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What are megaliths made of?

PostPosted: 4:29 pm
by Boreades
I wonder what kind of rock is used for megaliths? Is it whatever is at hand? Granite in the UK, maybe limestone in places like Malta. Do the shapes of the megaliths bear any relationship to the material used?

Re: What are megaliths made of?

PostPosted: 5:54 pm
by Iona
There's a website by Brian John that addresses the question of the Stonehenge bluestones but applies to megaliths in general:

Mr John believes that the stones were just erratics dropped onto Salisbury Plain by glaciers running from Wales to SW England.

Our ancestors found the stones on the plain and used them to mark the way. Had they been used for religious rituals as archaeologists argue, Salisbury Plain would be littered with stone tools and other remains. In fact, the archaeologists struggle to find anything of note.

Re: What are megaliths made of?

PostPosted: 12:18 pm
by Boreades
I have no problem with the idea of erratics being carried south by glaciers. Then the question becomes how far south?

The place to go if you want to find evidence of stone tools and other remains of stone working, is Totterdown and Fyfield on the Marlborough Downs.

e.g. the Polisher

The remaining question is how did the megalithics get these worked stones from the Marlborough Downs to Stonehenge?

Re: What are megaliths made of?

PostPosted: 12:27 pm
by Malmaison
It is generally agreed that the glaciation reached the Thames Valley so erratics in Salisbury Plain doesn't seem so very much out of the question.

In fact, unless our assessment of the extent/effect of glaciation is incorrect, surely there must be erratics all over southern England, as part of the normal terminal morain of the last glaciation?

Re: What are megaliths made of?

PostPosted: 12:40 pm
by Mick Harper
I wonder what kind of rock is used for megaliths? Is it whatever is at hand? Granite in the UK, maybe limestone in places like Malta. ?

In The Megalithic Empire we argue in two cases that granite megaliths were specifically made. In Carnac (Brittany) and at Merrivale (Dartmoor) granite was mined and megaliths fashioned, in both cases for export elsewhere. If granite can be reliably sourced to a particular place in the same way that (allegedly) bluestones and gold can be, this should be easily proved/disproved.

Nobody has been able to show that blue-stones are anything special. Nor for that matter is granite so wondrous that shifting it long distances makes it so obviously worthwhile. And yet we have much later history that shows for some reason people would shift Caen stone to London (or whatever) for no obvious reason other than prestige. So, on the principle 'What is is what was..."

Re: What are megaliths made of?

PostPosted: 9:38 pm
by Donna
Why order menhirs from Carnac? Cutting and dressing blocks of stone aren't especially difficult skills, and granite is available from plenty of other locations if and when needed.

Caen stone, like Portland stone, was in demand for its quality which doesn't seem to have been a factor in roughly hewn stone circles.

Re: What are megaliths made of?

PostPosted: 10:54 pm
by hvered
The Megalithic System, generally speaking, is designed to make use of local features, local materials and (presumably) local labour. However this is not always technically possible and clearly the construction of gynormous obelisks is not only a skilled job in its own right, it can only be done where suitable stone is available.

The Megalithic System was a Europe-wide phenomenon. Carnac, situated right in the middle of Megalithia, is absolutely perfect for popping obelisks onto sea-going barges. Unlike, say, Dartmoor.

To judge from the evidence still lying around, it looks as though Carnac didn't only produce series of menhirs but was also in the business of supplying ready-cut stones for stone circles as well, which makes sense because there are plenty of places without suitable local geology.

Re: What are megaliths made of?

PostPosted: 11:39 pm
by Mick Harper
It's a bit like McDonald's supplying the faschia for your franchised McDonald's restuarant. Putting up a granite menhir on a clifftop is a fairly big deal, but a one-time deal, so you get the full Carnac treatment for the opening ceremony. After that, yes, you supply most everything else.

Re: What are megaliths made of?

PostPosted: 8:56 am
by Jools
Mention of McDonalds is surprisingly apt. When taking bearings in an unfamiliar place McDonalds is the best place to start. Travelling salesmen find them more useful than satnav.

Re: What are megaliths made of?

PostPosted: 11:17 am
by Mick Harper
McDonalds is not the first chain to feature in this story. In the sixties, when drawing leylines on OS maps was all the rage, somebody produced a map of Watney pubs in London and showed that they lined up on a scale that could not be accounted for by chance. It turned out that the thickness of a pencil line on a scale of 1:50,000 was skewing the results.

Ironically, it may turn out there was a smidgeon of truth to it after all since (according to The Megalithic Empire anyway) not only are pubs often sited on roads-that-used-to-be-leylines but Watneys is a member of the 'beerage' that have been running Britain since ... oh, you know, whenever.