Thursday, 10 April 2008

Stonehenge dig 2008 day 10

From BBC History.

It seems that Sir Christopher Wren, the famous 17th century architect, also left his mark on Stonehenge - but in a quite unexpected way. His name is skillfully chiselled into one of the 40-tonne sarcens that watches over the dig.

Wren, if it was him, wasn't the first or only one to deface the stones. The carvings that Professor Wainwright was so taken by on Day 3 look like Latin characters, though the meaning of the message is unknown. And there's prehistoric graffiti too, in the form of dagger and axe shapes.

A few other characters were also all over the monument today. It was 'academics day' - a chance for the team's colleagues and peers to view and discuss the excavation so far. Presumably they didn't sign the stones.

The find of the day was more Beaker pottery, dating from the time that the monument was built. The quest is now on to find organic material from the stone holes that can be used to date when the bluestones were set.

If found, the material will be carbon dated in the lab. Dr Mike Allen, the team's environmental archaeologist, will also employ this technique on the snail shells that have been found. It's thought that the Romans introduced this particular species, though our dating could challenge that.

Watch the video (above) to see how people's enjoyment of the monument hasn't always been good for the stones. But there is a flip side - finds coordinator Yvette Staelens has "a hundred stories" on her desk.

Published: April 2008

Full story and video here.

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