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Rock and Roll

Saturday, 1 February, 2014 to Thursday, 3 April, 2014
Prof Bruce Bradley
Number of Participants / Visitors / Audience: 

A pilot experiment was conducted in 2010 as part of an ongoing research project exploring a novel way of moving large monuments across a landscape using wooden and/or stone balls (used like balling bearings)in grooved wooden rails. As it is possible to move large stones up and down hills, across hill slopes and across various land surfaces including soft or marshy areas using this method, the experiment highlighted how there is a distinct advantage of using the two rail system as opposed to other systems (i.e. log roller or sledge-in-trench methods).

However, as with a lot of experiments, it also raised a number of questions in particular, whether or not Late Neolithic/Beaker people using Late Neolithic/Bronze Age tools would have been able to make the grooved rails to exact enough specifications to enable a smooth movement of the large stones. In 2014, students from the Univesity of Exeter started to investigate this issue as part of the OpenArch Project. Students have begun to work split oak logs with Late Neolithic/Bronze Age replica tools to see if it is possible to make the grooves to exact specifications.


Split logs
Using bronze tools
The experiment in 2010