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Who Built The Stones? (Megalithic)
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Mick Harper
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In: London
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The most basic question is: can geologists tell man-made concrete from natural stone? You'd think the answer would be a resounding "Yes". If not, you might settle for a resounding "No". If not, you'd be thankful for a "We're not sure, we ought to be able to but in practice..." However, as Borry indicates, the answer you get is "Is that the time, I must be off" i.e. careful ignoral.

We ran into this when we were trying to convince people that Glastonbury Tor et al were artificial. Geologists weren't even to be drawn on what piled up natural material looks like! Though they have come up with some wondrous names for it. It's in the (very) Late Holocene, you know.
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Hatty
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The earliest written mention of 'sarsen' is in the 1640's. Most likely down to John Aubrey in his 'Topographical Collections of Wiltshire' or somesuch, I'd hazard a guess. It wasn't widely used until the 1870s onwards.

According to Wiki, sarsen is taken 'from the Wiltshire dialect' but Etymonline says it may be nicked from Cornish lore

The same word was applied to the ancient leavings outside Cornish tin mines, also known as Jews' pits, those being the terms that came to mind once to describe any ancient features, based on the Bible.

We noted an apparently Jewish association with the causeway connecting Marazion to St Michael's Mount and the main street in Penzance is Market Jew Street but there don't seem to be many traces of Jews in Wiltshire, the heartland of sarsens. Wiltshire bacon is probably not kosher.
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Boreades


In: finity and beyond
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More on according to Wiki:

The word "sarsen" is a shortening of "Saracen stone" which arose in the Wiltshire dialect. "Saracen" was a common name for Muslims, and came by extension to be used for anything regarded as non-Christian, whether Muslim or pagan.[3][better source needed]


Note the "[better source needed]". The source [3] that the Wiki editor doesn't like is http://www.sarsen.org/

That might be because Sarsen.org isn't a "proper" academic site, and it has shown an interest in crazy things like ancient causeways and alignments.

Yes, but what are sarsens made of?

Sarsen stones are sandstone blocks found in quantity in the United Kingdom on Salisbury Plain and the Marlborough Downs in Wiltshire; in Kent; and in smaller quantities in Berkshire, Essex, Oxfordshire, Dorset, and Hampshire. They are the post-glacial remains of a cap of Cenozoic silcrete that once covered much of southern England.


OK, it's made of "silcrete". But what's that made of?

Silcrete is an indurated (resists crumbling or powdering) soil duricrust formed when surface sand and gravel are cemented by dissolved silica.

So if you mix sand and gravel with a dissolved silica cement, you have a "natural" form of concrete.
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Mick Harper
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Isn't it more likely that 'sarcen' is a local rendering of 'sandstone'?
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