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Subject:

Re: Stonehenge - the moat

From:

Orion <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

British archaeology discussion list <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Mon, 3 Nov 2014 10:34:27 -0500

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (118 lines)

Mike and John,

Evidence of water does seem to be the big question when discussing a moat.

I may have posted this earlier.

If water is unlikely at Stonehenge, it is probably even more unlikely at
King Barrow Ridge, yet we learn from Mike Parker-Pearson that water freely
flowed not only along the ridge but actually crossed the ridge from west to
east and flowed from the eastern end of the Cursus to the River Avon.  The
source of the stream was actually higher than Stonehenge (110m above sea
level- Stonehenge about 105m).  Parker-Pearson writes that the water table
was higher at the time (3000 BC).  There seems to be little crop marking
evidence of Parker-Pearson's stream so, perhaps we should not expect any at
Stonehenge.

Below is what I may have posted earlier:

It is also known that flowing springs at the level of Stonehenge did exist
during that period.  Mike Parker-Pearson reports of a spring rising at
Larkhill near the eastern end of the Cursus from which a stream flowed and
ended near the Avenue where the Avenue joins the Avon at West Amesbury.  We
know also from this that the people of that era were adept at directing
water to flow where they wanted it to flow since the spring that Mike Parker
Pearson describes rises at Larkhill and flows past the eastern end of the
Cursus which is to the west of  King Barrows Ridge and ends in West Amesbury
which is to the east of the ridge.  Since 'natural watercourses' do not
cross ridges we may be reasonably certain that this watercourse was manually
directed from its natural course into Stonehenge Bottom and redirected to
flow to the Avenue at West Amesbury.  

Mike Parker Pearson writes:
"The Stonehenge Avenue's precise terminus and character at the
riverbank is not known but it is located immediately downstream from
a spring which marks the end of a former water course that once rose
on Larkhill. The spring was probably higher up this small valley in the
Neolithic but the link with Larkhill may be deliberate rather than fortuitous.
This water course, insignificant today, may have been an important
feature of the sacred landscape of the Neolithic: as well as rising on
Larkhill, it also flows past the east end of an important earlier
monument, the Greater Cursus, which crosses the Stonehenge bowl
from east to west. This cursus is another linear monument, consisting of
parallel ditches and internal banks running for over 2.5 km; it has not
been firmly dated by excavation but is accepted on the available evidence
to have been built around 3400-3000 BC, the Middle Neolithic. This class
of linear monuments is found throughout Britain.  Their purpose is unclear
although they are recognized to have had
ritual and ceremonial significance. Their most important feature is their
relationship with the surrounding landscape, particularly water: most
cursuses are positioned with water courses running perpendicular to
them, either at their ends or through their middles, and the Greater
Cursus is no exception."

In view of the above, it is entirely reasonable to believe that the source
of water to fill the surrounding moat could have been a spring to the
northwest of Stonehenge - possibly in the vicinity of the western end of the
Cursus.

Thanks,
Orion



At 02:25 PM 11/3/2014 +0000, you wrote:
>On 03/11/2014 12:19, John Wood wrote:
>> So why can't there have been additional, perhaps organic, features to the
>> original site that might support Orion's case?
>> Or would such a radical idea stone, sorry rock, too many boats?
>> On 3 Nov 2014 10:19, "Michael" <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>There could be. But the easiest things to eliminate are those which 
>leave the best archaeological signature.
>
>So, I thought it worth trying to find out whether there might be 
>anything that could tie in with Orions evidence of water in the ditches. 
>So, this is what I did:-
>
>If one is to have a permanent water supply, one needs a permanent 
>conduit. Unless that conduit goes downhill, it needs quite significant 
>engineering constructions to raise the water and it is therefore highly 
>likely that some remains would be visible as there's a significant rise 
>from the nearest water in the Avon.
>
>So, if there was a supply, it would likely have flowed naturally 
>downhill. So, I looked along the contour to find where such a supply 
>could derive and given the nature of the soil, it would have to be a 
>pretty substantial ditch so that it could be lined with clay. The 
>contour goes all over the place and through the main areas like the 
>Cursus, and I reasoned that anything there would have been found. And 
>given the length (I doubt any organic structure would be watertight 
>enough as I've no idea how far one has to go to get a stream to tap, but 
>it more than several miles. I would think such a ditch would leave a 
>crop mark over all those many miles as it hugged the contour trying to 
>find a stream from which to supply Stonehenge. There's no suggestion of 
>such a ditch.
>
>So, next I started thinking of some mechanism to collect water much 
>closer using intense short-term showers. But if it were to flow "on 
>demand" this needs a fairly big structure in the form of a tank (which 
>again must be lined with clay). This would be along the same contour as 
>Stonehenge so as to maximise collection with a very shallow slope down 
>to the monument. So, you can very much track along the contour looking 
>for suitable sites for a large storage "pond" or "tank". Again, because 
>of the sediment, these should be fairly obvious and their location would 
>likely be in a valley where temporary run-off is most likely to occur.
>
>So, there's no obvious sign of a feeder ditch along the miles of slope 
>and there's no sign of something close for run-off. This leaves runoff 
>from the immediate area of the monument.
>
>Orion has identified one such possible ditch.
>
>The next stage would be to take a theodolite onto site and start 
>checking some levels to see whether this ditch has the right slope.
>
>Mike
>
>

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