A Conversation for The Mysteries of Stonehenge

Altar Stone

Post 1

BigAl Patron Saint of Left Handers Keeper of the Glowing Pickle and Monobrows

In this Entry you (we) say that, 'At the centre of the circle is a flat stone.... known as the altar stone.

In my booklet , Stonehenge and Avebury (HMSO, 1971) it says, 'At he centre of the bluestone horseshoe is the altar stone, a dressed block of sandstone from the shores of Milford Haven in Pembrokeshire.... It is now buried beneath the fallen stones of the great sarsen trilithon, but it probably stood upright as a pillar originally'.

This doesn't seem to square with an article in this week's Salibury Journal (see link below)


where they say that 'two... stones by the side of the road in Berwick St James could ... be parts of Stonehenges mysterious Altar Stone.
The Altar Stone is believed to have been the centrepiece of rituals carried out at SH, was first discovered in 1620 by ... Inigo Jones. But before he could properly document everything at the site, the Altar Stone was removed...

... while most of the stones at SH are made from Preseli bluestone, the Altar Stone was believed to have been made of Jurassic Limestone, found in Dorset and the Cotswolds?

<erm, wonder if there are two different stones which are/have been called 'Altar Stones'?smiley - erm

Altar Stone

Post 2

Gnomon - time to move on

The current stone which lies in the middle is called the "Altar Stone", but it is almost definitely another standing stone which has fallen over, so it was never an altar stone and is incorrectly named.

There amay have been another flat stone used for altar rituals and called the altar stone, but I've never heard of it.

Altar Stone

Post 3

BigAl Patron Saint of Left Handers Keeper of the Glowing Pickle and Monobrows

Yes, that's more or less what I thought. Watch this space... smiley - smiley

Altar Stone

Post 4

BigAl Patron Saint of Left Handers Keeper of the Glowing Pickle and Monobrows

BTW, the booklet to which I referred in Post 1, written by RJC Atkinson, doesn't mention any other Altar Stone than the fallen upright.

Altar Stone

Post 5


Some confusion over the geology here. The Altar Stone is now known to have come from the Senni Beds of Old Red Sandstone -- probably from Carmarthenshire or the Brecon Beacons. It has nothing to do with Milford Haven or Pembrokeshire. The new identification helps to confirm the point that all of the bluestones at Stonehenge (including this one) were glacial erratics -- as suggested by Judd many years ago. The bluestone transport explanation given on this site is wrong, and needs to be altered.

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