is being installed on our patio tomorrow, namely  a "BioWall".   (See  local retailer/installer display item below):

"BioWall" may well be the subject of a separate  future posting - from a strictly botanical point a view (432 perennial plants in 144 angled containers - creating a "vertical garden" suited to confined spaces!) 

Going back to earlier,  here are some close ups of  the label of that "unusual"  (oh so distinctive!) Chilean white wine:

Yes, it's a  plain-old " Chardonnay". But much else besides. Read on..

Label reads:  "Overflowing with tropical fruit flavours and citrus notes".

How come, one might ask?  (Not that I was complaining - having taken my first sip , and thinking " Oh boy,  oh boy, that makes one helluva  change from regular, routine white wine"). But beware - there's a tiny sing in the tail... see what else appears on the label 

More to follow:

Sunday, February 21, 2021

An entirely new explanation for Woodhenge - and probably the initial Stonehenge too: a protective enclosure for livestock when coming under arrow attack

 This posting, over a year since the "last" on this blogsite, is intended simply to stake this retired academic's  claim for an entirely new "take" on Woodhenge (and with it the original Stonehenge too!).

Here's a modern-day photograph, borrowed from a farming website (link later) -  one that conveys the gist of the new thinking.

Oops. the caption is only partly visible. I'll try fixing later. For now, here's the caption separately:

Relevance to Woodhenge?  See the wiki entry on Woodhenge. I've attached an  abbreviated version I've added below. 

So what's the new idea?  

Answer: the folk who decided to settle in and around Salisbury Plain were farmers by trade, keeping a range of grazing animals (cattle, sheep, pigs etc). They periodically came under attack from the indigenous population of hunter-gathers, looking to supplement their intake of meat. Which weapons would the attackers have deployed? Answer: flint-head spears and (especially) ARROWS. 

So what would have been the sensible response on the part of the farmers? Answer: retreat behind a timber stockade with livestock. Attach the livestock to timber support posts towards the centre of the structure where the animals would have been largely shielded from arrows.

No, Woodhenge (and probably later Stonehenge too) had nothing whatsoever to do with solstice celebration. There were other reasons for the NE opening into both Woodhenge and Stonehenge. (In the case of the first, the opening was in the direction of the nearby River Avon, offering some protection from arrow or other attack from that direction).

More to follow in due course. (I am thinking of creating a new blogsite, dedicated mainly to Woodhenge as the likely clue as to the real purpose of Stonehenge, at keast as originally conceived).

Abbreviated version of the wiki entry on Woodhenge:

   "Woodhenge is a Neolithic henge and timber circle monument within the Stonehenge World Heritage Site in Wiltshire, England. It is 2 miles north-east of Stonehenge.

The site consists of six concentric oval rings of postholes, the outermost being about 141 by 131 ft wide. They are surrounded  first by a single flat-bottomed ditch, 7.9 ft deep and up to 39 ft wide, and finally by an outer bank, about 33 ft wide and 3.3 ft high. With an overall diameter measuring (360 ft) (including bank and ditch), the site had a single entrance to the north-east. 

Most of the 168 post holes held wooden posts, although Cunnington found evidence that a pair of standing stones may have been placed between the second and third post hole rings. Excavations in 2006 indicated that there were at least five standing stones on the site, arranged in a "cove". The deepest post holes measured up to 6.6 ft and are believed to have held posts which reached as high as 25 ft above ground. Those posts would have weighed up to 5 tons, and their arrangement was similar to that of the bluestones at Stonehenge. 

Further comparisons with Stonehenge were quickly noticed by Cunnington: both have entrances oriented approximately to the midsummer sunrise, and the diameters of the timber circles at Woodhenge and the stone circles at Stonehenge are similar.

Over 40 years after the discovery of Woodhenge, another timber circle of comparable size was discovered in 1966, 230 ft to the north. Known as the Southern Circle, it lies inside what came to be known as the Durrington Walls henge enclosure.

There are various theories about possible timber structures that might have stood on and about the site, and their purpose, but it is likely that the timbers were free-standing, rather than part of a roofed structure.  For many years, the study of Stonehenge had overshadowed work on the understanding of Woodhenge. Recent ongoing investigations as part of the Stonehenge Riverside Project are now starting to cast new light on the site and on its relationship with neighbouring sites and Stonehenge.

One suggestion is that the use of wood rather than stone may have held a special significance in the beliefs and practices involving the transformation between life and death,  possibly separating the two sites into separate "domains".  These theories have been supported by findings of bones of butchered pigs exclusively at Woodhenge, showing evidence of feasting, leaving Stonehenge as a site only inhabited by ancestral spirits, not living people. "


Here's a diagram of the Woodhenge site with its 168 postholes that has been erected in the actual location. Note the 6 concentric rings aka ovals of timber posts (albeit some fainter scarcely-visible  ones).  Note the outermost ring that constitute what I have term a stockade/palisade. (Will decide later which of those two is the better description!)

                                                               Diagram of  Woodhenge

Update: Tuesday Feb 23, 2021

See today's article by Callum Hoare in the Daily Express, summarising the new ideas developed  - and communicated in short order - by ... guess who?


Yup, your truly...  😊


Update, Friday 26 Feb

The thinking on my "livestock defence" model for  Phase 1 Stonehenge, aka proto-Stonehenge, has expanded these last few days to include the site's forerunners, near and far.

I'll provide only the briefest of summaries here, being totally disillusioned, nay despairing of the internet as a means of getting one's ideas into the public domain.

Here are a mere handful of sentences to summarise the gist of the broader thinking.

Initially there were the so-called "causewayed enclosures" scattered across continental Europe and England. The key feature was the external ditch, together with the inner bank. The combination served to create a fortress - not just for human defenders - but t primarily to protect livestock as well, either at settlements or further afield.

But a rethink became necessary, once attackers armed themselves with bows and flint-tipped arrows. They could rain their arrows down from a distance, such that the outer ditch ceased to be an initial impediment. That's when the henge evolved in England - constructed in the reverse order, with an outer bank and an inner ditch - the bank protecting both occupants and livestock against arrows, short-range especially..

Stonehenge we're told began as a causewayed enclosure - i.e. the classical defensive configuration, but was then provided with an outer bank - albeit incomplete, converting it to henge configuration.  A circular  ring of 56 holes was then added, just inside the inner bank, being used to house timber posts initially, i.e. a defensive palisade, maybe installing more substantial bluestones later, albeit in temporary locations, being uprooted later and shifted elsewhere.  Timber posts were then installed within the enclosure to act as further shielded/defensive tethering points for livestock.

See the wiki entries on:

(a) causewayed enclosures  


The separate internet pdf on the Crickley Hill hilltop enclosure  near Cheltenham is especially illuminating, given the reference to 400 or so flint arrow heads retrieved from the site:


(b) the later henges, specific  by and large to England:


Repeat: I say that Phase 1 Stonehenge was intended mainly for protection of precious livestock against enemy assault, especially when  the latter were armed with bows and flint-tipped arrows

Update: Saturday Feb 27

Have finally (phew!) figured out - I believe - the purpose of the mysterious so-called Aubrey Holes at Stonehenge, a short way in toward the centre from the main  (original inner) embankment.


Why were those 56 equally-spaced holes (aka pits - a more accurate description)  installed  (whether to accommodate timber or stone posts) in the first instance? Why were the pits then cleared out,  refilled with chalk etc., only to be used again(?). Thus far a complete mystery, by all accounts.

Answer?  Simple. The Aubrey Holes/Pits were used to house/accommodate temporary tether points for livestock whenever the enclosure came under arrow attack. Livestock would be quickly shifted from the centre to the lee of the embankment, i.e. offering  effective shelter. 

Maybe the tether post would be moved at the same time as the animal, dropping  the post into a suitably-situated vacant hole or pit, choosing  the best-situated from a complete circuit of post holes. Later, when the threat had receded, the animal AND its tether post would/could  be moved back to the centre of the enclosure.

We're getting there, methinks, ever so, ever so gradually.  :-)

Reminder of  my specialist site title: "Sussing Stonehenge".  (See elsewhere - a report of an 8 year learning curve, amply provided with wrong turnings - such is the nature of science!)


Forget that romantic fixation with "solstice celebration" on the longest and/or shortest day of the year. Neolithic herdsmen had more important things on their mind - like defending their precious livestock against surprise raids from the local hunter-gatherers, ensconced within nearby woodland!

Update: Sunday Feb 28

Have been wondering if or how the 4 Station Stones can be fitted in to the arrow-defence model for early(ish) Stonehenge.

Here's a graphic I've pinched from the English Heritage Tourist Guide, which I purchased on site in 2012 (same year I created my specialist Stonehenge website). I've signposted each of the  4 Station Holes with red/white arrows:

Yes, there is a way they can be accommodated.

What you see above is labelled "The Early Stone Phase" in which the circles of outer "Aubrey Holes" proposed as temporary tether points for  bank-sheltering of livestock were replaced with central stones (arranged in the above diagram as a double arc). 

That meant that the livestock need not be moved if/when enemy arrows come streaming in - the stone columns providing adequate protection. 

So why the need for those 4 Station Holes? 

 Brainwave: many of the livestock were cattle - a mix of cows and bulls. 

But one only needs a few bulls to serve their essential role in breeding livestock. (Bulls would have been the trickier of the two sexes to shift at short notice from centre to periphery.) 

Answer: restrict one's  cattle herd to just 4 bulls maximum, keeping them permanently tethered  to those sturdy sarsen posts in their Station Holes in the outer (i.e. safer) near-bank location  (where the chances of being struck by arrows were essentially zilch).

Addendum (still Feb 28)

Here's the graphic supplied by English Heritage on the following page for the nascent stone circle at Stonehenge at its  more highly-developed "Late Stone Stage".

Two of the 4 "station posts"  - marked with blue/white arrows - have now been supplied with individual encircling ditches. One can only guess as to why it's only 2 of 4. But it's not hard to see why the two were supplied with the circular ditches in the livestock model. The ditches confined  two of my proposed  tethered bulls to a restricted area around its individual tether post!


Tomorrow's update:  have suddenly remembered that arrows got a mention on this site, way, way back in May of 2012. 


But it was in connection with PIGS (at Durrington Walls, some 3 km NE of Stonehenge), not, repeat NOT Stonehenge, not cattle.

Those pigs, and the circumstances in which they were slain by arrows, will be the subject of tomorrow's update!

But here  - by way of clue as to what is to come -  is a screen-grab of the relevant section from my 2012 posting (the latter being early-days 90% claptrap!):

Update: March 2, 2021

Here's the Addendum 3  - highlighted in blue - on that May 19 posting from 2012, with the final word on that alleged "winter-feasting " on  "arrow-slaughtered pigs": Note especially what I've highlighted with in red

  Addendum 3 ...

"    "The village was shown to be about 4,600 years old, the same age as Stonehenge and as old as the pyramids in Egypt. The village is less than 2 miles (3.2 kilometers) from Stonehenge and lies inside a massive manmade circular earthwork, or “henge,” known as Durrington Walls.

Remains found at the site included jewelry, stone arrowheads, tools made of deer antlers, and huge amounts of animal bones and broken pottery. These finds suggest Stone Age people went to the village at special times of the year “to feast and party,” says Mike Parker Pearson from Sheffield University in England.

He said many of the pig bones they found had been thrown away half-eaten. He also said the partygoers appeared to have shot some of the farm pigs with arrows, possibly as a kind of sport before barbecuing them.

No. I say that the wrong conclusions have been drawn from the archaeological evidence! The pigs were NOT slaughtered with 'sport-fired' arrows for winter feasting. 

They were victims of arrow-onslaught from outside. The marauding invaders then stormed and entered the enclosure, filling their bellies quickly  on the dead and dying livestock (after quick roasting of carcases)  throwing away their bones - plus  much uneaten meat -  in the process!

No, not winter-feasting on the part of site occupants, but winter-feasting on the part of successful site invaders! 

Update: Wed March 3, 2021

Hey. Guess what? Callum Hoare has penned another article on Stonehenge for the Express. 

                      Express Home Page, Wed March 3, 2021 - see the article on Stonehenge bottom right:

The focus is initially on Mike Parker-Pearson - the distinguished archaeology prof who recently made the fascinating link between the Waun Mawn circle of standing bluestones on the Preseli Hills (or rather, what's left of them!) and proto-Stonehenge. The prof maintains those 80 or so bluestones, with geology matching an extraction point just 3 miles away to the north-east, were lugged via human transport all the way to Salisbury Plain. I agree wholeheartedly!  (Where the two of us might differ is the purpose those stones may have served not only at destination, but additionally en route!)

But guess who gets lengthy quotes towards the end of the article?  Yup, yours truly, that "retired scientist and academic"!

No mention as yet of 8 or 9 years posting online to the internet - a scientific, often self-debunking learning curve - an attempt to edge closer and closer to the truth via detailed critical scrutiny and natural elimination. Never mind. One can't expect the world to fall into one's lap immediately - not where the MSM is concerned!

Update: Thursday March 4, 2021

Yes, have had a brand new insight as regards late Neolithic era stone circles - with Stonehenge representing the grandest manifestation of all - but still serving the same practical purpose - at least initially. (And what was that you may ask?  Answer: a compact, well protected place within which to tether and feed one's precious livestock, especially cattle - cows and a few bulls. Well protected from what?  Initially, raids by hunter-gathers, crossing the outer ditch and inner bank of the Mark1 pre-standing stone causewayed enclosure. Later, they initiated their attack from a safe distance, archers firing off volleys of their then new-fangled flint-tipped arrows.).

I shall now switch to using my specialist Stonehenge site, putting this one on the back-burner. But the "suss" site is in need of a total revamp, having received what I described a year ago as its Final Model 3! 

(Shortly-to-be-revamped Home Page of my sussingstonehenge  stops-and-starts learning-curve blogsite)

 Oops. I spoke too soon. Model 4 and now 5 have arrived, with standing stones serving normally as a tether point for wander-constrained livestock, with  that added protection for livestock and their herdsmen against ENEMY ARROWS!

#  Update: March 7, 2021:

Here's a screen grab with the new posting that has been placed on my specialist Stonehenge site (the topic now widened to include Neolithic stone circles in general - plus timber forerunners):

Link to the above posting.

And here's the final conclusion  (apols for the prelim. cartoon version) reached at the end of the above posting as regards the true role of Stonehenge, notably those trilithons - with their two massive stone uprights and an equally massive bridging lintel:



Appendix: I have the impressive Homestead Bloggers Site to thank for providing my summary graphic of the tethered cow.


Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Here for 2020 is an entirely new and original model for Stonehenge. It proposes, among other things, DUAL REASONS for carting those bluestones all the way from the Welsh mountains to Salisbury Plain.

Here, provided, UK time, at 0.01 am, New Year's Day, 2020, is my novel broadview take on Stonehenge, or rather its proposed bluestone origins.

Late insertion of this posting's novel message:  Stonehenge as we know it was  (initially at any rate)  intended as a late Neolithic  celebration of a remarkable journey - made with a  labour-intensive transportation of nightly Welsh bluestone-wall protected  monolith- constructed BLOCKHOUSE for a revered high priest or similar.  (Let's forget about those excarnating seagulls for now, the focus of  previous postings - whether attracted initially  to Stonehenge - or  its predecessor sites - Bluestonehenge etc -  on the wing from afar by accident or design ...). 

Yes, I do believe the bluestones originated in the Preseli Hills of Wales, probably the northern fringes thereof, and yes, I do believe they were transported  via human labour all the way to Salisbury Plain, and yes, I do believe the route was entirely overland (and over-river) NOT using sea-going vessels.

 And no, I don't believe that the transport was an accident of nature (glaciation  littering Salisbury plain with  exotic non-local "erratics" etc). The final Stonehenge with its mighty sarsen megaliths (trilithons with cross-piece lintels)  was no accident of nature, so why imagine that its humbler beginnings  as  assemblies of exotic man-size bluestones was? Yes,  a case of human selection from the word go, but for reasons that for now one can only guess at.

 But guesswork plays a vital role in science. That is alluded to in the strap alongside this site's title, that has appeared for many years at the top of my Science Buzz home page. Similar sentiments were expressed on Page 2 of the splendid book by Prof Mike Parker Pearson (" Stonehenge - Exploring the greatest Stone Age mystery "):

"... the process of piecing together the past can be compared with assembling a jigsaw puzzle only so far.  We may be able to see what fits together but this will not necessarily reveal how it fits together.
There must be a deductive insight  - a flash of perception -  that explains the hows and whys.  This is where we need theories and hypotheses - the starting points of all scientific endeavour ..."
Theories provide new ways of seeing, new understanding of the facts, and new lines of evidence to be sought out.  Theories are not articles of faith or belief; they are there to be tested to breaking point. When we discover that an existing hypothesis doesn't explain new findings, that hypothesis must be discarded or modified. Consequently the history of knowledge is strewn  with the debris of rejected theories.  In archaeology the most powerful theories  are those that match and explain evidence produced by new discoveries; if the new evidence doesn't support the theory's predictions then the theory is wrong."

One can see Prof.Mike Parker Pearson approx top-centre in the back ground of this photo from the Telegraph, taken in May 2016 at  Gordon Square, London (he's wearing a light-coloured short-sleeved shirt with hands crossed ). He's talking to someone on his right. Yup, that's me!

Yes, there we are (the two of us circled, exchanging viewpoints,  low profile me, high profile MPP!)

Yes, science only starts with guesswork. It doesn't stop with guesswork.  Guesswork is  a key stage in enunciating and developing models that then need to be ruthlessly tested (This retired biomedical scientist considered and discarded 9 models before settling on his final Model 10 for the 'Shroud of Turin').
Link (just one of many that could be cited):


There's also my model for man-made Silbury Hill, a short distance from the Avebury Stone Circle,  published on the Ancient Origins site in 2016,  was arrived at somewhat faster:


So this New Year's posting unveils my Model 2 for Stonehenge (let's skip the details of Model 1, which was always a shot in the dark, essentially non-testable.

Model 2?  The bluestones were NOT transported from Wales  to the vicinity of Stonehenge, some 140 miles away, merely as components of a planned megalithic monument, to be used only after arrival and assembly.  They served a more practical immediate purpose.

First, let's be clear about what we mean by "bluestones".

Here's a compendium gallery that I've put together using Simon Banton's  "Stones of Stonehenge" site that lists them in the numerical order first deployed by Flinders Petrie, along with, in some two thirds of cases, their estimated above-ground weight.

Source of the bluestones? See this handy  and readable article from 2015. 

The chief type (see above) , i.e.  spotted dolerite, which has been pinpointed to a rock outcrop at Carn Goedog

The  source of less common rhyolite  has been traced to this one at  nearby Craig Rhos-y-felin:

The Craig Rhos-y-felin source of the rhyolite bluestones. This and the Carn Goedog site are referred to in  both articles as "quarries". I prefer to call them natural rocky spurs or outcrops, given the ease with which monoliths can be extracted,  dear old Mother Nature having done most of the preliminary fracturing and separation of one portable stone from another. 

Weight of the bluestones? The estimated above-ground weights (reckoned to be about two-thirds the total on average) are given on the Banton site for the same proportion of bluestones. I've listed them in the table below:

Weight range of the surviving bluestones (where given for some 24 of 32 bluestones)

0 - 0.49 tons       8
0.5 - 0.99 tons    4
1.0 - 1.49 tons    7
1.5 - 1.99 tons    2
   2.0 - 2.49 tons    3   

The average is around 1 ton ( but with  3 being over double that weight). That concrete block you see being manually hauled on a sleigh-on-rails in the 2016 Gordon Square picture was also a ton-weight approx.

I've indicated earlier that I consider there to have been a DUAL USE for the bluestones, with an immediate one used in transit over those 140 miles separating  (a) the likely source of the bluestones in Pembrokeshire, west Wales and  (b) Salisbury Plain, location of Stonehenge (and its likely predecessor,  "Bluestonehenge" about which more later).

Here's a hint from wikipedia  as to what's to come, based on some 7 years of reading and reflection by this retired scientist:

 Yes, a blockhouse, more specifically a protective military blockhouse. But not just any old blockhouse.  Oh no, we're talking about  a blockhouse with a difference -  namely one that can be assembled and dismantled with reasonable speed, using stone blocks, approximately a ton or two in weight, ones that are portable (just!) even if having to be dragged asa distinct from carried!

In passing, my novel straight-off-the-drawing board blockhouse idea was initially flagged up on Tim Daw's sarsen.org site just a few days ago, tail-end 2019,  ago, but there I used the first descriptive term that came to mind, namely "air raid shelter". Shelter from what one might ask?  Answer: Neolithic flint-tipped spears and arrows.  Protection of whom (or what)?  Watch this space - more to come later in the day (still New Year's Day, 2020).

Here's an image I put together hastily for reporting to Tim Daw's site (see above link). It shows the manner in which three monoliths can be put together above ground to create what I termed an "air raid shelter":

Primitive air raid shelter assembled from 3 monoliths, whether or not bluestone., though not a lot of headroon (best to lie down at this stage!). (The blue is merely to distinguish the lintel/capstone from the uprights).

Notice straightaway that we have s feature in common with Stonehenge - yes, a trithon!   Straightaway we have a possible rationale for a key feature of Stonehenge which, to the best of my knowledge, has never been explained in all the millions of words about how the monument served to align with the summer or winter solstices, or failing that spring or autumn equinoxes, or failing that phases of the moon etc etc. Alignment, if real and not accidental, or serving some other purpose unrelated to that dubious archaeoastronomy, only requires uprights. Why the cross-pieces, whether narrow (lintels, as at Stonehenge) or broader (better described maybe as "capstones").  Have we stumbled on the significance of the crosspiece stone, however labelled?

First, let's ask how the headroom in the above set-up could have been improved. There are two ways. 1. Keeping the structure above ground, merely double up on the number of uprights, mounted one above the other.

Here we have bluestones double-stacked to create additional headroom:

One could go on stacking, but at the risk of decreasing stability, increasing ease of having the structure knocked over to expose  and/or injure the one or more occupants initially seeking shelter. Alternative? First dig a trench in the ground. Then line the sides with one's monoliths:

But that requires a lot of extra labour - and digging soil would never have been easy in pre-Bronze Age Neolithic times when all one had were antler picks!

So what's the qanswer - if needing to protect one or at most two people from spears and arrows, especially at overnight stopping points where intruders could maybe sneak up in the dark, undetected until too late?

Answer: how about a compromise? Construct a two layer of one's semi-portable but sturdy bluestones, surrounding a narrow, easy to excavate ditch into which one could place a bedstead - or the Neolithic equivalent?

"We'll never know" would be the obvious answer.  But is there maybe at least circumstantial evidence that such an arrangement was adopted in practice, later giving rise to folklore memories celebrated first in art, and later in the shape and form of Stonehenge itself - a permanent reminder of the spirited and courageous manner in which it was conceived and born?

Evidence from art?  Maybe. Go to Page 227 of Mike Parker Pearson's book. Look for these two images described as "chalk plaques" and the accompanying text:

Caption to images (MPP's own):  The chalk plaques found in a pit east of Stonehenge, during road-widening in 1968.  The small plaque is 56mm across. 

Quote from MPP's book  re the above chalk plaques:

(it concerns  archaeological finds, two in particular,  discovered in a pit on  the side of a ridge that lies between the River Avon and the nearby site of Stonehenge (precise dates and locations can wait for now, The red highlighting font is mine!)

"Within this pit lay two peculiar carved chalk 'plaques'  and an antler pick dating to 2900-2580 BC. Fragments of similar plaques have been found within the Neolithic and Copper Age village at Durrington Walls.  The pit finds are earlier than the finds from the Durrington settlement, and are decorated with unusual  and elaborately carved  Grooved Ware-style designs. One (ed. right of the two above images) has chevrons and criss-cross motifs  bordered by horizontal lines  and more chevrons.  The other (ed: left of the two images) has rectilinear meanders bordered by dotted lines. 
  The meaning and purpose of such carved chalk plaques  is entirely unknown.  Such objects are extremely quick and easy to make., and the raw material is ubiquitous throughout the region. Yet these decorated pieces of chalk are surprisingly rare; they must have had some special value which we can only guess at."

So what might the designs represent. Providing answers to those questions is the prime motive in my posting today, Jan 1, 2020!

Yes, there are "chevrons", Mike, and plenty of them.  Here's a definition of  chevron from the internet.

  1. a V-shaped line or stripe, especially one on the sleeve of a uniform indicating rank or length of service.
      an ordinary in the form of a broad inverted V-shape.

The essence of a chevron is its V-shape.

But look more closely, and what does one see? The chevrons  only appear where a diamond lattice abuts onto a line edge, the line essentially cutting off the top half of the diamond, leaving just the V.

Then look beyond the line edge, and there's a a new chevron the other side, with another diamond lattice beyond.  So what's being represented?

Here's my considered opinion for what it's worth. Suppose you wanted to make something shaped like an inverted   lid-less shoe box (for reasons we'll come to shortly). Suppose you wanted that structure before there was cardboard (which would not have served one's intended purpose anyway). Suppose you made it from a series of diamond lattices, one broad rectangular in shape, the 4 others, for the sides at right angles, also with diamond lattices, but with the diamonds bisected at the edges before attaching to the main sheet.

Now why would you want to do that, and what would you use to make the diamond lattices?

Materials first: I suggest you would make your diamond lattices from long slim tree twigs that are interlaced., and then bound edge wise through the severed midpoints of the diamonds, rather than at the pointed tips.

You have then created your shoe box  , which you can then turn upside down, with the base - sleeping surface - facing up, the open side facing down.

Why? Because you have created what could be described as a Neolithic bedstead with sprung base for lying on (overlaid with a Neolithic "mattress".

Here's a crude representation, put together with MS Paint, with the "  diamond lattice" and "chevrons" a bit jumbled up no doubt:

Might this have been the approximate overnight sleeping quarters for our protected VIP in his or her mobile blockhouse, with an above-ground  trilthon structure created with pillar- or slab-like bluestones plus a  twig-constructed bedstead in a shallow trench?  Was this the arrangement that inspired  someone to scratch those images onto the two chalk plaques?

 (Late insertion: the near end of the 'lattice-box' is shown open in the above diagram, as it would appear in cross-section. In practice, the  two ends would be diamond lattices as well,  to give necessary strength, rigidity, resistance to buckling under the weight of the VIP adult). 

 Relevance to the proposed bluestone blockhouse? Yes, dig a shallow trench first, just big enough to accomodate your Neolithic bedstead and mattress. Have a surrounding protective wall of bluestones, probably at least two courses high, maybe one or even two more.

That I propose is what is being depicted in the right hand picture - a Neolithic bedstead, constructed from twigs for use by a VIP on a long overland journey involving weeks, probably months of overnight stops. The left hand image depicts the complexity of the  arrow-deflecting trilithon wall surround (which may or may not have been below as well as above ground  - maybe the mirror images above and below the  horizontal midline symmetry hint at there being a below as well as above ground surround, if only to make the bedstead sit in its own  excavated  then walled surround as distinct from bare cut-edge soil with all that implies - moisture, plant roots,  insects  eartthworms etc.

What you see above is just the  blockhouse "bedroom". I haven't even started to think about separate living rooms, dining room, WC etc , which together could account for some 80 or more bluestone monoliths of varying shapes and sizes. What you see above is the germ of an idea.  I hope the germ will be seen as an essentially friendly, non-pathogenic bacterium!

There you have it folks, - the main  thrust of today's posting on the new 2020 model for Stonehenge, starting with its proposed initial use as a mobile blockhouse.  I'll add a few more words, later today. Expect another 4 postings in the month of January at approx. weekly intervals, more later in 2020  expanding on the above theme of  there having been a  planned and deliberate DUAL USE for those  human-transported Welsh bluestones, celebrated in those chalk plaques and much else besides (like the final megalithic sarsen-stone  phase of Stonehenge with its LINTELLED UPRIGHTS, with bluestones relegated to minor circles, ovals or horseshoes!

I have said nothing thus far as to the likely identity of the "VIP", transported across 140 miles of less-than-friendly territory (?) at such cost in time and effort. Who could  possibly justify this enormous input of planning and execution?

Looking at the subsequent  known, or even vaguely suggested history of the late Neolithic period, involving Bluestonehenge, Durrington Walls, Woodhenge, Stonehenge in all its developmental phases, to say nothing of what was happening some 20 or so miles away at  Avebury and, later, Silbury Hill, I consider there's a probable answer to my question re the identify of the highly-protected VIP. He (or she?) was  some kind of revered High Priest, one who set the entire development of the aformentioned sites in progress.

That's the end of   my Instalment 1. Expect Instalment 2 in a week's time, later in 2020  focusing on those predecessors of Stonehenge ("Bluestonehenge" etc).  Thanks again to Mike Parker Pearson and his UCL and other colleagues for opening our eyes to the likely history of Stonehenge. I repeat: his book is a a model of good scientific writing , aimed at non-specialists,  but admirably detailed while reader-friendly, a model of its kind.  Those who  have recently impugned his scientific credentials need to take a long hard look at themselves!

PS: Comment (No.15, italics ) submitted to Tim Daw's sarsen,org site (now awaiting approval, unlike previous comments):

(Some editing):

 On most blogsites, it's the poster who awaits feedback, via his or her  Comments facility

 Here it's the opposite. It's the commentator who awaits feedback!

We live in a strange world. 

I blame social media myself (Facebook, Twitter etc).

 It/they snuffed out any possibility of the internet providing not just a  social media but  (a  more upmarket)  "scholastic media" as well , a quickie alternative to those stick-in-the-mud refereed journals for getting new ideas quickly into the public domain.

Maybe consider re-inventing your internet persona and blogsite re Stonehenge for 2020, Tim? 

PPS: No more comments  from this co-blogger to your site , Tim, unless/until you make  you and your blogsite  more user-friendly towards us purveyors of new ideas (science-based  ideas that is - testable in principle - I hasten to add) ...


Appendix 1:  From Simon Banton's introduction to his splendid "Stones of Stonehenge" website: site's

Stone Numbering System

The numbering system for the stones is that devised by W.M. Flinders Petrie in the late 19th century and which is still in use by researchers and archaeologists to this day.

Extension of the arrow-defence idea to the Stonehenge sarsens: yes, the theory proposed here for use of the first-generation bluestones in transit to Salisbury Plain,  has now been extended to the end-stage sarsens used at Stonehenge to construct the stone circle and inner trilithon horseshoe.  Yes, protection against arrows - the primary function, I now maintain, nay assert forcibly,  of Stonehenge in the first instance!  You read it here first. See my follow-up posting to this one on my specialist Stonehenge site.

Title of new posting: 

Stonehenge – why its alleged chalk embankment/timber stockade infancy? Foretaste of the American Wild West – primarily a defence against enemy arrows?

Monday, November 18, 2019

Forget all those cosy assumptions about Stonehenge (solstice celebration etc). Think pre-Bronze Age SKY BURIAL on growing industrial scale. Think signposting for long-haul coastal gulls. Think uprights and lintels serving as (shhh!) megalithic BIRD PERCHES!

Changed format:  I'll simply provide my take-away message.

 Links will be provided  now and again to more detailed justifying arguments, supplied elsewhere, notably my specialist Stonehenge site, set up in early 2012.

But the main aim is to provide a flavour (beware: strong stuff, definitely not for the faint-hearted) of the main conclusion arrived at, as summarised in the title of this posting!

1. Geographical location of Stonehenge : upper reaches of the Hampshire Avon, approx 20 km (12 miles) as the crow - or seagull- flies  from source at Pewsey ,  and approx 50  km  (30  or so miles) from estuary almost directly due south on English Channel at Christchurch. So it was a means second to none for getting progressively inland, remaining close to lush river valley, easily navigable with simple crafts - wood logs as recently suggested. (Link)

Fig.1:  Map with (a) Stonehenge  (b) Amesbury (c) Christchurch   (d)  River Avon

Now a modern day picture of the Avon at Amesbury - easily navigable.

Fig.2: Description. English: River Avon, Amesbury Amesbury is an attractive small town embraced by a loop of the River Avon as it cuts through the high plateau of Salisbury Plain.
Date 28 June 2008;Source From geograph.org.uk;  AuthorTrish Steel 

2. As riverside population grew so did the demand for funeral services.  The modern day Amesbury on an unhelpful U-bend became seen as a good location for specialized  funeral service. Bodies of the deceased could be transported to nearest access to the River Avon, then taken up to Amesbury via  log raft etc.

(Consider a link to one or other Jacques articles - though I have to say there's much in his narrative to which I have no great enthusiasm. But he's right to emphasise the advantages offered by Amesbury as a place for human settlement - those curious warm water spring, allegedly with year-round constant temperature of 11 degrees (really?), ease of access by river etc etc


See refs to Profs Albert Lin and David Jacques.

3. But there was a problem with "simple" means of body disposal, whether (a) burial aka inhumation   (b) cremation (whole-body).

Why?   Neither was simple, not in pre-Bronze Age era.

 Reasons? Let's not dwell on the detail except to say

1. Burial
 (a)   Lack of metal digging implements requiring antler picks etc (b)  simple burial raised fears of entrapment of body spirit, need for 'soul release'(c) no means of writing, no means of a headstone inscription indentifying the buried individual.

2. Cremation (whole body):  slow, needing constant attendance,  probably incomplete etc etc

4. Our Neolithic forbears adopted a practice what might shock some modern folk (despite being used to this day in some parts of the world).

Technically it's called excarnation , i.e. initial defleshing of body to semi-skeletal state. That's then followed by end-stage cremation (faster and more fuel efficient that whole body cremation). Excarnation can be done manually, with sharp flints (or later with metal blades). But there was an alternative, one that was seen as offering advantages. I refer to "sky burial", where body is exposed to elements, where it's spotted by scavenger birds who then proceed to make short work of it, at least under ideal conditions.

Links to just one of several of my initial postings on sky burial, May 2016:

But that's the problem: achieving those idea conditions such that sky burial becomes practical, reliable, able to be completed in a reasonable time-course etc etc.

5. Making sky burial more practical, more dependable on a day-to-day basis, maybe year-round, maybe not:  there are a number of ways.

(a)  strip the turf off a chalky soil, lay body out. Hope birds spot it.
(b)  provide elevated perches in form of bank, with adjacent ditch from which chalk was excavated
(c)  timber posts (bird perches) maybe with cross pieces to provide greater room.
(d) Display animal remains in quiet periods to keep the birds on site.

Here's that iconic Pentre Ifan dolmen in Pembs, with some fascinating (and illuminating) detail...

Fig.3:  Pentre Ifan versus Stonehenge (image from Brian John site). Note parallels with Stonehenge (uprights bridged with capstone (dolmen) or lintel (Stonehenge)

Design  as a bird-friendly "feeding table" explains not only the capstone, but its overhangs, its resting on pointed uprights. How? It's designed to make it difficult for ground-based scavengers to get access to the 'free meal', deterring birds.
(e) standing stones
(f) stone circles (show graphic)

See Appendix 1 for a key passage in the wikipedia entry for "dolmen", making clear that there's no justification whatsoever for defining the dolmen simply as a "burial chamber".

It's a point I made strongly on the Megalithic Portal site (which I have now abandoned, once and for all, given its persistent control freakery!)

Fig.4:   Small part of the vast Avebury stone circle:

(g) stone circles with cross-piece lintels. (Yes, we have finally arrived at Stonehenge). Refer to earlier graphic - comparison with dolmen. Stress the practical function of the lintels!  No need to mention so-called carpentry joints.

6. Next step: how to make one's "sky burial" site better visible from the air? 

Answer: introduce the so-called cursus ( two chalk embankment, approx 80 to 100 metres apart, with their excavation ditches (external to banks) also exposing chalk, doubling the area of 'gleaming white' visibility.

Fig. 5:  Stonehenge  Cursus (a) as is, from air   (b) with highlighting to re-create bird's eye view with gleaming white chalk

Orientation of the cursus is critical: it has to be visible 'square on' to the best of the UK excarnators, that being? Answer: the gull, aka seagull, migrating inland up the Avon river from the Channel. Look at the orientation of the River Avon and the Stonehenge cursus: approx N-S and E-W respectively, i.e. mutually at right angles!

Fig.6:  Stonehenge Cursus: orientation with respect to River Avon and other landscape features

7. How was the idea of the Cursus as a direction pointer  hit upon?

Was it entirely planned from word go? Maybe, one will never know. But it could have been arrived at by accident. How?  Someone exposed chalk on which to lay out a corpse to give it greater visibility to LOCAL bird life.  Over period of time they noticed that the exposed chalk was attracting more and more gulls. They extended the area of exposed chalk, far more than needed for body display, and, hey presto,  summoned up still more gulls!

 The future Stonehenge - industrial scale  Stonehenge- was in the making, albeit in its infancy.

So the idea took hold that one could use two separate areas of exposed chalk: a smaller one for display, and a larger, much larger one for  signposting the free offering. The display area alone was initially a causewayed enclosure, apols for slipping in that technical term,  see link, with excavated pits used to provide chalk that was then perhaps scattered across the central area. That later evolved into the "henge" (another technical term, see link) excavated as a complete, bar the odd one or two openings. The external bank provided added advantage  privacy!

Let's at this point make brief reference fo Thornborough Henge with its dressing of imported white gypsum - designed we're told by wiki to render site more visible. Correction: "visible from the air".
Thornborough henges (give wik link) .  Some references single out the central of the 3 henges as dressed with imported white gypsum. Others say all three were coated.
Quote from wiki entry on Thornborough Henges:

"Archaeological excavation of the central henge has taken place. It has been suggested that its banks were covered with locally mined gypsum. The resulting white sheen would have been striking and visible for miles around".

8.  Initially, the sky burial site was reserved for the elite of society, whose relatives paid the necessary fees for what was a specialized service available to the privileged only. what's more the cremated remains were in some, maybe most cases, interred on the spot of what was seen as a privileged location.
Maybe an image of Stonehenge's cremated bone. Maybe a mention of La Varde with evidence of prior excarnation.

Fig.7:  interred cremated bones from Aubrey Hole at Stonehenge> Some hint that individual's  bones were separately packaged prior to interment in something that has since decayed away (leather pouches?).

But there was a problem, as well as a compensating advantage. As demand for the site's facilities grew, space for interment of cremated bone began to become scarce. But as demand grew, so did the population of resident birds. So did "knowledge" of the site's whereabouts to coastal gulls, aided by the river and the end-stop Cursus.

9. A bold step was taken.  The service offered by the site was opened up to less wealthy folk,  the first step towards industrial-scale Stonehenge, but on one condition: , namely that relatives collected the cremated remains and took them back home, for storage or disposal as they saw fit.

 (Probably wrong on part of some to suggest that absence of later absence of cremated  bone implied cessation of cremation. Reminder: absence of evidence in archaeology should not be taken to imply evidence for absence!). 

Second: the need was seen for a bigger and better Cursus approx halfway between the Channel and Amesbury that will serve as a better 'signpost'. Cue the Dorset Cursus  - still some 80-100 metres in width, but length now extended, first to about 5 then to 10km no less!

Fig 8:  Graphic showing the location and orientation of the Dorset Cursus.
Show that same earlier map, but with an extra large inserted  RED arrow to show the location of the Dorset Cursus approx halfway between the coast and Stonehenge.

10. We have an explanation for the (a) Heel Stone and (b) nearby Slaughter Stone at Stonehenge. (Stone 16  also while we're about it, also with bird bowls/bird bath).

Graphics of Heel Stone and Slaughter Stone (close ups, why few if any mentions of shape - at least not in the major internet sites!). What are you afraid of?

Fig 9: proximity of Heel and Slaughter Stone

Fig.10: close-up of Heel Stone (!)

Alignment of the open end of the innermost trilithon horse shoe to the Heel Stone. (Also ensured illumination of displayed offerings first thing on midsummer sunrise AND last thing on mid-winter sunset).
(Have erased that  winter sunset link, since the only light  at dusk would be coming through the narrow space between uprights, there being only one open-end to the inner trilithon horseshoe!)

11. We now have an explanation for the Altar Stone and why it is where it is, both in terms of (a) alignment (b) depth of embedding in turf. Graphic: Altar Stone? say there's scarcely any visible above ground.
Shoe the B.John diagram with its strategic-situation.

Image to be added shortly

Fig.11: Location of the near-totally obscured/buried Altar Stone.

Image to be added shortly

Fig 12:  Close up of scarcely-visible Altar Stone, immediately above red arrows (ignore fallen pillars on top, shown with red crosses)

12. Most important of all, we have an explanation for the lintels, and indeed the  stone circles. (perch v light'shadow).

Fig. 13: Birds congregating on Stonehenge lintels

13. We now have an explanation for the salt-tolerant lichens at Stonehenge

Fig 14: Photo of Lintel Page,  2011 Visitors' Guide to Stonehenge

Heading (top left, under title "Lichens") reads: "Many of the lichen species found at Stonehenge usually grow only on exposed coastlines:their presence at Stonehenge remains mysterious".

14. We have an explanation for Seahenge (one that briefly attracted the e-word from the BBC in its 1999 Report).

Display the 1999 BBC Page (to come shortly)

Fig 15: Seahenge, BBC 1999

The timbers are now on display in a local museum, with no e-word in the internet page, indeed little on the site itself, more on what the neighbouring human settlement would have looked)!  Nuff said.  (Give link to my recent posting on the Museum's display).

15. We now have an explanation for the Thornborough Cursus, cutting across the central of the three henges:


More to come

16. We now have an explanation for innumerable  (150+) yet, even now,   mysterious cursus in England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland.  I'll be putting the spotlight on one of the three in Ireland in the next day or two.

17. We now have an explanation for ?????   More to follow.( Yes, am keeping an option in reserve, one of several).

18. We now have an explanation for the location of Woodhenge and Durrington Walls .

Woodhenge a proto-Stonehenge,constructed as the name indicated with earlier timber. Durrington:  Housed the sky burial specialists , not too close, not too far from Stonehenge itself. A discreet distance. How remunerated?  Maybe with livestock. maybe with sustenance for lives. Cue the versatile pig, which could have been housed in pens at Durrington, the accumulations of their bone mistaken for "winter feasting". (The seasonal link was based on  the assumption that the pigs were born in spring. Why? Pigs are happy to breed year round!).

19.  We now have an explanation for Silbury Hill.

"Silbury Hill is the largest artificial prehistoric mound in Europe. Probably built over a short period between about 2470 and 2350 BC, it is one of the most intriguing monuments in the prehistoric landscape of the Avebury World Heritage Site"

Note it came relatively late. Maybe sky burial was going out of fashion. Maybe manual excarnation with copper or bronze blades, then making their first appearance.
 See my posting on Ancient Origins  (give link - or maybe screen grab) with a suggested role for earthworms as soil rather than sky "burial".

Fig.16: screen grab,  my Ancient Origins posting on  proposed  function of man-made Silbury Hill.


20. We now have an explanation for  the  curious route taken by the "Avenue", initially in the direction of upstream Durrington/Woodhenge, then turning sharply down to a more southerly stretch of the Avon, avoiding that awkward bend.

Fig 17: Circuitous route, Avenue (graphic from current posting)
Graphic showing the curious route taken by the Avenue. (Yes. There's the interesting claim that it follows natural chalk stripes, created by melting ice in Ice Age, but there are as many questions as answers).

20. Why the difficulty in getting one's message across? Answer:  when a claim is made via a newspaper headline, the search engine displays the headline as clickbait, and those clicks then assist its rise in rankings. When an internet blogger such as myself composes what one hopes is an eye-catching title for the latest posting, guess what?

Here's a partial screen grab of 2014 Mail Online article on Amesbury as the "London" of Neolithic Britain.

The title  of one's new (poaaibly newsworthy?) postings is invariably ignored! The (major) search engine may give some of one's SITE  (not posting) title.  It may pull a few words from one's posting, eye-catching or otherwise, it may give a date (usually from an older posting,  months, even years earlier, but rarely the date of one's latest posting) but it never, repeat NEVER displays one's posting title.  So is it any wonder that one's idea(s) fail to get a look-in, alongside those trumpeted through newspaper headlines like the one above! Use of the internet as a a real-time learning curve (esp by retired scientists  no longer with  lab access and other back-up facilities ) is a total waste of time for as long as the present state of affairs continues.  Learned societies - kindly get your oar in.  Register a protest on behalf of retired scientists and other professionals.  Condemn the system for its gross inadequacies!

This posting will probably the last on Neolithic Britain where new observation, new content is concerned. I shall now sit and await reactions, from whatever quarter - internet initially, hopefully (later on) from academe and the media too (though holding out no great hope where 'being noticed' is concerned, lacking as I do a published paper in a refereed journal, Press Officer. But think of the hundreds of papers in those refereed journals, instantly flagged up by the media, all promulgating the same old 'solstice celebration" narrative (or as some woukld say, fantasy). Evidence: virtually zilch, not counting correlation ("the axis of Stonehenge faces the Heel Stone, then the Avenue, then the north-east. Ipso facto Stonehnge is oriented towards the midsummer sunrise, or maybe the midwinter sunset, or if they don't quite fit, substitute something else that is  vaguely astronomical, like either of the two equinoxes, or, if really desperate, phases of the Moon bla bla....).

My view on alignment, orientation?  Stonehenge was aligned originally with the Heel Stone, a sarsen that was probably where it is, or nearly so, prior to the arrival of Neolithic man, who was immediately taken with its bird-like features, especially when turned upright from an initial recumbent position. But Stonehenge could have been at any point on the compass, facing the Heel Stone. Why point it at Heel Stone AND the north-east?  Answer: nothing to do with summer or winter solstices as such (longest and shortest days respectively). How could one celebrate one or other day at sunrise or sunset if the sky were cloudy?  Why construct a vast monument to celebrate just one or maybe two days a year? Who would want to celebrate a winter solstice late in December?
No, there's a more down to earth explanation for a north east orientation, towards the Heel Stone AND the north east. It ensured that there was illumination of the central 'business area' of the trilithon horseshoe first thing (i.e.crack of dawn) in the summer months and, as an added basis, last thing (sunset) in the winter months. We're talking now about optimizing to seasonal sunlight, i.e. over months, not singling out particular days of then year to put garland in our hair and dance around pillars, with  mighty labour-intensive lintels (probably over decades)  serving no role beyond mere decoration.

Postscript: Saturday Nov 23

On Monday, in two days time, I'll try a slightly different tack as a means of getting the sky burial explanation for Stonehenge better known (without at this stage involving the mass media). That's industrial-scale sky burial you realize, which explains why things were done (finally) on a megalithic scale, having evolved from much humbler beginnings (henges, timber posts, single standing stones etc).

Here's what I intend to do. I have drawn up a list of 22 points that each contribute some indirect, i.e. circumstantial, evidence that support the sky burial thesis. They will be divided  into a First X1 and a Second X1, cricket-style. Each of the stronger points selected for the First X1 will come with a brief, nay telegraphic summary, so as to provide a quick takeaway mental checklist. (I'll withhold a similar back-up screed for the Second X1 for the moment, so as not to overload the reader).

Why the reluctance on the part of the internet-readership  in general thus far to signal acceptance of what's set out in this posting, to say nothing of previously since early 2012?

Answer?  The chief one is clearly to do with the mechanics of sky burial, aka excarnation, aka defleshing.  Accompanying plus points as regards soul-release, or reference to cremation as a final clean-up seem to make little impact. Sky burial is simply seen as somehow alien to Britishness, not just modern but Neolithic too (overlooking the new evidence that the builders of Stonehenge sailed in originally from the  far away eastern end of the Mediterranean (Aegean Sea, Anatolia etc) , only to be  subsequently displaced by the Beaker folk ).  But I suspect its also to do with the nature of the evidence - not compellingly direct , but a less dramatic accumulation of indirect evidence, brick by  patiently introduced brick...

Meanwhile, English Heritage continues to promote its solstice celebration narrative as if rock-solid fact. Not so, English Heritage. There is a dearth of evidence to support your narrative, nay rose-tinted fantasy. I say its time you began to address hard fact, time to start articulating the likely function of Stonehenge as an industrial-scale site devoted entirely to sky burial, followed by  cleansing end-stage cremation of left-overs.

Further postscript, Nov 24, 2019

Have just responded to Andy Burnham, founder of the Megalithic Portal website. Here's a screen grab (yes, naughty I know) with his response first to my complaint against "dolmen" being equated with "burial chamber", followed  immediately after by my own:

Apols. It's somewhat faint and blurry. Try clicking to enlarge.  Alternatively,  you may prefer,  dear reader, to visit the above thread, via the following URL:


Further PS (Tuesday Nov 26, 2019)

The comment above, posted to Megalithic Portal. protested initially at a particular "dolmen" being categorized by a fellow commenter as a "burial chamber". Imagine then my surprise at being told by site founder Andy Burnham that it was official site policy to treat the dolmen as a sub-category of burial chamber, and allow the two to go unchallenged in so-called News items . Anyone disagreeing with that policy should place, correction, bury their protest on a particular  "Forum" section of the site's bewildering array of tabs  (labelled "sacred", "mystery"!).  Talk about control freakery!

My contempt for that site grows by the day, attempting as it does to call the shots on all matters related to megalithic additions to the landscape.

At least my comment above is still where I placed it - under the offending News item. It has not been shunted into a Forum or elsewhere, which is more than one can say for yesterday's latest crossing of of swords with the control-freak owner of Meg Forum.

Latest run-in?

Another "News" item appeared yesterday, one which referred to "rock art" and "decorations" on prehistoric stones, lying horizontally in the turf  at the "Whitehall" site in east Dunbartonshire. I have taken the liberty of reproducing here the accompanying image:

Here was my immediate comment sent to the same "News" item (no, not to an obscure forum):

Here's a bolder version of what I wrote:

Get real, for heaven's sake! Cup-marked stones, with or without surrounding concentric circles and linear drainage channels, served not as art but as rainfall reservoirs for sky burial platforms. Read bird bowls. 

Here's a detailed account of those thoughtful (bird-friendly) man-made additions, correction, subtractions (gouged-out rock).  


Shame about the failure on the part of an otherwise excellent review to put two-and-two (conceptually) together.

Colin Berry

But you won't find it there any longer. Why not? Because Andy Burnham popped up, saying I had been warned that my kind of comment had no place under a "News" item. Yes, it's been moved, goodness knows where, possibly deleted for all I know.  (Oh, but my link to that detailed 2012 review on cup-marked stones  etc  has been retained, though don't ask me where).

I just had time to return with a short message, saying that this retired non-nonsense scientist had no time for the Forum sections of Meg Portal's site, that anytime it wishes me to resume informed comment on its NEWS items it has only to let me know. In the meantime, I shall stay away from Megalithic Portal. with its mental blitz of tabs, many of them repetitive , to say nothing of its galloping control-freakery.

You need to curb your controlling bullying tendency, Megalithic Forum. You need to acquaint yourself with the scientific method, which takes an exceedingly dim view of those who deploy loaded terminology that attempts to pre-empt scientific enquiry, to stunt scientific progress. I say that it's wrong, entirely wrong to pre-classify dolmens as burial chambers. I now say it's also wrong, entirely wrong, to pre-classify those cup-shaped markings  on kerbs, dolmen capstones etc as  mere decorative art. Both are related , I say, to the practicalities of modifying megaliths to serve as sky burial platforms, i.e. to make them bird-friendly.

Start of late insertion (Nov 30, 2019)

I say that Meg Portal  - to say nothing of a few other websites -  is acting as an internet roadblock  to an understanding of our nation's TRUE  hitherto concealed, totally unadorned, PROTO -industrial history.

Yes,  monumental Stonehenge represented  the highest point of  a steadily-growing  pre-Bronze Age industrialized development of THE preferred means of  human body disposal.

Method?  Answer: two-stage body disposal, namely via (admiitedly unsightly) SKY BURIAL , followed by  (admittedly unsightly|) end-stage CREMATION  of  left-overs. But  that two-stage process was considered  marginally superior to  (a)  "simple" inhumation (burial) or  (b) "simple" whole-body cremation.

Reasons?  Ask Neolithic man!  He would given you any number of reasons, all now lost in the mists of time to our modern-day Homo interneticus, bar it seems this single  unsentimental hard-headed, lone voice  it an  otherwise the online wilderness. !

If that be the modern world - then so be it.  I and the modern world will now go their separate ways! May your mind rest easy with those spoon-fed fond delusions, dear reader, constantly sustained by those dodgy supportive websites, pandering  continually to  your fancy, rarely if ever to hard, albeit unsavoury facts.

 You read it here first, dear reader, starting in a small way on this very website some 7 years ago! 

Why hide one's light under a bushel  when pretty well everyone else, on and off the internet,  is trying to hide one's  "tell-it-the-way-it is, no-holds-barred"  torch-light?

I say it's time that we as a nation faced up to truth regarding our own history - bestowed to us via those allegedly 'enigmatic' megalithic monuments. Yes, they continue to litter our national landscape, all having served essentially the same purpose - to assist with disposal of the dead via sky burial,  culminating  in Salisbury Plain's spectacular  end-stage Stonehenge! Then copper and bronze tools came along (spades, picks etc)  simple burial became a faster practical option, and sky burial quickly went out of fashion.

Memories of sky burial were gradually lost. Some better-informed folk  (centuries ago) recoiled no doubt at the sight of those dolmens, knowing or suspecting their true function, and proceeded to cover some of them over with mounds of earth (causing later generations, the current one in particular, epitomized by Megalithic Portal) to mistake them for "burial chambers"! Kid yourselves if you wish, Meg Portal. Just don't expect the rest of us to swallow your fanciful rewriting, indeed gross misrepresentation, of pre-Bronze Age history...

(End of late insertion)

Here's a screen grab of the front cover of that flagged-up Varner review:

Why on earth would anyone bother placing "decorative art"  (read  "cup-holes") on the upper surface of a so-called "burial chamber"  (read "dolmen capstone")?

For heaven's sake, Megalithic Portal!  Cease mixing up ideas with your mangled semantics. You are a disgrace to the world of knowledge...  It is folk like you, Megalithic Portal,  who  give the internet a bad name, shunned  and/or ignored by academe and mainstream media alike. You queer the pitch for everyone else (this retired scientists included) trying to use the internet as a responsible medium of communication.

Sorry to have to say it (graphically) but...

Further postscript (still Nov 26)

The internet hugely bores me right now, at least as a medium for communicating original and dare I say informed viewpoints, developed over many years of patient study, leaving no stone unturned. Like, you know, Stonehenge as a site for sky burial (on a ceremonial, indeed industrial scale)

I've decided to return to an older interest, albeit intermixed with existing focus, namely current affairs, City and business issues especially, climate change, nutrition and health etc

Here's a comment I've just placed on the Telegraph Business Section. It was a quickie response to Juliet Samuel's article entitled " Johnson dare not risk losing this election for the sake of tax cuts".  Link to Comments: 


1. Key passage in the wiki entry for DOLMEN (my bolded italics)

It remains unclear when, why and by whom the earliest dolmens were made. The oldest known are found in Western Europe, dating from c 7,000 years ago. Archaeologists still do not know who erected these dolmens, which makes it difficult to know why they did it. They are generally all regarded as tombs or burial chambers, despite the absence of clear evidence for this. Human remains, sometimes accompanied by artefacts, have been found in or close to the dolmens which could be scientifically dated using radiocarbon dating. However, it has been impossible to prove that these remains date from the time when the stones were originally set in place.[2]:

2.  Here are three comments I have placed on Tim Daw's sarsen.org site (Friday 20 Dec):

  1. Seriously, I think it's time to consider two factors that might rationalise the deployment of megaliths via human-transport alone, over a vast distance (140 odd miles or so, old currency) but with no pressing time scale (indeed, one in which leisurely progress was considered not just tolerable but desirable).

    I am presently in the process of replacing my Model 1 (chiming bluestones) with Model 2. (I make no apologies, having discarded 9 models before arriving at my final Model 10 - flour-imprinting/radiant heat roasting - for the Turin Shroud).

    I'm more than happy to unveil Model 2 here on Tim's site - even here, buried in Comments, should anyone be seriously interested.

    Here's a handful of clues. Think difficulty but effective mobile air raid shelter for migrant Neolithic pastoralists. Think warm cuddly lambs (and a few less cuddly pigs for good measure), both needing protection from spears and arrows fired by dangerously close hunter-gatherers lurking in nearby woodland. Think Phase 1 lengthwise (not crosspiece) bridging lintels serving a highly practical (defensive!) purpose. Yes, air-raid shelter for both migrants and their accompanying livestock! Go figure!
  2. Here's a link to the notion flagged up in my above comment, hastily put together with the aid of MS Paint.


    The "lintel" (colour-coded blue) might better be described as a (dolmen-like) capstone, albeit serving its own unique purpose for protecting migrants and unfamiliar territory, en route to the safer open expanses of the elevated chalk downland of Salisbury Plain.

  3. Apols for the omitted passage: that should have read:

    The "lintel" (colour-coded blue) might better be described as a (dolmen-like) capstone, albeit serving its own unique purpose for protecting migrants and their livestock, venturing into unfamiliar territoryen route to the safer open pastures of the elevated chalk downland of Salisbury Plain.
Thus far (midday, Sat 21 Dec) - no feedback!  (Oh well, that's the so-called INTERnet for you!).  What a waste of time and energy (at least where flagging up of new science-based thinking  via progressive modelling is concerned - as distinct from endless mulling over of old  largely discredited ideas is concerned).

Here's a hastily-assembled image created in MS Paint needed to 'unveil' a new theory for 'proto-Stonehenge", which I'm placing on Tim Daw's current sarsen.org posting:

Dec 22:  Have just submitted the following comment to a recent Brian John posting on his "Stonehenge and the Ice Age" site (awaiting moderation):

Two days ago I flagged up on Tim Daw's site what I believe to be a new and original alternative to glacial transport, one that might, just might,  provide a rationale for human transport of megaliths over the 140 or so miles from Wales to Salisbury Plain.  It's what I dub the "air raid shelter" model (my Model 2!).  Thus far there has been absolutely no response to my invite to deploy a 'shop window'  site different from my own to supply more detail (making more efficient use of the internet, notably those quirky search engines, one in particular, that look for initial cross-linking of websites).
If Brian is in the market for what I consider a realistic and challenging alternative to his Model 1 (if only as a seasonal goodwill gesture!) then he has only to give the green light, and I'll send this site a concise 250 word summary, probably between Christmas and New  Year. 
and followed it up later (still Sunday) with this one:

... they disagreed with those who have claimed that ice transport was "impossible" ...

But it's not a question of whether ice transport was impossible, at least, not in strictly scientific terms at any rate. It's a question of whether human transport over the 140 or so miles from Wales was possible or not, given sufficient motivation.

I say it was possible, and indeed went so far as to provide a reason in a comment submitted earlier today (still awaiting "moderation", Brian, read approval).

I say  (Model 2) the megaliths that comprise present day Stonehenge arrived in small instalments, as mobile "air raid shelters", designed to protect long-distance pastoralist migrants from the spears and arrows of disgruntled hunter-gatherers, resentful of their territory being intruded upon, albeit  en route to a distant location. The latter - extensive Salisbury  Plain - was probably of little interest to them, but no doubt attractive to those seeking new safe open, largely unforested grazing for their livestock.

and have followed up today (Monday Dec 23) with this one, again to Tim Daw on his sarsen site:

Am trying to remain positive, despite the deafening silence.

Here's my plan, given the festive season. I'll hold off posting formally on Model 2 (initial deployment of bluestones in transit from Wales to Salisbury Plain for use as overnight air raid shelter (protection from enemy spears and arrows).

I'll post the broad outline first on my sussingstonehenge site The more self-critical science-based evaluation will be on my sciencebuzz site shortly after.

Expect to see another new input: it's to do with the precise route taken from Pembrokeshire (etc?) to Salisbury Plain. I personally do not buy into sea transport, sharing the views of Mike Parker-Pearson and others. But that still leaves rivers, notably the Severn as major obstacles.

There's a point just a few miles downstream from Gloucesterwhere where the River Severn is a mere 100 yards or so across, just before widening out into the Severn Estuary. Rafting bluestones across would still be challenging assignment, especially if there were 80 or so to be shifted.
I suspect cross-river transport at that major point was assisted by a regular-as-clockwork phenomenon that occurs 130 days per year in response to tidal phases of the moon. Yup, it's called the Severn Bore, a mighty wave of heaped-up water which flows not just straight down the middle, but at certain bends in the river from one side to the other. Go figure! I reckon that wave was exploited by Neolithic bluestone transporters, needing to get their air raid shelter components from one side of a major river to the other...

Colin Berry

Here the key passage (with typo correction) 

Expect to see another new input: it's to do with the precise route taken from Pembrokeshire (etc?) to Salisbury Plain. I personally do not buy into sea transport, sharing the views of Mike Parker-Pearson and others. But that still leaves rivers, notably the Severn as major obstacles.

There's a point just a few miles downstream from Gloucester  where the River Severn is a mere 100 yards or so across, just before widening out into the Severn Estuary. Rafting bluestones across would still be challenging assignment, especially if there were 80 or so to be shifted.

I suspect cross-river transport at that major point was assisted by a regular-as-clockwork phenomenon that occurs 130 days per year in response to tidal phases of the moon. Yup, it's called the Severn Bore, a mighty wave of heaped-up water which flows not just straight down the middle, but at certain bends in the river from one side to the other. Go figure! I reckon that wave was exploited by Neolithic bluestone transporters, needing to get their air raid shelter components from one side of a major river to the other.